BarryCrimmins.com - A very well written blog done by legendary Political Satirist Barry Crimmins. He is writing some of finest and wittiest pieces you will find any were on the Internets. He has been busy writing a new blog almost daily. Always a must read.
Tonight marks the start of the 2008-2009 N.B.A regular season. The last time that I blogged about the Lakers earlier this spring I was predicting that they would win the N.B.A Championship unfortunately; they were out played in the finals by the Boston Celtics and lost the final series four games to two much my disappointment but very satisfying to all of my friends who are Celtics fans. That was last year and now it is times to put that loss behind and go forward to the new season of hope.
What will the 2008-2009 season bring to the Lakers? Well if everything goes as planned and barring some unforeseen major injuries, the Lakers should be the team hoisting up a Championship banner at this time next year.
My main reason for being so optimistic about the Lakers this season is due in large part to the return of center Andrew Bynum. He missed most of the second half-last season and all of the playoffs with a badly torn ankle injury. Despite his loss, the Lakers were still able to win the Western division largely to the trade for Pau Gasol after the Bynum injury. Although Gasol filled in admiralty at the Center position during Bynum absence his smaller frame and his style of play is more suit to play the power forward a position he will be able to play this year with the return of the big powerful center. The Celtics used the muscle of their centers to Knock Gasol of his game in the finals but they will have a harder time controlling him if he is able to play more outside and let the inside work to the bigger boys. The lakes also return the regain league M.V.P in Kobe Bryant who is hungry for a championship to go along with the gold Medal he won this summer as part of the U.S men's basketball team. Point guard Derek Fisher runs coach Phil Jacksons triangle offence, he will be back up by Up and coming star Jordan Farmar. Vladimir Radmanovich might join the starting five to give the team a little more size up front for now Lamar Odem is going start and Radmanovich will be the coming off a very deep Lakers bench that includes sharp 3- point shooting guard Sasha Vujacic and the smart play of Luke Walton and the for mentioned Jordan Farmar.
Even though the Western conference is loaded with talented teams like the San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Hornets and the Phoenix Suns the Lakers are clearly the best team and should make it back to the finals and a rematch with the Boston Celtics with a different result. The Lakers will win four games to three to claim the title of N.B.A champions.
All this week, or since the final presidential debate between Barack Obama & John McCain last Wednesday night when McCain brought up his name twenty one times all I've been hearing about is this guy called Joe The Plumber. McCain and the Republicans have been holding him up as a example of a hardworking everyman who would get screwed by Obama's tax plan. His plan would raise taxes on people who make over $250.000 and give tax breaks to the 95% of us that make less.
This average Joe claims that he wants to buy a plumbing business that makes a profit just over the $250.000 mark just enough to have his taxes raised. He was lucky enough to get the attention of a news crew and Barack Obama last week as the Presidential candidate was visiting his small town near Toledo Ohio. Joe got the opportunity to lay out his fantasy to Obama, Joe then got a six minute explanation of his tax policy and his reasons for increasing the tax for people earning more then a quarter of a Milion dollars.
Poor Joe just couldn't comprehend any of Obama's well thought out plan. The question he asked might have been a legitimate question for someone in that tax bracket to ask but this so called Joe (real name Sam) wasn’t truly who or what he claimed to be. Yes, he might have a dream of operating his own plumbing business, I dream of owning the Boston Red Sox but that is beside the point. First Joe is just a plumber’s helper and not a licensed plumber. The company he wants to buy is worth only $100.000 and only made about a $20, 000 profits last year so under that circumstance the business would receive a tax break under the Obama tax plan.Joe must be one heck of a business man if he instantly can turn a business that makes only $20,000 in profit to one that makes almost $300.000 in pure profit a year even with the economy in a free fall. In ‘Joe’s” dream worldonce he made his money he wouldn’t want to help other who are struggling because he got his through hard work and why should he help pay for anybody that he deems unworthy( people like himself)when Obama responded to his concern by pointing out that there are many people working just as hard or harder thanJoe who need extra money just to get by he seems unmoved by their pain even when he was told by Obama that paying a little more in taxed to help the poor and middle class he might be helping himself because they would be the ones who might be the ones who hire him to do their plumbing and with more customers his business would make more money.
