Thursday, March 4, 2010

Asking Y

I have a new blog over at

News Alert: Millennials Change their Mind, and that is OK

Read more

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why the Celtics should trade the Big 3

It's sad to even write, but sometimes, what is most difficult, is the right decision. The Celtics have not been the same since Ray Allen sex tweeted, and lost the focus to hit open jumpers. Paul Pierce had more fun at the all-star game untying people's shoes and winning the 3point contest than winning playoff games, and Kevin Garnett scored 9 points last night in Sacramento. Something needs to give.

I have this fear that the Celtics, if they do not make smart decisions, will digress into the Celtics from 1994- 2007. The best part of those years was seeing Antoine Walker in the parking lot in Waltham, MA and my friend offering him a cheeseburger from Mcdonalds. It was the one time in his life he turned down Mcdonalds, and then he did the wiggle back to his car.

Now that the Cavs just traded for Antawn Jamison, they are unstoppable. They are the best team in the NBA, and the Celtics will not beat them. If the Celtics trade now, they can get draft picks and players that will get them back to the NBA Finals sooner, rather than fourteen years later. With Rajon Rondo, Big Baby, and Perkins, they will still be an exciting team to watch, with a lot more potential. It is always more fun to think about a brighter future, than to painfully watch as the Celtics over the hill players struggle to beat the Kings.

Danny Ainge, do something crazy, and pull the trigger.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jerry West to Mark Twain

I got a haircut today on Mass Ave in North Cambridge. The barber was 47, a Laker fan because "Jerry West was the best player ever,"and in 1984 joined the US army and was stationed in Germany.

According to Wikipedia, we have 50 Military Installations in Germany

One is called Mark Twain Village. Mark Twain was a pacifist,

He once wrote,

"Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception."

So I doubt he would be pleased if he knew a military base was named after him, least of all in Germany. Despite knowing the language, he called it "awful." On February 3, author of the new book about Twain's late chapters in life speaks emphatically about this subject, and many more on NPR.

This post is random and some would say unnecessary. In college, I had to do an exercise in Creative Writing, where you emulate an author's writing style. This writing is based on Dan Shaughnessy's "Picking up where we left off."

Friday, February 5, 2010

What 6/11 teaches us

On September 11th, everyone remembers where they were when they heard planes had (deliberately) crashed into the World Trade Center Towers. First one, then the other, less than an hour later. It changed the course of our country's history. But there may have been a different date that shall remain as Roosevelt would say, "in infamy."

In Lawrence Wright's Pulitzer Prize winning book, The Looming Tower, he tells a story about a meeting on June 11th, 2001 that could have prevented the events on 9/11. The CIA was meeting with the FBI in New York City in order to share information about the U.S.S Cole bombing. At one point a photo was displayed of suspected terrorists. The FBI asked if anyone in the room knew any of these faces. The CIA members did, but did not have clearance to divulge the information. They did not want to turnover their case to the FBI, afraid they would give up their sources, and ruin their investigation. After yelling and shouting, all parties calmed down, and another name was brought up- Khalid al-Mihdhar. Two months later Mihdhar would be one of the five hijackers, but on June 11th, he was a name the CIA would not turnover. As Wright explains this photo presented "the fact that al-Qaeda was inside the US and planning to strike."

Throughout the last hundred pages of the book, Wright painfully details the sparring between the FBI and CIA that prevented a cohesive solution to handling intelligence that could have prevented 9/11. It is almost too much to bear to think of how different our country would be, and how many lives and dollars would not have been spent in two wars, if all the evidence was made transparent. While 9/11 teaches us about the dangers of religious extremity, 6/11 teaches us about the need for government agencies to work together and not let personalities get in the way of making our country safe.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Zinn's words in 1980 ring true in 2010

Yesterday, Howard Zinn passed away. But like with all great writers, his life lives on with his words. Zinn wrote many great books and articles, but in the last chapter of A People's HIstory of the United States, he masterfully summarizes the problems in our country in 1980 that still ring true today.

Democrats all over the country have felt the pain of this month's losses. Many of the reasons for our defeat are due to what Nixon called, the "silent majority,"-the white working class population that feels alienated, and ultimately, has helped move our country to the right in the past forty years.

In one of many paragraphs that predicts our current problems, Zinn writes,

" In the mid-seventies, another study (Donald Warren, The Radical Center) found that alienation has spread upward into families above the poverty line. These are white workers, neither rich or poor, but angry over economic insecurity, unhappy with their work, worried about their neighborhoods, hostile to their government-combining elements of racism with elements of class consciousness, contempt for the lower classes along with distrust for the elite, and thus open to solutions from any direction, right or left."

After re-reading Zinn's last chapter in A People's History of the US, I am in awe of his ability to summarize the problems in 1980 and predict the ones in 2010. He knows that once all the oppressed groups can align themselves, a new people's movement that acts on the behalf of the majority, without race or class acting as a hindrance, is attainable. He writes,

"In the past, aggrieved groups had been set against one another, preventing that unity which was necessary to combat the power of the elite. Was there a new possibility, now, for such unity?"

Let's honor Zinn and Obama's words in the State of the Union, and find new ways to form coalitions that put a stop to an establishment that does not benefit the majority of American citizens.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

State of the Union Eve

Obama's first State of the Union is upon us, and it has been quite the year for the 44th President. We all had high hopes after a groundbreaking campaign, but we also knew the scope of problems that he was expected to fix. After Scott Brown's surprise win in Massachusetts, the Tea Party is setting high expectations for the potential of their political power (see this week's New Yorker article). To others, we fear what that may mean. Thomas Friedman wrote last September about the sentiment against Obama that has become angrier and more hateful. It reminds him of the months leading up to Rabin's murder in Israel in 1995.

"I hate to write about this, but I have actually been to this play before and it is really disturbing...Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly. Our leaders, even the president, can no longer utter the word “we” with a straight face. There is no more “we” in American politics at a time when “we” have these huge problems — the deficit, the recession, health care, climate change and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — that “we” can only manage, let alone fix, if there is a collective “we” at work."

Why can't we, the American people, agree that we are getting screwed? How many people voted for Scott Brown who have been denied access to an affordable health care plan because of a previous illness? How many people in Massachusetts rail against health care when they have been receiving benefits from the government to make their lives easier? The anger coming from the Tea Party is scary and out of control. Obama must feel helpless. No matter what he says, he does not reach people who scowl at his presidency.

In a March 11, 2009 New York Times Book Review Article, Michael Tomasky reviews a book that analyzes what the lobbying industry has done to Washington and our country. At the end of his review, he looks at the road ahead for Obama.

" Obama's approach on health care and other matters is to bring all interests together and tell everyone up front that they'll be heard but won't end up getting everything they want. This openness may well end up being a weakness. The President's bet- and he might be overestimating his own powers of persuasion- is that he can use his high approval ratings and popular support for reform on these matters to force outcomes that are negotiated in more or less good faith. "

Almost a year later, it is sad to see the opportunity that was squandered and those who have stood in his way, for no other reason, but a political one. While Friedman examines the pressures that Obama feels, Tomasky accurately predicted the mistakes he made. Obama no longer believes he can use his popularity to bring about change. Instead, he should return to the skills that allowed him to emerge from the trenches of Chicago city politics. In a time of crisis, our country needs strong executive leadership. No more consensus building moderate positions. We may not agree on everything, but we elected Obama to fight for us, and we hope he will.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Deconstructing Parties and Cars

If Coakley doesn't win today, the Democrats must deconstruct their strategy, just like Damian Ortega did with the Volkswagen Beetle.