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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mother Nature or God?

I recently saw a report on the news that the reason for the quick cleanup of the BP oil disaster was due to a new organism that developed out of nowhere that eats the oil. The woman being interviewed said "Isn't Mother Nature wonderful?" I said to myself that it sounds more like the work of God.

The Day Cleveland Died

I was so glad when LeBron James used his brain and decided to leave Cleveland. The people of Cleveland didn't deserve him and pretty much let him know they didn't like him. but he was the only hope they had in a city with no hope. Having lived there for most of my life, I know how desperate these people are for attention. It is a city where misery loves company, and since LeBron was from nearby Akron, which Cleveland had no ties to before LeBron, they expected him to stay and wallow in misery with them.

But the picture became crystal clear to LeBron when Chris Bosh told him that he would love to play with him, but not in Cleveland. For seven years LeBron gave his heart and soul to the Cleveland fans in an effort to win an NBA championship. He took them as far as a one man team could take them. After losing in the NBA finals to San Antonio, the Cavaliers tried to get free agents to come and play with LeBron to help get that championship, but there was never the right free agent available. This past spring featured the strongest free agent crop maybe in NBA history. If Cleveland could have landed at least one of the available players, he probably would have stayed. That's why he waited so long to give them his decision. When Bosh stated he was going to Miami, LeBron knew he couldn't win a championship in Cleveland any time soon because the other teams were getting better and Cleveland was satisfied with just having him.

Earlier this year, it was announced that Cleveland is the least desirable big city to live in in America. Unemployment, crime, bad weather, ragged streets and houses make it a terrible place to live. I inherited a house that in 2000 was worth $90,000, but now if it was in excellent condition would probably get me $25,000. What professional athlete would want to live there? The city is plagued with home and car break-ins. My little brother was trying to defend Cleveland by saying this was happening everywhere, but when I asked him would he go to a game, he said "Hell no, I don't want my car broke into," and he drives a hooptie. For those of you that don't know what a hooptie is, it is a car that is only appealing to the one who owns it, or basically a car just good enough to get you where you want to go.

There were key statements made by LeBron during his special when he made his announcement that everyone disregarded because of their selfishness. First and foremost was he didn't want to spend another six years in Cleveland with no ring and wind up with bad knees. That was a reference to having to carry a team and a city on his back. When Orlando beat Cleveland in the 2009 playoffs, they set the blueprint for stopping him by making him do everything. Bring the ball up, set up the play and take the shot because no one else can hit a jump shot when it counts. His teammates were nicknamed the gang that couldn't shoot straight. So in the off season they went after free agents that could shoot from the outside and acquired a couple more average players that you wouldn't even want on your fantasy team. They also acquired Shaq in a trade, which they thought would help take pressure off LeBron by presenting an inside force, but Shaq has trouble making layups and dunks these days.

I can remember growing up as a child in Cleveland, being brainwashed in school by the slogan "The Best Location in the Nation." But every time we went on vacation, everywhere was better than Cleveland except Pittsburg, Detroit and Milwaukee, but even those cities had major sports championships, well Milwaukee has one thanks to Kareem and Oscar Robertson, and they left right after winning it.

But LeBron took note the last three years of the free agents he wanted to come to Cleveland and play with him. Trevor Ariza, Ron Artest, and as I said Chris Bosh sealed the deal. The thing that is so shocking to everyone is the best player usually doesn't go join another team, other players join him. Oscar joined Kareem, Moses Malone joined Dr. J. for example. This just shows you how unattractive a city Cleveland is to play in. Yes, Cleveland fans love their sports teams, look how they fought to keep the name Cleveland Browns when they ran Art Modell out of town, but their fickleness is unattractive to any free agent. When is the last time a free agent has signed to play in Cleveland in any sport? Look how they treated LeBron for leaving. If you know anything about Cleveland sports talk radio, you know they talked bad about him while he was there.

The Cavaliers owner showed his true racist colors by his statements when LeBron left. He truly thought he owned the man. Deep down he really didn't care about winning a championship, he was revelling in the money LeBron was bringing him. He fought hard to get the casino bill passed in Cleveland. LeBron brought big money and big name celebrities to Cleveland and he was looking forward to those celebrities spending money in the casinos he invested in. All of the white owned businesses downtown thrived off of the money LeBron was bringing them. Oh, the fans will still support the Browns no matter how bad the team is, but let's face it. All three major sports teams are nothing more than glorified expansion teams now.

