Over the last two weeks, there’s been a flurry of reports over the NSA surveillance program. There’s been a lot of finger-pointing. There have been lots of accusations in which reporters and their sources have been called traitors and/or patriots, depending upon which side of the political spectrum you’re on. First of all, I really don’t believe that we have enough information to figure out exactly what’s going on. We’ve got a cool name for a program called Prism. We have a rough idea about how the program works, but the devil is in the details. It is not important to me that former Vice President Dick Cheney went on Fox News and defended this program. We know that the vice president is not a human rights/civil rights kind of guy. We also know that he has lied to the American people before. Anybody who stands up and tells you that they are for or against this program should be immediately discarded as a zealot. We, the American people, simply don’t have enough information to figure out what’s going on. I know that President Obama stated that it was important to him that there are checks and balances, but I have no idea what these checks and balances are. I’m a little concerned that the FISA court is not a check nor a balance but are instead acting as a rubber stamp. I’m also afraid to say that I have absolutely no confidence in our elected politicians in Congress. I have no idea if these guys are acting in our best interest or not. (more…)
Many months ago, I went out on a limb and stated that the Miami Heat would not win the NBA championship. Well, they got very close. They got extremely close, but in the end my analysis was correct. The NBA is not about getting close. America is not about getting close. We love winners. We love Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Magic Johnson because they all won championships.
The Miami Heat simply could not close out games. It is a fourth quarter that is critical in the NBA. Everybody is talented. Everybody can get hot. It is when the opposing team turns up the defense and contests every shot. This is crunch time. During crunch time you have five very talented basketball players who must work together with the precision of a Swiss watch. In spite of the pressure, in spite of what the other team is trying to do, these five guys have to perform together. This is where the Miami Heat failed.
I’ve talked about the formula to win in the NBA. Briefly, for those who haven’t read my post, you need to have a superstar, a sidekick, a rebounder, a ballhandler and a three point shooter. Think of the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan. Think about the LA Lakers with Kobe Bryant. The San Antonio Spurs never really fit this model. They have three superstars (who are now aging) who could play the role of the superstar and the sidekick interchangeably. The chemistry between Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili is almost unparalleled in the NBA. Now, when you compare this formula to the Miami Heat, several questions arise. Who is going to be the superstar? Who is going to be the sidekick? I thought the key to the Miami Heat success would be Lebron James. He would have to play the role of the sidekick. He would have to be Scottie Pippen. Dwayne Wade would have to be the superstar. Chris Bosh would have to be the rebounder. In the playoffs, Lebron James seemed to be the closer. He seemed to be the superstar, leaving Dwayne Wade standing around looking for something to do. This is where the Heat failed. (I also think that Dwayne Wade was hurt. It is more than his hip. He just simply couldn’t push it or didn’t push it like I expected.)
On the Dallas Mavericks side of the ball, everybody knew who the superstar was. When Dirk Nowitzki began the game shooting poorly, it was Jason Terry’s job to step up. Jason Terry knew his role. He played it to perfection. I thought that Shawn Marion was one of the keys to the series. He played incredibly strong defense. Jason Kidd played strong defense. Surprisingly, the energy and speed of JJ Berea was one of the keys to the Mavericks winning the series. He played incredibly well in games four, five and six.
So, the Dallas Mavericks are NBA world champions. I just love seeing that after watching the Mavericks fall flat multiple times. There were times it seemed that they had the talent but didn’t have the heart. I remember watching those teams in the mid-1980s: Sam Perkins, Mark Aquirre, Rolando Blackman, Dale Ellis and Derek Harper. The 1987 – ’88 Mavericks lost in game seven to the Los Angeles Lakers. It was a crushing defeat. It would take the Mavericks another 10 – 13 years to put together a team to challenge the NBA and go deep into the playoffs. For the last 10 years, the Dallas Mavericks have made the playoffs. They have had three different coaches and multiple different players. They finally figured out how to win in the postseason. Congratulations to the Dallas Mavericks (I hope the Dallas Cowboys were watching and learning!)
- Dallas Mavericks are trying hard to blow their best chance to win an NBA championship. They looked tired, slow and disinterested. If they keep playing like this they will be able to watch the Thunder in the championship game.
- Newt’s implosion is extremely interesting. It is almost as if he has jumped into a large bowl of tar and somehow he didn’t think that it was going to stick to him.
- Even the lowly Chrysler looks like they have plans to pay our money back.
- How about a constitutional amendment to over turn the Citizen United decision? Um, I don’t know about that.
- Patriot Act has been extended in a double secret meeting. Dems and R’s agreed on something… anything. This should be a cause for celebration but something just doesn’t feel right about it.
- Man walks after being paralyzed from the chest down with the aid of electrical stimulation and a computer. Totally Cool. (for those who want to read the scientific study, you can find it here.)
More on Newt Gingrich’s epic debacle. There is a reason that Newt Gingrich stepped down as Speaker of the House and has never run for another elected public office. This is not an accident. Newt Gingrich has a flair for over-the-top rhetoric. In order to paint himself in the best light, he will use the starkest metaphors to illustrate his point. So, to make himself seem like the biggest and best authority on Medicare, he contrasted himself against Paul Ryan and the Democrats. This was classic Newt Gingrich. Of course, he threw Paul Ryan and all of the other House Republicans off a bridge since he accused them of social engineering. He spent the better part of this week trying to weasel his way out of this epic mistake. In an effort to backtrack without looking weak he blasted those who criticize him and, of course, that included the great grand pooh-baw of everything conservative, Rush Limbaugh. PA has an excellent rundown on Newt’s week. Stephen Colbert took Newt Gingrich’s press release and asked John Lithgow to read it verbatim. This is funny.