Saturday, February 18, 2012

Don't believe the Hyped & Don't sleep on the Philly 76ers by Gregory Gee

Andre Iquodala
This blog goes out to a person who contributes behind the scene to this blog: Mrs. Barbara Harvey...I hear you and your Sixers. Glad your doing well. 

The sports world psyche is such a "prisoner of the moment".

Fans, as well as talking heads, get caught up in a "moment" by pontificating ridiculous accolades during the season in which a player or team is on some sort of amazing success - the flavor of the day.. You've probably heard exaggerated proclamations like:

 Tim Tebow is on the road to being a great quarterback, will Jeremy Lin take Carmelo Anthony's role as team leader for the Knicks, the Clippers Lob City duo is the best team in get the picture?

So sports fans/talking heads, why haven't the Philadelphia 76ers received the same outlandish love? (Didn't see that coming did ya folks?) After all, Philly is a legitimate contender to the Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat for the Eastern Conference Crown. The Sixers are 3rd in the Eastern Conference, boast the best defense in the league and place a top 10 offense on the floor at the half point of this shortened NBA season.

Why haven't this team's performance caught on with sports nation?

 1) The answer lies in that there is no super star carrying Philly or no feel good story to promote like Lin in New York. There is only a bland veteran head coach (Doug Collins) who has his team playing scrappy and hard nose ball just like when he played:

The Sixers may not have one phenomenal player to lean on, but they do have a dependable offensive foundation reliant on scoring balance and ball control. They don’t have a single, esteemed, late-game option, but can throw opponents off guard in the clutch by operating through Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner or Thaddeus Young. They use ball movement and dribble penetration to draw the attention of opposing defenses and they generate quality shot attempts both inside and out as a result of their passing. source

2) They are not a flashy team of the moment but they are a good solid all around team that's in it for the long haul. The NBA season is a marathon: Flash teams/players are sprinters while all around good teams/players are marathoners.

I'm calling on sports fan everywhere (ESPN, sports blogs, etc..) to jump on the Philly bandwagon. Give the Sixers (and fans) their just due recognition. Philly is missing out on the national exposure (no televised national game yet this season) that computes to a financial boom of high jersey/paraphernalia and sellout arenas.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Africa rises to Europe’s debt-ridden cry for help Ex-colony aiding its old master with Angola and Portugal’s role reversal

Nelson Mandela: 
It always seems impossible until it is done.

Arguably, the re-emergence of the continent of Africa is the biggest story flying under the radar in the Western press. Countries that are paying attention - China, Brazil and India - are reaping the benefits. The following story I read on The Vista   starkly illustrates just how much things have changed in Africa. European countries under heavy debt are now calling on Africa to economically help out. Read this article:

 Not so long ago, thousands of Angolans were fleeing civil war looking for a better life in Portugal. Now the tables have turned. Angola's remarkable recovery from a poor, war-torn African country to a rising global oil power has been sealed with news that it will provide much needed aid to the debt-ridden country of Portugal.
"Angola already has large investments in Portugal's private sector, so they view buying in it as an opportunity," Monica Mark said in an article in the Guardian. The booming economy in Angola has also led many people of Portugal to pick up and move to Angola for business and career opportunities. In the end, the countries are helping each other out, as Portugal's aid from Angola is predicted to increase over the next year and Angola gains more workers.
From rags to riches, not only Angola has seen growing prosperity, but so have several other African countries such as Rwanda and Ethiopia. Overall, African economies are rapidly expanding and millions of people have moved into the middle class throughout the last decade. Around 60 million Africans have an income of $3,000 a year, and 100 million will by the year 2015, predicts the Standard Bank. This is good news compared to the low $700 average yearly income of most Africans.
"For many of the countries in the [African] continent there is now less conflict, better governance and greater government stability," professor of economics and Director of the Ahlers Center for International Business Denise Dimon said. "At the same time there have been better economic policies that have been more conducive for business growth along with a surge in demand for the commodities that Africa has to sell."
All of this has allowed the region to experience prosperity and continually improve development. This optimism only reaches so far, however, because most Africans still live on less than $2 a day.
"Food production per person has slumped since independence in the 1960s. The average lifespan in some countries is under 50 years. Drought and famine persist. The climate is worsening, with deforestation and desertification rates rising. Yet against that depressingly familiar backdrop, some fundamental numbers are moving in the right direction," The Economist said.
Population trends are also in Africa's favor as well educated young people fill the job markets and the birth rate declines.
With more working-age people and less dependents comes increasing growth, and that is exactly what Africa needs.
With the growing number of workers comes a strong interest in technology, which is boosting economic prosperity as well. One example of this can be seen with the vast use of mobile technology. Africa has over 600 million cell phone users, more than America or Europe. Since Africa's roads are generally under-developed and unmanageable, advances in communications like mobile banking and other applications have been hugely beneficial.
China was the first to see prospects in Africa, and now more than a million Chinese are discovering opportunities for investment and trade throughout African cities and even in its villages. "China's arrival has improved Africa's infrastructure and boosted its manufacturing sector. Other non-Western countries, from Brazil and Turkey to Malaysia and India, are following its lead," the Economist said.
"The future [of Africa] is very exciting and optimistic," Dimon said. "I like the quote from Nelson Mandela, ‘It always seems impossible until it's done.' Well, the once seemingly impossible is now happening." Africa is now open for business. source

