Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time Magazine 2011 Person of the Year

Drum roll please...

Time Magazine, true to year end tradition, has named the 2011 person of the year. And the winner is - YOU!

Yes, in recognition of the growing phenomenon of uprisings around the world, including USA, Time has correctly identified the greatest influence reshaping our world - YOU the protester.

As Time stated:

No one could have known that when a Tunisian fruit vendor set himself on fire in a public square in a town barely on a map, he would spark protests that would bring down dictators in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya and rattle regimes in Syria, Yemen and Bahrain. 

Or that that spirit of dissent would spur Mexicans to rise up against the terror of drug cartels, Greeks to march against unaccountable leaders, Americans to occupy public spaces to protest income inequality, and Russians to marshal themselves against a corrupt autocracy.Protests have now occurred in countries whose populations total at least 3 billion people, and the word protest has appeared in newspapers and online exponentially more this past year than at any other time in history.

Is there a global tipping point for frustration? 

Everywhere, it seems, people said they'd had enough. They dissented; they demanded; they did not despair, even when the answers came back in a cloud of tear gas or a hail of bullets. They literally embodied the idea that individual action can bring collective, colossal change. And although it was understood differently in different places, the idea of democracy was present in every gathering. The root of the word democracy is demos, "the people," and the meaning of democracy is "the people rule." And they did, if not at the ballot box, then in the streets. America is a nation conceived in protest, and protest is in some ways the source code for democracy — and evidence of the lack of it.  read entire story

In simple terms, people collectively got sick and tired of being sick and tired. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr:

A man can't ride your back unless it's bent. 

On the behalf of the HGP family, Happy New Years and god bless! 

Related Story: After Outcry, Verizon Abandons $2 Fee

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Nixon's Darkest Secrets

"You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference".

Richard Nixon famously uttered the above immortal yet unprophetic words almost 50 years ago when he lost the California gubernatorial election. Yes, unfortunately, we still have Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon to kick around. In a highly sensationalized and explosive book written by Don Fulsom - Nixon's Darkest Secrets - he claims Nixon, our country's 37th President was gay and a drunk wife beater:

A new book by an ex-White House reporter claims that President Richard Nixon was a mobbed-up drunk who beat the First Lady and may have had a decades-long gay affair with a shady Miami-area businessman.
In the shocking new biography "Nixon's Darkest Secrets: The Inside Story of America's Most Troubled President," former United Press International Washington bureau chief Don Fulsom writes that Tricky Dick had mob ties for more than 20 years before he was elected in 1968 and lusted after his best pal, dashing Cuban-American playboy Charles (Bebe) Rebozo.
Nixon and Rebozo, who the feds believe laundered money for mob kingpins in Florida and Cuba, swam, sunbathed and dined together during guys-only vacations in exclusive Key Biscayne, Fla., and were once spotted holding hands under the table during a dinner with K Street power brokers, according to a report on the book in the Daily Mail. read entire story

Just to think, Nixon, who resigned the Presidency in 1974 and who died in 1994, is still being kicked around; and finally, Nixon - who famously believed the press was out to get him - proves correct the old cliche: 
Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't after you.

Ben Breedlove's Christmas Season Video: Do you believe in angels?

I seriously do not have the words to convey the emotions I felt after watching the following video. Just watch.

A Texas teenager who said he cheated death three times despite a dangerous heart condition died Christmas night from a heart attack, but not before posting a two-part video on YouTube telling his story and describing a series of powerful visions.

In the videos that have since gone viral, 18-year-old Ben Breedlove of Austin can be seen silently sitting in a room and using handwritten note cards to tell his story. The teen suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition in which one part of the heart is thicker than the other parts, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood.

He described cheating death three times. source

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Eugene Robinson: We need a brainpower revolution

In today's Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson writes:

Our manufacturing sector is just a shadow of what it once was, and that’s not China’s fault. Because of automation and the globalization of the labor market, rich countries can only excel at high-end manufacturing that requires more brains than brawn. Our future lies in knowledge and information. So let’s go there.

We’ve done it before. After World War II, the G.I. Bill dramatically boosted the percentage of Americans with college degrees. That one piece of farsighted legislation prepared a generation to run the industrial economy that was forged by the war — and helped absorb the excess labor that resulted from mechanization of the agricultural sector. What we need now is transformation on a similarly grand scale.

As a former school teacher, I can honestly say one of the most frustrating realities to absorb was that we were not preparing our students for the modern work force. Day in and day out, we were mandated to essentially teach to the test - passing the state-wide standardized test  was our reason for being. Don't be mistaken, students do need the basic reading and math skills assessed by the test, however, if the curriculum is solely focused on passing one test, we are not adequately preparing our students for the job market that awaits them.