Someone figured out if Joe did indeed own his very profitable plumbing business and his fantasy of making a clear profit of $280,000 the highest amount he would have to pay would be an extra $900 a year.
(Here’s an example who he would help if he had to pay that extra money in taxes.)
Let's say that there is a guy named Samuel J. Wurzelbacher from Holland, Ohio who claims to work ten to twelve hours a day, six to seven days a week making around $40.000 a year as a year as a unlicensed plumbers helper( Roughly $10 an hour plus time and half for overtime if Joe were a licensed unionized plumber he would be probably be making around $45 an hour) under Obama’s tax plan he would receive a tax cut over $500 a year , money that he could use to help him achieve his goal of owning his own business but with the way George Bush and his cronies have ruined The U.S. and the worlds economy , Now days, Joe would find it hard to get a loan to buy his dream business let alone makeenough money to qualify for a tax increase
Maybe if Joe had been more honest and asked Obama a straight question to do with his reality not his fantasy he would be taken more seriouslyby the Majority of hard working Americans just like the real Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, who are truly concerned with day by day financial survival.
Here's the full six minute conversation that Barack Obama had with "Joe" the plumber.Try to guess witch one is lying. (Hint- He looks like Mr. Clean)
Keith gets a little upset on how the Republicans manipulated the press into covering their propaganda piece on 9/11 during their recent convention. He also questions why they have escaped any blame for their neglect to stop the attacks from happening and he gets a little upset by their claim that if you don't vote for them we will be attacked again.
Dennis Kucinich was given the prime dinner time slot of 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday night at the convention to give one of his best speech's to date. I can only hope that Obama will pick up his charge and speak his truth to power when he accepts the Democratic Nomination on Thursday night.
If you missed his great speech because you were having some arugula salad with your dinner here it is.
Wake Up America !
I think that it would be funny if they had Paris Hilton introduce Obama on Thursday night then have Britney Spears lip- Sync a song as Barak appears dressed up like some sort of Hollywood celebrity gangster while munching on some arugula. Obama should start his acceptance speech with the phrase -I would first like to praise Allah and then say"Allahu Akbar", ( God is great) to all my fellow Muslims around the world.
Then maybe go on to say, "the first thing I want everyone to know is that my wife, Michelle, and I really hate America ,it's flag and all that it stands for. When I'm elected I plan to raise everyone’s taxes from the ultra rich to the dirt poor even if you earn only a penny, I will tax you
I will also make it a goal of my administration to raise gas prices as high as I can just to mess with you all."
Then he could start laughing and take of his costume and say if you believe any of that stuff then vote for McCain or better yet don't vote at all. Then all he should do is just repeat Kuchich's speech.
I was leaving the Liquor store after buying a few supplies for the July 4th holiday this year I spotted a basket filled with small American flags a sign said" Take a free flag to celebrate the 4th" I stood there for a second kind of wondering to myself should I take one and what would I do with it if I took it?
I know that most people would either carry this flag around or display it in some patriotic manor. Honestly I didn't know what I would do with this flag as I moved my hand into the basket and grabbed one for myself. It had been twenty years since the last time that I had my own small American flag. My last flag had met a disastrous fate from my own hands. So here it goes my flag story.
