Saturday, July 14, 2012

John Stockton: Should he have been on the Dream Team?

When Jason Whitlock wrote that the only reason Chris Mullen, John Stockton, and Christian Laettner were added to the Dream Team in 1992 was because they were white, he opened up a can of racial worms. He’s wrong of course. I’ll just give you reasons why Stockton should’ve been on the team, and ignore the others for now.

Stockton is the all-time assists leader. His passes helped Karl Malone become the second all-time scorer in the NBA. He was tough, savvy, and a great team leader. He is the all-time steals leader as well. He wasn’t a great one on one defender, that’s true, but not many in the league are.

So he was definitely a great player, and one that has been named to the top 50 all-time. Not that Isaiah Thomas wasn’t a great player. He was. But Whitlock makes the claim that it wasn’t Jordan’s negative response to Thomas being on the team that kept him off, but Stockton’s whiteness. That’s a racist comment. Jordan has recently come out and said that he did not want Thomas on the team. That’s plain and simple. They wanted the best player in the world on the team, and that was Jordan, so in order to get him, they left Thomas off. But that doesn’t mean Stockton was undeserving.

As for the current debate in question of whether the 2012 team could have beaten the ‘92 team, a lot of that has been centered around the point guards as well. Many think that the trio of Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, and Chris Paul could’ve eaten Stockton’s and Magic’s lunch.

While there’s no way that Stockton could’ve stayed with Westbrook and the others through an entire game, that was never his strong point. He played the passing lanes. I’m sure he’d have picked their pockets a number of times, leading to fast breaks going back the other way. And was Isaiah Thomas ever known as a great defender?

The author of DREAM TEAM: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, Jack McCallum said in an interview recently that the only players on the 2012 team that would’ve even made the ‘92 team are LeBron, Kobe, and Durrant. Think about that. He didn’t mention any of the point guards.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Why I was against Obama from Day One

I've been accused recently of not being willing to give President Obama a chance. And that accusation is basically true. However, I have good, sound reasons for doing so--reasons which I will try to explain in the next few paragraphs. Long before we had President Obama, we had candidate Obama. A bit of research at the time would've shown anyone that believes in liberty and free market values, that we did not want this man as president. I did the research. What I found told me all I needed to know to figure out that this guy would be bad for America. The number one thing was his leftist voting record in Congress. But I had more than that. I had a gut feel for what this man might do to America. And my hunches are nearly always right in these kinds of circumstances. Did I know he would mess up the country so bad? No I did not. I just always felt that it would be a major mistake to elect him. I said so on several forums. I argued with people who wouldn't vote for McCain because he was another big government politician. These folk would rather vote their conscience and vote for a third party candidate who had no chance of winning, than to vote for either of the two major party candidates. I could and do understand that logic.

But I argued vehemently against making that kind of mistake in '08, and yes, I still believe it to be a mistake. We can with our own eyes, and with our own pocketbooks see just exactly what kind of mistake it was to let Obama get elected by refusing to vote for the Republican candidate, John McCain.

Now, back to what Obama has done that has set me off from the very beginning. In his first 100 days, he initiated a vast, sweeping change of government involvement in healthcare. Never mind that the majority of the people of America were against it--he and the Democrats in Congress shoved the Affordable Health Care Act through. I'm not going to go into the intricacies of why this law is so insidious right now. That's for another time and place and if you are paying attention to your own bank accounts and the verified future tax increases that will be paying for it, you will know part of its problems. For now though, my biggest beef is that it was done against the will of the people. That is not what America is about.

Further changes initiated by the President included bail outs of car companies, dumping billions into favorite "green" companies that have filed for bankruptcy, and trillions of dollars in increase in the national debt--a debt that will eventually be paid, probably by our children and grandchildren. That is not what America is about.

He has failed to lead anyone, has failed in the midst of the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression to provide one ounce of leadership. Instead, he has campaigned, attended functions, and golfed more than any other president. He hasn't spent his time working with Congress to come to solutions, but instead has taken the attitude that if you don't go along with him 100%, you aren't willing to work with him. His idea of compromise is for Congress to blindly go along with everything he recommends. He has continually blamed others instead of manning up and realizing that the buck stops with him. He is supposed to be the leader. He is supposed to be able to convince others of what needs to be done, to forge alliances and make progress in keeping this country strong. Instead, he blames the prior administration for his own failure.