And don't hate Miami for getting him. The Celtics and Lakers have always attracted the best players. If Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen had joined Paul Pierce at a younger age, who knows how many rings they would have. Maybe more than Bird, Parish, and McHale. They had players like Dennis Johnson, Danny Ainge and Bill Walton join them to fight off the Lakers who had Magic, Kareem, Keith Wilkes, James Worthy and Michael Cooper in their nucleus. No one gets mad at the Yankees when they sign the best free agent available every year.

LeBron is a totally different player than Kobe or Michael Jordan. Those two are ball hogs that want to be one man teams. LeBron gets just as much pleasure passing the ball as scoring. He loves getting triple doubles. He wants to be more like Magic Johnson than the other two and his experience on the Olympic team with Wade and Bosh was a dream come true. They also played together in AllStar games, so this is a combo that is already familiar with each other. Now they get to do it every night.

The other statement LeBron made was he was glad to go to a team where championships are the goal, not just the most regular season victories or home winning streaks. Is there any doubt he can achieve all these goals now? Think quick, now that LeBron is gone, who is the star of the Cavaliers? Who are they going to market as the reason to come see the Cavaliers? Dan Gilbert, do you really think you can win a championship before LeBron?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Palin Pulls a Pippen

Today Sarah Palin did what many have been wishing she would do for months. Leave politics. In a stunning move, she announced she would resign as governor of Alaska with 18 months to go in her term. While babbling about how this was a show of leadership, in the same breath she said she wasn't a quitter. Obviously she is not that Pit Bull with lipstick she claimed to be, but more like a pig with lipstick.
I found it strange she would try to use basketball terminology to reference her motives. She claimed it was similar to a point guard driving down the lane and passing the ball to another player to do the scoring. Well that's all fine and dandy, because that's what a leader does. We saw it quite often during the most recent NBA playoffs when LeBron James and Kobe Bryant found that this was the best option when being double and triple teamed. They did not wilt, or quit under the pressure from the opposition, they continued to lead.
Sarah Palin's move today was more like Scottie Pippin's refusal to go into a game when he was the self proclaimed leader of the Chicago Bulls when Michael Jordan decided to play baseball for a year. Pippin found out how tough it is to be a leader and was glad to relinquish the role back to Michael when he returned to basketball. In other words Sarah Palin, you don't lead by leaving the game in the fourth quarter and sitting on the bench. We're just not buying it and good riddance.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The "Curse of Jim Brown" still haunts Cleveland

The city of Cleveland has not won a championship since Jim Brown led them to the NFL title in 1964 against the Baltimore Colts winning 27-0. Brown retired from football just before the 1966 season because Art Modell would not give him time off during the preseason to finish filming "The Dirty Dozen". Ironically, the Browns returned to the championship game that year and lost to the Colts 33-0. As a 12year-old, I went down to Cleveland Stadium and bought a ticket to this game for $10 and froze my ass off. Cleveland sports has suffered the loss of many superstars and fan favorites over the years, many of which have gone on to win titles themselves.

Paul Warfield, Manny Ramirez, and Ron Harper were all part of Cleveland teams that made it to the championship game and eventually won with another team. They even got rid off a couple of good coaches that have gone on to win championships. I can remember when the Cavs hired Chuck Daly and he told them that he could win with James Edwards and Bill Laimbeer, who were considered journeymen in the NBA at the time. The Detroit pistons are forever grateful. Then the Cleveland fans and media ran Bill Belichick out of town because he said Bernie Kosar had"diminished skills" and traded him to Dallas, where Kosar got a Super Bowl ring riding the bench. And here is where the real irony comes in.

When Cleveland wouldn't remodel Cleveland Stadium or build a new one, Art Modell took his team to where? Baltimore, a city that also lost their beloved Colts, and he won a Super Bowl. Oh, and let's not forget the man who the team is named after, Paul Brown, who was run out of Cleveland, and then in 1970 the NFL rewarded him with the Cincinnati Bengals, who also won a Super Bowl. In actuality, the Steelers play in a division with three Browns franchises. By the way, the new Browns passed on several players that may have gotten them over the hump. They took Tim Couch over Donovan McNabb, and Joe Thomas over Adrian Peterson, the closest thing to Jim Brown I have seen.