The year was 1988 and a long July 4th weekend was upon us. That year the 4th was on a Monday and I was preparing to go on our annual Saco River canoeing trip with a bunch of old high school and college friends. A friend of mine suggested going on this trip a couple years prior using this as a good excuse to get away to have fun and combine canoeing, swimming, camping and especially drinking. Since one of our friends father had a canoe trailer that could hold up to six canoes and a few of our parents had canoes we could use easily filled the trailer. The first couple of years we actually paddled the whole river route from Conway N.H to Hiram Maine about a 34 mile trip most of it going with the current so you didn't have to paddle that hard most of the time. The great thing about the Saco River is that one, you can swim in it, and two they have nice sandy beach fronts all along the river bank that you can camp on for free. The only thing you need to do is remember to pick up a fire permit for your campfire before you leave on your trip. The big problem with doing the whole river in two and a half days is you have to go a certain distance every day and then you have to find a place to camp , have time to set up your tent get loose wood for the fire Sit around the campfire and eat for a few hours then getting a few hours sleep have some breakfast clean up your camp site put tents away paddle all day then try to find another camp site big enough for the whole group and do everything all over again. The July 4th weekend is the most popular time of the year on the Saco River so finding a good place to camp gets harder as the weekend goes on. It took us a couple of years to make a decision to give up on the idea of paddling the whole river. We decided it would be just as fun to paddle a little bit and just camp out at the best place we landed on the first day. Also by the third year our group had expanded from around ten to over twenty people. Some of the added people were friends we met through B.U. some girlfriends and female friends of the girlfriends. We had found the perfect a camp ground along the shore and staked it out with a big U.S. flag and a plastic penguin. We need something to mark our spot because not everyone in our large group arrived at the same time. This helped people arriving later to find our spot pretty easily. The place we had found was a sweet flat and sandy campground with enough room to spread out our tents, play some wiffle ball or to just sit and relax or go swimming. We also could just take sort trips in the canoe if we felt the urge to do so. One of the best things to happen was discovering that a general store was only about a quarter mile away so we could easily go back and forth to get more ice for the coolers to keep our food and drinks nice and cold throughout the long weekend. We all agreed that we had indeed found the perfect place no doubt about it.
Anyway, let's get back to the story, it was July 1st 1988. I was leaving with the first wave of people on Friday morning about ten in all. The rest were either coming later that afternoon or on Saturday morning. We met around ten in the morning to begin our journey up north. We stopped along the way to buy supplies and food in N.H. While I was shopping I noticed the others were buying small flags to display their patriotism. I wasn't feeling overly patriotic at the time. First we were in the later stages of the disastrous Reagan presidency. I don't get it that Reagan is considered a saint by a lot of people these days but back then he was a senile old war and with an administration that did a lot of dirty and illegal acts.
The Presidential election was getting underway; Republican, Vice President, George Bush Sr. vs. Democratic, Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis. Bush was trying to position himself to the far right and he was eager to portrait Dukakis as a left leaning Commie Liberal. He started of the campaign well behind in the opinion polls most people thought he was a wimpy sort of politician and his handlers thought by that they should use the old Patriotism and scare tactics that seemed to always work so well in the past along with bashing the A.C.L.U. they came up with the bright idea of adding a flag banning amendment to our constitution. Not only was this a terrible idea and a cheap election year ploy but it directly violates our rights to free speech. I rather have a million flags burned than give up any of our free speech rights.
So there I was camping out surrounded by all these tiny Flags and a bonfire blazing. That was the moment that I decide to make my stand. I talked my plan over with the rest of the crew. I thought it would be great if all of us would join in and burn our small flags on the 4th as a symbolic protest against this stupid proposed law. I just wanted to prove that the country would not fall apart if we did such an act and our country stands for a greater ideal. To my great surprise it turned out that I was just about the only one who thought that it was a good idea. So if I was the only one to have the courage to do it, so be it. I was determined to prove my point and nothing or no one could stop me.
The next couple of days some people tried to talk me out of doing it. They always used the argument that it was disrespectful and unpatriotic thing to do. I just responded back that we had a very weak country if burning a piece of cloth that was made in a third world country could destroy America. I told them that I strongly believed that this was a form of our freedom of speech and that was something we all should fight for. Sill I was only able to convince one other person to understand what I was trying to prove. So on our last morning of our trip and while the other were busy packing up their gear I grabbed my little piece of cloth and pointed it directly of the dying flame of our fire pit. I called over to my friend B.J. and she came over and took the picture of the burning cloth. Somehow our country has survived that day. My other friends were not to happy but they did invite me back the next year as long as I didn't buy anymore flags.
George Bush won the election that year thanks to the most part of using a lot of Anti –liberal smear attack ads. Luckily the Flag amendment never passed. The courts have so far denied making flag burning a crime. So far the free speech argument has prevailed in court. That hasn't stopped some right wing politicians from bringing this up every few years. They try to use this as a way to distract people from investigating most of their failed policies. They also use Regulating guns, Outlawing Abortions, Stopping Gay Marriage and silly things like what candidate is wearing or who is not wearing a flag lapel. I for one really dislike stuff like that. We really need people to demand answers to real problems like ending the war, affordable healthcare for all, a way out of our dependence on oil. Whether we might use more solar or maybe more wind power combined with more electric power cars or maybe some sort of combination. We really need to quickly develop some sort of a safe energy resource to help our country sustain a good quality of life. All too often it's the stupid simpleton hollow knee-jerk nonsense like the previous thing I mentioned that gets all the attention and press coverage. I wish that more people would question the real motives of these politicians and force them to focus only on what is really important. Maybe then we might be able to get some real meaningful results.
