NHL Has The Greatest Fans In Pro Sports

Whether you like the the NHL or not, the first clip should probably rank as your #1 of any national anthem performance in pro sports history. I really wonder why you don’t see even a remotely close effort here south of the border.

A very classy move by the Boston Bruins’ fans to not boo the Canadian national anthem after it was booed by the losers in Quebec.

Also, Mo Cheeks is the man for coming to the rescue of Natalie Gilbert who clearly has the talent but got a little stage fright in front of a packed house at a basketball game.

Is It Baseball Season Yet?

Since there are only 19 days left until pitchers and catcher report for spring training, baseball predictions and projections are starting to appear left and right with the Baseball Prospectus one really sticking out in my mind. I will just mention a couple of quick things right now and probably a more in-depth post before the regular season starts in a couple of months.

As of today, they have the Washington Nationals finishing at .500 (81-81) something they have not done since 2005 and finish 3rd in the NL East – another feat they have only accomplished once in the past 12 years (and they were the Montreal Expos at the time). Another good thing for the Nationals franchise is that the Montreal Expos will have a second item in their name in the Baseball Hall of Fame as Andre Dawson will be the sole inductee and will go in wearing an Expos hat.

I am not really surprised to see the Blue Jays projected to finish at 73-89 after their dumping of Roy Halladay and considering how they only won 75 games last year with Doc, I think that just might be a reach but crazier things have happened, so one can only hope. I think the Jays’ offense is being severely undervalued at the projection of only 726 runs which puts them last in the AL and bottom 6 in the entire MLB.

Finally, I hope that this year the New York Mets will not try to sell to their fans a major league team with a minor league roster. A very nice addition for them in Left with Jason Bay but they still have Pagan, Castillo, Murphy and a catcher which makes for a rather weak lineup in the NL East if they want to dethrone the Phillies especially if they are not aggressively trying to upgrade their pitching rotation. Mets at 78-84 is about what everyone is expecting but an upgraded part or two can certainly make them a contender with a win total in the mid-80s.

I usually try to make a couple of Yankee games a year just to see my ‘favorite’ team lose and I even made a trip down to Philly last year to see my second ‘favorite’ team lose, so hopefully this year will be no different. If you are interested in purchasing MLB baseball tickets, try that new site or the usual ones like StubHub or if you are lucky enough to get it from the team’s site without any additional markups.

Can You Get These Questions Right?

According to a recent Pew Poll report, the number of Americans who do not know the basic information like the national unemployment rate or how many votes it takes to break a filibuster is quite staggering. It is embarrassing that those aged 18-29 did the worst in the survey of 12 questions by averaging under 4 questions correct where the other groups, although not doing much better, averaged roughly 6 questions correct.

I just took the survey and got all 12 correct but I will put the questions below this section and a link to the correct answers at the end of the post. How many can you get right?

1. The national unemployment rate is at what percentage?
2. Do you happen to know how many women sit on the U.S. Supreme Court?
3. As far as you know, which foreign country holds the most U.S. government debt?
4. As far as you know, about how much of the oil consumed annually in the U.S. is imported?
5. How many Republican senators voted to pass the health care reform bill in its vote on the Senate floor?
6. In the United States Senate, opponents to legislation can delay a vote by filibustering. Do you know how many senators are needed to break a filibuster and bring a bill to the floor?
7. Thinking about the man who attempted to bomb an airliner on Christmas Day… Which country do intelligence officials believe he was trained and given materials for the bomb?
8. During the entire year of 2009, do you happen to know if there were more American military fatalities in Iraq or Afghanistan?
9. Do you happen to know if the Dow Jones Industrial Average is currently closer to:
10. Do you happen to know the name of the current majority leader of the U.S. Senate?
11. Do you happen to what Stephen Colbert’s profession is?
12. Can you name the chairperson of the Republican National Committee?

Continue reading “Can You Get These Questions Right?”

Howard Zinn: Hero and Historian

I had first heard about him back in 10th when a teacher of mine, Ms. Pfeffer (who I still consider as one of the two best teachers I had of all time), introduced our class to a chapter from a book called “A People’s History of the United States.” I had never heard of either the book or the author named Howard Zinn prior to that moment but I can safely point to that day in 2002 that changed me. Until earlier today, I don’t think I ever thanked Ms. Pfeffer for that brief introduction but I took care of that and let me thank her here again.

I think we only read one chapter for our class regarding how the farmers of the Shay’s Rebellion should be considered the real heroes in the true history of the United States of America. It certainly peaked my curiosity and I went on to read the whole book which questioned why the initial union organizers did not receive much credit over the course of history or why the founding fathers, for all the good they did, still were considered with such glamor since they were slave owners themselves.

At a time when few politicians dared even call themselves liberal, “A People’s History” told an openly left-wing story. Zinn charged Christopher Columbus and other explorers with genocide, picked apart presidents from Andrew Jackson to Franklin D. Roosevelt and celebrated workers, feminists and war resisters.

During the civil rights movement, Zinn encouraged his students to request books from the segregated public libraries and helped coordinate sit-ins at downtown cafeterias. Zinn also published several articles, including a then-rare attack on the Kennedy administration for being too slow to protect blacks.

The attached quote above and the one below is from this NPR article and a lot of the stuff about him, I am learning now but already could have figured he would have had a rich history given his take from just a single book. I plan on reading You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times some day, hopefully sooner rather than later, and most certainly it will give be an even better perspective.

One of Zinn’s last public writings was a brief essay, published last week in The Nation, about the first year of the Obama administration.

“I’ve been searching hard for a highlight,” he wrote, adding that he wasn’t disappointed because he never expected a lot from Obama.

“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

His critical views of President Obama are pretty damning to say the least but it definitely brings to light the type of reality we all may be hiding from and need to wake up to. I’ll end the post with three quotes from Howard Zinn regarding what he worried about most and what he thought about politics and war.

“I’m worried that students will take their obedient place in society and look to become successful cogs in the wheel – let the wheel spin them around as it wants without taking a look at what they’re doing. I’m concerned that students not become passive acceptors of the official doctrine that’s handed down to them from the White House, the media, textbooks, teachers and preachers.”

Terrorism has replaced Communism as the rationale for the militarization of the country [America], for military adventures abroad, and for the suppression of civil liberties at home. It serves the same purpose, serving to create hysteria.

It’s not right to respond to terrorism by terrorizing other people. And furthermore, it’s not going to help. Then you might say, “Yes, it’s terrorizing people, but it’s worth doing because it will end terrorism.” But how much common sense does it take to know that you cannot end terrorism by indiscriminately dropping bombs?