The Cleveland Indians, I hate that name, finally made it to the World Series in the 90's, and ironically, the Atlanta Braves won their only World Series title during their National League Dynasty run against Cleveland. The NBA made sure Cleveland got LeBron James during their secret draft lottery, even though Lenny Wilkins threw the last game of the season when he was coaching the Toronto Raptors, guaranteeing Denver would have the worst record in the league. They played Cleveland that night and the Cleveland fans went into panic mode in fear of losing their homegrown hero. There is no doubt LeBron James will win a championship, but will he do it in Cleveland?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cheney Has Put Military in Peril

Now that he is out of office, we are learning more about Dick Cheney's role in the Iraq war. It had always been speculated that he was running the show from behind the scenes and the more he talks publicly, the more we see how much influence or control he had, and also just how evil this man is. What were his true motives? One motive was the oil, the other was the rebuilding of a country you destroy using his company Halliburton.

According to Wikipedia, in recent years the company has become the object of several controversies involving the 2003 Iraq War and the company's ties to Former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney. Cheney retired from the company during the 2000 U.S. presidential election campaign with a severance package worth $36 million. As of 2004, he had received $398,548 in deferred compensation from Halliburton while Vice President. Some commentators have speculated on a possible conflict of interest from Cheney receiving deferred compensation and stock options from Halliburton.

Bunnatine Greenhouse, a civil servant with 20 years of contracting experience, had complained to Army officials on numerous occasions that Halliburton had been unlawfully receiving special treatment for work in Iraq, Kuwait and the Balkans. Criminal investigations were opened by the U.S. Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Pentagon's inspector general that continue to this date (2/24/09). In one of the many examples of abuse, Greenhouse said that military auditors caught Halliburton overcharging the Pentagon for fuel deliveries into Iraq. She also complained that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's office took control of every aspect of Halliburton's $7 billion no-bid Iraqi oil/infrastructure contract. After her testimony Greenhouse was demoted, allegedly for poor performance, though USACE. Greenhouse had received excellent performance ratings in the past

So in my opinion, I still believe Cheney has ties to this company along with Rumsfeld and they probably would lose a lot of potential income if the Iraq war was to end and Halliburton was not allowed to help rebuild Iraq. It will be interesting to see what happens when we leave. But the problem was starting this war in the first place. Though they try to convince the American public that this was a necessary war, common sense people knew different. Now those who are blindly patriotic have finally seen the light and put a man in charge who will try to fix this mess. But the problem is we have dug in so deep that our reputation is again at stake, much like it was in Viet Nam, and our military is being weakened by fighting in a place we never should have been.

Now we have true threats from countries like Iran and North Korea, who just conducted another illegal nuclear test yesterday. This test was conducted at an underground site in North Korea, and unlike their missile launch of a few months ago, they drew criticism from their Russian and Chinese allies as well. North Korea insists, as does Iran, that these nuclear weapons programs are vital to the defense of their countries. In a way, I can't blame any country that wants to protect itself from attack by having the same weapons as your attacker. You know the old saying, you don't bring a knife to a gunfight. When you look back through history, that's how the United States stole most of this country from the Native Americans, and how most of the world super powers have controlled most of their territories around the world, through superior weaponry.

But we have also seen the United States hold the title of World Police mainly due to the fact that we are the only country to use the atomic bomb, and we used it on a mostly civilian population, just to show them we could eliminate them from the face of the Earth, and to send a message to the rest of the world. Since then, the Soviet Union (succeeded as a nuclear power by Russia), the United Kingdom, France, the People's Republic of China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, have all tested nuclear weapons, with North Korea being the real threat to world peace, as their leader is not a rational man. It is speculated that Israel also has nuclear weapons, as they are a real target in the Middle East, and Iran is using this as their excuse for needing these weapons. But Iran is at least willing to talk about their role in the nuclear world.

The best thing would be for every country to eliminate these weapons from their arsenal, but you know that would never happen, even if they all agreed to it. Somebody, including the U.S. would still try to horde these weapons "just in case", and now that nuclear power has been used as a reliable source of energy. you can't tell who is using it for what. Everyone misunderstood what Joe Biden meant when he said Pres. Barack Obama would face a major test from the international community in his first year as the leader of this country. What he really meant was no matter who got elected they would face this challenge, he was just campaigning for it to be his man and not John McCain.

Very few people have the "luxury" of knowing when or how they are going to die. I can think of three groups offhand. Terminally ill patients have a slight window as to the exact time, death row inmates, and suicide bombers. But we are headed for certain destruction with the proliferation of nuclear weapons, and I can only hope that the Planet of the Apes is in the distant future.

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