In closing I just want people to realize that I and many other citizens who protest believe just as much if not more in the ideals that America stands for maybe even more than those who wrap themselves in the flag or are content to just go along with the majority because they are too afraid of what might happen to them if they don't follow their leaders orders.
(Only one small piece of cloth was burned that July 4th and that was the one and so far only time I have burned any piece of cloth.)
Also a few years later I helped organize the burning of tons of old library books at a big bonfire party but that's a long story for another time!
Summer is here and it's time to get started writing my post. I've been slacking off on my writing the last couple of weeks, I guess that I have been a little reluctant to post since my beloved Lakers lost the N.B.A finals to the Celtics. My last post was all about how and why I became a lifelong Lakers fan and why I still cheer them on no matter what happens. Alas things didn't turn out as I predicted. The Celtics played a great series and won in six games. So I'll send congratulations out to all the Celtics fans out there and I look forward to next year. The Lakers will be strong again next year and with the Center Andrew Bynum back for injury we will have our own big three of Kobe, Gasol and Bynum to match the Celtics trio of Allen, Peirce and KG.
Now that that's out of the way and my mind I feel that I can safely go on to more important subjects:
It is officially summertime, we have passed the solstice and the big July 4th weekend is fast approaching upon us and like most people I'm planning on taking a few trips to do some outside adventures and some getaways.
I have plans to go hiking in New Hampshire and attending a Music festival in Saratoga Spring New York. Now these are mostly day trips by car but I'm hesitant to go on some more or any longer trips because of the price of gas and the cost of everything else that is associated with the price of gas being so high. E.g. almost everything you use cost more due to the price of oil being so high...
I curse under my breath at George Bush every time that I have to fill my car full of gas. But I don't think that I'm the only one out there who is doing this. Sometimes I feel like cursing out loud just to see what the reaction of the other motorists filling their gas tank is. I figure that most people would agree with me and maybe we could get everyone at the gas station to yell out loud and strong together. That would be nice
I'm lucky that I don't own a huge SUV, Minivan or a Hummer. Even when filling up my medium size car cost around $60. That along with everything else except our paychecks going up get's me mad at the Un-Elected President and all of his crooked cronies. They are allowing the Big Oil companies to ripe us off and reap huge unregulated profits. I would not be surprised at all if some of that money makes it back to Bush and Cheney own pockets. The oil companies have donated millions to their campaigns over the years and in return have made Billions of dollars over the last few years. I think we all have every right to be angry
Speaking of people who rip us off-I recently read the book, Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick you With the Bill) written by David Cay Johnston a Pulitzer-winning New York Times Investigative reporter.
If you are interested how the Government gives away billions of dollars to people and corporations that don't really need the money and how it affects the poor and middle class I highly recommend you read this book this summer? Here's a clip of the author speaking to Terry Cross of NPR radio about his book and giving examples of some off some of the "Free Lunches" enjoyed by the ultra Rich. I think you will find this pretty interesting and very informative.
Recently Ohio Congressman, Dennis Kucinich filed 35 counts of Impeachment against George W. Bush in the House of representatives After reading every one of these counts I concluded that each and every one of the indictments is a million times more egregious and has more substance than any of the three counts that were brought up and passed by the Republican led congress against Bill Clinton.
I realize that it is pretty late and the time is short with only around six month left till Bush leaves office on his own but I see no reason that he should not be held accountable for his disregard and contempt of our constitution .The Congress should act on these quickly, vote to impeach and let the Senate decide his fate. The Senate is divide evenly along party lines and it takes a 2/3 Majority or 60 votes to Impeach so the odds are slim that Bush would be kicked out but he should be brought to some sort of justice.
Here's the link to the 35 counts of Impeachment brought up and put on the Congressional record.