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Broadway Opening Show: "Linsanity" staring Jeremy Lin by Gregory Gee

The New York Knicks Jeremy Lin's 7 game spectacular performance could not have come at a better time: right after the Super Bowl. 

His phenomenal performance transitions sports fans (like me) from the NFL super stage to NBA super excitement

Not to mention, Lin, of Asian American background, is breaking stereotypes. 
And the excitement is global: in China his twitter account reached the one million followers mark and his jersey has sold out. 

Just read:

Jeremy Lin continued his electrifying storm through the NBA with a 13-assist night for the New York Knicks in a 100-85 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday. He broke his previous career high in assists, 11, just one game after setting it.
Lin scored just 10 points, snapping a six-game streak of 20 or more points, but this game didn't require a superhuman effort of 38 points, which he put up against the Los Angeles Lakers a few days ago. Still, Lin was efficient scoring his points, doing it on 4-of-6 shots from the field and 2-of-3 free throws. source

But haters, naysayers and the conspiracy folks, don't get caught up by asking questions like: how did the sophisticated NBA scouting system miss Lin?(And no, the Knicks scouts/organization were not genuises just desperate when they claimed Lin off waivers.) 

Or: how did the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors not see his talent? 

Or: how can a Harvard grad - yes I said Harvard - shred NBA talent when other Ivy league schools kept him in check? 

I have a simple response: Just sit back, embrace and enjoy this kid's play. In one week he has rejuvenated a wounded Knicks squad (superstars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire have sustained injuries) and the whole league.

Only time will tell if Lin's early success an anomaly or the emergence of a new superstar.

So we salute you with the Top 10 Jeremy Lin Puns of the week posted by Yahoo's Eric Holden.

1) Linsanity? Try Linfatuation.
Newsday reporter Laura Albanese opened her Feb. 11 report on Lin-fever with a few crafty puns. According to her article, the symptoms have hit quickly and decisively.

Albanese writes that Knick fans have "renewed faith in their chances, blue-and-orange themed spending sprees, and, of course, that driving desire to inject Lin's name into pretty much everything."

2) Jeremy Performs Magic in Or-Lin-Do
I can't wait until March 28 when the Knicks host the Orlando Magic in what will likely be a pivotal Eastern Conference clash to open the stretch run of this lockout-shortened season. Will Lin be a one-week wonder or can he continue his meteoric rise to the top of the NBA ranks?

3) All He Do Is Lin, Lin, Lin
"All I Do Is Win" is the two-year-old single by DJ Khaled, featuring T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross. In 2011, the song received a remix treatment inspired by Tim Tebow's underdog story. This week, the phrase "All He Do Is Lin, Lin, Lin" was seen on t-shirts in and around Madison Square Garden.

4) Lin-ing Isn't Everything, It's the Only Thing
Jeremy Lin was cut by the Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors before finding his way to the Knicks. He tallied 20 points or more in each of his five starts for the Knicks and fans have been showering him with "MVP" chants every time he hits the floor.

5) Timberwolves Struggle In Lin-esota
Lin wasn't at his best in the second half of the Feb. 11 contest against Minnesota, but his game-clinching free throw earned his team a gutsy 100-98 victory. He scored 15 of his 20 in the first half.

6) Sweet As a Lin-zer Tart
Lin has been absolutely on fire since Feb. 4, as he tallied 25 points against the New Jersey Nets, 28 against the Utah Jazz, 23 in a contest against the Washington Wizards, 38 against the Los Angeles Lakers, and 20 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

7) Lin Diesel posted a list of the 50 best Jeremy Lin puns, and "Lin Diesel" was perhaps the most clever of the bunch. Some of the other top picks are "Lin-sane in the Membrane, Lincredible and Next of Lin."