As a good friend of mine (and former teacher as well) often states: We have an antiquated educational system that has not been fundamentally updated since the 1950's - when our society was industrial based. This is glaringly true and as a result, we have been derelict in preparing our students for the modern workforce needs.

As estopher (his spelling) states in Hub Pages:

America has to transform its education system so that children can graduate high school and be competitive in the job market. The education system is no longer providing adequate working skills to American children with a high school education. With the manufacturing jobs shifting to Third World countries the contemporary education system should evaluate how well we are preparing our youth for the job market without continuing on to college.

And Robinson adds:

This is a moment when policymakers should be thinking big, not small. History will little note nor long remember that the payroll tax holiday was extended for two months rather than 12. The complex and difficult questions we’re avoiding, however, may haunt us through the century.

Yes, this is the moment for our business leaders, policy makers and our educators to convene with the purpose of designing a transformative 21st century curriculum; a curriculum that aligns the needs of corporate America with the skills our schools are teaching.

Monday, December 26, 2011

NBA 2012 Preview - Greg Gee with Bharv

It’s almost here and that means it’s prediction time for the 2011-12 NBA season. Last season was one heck of a ride from the MVP ride Derrick Rose took to the drama surrounding the Miami Heat to the Dallas Mavericks finally winning the NBA title, 2010-11 was one crazy season. But after the uncertainty of this season and all of the drama that has ensued before the season has even started promises that this season, albeit shorter then the last, may surpass it in glory.(

Yes, the above statement by Josh Hill is dead-on correct. And I might add, this is a transitional year for the NBA. The next 5 years, the NBA champion will be led by a core of younger players: Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin and company, who are nipping at the heals of  the established NBA elite players.

The older teams (Celtics, Lakers, Mavericks, Spurs) will not be apart of the champagne celebration in June 2012. The past 4 years have seen younger teams getting closer and closer to the finals, only to have a more experienced team deny them the next level. Well, the young guns have caught up - learning from their past mistakes - and this will be key to becoming a champion..

Western Conference
For the last two years, the Oklahoma Thunder was booted by a more experienced Lakers (2010) and Maverick (2011) teams. The Thunder's talented Kevin Durant along with his teammates, Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook, will need to follow this template if they want to represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals:
1. Perkins - bring his defensive toughness and a championship mentality from his Celtic days.
2.Westbrook - accepts his role as a facilitator and shed that reputation as just a scorer.
3. Let Kevin Durant be Kevin Durant.

The returning champions Dallas Mavericks had good chance to repeat but (curiously) they did not resign their defensive presence(Tyson Chandler) who played a major factor in winning it all last season. I'm predicting the absence of Chandler will make them too soft defensively to repeat.

My Los Angeles Lakers (yes guilty, I am a homer) are "old" and Kobe Bryant's great hereoic performances are gone - so barring a blockbuster trade (Dwight Howard) the Lakers will finish as just barely a playoff team.

The LA Clippers' Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will be just Sports Center highlights, not a threat (and folks, the Lakers still own LA). Why? Not enough fiirepower in the low post.The Memphis Grizzlies grew up last year in the playoffs, but they are where the Thunder were two years ago: still learning. The San Antonio Spurs' core of Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan are good but  father time is against them.

Eastern Conference
The operative word for the Miami Heat is blend. Nice guy Lebron James will come to terms that he has a flock of haters who do not like him and he will use that as incentive to create the unstoppable Lebron we have been waiting to see for 7 years. After one year together, the dynamic trio of James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have figured out how to incorporate each other's game into making the Heat Eastern Conference champions.  No one can beat these guys since they will have figured out all of this.

The New York Knicks will be the Heat's biggest challenge. They have a superstar who can take over a game, Carmelo Anthony; a superstar who is comfortable as the second best on the team, Amaire Stoudamire; and the added defensive presence of Tyson Chandler to protect the basket. They will have great team chemistry which is needed to compete for a title.

Chicago Bulls and Derrick Rose will challenge, but he still needs another superstar for help. Boston is old - but I would not bet against them. To make a playoff push, I can see them making a youthful upgrade via a trade (bye Ray Allen).  Finally, the Dwight Howard/Orlando Magic off season trading fiasco was/is too much of a distraction. He may be on another team by season's end (Lakers?) - to be more precise, the magic is gone in Orlando.

The NBA Champion
The Miami Heat made the finals only to have a better defensive and team "minded" Mavericks embarrass them. The Heat pretty much made the finals on talent alone, but now they are one year older and wiser. They have learned how to blend their talents together to begin their first of multiple championships. King James will be crowned.