I would like to end this post by remembering one of the true funny and poignant comedians ever, the recently departed George Carlin. George died last week at the age of 71. He leaves behind a great body of work and many people who like me are grateful for all the laughs and unique insights he brought to our lives. He was a real wordsmith who loved poke fun at anything he thought was outrageous or funny. He loved picking on the powerful and the powerful institutions. He made you laugh and think at the same time sometimes he was a little bit profane but he used it to enhance his material without overshadowing the substance of the routine. He never used foul language as a means to just shock you as some bad comedians who have nothing else to say will do. He was an original and a very funny man he will be missed.
Luckily there are tons of George Carlin clips all over the web along with all the Cd's and DVDs and Books out there to buy. One of his books that I truly recommend you read is BRAIN DROPPINGS- A book full of some of his funniest skits and jokes. It really is guaranteed to make you laugh at loud and a book you can pick up at anytime and enjoy reading over and over again.
"HOW TO SPOT A FAKE Here's a rule of thumb, folks: Nothing you see on the Internet is mine unless it came from one of my albums, books, HBO shows, or appeared on my website. If you see something with my name on it, and you really need to find out if it's mine, post a question on my bulletin board ". I found that going to Snoops .com also helps
Tonight or if you are reading this later, Thursday June 5th 2008 is the start of the long anticipated renewing of the L.A Lakers and the Boston Celtics N.B.A. Championship rivalry.
The Lakers and the Celtics have met a total of 10 times in the NBA finals, with Boston winning the first eight meetings, and Los Angeles the last two. But it has been along 21 years since they both met each other in the finals and 22 years since the Celtics last won a championship. The Lakers last won in 2001 it was the last title of the Shaq lead three in a row championship.
As for me, I will be glued to the TV watching as much of the series as I can. The only difference with most people in the Boston area is that I will be cheering on my favorite team the L.A. Lakers. It seems weird to a lot of people around here that I would choose to root for the opposing team but the Lakers have been my favorite team ever since my Uncle who lived in L.A. brought me to my first Lakers game at the famous Los Angles "Fabulous" Forum. The team was lead by my favorite Player of all-time Kareem Abdul -Jabbar. I remember being strictly amazed how graceful and dominating he was that night and how he had the most unusual and unstoppable shot in all of basketball, The Sky-hook. I remember returning home and practicing my own sky hook and shouting "Kareem each time I managed to get one in the basket. Back then no one seemed to mind that I was a Lakers fan. Most people around here could care less about basketball. The Bruins were the number one team followed closely by the Red Sox. After winning a title in1976 the Celtics became a last place team and seemed to be going nowhere. The Lakers were a playoff team but even with Kareem they couldn't win a championship.
The whole thing started to change in 1979 when the Celtics signed Larry Bird who they had drafted a year earlier as a college Jr. and the Lakers drafting of Magic Johnson. The Celtics quickly turned things going from last place to first but they couldn't beat a more experience Dr J lead Philadelphia 76'ers team in the playoffs. The Lakers with Kareem and Magic leading the way won the Championship over the 76'ers. The next year the Celtics won it all but the Lakers fell in the first round to Rockets 2 games to 1 ( yes they had only three game series back then ) The next year the Lakers won against the 76's The Following year it was the 76'ers beating the Lakers in the final. Then finally in 1984The Lakers and The Celtics met in the finals. By this time everyone had jump on the bandwagon and became a Celtics fan. I liked the Celtics but I wasn't going to change my favorite team just because it was the easiest thing to do. I took a lot of flak from my Celtics friends who a few years ago could of cared less about Basketball. I vividly remember being invited over a friend's house to watch the Lakers- Celtics championship games with a bunch of other friend and as soon as the game started they switched off the sound of the TV and made me listen to the Obnoxious Celtics announcer Johnny Most on the radio. I had to endure his one sided view of the game as the Celtics could do no wrong and the Lakers were vicious beasts who seemed to foul the poor harmless Celtics on every single play. He had a stupid nick-name for every Laker and his hate filled venom would turn my friends into a wild frenzy against the Lakers.