8) The Missing Lin-k
This one is fun because it goes along with the concept that Lin was the missing piece to the puzzle to the Knicks offense. Head coach Mike D'Antoni desperately needed a point guard who could run the plays effectively and fill in where Chauncey Billups left off. Lin's performance perhaps saved D'Antoni's job and the Knicks season.

9) Lin-ing
On Feb. 11, Lin tweeted (@jlin7) "Gutsy win…5 in a row! This team is so unselfish and has so much heart. Love playing with them! God is good!"
Lin's play has the Knicks on a five-game win streak, but it's doubtful he'll be able to keep up his recent pace. The Knicks have been riding his hot hand, as he's been getting the same amount of shots that LeBron James and Kobe Bryant usually get in a game. If the Knicks want to keep Lin-ing, they'll need the rest of the team to step up.

10) Lin-tensity
According to a Yahoo! Sports report, it's the feel, the touch, the spirit and the purity of it all that makes Lin's story so heart-warming.
"He's so grounded, so smart, so savvy, that he's the perfect person to keep his bearings within a world exploding around him," says Yahoo! Sports columnist Adrian Wojnarowski. source

What's your favorite Jeremy Lin pun? Let me know in the comments.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Herman Cain and CPAC:" Stupid people are ruining the country"

Right wing radicalism disguised as traditional conservatism was on full display this past weekend.

The CPAC convention in DC has revealed all that is wrong with the GOP party - the loony tunes run the show. It is now 100% official, the Republican party has been totally high-jacked by far right wing radicals:

Here are some of the High Low-lights:

White Supremist showcased at CPAC 

Two white supremacists are set to speak at panels at CPAC, the Conservative Political Action Conference that will also feature speeches by Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
The first white supremacist is Peter Brimelow the owner of the website VDare, which is labeled by the SPLC as an anti-immigration hate website. VDare has featured the works of noted white supremacists, Jared Taylor, Sam Francis, Virginia Abernethy, Kevin MacDonald as well as conservative pundits, Michelle Malkin and Pat Buchanan.
Brimelow has been a featured guest on the white supremacist talk show “The Political Cesspool” and is a prominent anti-immigration activist despite the fact he was born in England. Brimelow will speak on a panel called “The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the pursuit of diversity is weakening the American Identity.”
The other white supremacist is Robert “Bob” Vandervoort who spoke on a panel called “High Fences, Wide Gates: States vs. the Feds, the Rule of Law & American Identity.” Vandervoort works for the site and also was the organizer for Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance which met regularly with the Chicago Chapter of Council Of Conservative Citizens.
American Renaissance is white supremacist organization run by notorious racist Jared Taylor that organizes a conference of racists including neo-Nazis, the Ku Klux Klan including David Duke and Stormfront owner, Don Black. The Council Of Conservative Citizens is another white supremacist organization. source
Mitt Romney declares he is severely conservative.
This odd proclamation by the serial panderer had even Rush Limbaugh scratching his dome trying to figure out what Romney means.
“I know conservatism, because I have lived conservatism,” Romney told a packed ballroom at the Conservative Political Action Conference, in a speech in which he underlined the point by saying “conservative” or “conservatism” 24 times. At some points, even those words weren’t strong enough: Romney called himself a “severely” conservative governor in Massachusetts. source
Rush Limbaugh made clear today in a "Daily Rushbo" recording what he thought of Mitt Romney's line about being a "severely conservative" governor in Massachusetts:
"I have never heard anybody say, 'I'm severely conservative. No, I've never heard anybody SAY it."
Limbaugh added that he was not "challenging his claim" to being a conservative, but made clear he found the need to qualify the depth of one's conservatism odd. source

And of course not to be out done, Mr. 9-9-9 had to revive his tap dance routine:
Not missing his cue to provide comic relief, Mr Herman Cain himself delivered (ironically) the most truthful words of the conference:
"We must outsmart the people who are trying to ruin this country.” But, he said, it wasn’t just the stupid people who were ruining the country: “Stupid and ignorant people are ruining America,” Cain posited — and running it. source
But before we congratulate Mr Cain on having an epiphany on the errs of his ways, Mr. 9-9-9 thinks he is and has been one of the non-stupid people. 
Now don't that beat all.