So, since he has offered no solutions, has shown no ability to work well with others, and has not tried to work with members of Congress to come to solutions, but has only denigrated them for not accepting his own plan lock, stock and barrel, I am accused of not giving him a chance. Since he has nearly bankrupted the country with failed policies and crony capitalism, I'm not giving him a chance. Since he has been dishonest about tax increases included in Obamacare, and kept jobs growth minimal because of his failed policies, I am guilty because I have not given him a chance.

I am too conservative, some people say, because I won't give him a chance. Others say I'm racist because I disagree with him. What a lot of hooey. The day he treats America as the great country it is and stops bowing to tyrants and stops giving away American treasure to the undeserving, the day he starts showing that liberty is more important than equality---that a person builds his own life through his own efforts and doesn't get to depend upon the government to give him handouts. The day he actually believes that a man should stand on his own two feet and take responsibility for his own actions, well, that's the day I may give the man a chance.

But alas, that chance is nearly over.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

What is the problem with our elected officials?

Why do our elected officials continue to mess up? Here’s my analysis. For some reason the tendency seems to be that they want to get re-elected, rather than to do what’s right for the nation. Now, why is getting re-elected so important to them? Perhaps it’s because the majority of people who seek public office are buffoons who need attention and being in the limelight is the only way that they can feel important. If they fail in their re-election bid, then they once again become nobodies–at least, to their way of thinking.

So, they do what they think they need to do to get re-elected instead of doing what needs to be done to make the country stronger and better. In their minds, the best way to get re-elected is to buy votes. They buy votes by giving stuff to people. Thus, President Obama’s administration brags about how many people they’ve gotten on food stamps. The President emphasizes that the goal of his “Affordable Health Care Act” is to get everyone cheaper medical coverage. Others vote on earmarks and pork that will benefit the people of their states, thus buying votes from them.

These kinds of political handouts and freebies are the basis for the financial disaster we’re in right now. Quickly we’re becoming like Greece and other countries in Europe. As we can see from what’s happening around the world, especially in Europe, if you give enough handouts and buy enough votes, within time production slows (because more people are taking advantage of the handouts rather than trying to work), revenues drop (because with fewer workers, there are fewer taxes collected, yet more resources needed), and the country soon finds itself on the brink of a fiscal cliff (like Greece).

What is the answer? It’s not to raise taxes on the rich or anyone else. Raising taxes has its limits. As Margaret Thatcher once said, “The problem with socialism, is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” This becomes self-evident in the largest sample of socialized policies in the world–Europe. Greece passed laws to allow themselves to retire at age fifty, and now is getting loans from Germany whose citizens retire at 65. So the people of Greece as a whole are refusing to change their laws so that the retirement age raises, and expecting other countries of the world to work longer to bail them out. That’s their supposed solution.

But we can’t do that. We need to begin with our candidates for public office. We need to choose wise men and women who don’t put getting re-elected at the top of their agendas. Our goal should be to find candidates who are willing to do what needs to be done to get our country back on the track of fiscal sanity, and to stop trying to buy votes with public handouts and public projects.

Should there be a safety net for the truly needy? Sure. We need to do something to help those who through no fault of their own find themselves on hard times. But it shouldn’t be a permanent solution for those families, but  temporary assistance to them to give them time to improve their lots in life. And those whose sole goal is to try and live off of governmental handouts, bilking the system, should be removed from any kind of program that gives them such. As comedian Dennis Miller says, “I’m all for helping the helpless. I just don’t want to help the clueless.”

The bottom line is, that whether it’s programs that feed children at schools during the summer (most of these children are children of parents on food stamps who should be feeding them with the food stamp money they’re receiving , thus they’re getting a double benefit.), or projects that are putting in high speed trains in communities across the country, we cannot afford them. Electing leaders that understand this and more importantly, can explain with clarity what the real purpose of the government is supposed to be, will go a long way toward solving our financial woes. If the people fail to grasp this concept, or are too dependent upon their handouts to tolerate any reduction in them, then like Europe, we are heading for catastrophe.