I was just trying to focus on watching the game and I appreciate the great play and the unbroken intensity both teams seemed to bring out best in one another. . It was basketball at its best. Two great teams giving everything they had in them trying to do everything they could do to win. The Celtics ended up winning that series 4 games to three. It was the eighth straight and last time that they would be the Lakers. All my friends had a field day for the next year gloating in the fact that my team lost. All I heard for the whole year was the Lakers stink and they never will beat the Celtics. Well the very next year the same teams met in the finals. The Lakers were blown out in the first game but they came back to win the next game and took the series in six games behind the great play of Kareem and to the disbelief of a stunned Boston Garden crowd and all my Celtics friends. I was finally able to celebrate a win over the Celtics.
The next year the Lakers would lose again to the Rockets and the Celtics would win another title. That brings us to the last time the two teams would meet in the finals 1987. The Lakers again beat the Celtics in six games. Again that made me a very happy fan. The Lakers would win again the next year but lose to the Pistons the following year. After that Kareem retired after 22 years. With Magic leading them they made it back to the finals a couple years later but by then the Bulls where on top led by some guy named Michael Jordan and coached by someone by the name of Phil Jackson. The Celtics never made it back to the finals. Larry Bird came up with a lot of injuries over the next four years and was unable to play to his previous high level. The death of Len Bias before he even had a chance to play for the Celtics seemed to doom the Celtics over the next couple of decades. This year the Celtics made it back by getting All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allan in separate trades teaming them up with Paul Pierce for a new big three. They went from 24 wins to 66 in one year.
The Lakers were lead by MVP Kobe Bryant, playing the best Basketball of his career. And until his season was cut short by a freakish knee injury in late January 20 year old center Andrew Bynum looked like a superstar in the Making thanks to the help of assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Lakers looked to be in trouble without their big man but they were able to trade for another big man Pau Gasol in a trade deadline deal with Memphis. With Kobe and Pau leading the way they have made it to the finals for first time since losing to the Pistons in 2004.
I look forward to a great series. As always I will be rooting for the Lakers to win and I think that they will. Again many people have jumped back on the Celtics band wagon and they have taken up the Beat L.A and Lakers stink from their past. Thank God Johnny Most isn't around anymore. I will finish with a simple Go Lakers!
Today is another celebration of the world's greatest living singer, songwriter, poet, performer and philosopher, D.J. Bob Dylan. I am celebrating in my usual way listening and watching song, Movies and clips of Bob performing. Trust me when I say that there is so much out there especially on the internets that you can fill up a whole lot of time just enjoying everything Bob. As I type I am listening to Tangled up in Bob Webcast a 24/7 Bob only related web radio station. Beside lots of Bob tunes it also plays other performers covering his songs. It's easy to get lost listening to this site. Anyway I hope everyone enjoys the celebration and that you can take a few minutes or hours enjoying the great works of Bob Dylan .last but not least wish Bob a very Happy 67th Birthday and as always Bob is on the Road . Here is a map of where he is going Bob European Tour Bob actually started the tour in Worcester Ma. (Yes I went to the show) then Lewiston Maine and a few shows in NB and Nova Scotia Canada before he headed to Europe. There are already couple festivals shows scheduled for August, hopefully that will turn into another minor league ball park tour here in Ma. If he does I will be there.
Today marks the Birthday of the world's greatest singer, songwriter, performer, poet. Philosopher, Radio DJ and a whole lot of other things the one and only Bob Dylan. I am celebrating this day in my usual way by listening to his music and watch some of his movies and concerts. As I am typing this blog my computer is set on Tangled Up In Bob a 24/7 Bob only web radio station playing only Dylan tunes or Bob songs that are covered by other artists. It a great site .I recomment you give it a good listen.
As Bob turns 67 today I hope you take some time out of your day to listen to some of his songs. And enjoy the day!
Here are some more of my favorite Bob related web sites
Also as always or at least the last 20 years since the start of his Never-ending Tour Bob is on tour. He is heading to Eastern Europe after doing a few shows in North America. He started out last week in Worcester Ma (Of Course I was there) Then he took off to Lewiston Maine followed by a few shows in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia Canada. Check out this is link to see the places he is going -European Tour -there are lots of interesting places Bob will be visiting. After that there a few big music festival dates in August.back in The U.S. A. Hopefully he will add some more or will due another Minor League Ball Park Tour. These shows are some of my favorite concerts to see.