Friday, March 30, 2012

The Battle of Redemption for the Bluegrass Bluebloods


Kentucky versus Louisville - Calipari versus Pitino

As if the significance of the basketball game was not enough when Bluegrass Bluebloods Kentucky and Louisville take the court in the NCAA national semi-finals in New Orleans Saturday there are a host of sidebar stories worthy of merit as well.

Start with the fact both are coached by fiery Italians from the Eastern US, Rick Pitino of New York City and John Calipari of Moon Township just outside of Pittsburgh, PA.

Both played out east in college.

Pitino played for U. Mass while Calipari played for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington before transferring to Clarion University in Pennsylvania.

Both were assistant coaches for coaching legends, Pitino at Syracuse under Jim Boeheim and Calipari at Kansas under Larry Brown.

Both got first head coaching jobs in Massachusetts, Pitino at Boston University and Calipari at U. Mass.

Pitino, former star player at U. Mass, was on selection committee to hire Calapari.

Both revived their schools making them national powerhouses.

Both coached Kentucky.

Both coached in college and the pros.  

They are the only coaches in history to take three different schools to the NCAA final 4.  (Yes I know 2 Calipari trips no longer count.)

Both are among the top winning coaches in college.

Pitino is one of a select group of eight coaches who have taken teams from four different schools to the NCAA Tournament.

Pitino is one of 10 coaches all-time who have reached the Final Four on at least five occasions.

Both are seeking redemption, Pitino from personal blackmail scandal and Calipari from coaching violations at U. Mass and Memphis.

Pitino is seeking his second national championship while Calipari is seeking his first national championship.

Pitino is the Dapper Dan of college coaches whose sterling courtside dress style changed forever the coaches bench in college basketball.

Not only are they two of the best college coaches of all time but they are also two of the most animated and entertaining coaches of all time.

Let the game begin.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

You are being killed and you don't even know it!


Is that a jolt of reality you find difficult to comprehend?

Often the hardest thing to accept is the truth.  And the truth is you, me and everyone are being killed by the very institutions we created to protect us.

How can that be you may ask?  To understand you have to be aware of a few things.  First while there are benefits there may also be dangers when something looks too good to be true.  Take the development of antibodies in the middle of the 20th century.

Born out of a need to find a way to save soldiers from dying of their injuries from infection, this war initiative resulted in the discovery of penicillin which held out the promise of saving people from all kinds of health threats from war injury infections to the plague and flu.

Unfortunately we never realized the consequences.  The over prescription of antibodies for all kinds of illness, whether it helped or not, was widespread and led to the destruction of much of the human body immune system.  Fears over the consequence of over prescription and the evolution of new super diseases indicated all was not what we expected.

At the same time there was a new market for the drugs in animals, particularly those animals in our food supply.  With antibiotics animals could be brought together in feed lots or chicken barns and giving them antibiotics in their food would protect them from the spread of disease in the concentrated pens and barns.

Over time antibiotics combined with steroids proved to be a way to achieve much more weight gain and keeping the animals penned up kept them from exercise and losing the weight.  Just when the medical community started to realize that humans were being put in danger from the overuse of antibiotics and started to reduce the amount prescribed, they animal scientists were increasing the amount of antibiotics going into our food supply.

More cattle feed lots were built, bigger chicken barns housed over ten thousand hens in a confined space, pigs were limited to their own slop for a home and fish farms for restocking and then food supply became commonplace.  Today they all dominate their respective industry.

Fish Farm complex

Animals also now consume up to 60% of the world supply of antibiotics and the food we all eat is now saturated with human antibiotics fed to animals and then eaten by humans.  We got fatter cows but we also got new and far more dangerous strains of bacteria cycling the antibodies through our food supply.

The drug companies got a golden animal market for antibodies since they were starting to lose the human market because of side effects and long term damage done when human took the antibodies.  Every year more diseases become drug resistant and kill more humans.  In truth all cancer is a result of drug resistance to treatment.  Yet our government has not even banned the use of antibiotics in our food supply.

You can become informed and you can call or write your state and congressional representatives and demand they stop killing us.  Your choice.

What is news?


I've spent a lifetime devouring news from every source the world had to offer.  Newspapers, magazines, books, libraries, specialty magazines, radio, television network, television cable, wire services, Internet, world newspapers, cell phones, satellites and the pulpit.

Add to that the unlimited number of social, cultural and educational resources and the list becomes rather enormous.  Most of my life I was a freak with my obsession for news sources and compassion for reading.

One thing is quite clear, everyone has their own opinion of what is news.  That is rule number one in understanding what is news.  The second is people use news for a variety of reasons only one of which is to be informed of current events in the world.

Some people want to project an image of being intellectual.  Maybe they want to impress their parents, teachers, girl friends or whoever.  Maybe they were like me who had a grandfather who gave me Time or Life magazine, gave me an hour to read and absorb it, and then expected me to debate it with him.

Now had I been in high school when I was on the debate team I might have enjoyed it more but this started when I was six or seven and became a Sunday ritual whenever I saw him.  To me I had two choices in life at that early age. Listen to my grandfather tell me Irish stories or debate the world news with him.

As much as I loved and appreciated the Irish stories, my thirst for information was just as intense and at that young age not too many people were going to take a seven year old too seriously when it came to world affairs.  So I loved the intellectual challenges he gave me having no idea I was in danger of becoming a total nerd.

If I asked any of my brothers what they thought of the Cold War they looked at me like I was a freak.  Girls, cars, sports and entertainment all were far more important to them than intellectual pursuits.  I could always count on my grandfather to appreciate what I went through to stay informed.

Of course there is a great deal of problems that arise when you have an endless quest for information, you may actually learn a lot.  I thought I did.  And I also thought it was my universal responsibility to correct my teachers, most often nuns and priests, when they tried to teach my classmates inaccurate information.

Let's just say I was a perpetual candidate for an exorcism to drive the demons out of me who made me challenge authority.  It was never my intent to challenge authority but to help it be better.  Somehow their humiliation was more important to them than the truth.

At any rate, after all I've seen I think "news" should be information that helps the readers understand life, find their purpose in life, discover the truth for themselves in life, and helps lead to a better life for all.  Why else would we be here?

The stories I write are intended to serve that purpose.  It is up to you to find the real meaning of what I offer.  I must say, truth is most often not obvious but buried within a code of sorts.  Real insights come from the degree of effort given by the reader to be open to what is not obvious.

Finding people that want to make a difference in the world, that want to do what is best for all people, animals, the environment and Mother Earth, is a difficult process.  Finding people open to new truth, new definitions, no boundaries and no prejudice is the most difficult of all.

They are out there, scattered and hidden amongst us, and they need to be inspired, encouraged and heard.  So many people listen, so few people hear.

My goal in reporting my version of the "news" is to write stories to stimulate you to consider the impossible, appreciate the fantastic, never limit the potential and to seek the good for all creatures and inhabitants, whether man, animal, fish, vegetable or mineral, of this magnificent planet and gift from God(s).

Mostly it is to awaken within you your potential and to find or reassure your faith in a higher purpose we all must learn to serve.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Can the Big Tuna Save the New Orleans Saints?


Will Bill Parcells help out former assistant and Saints?

When the NFL decided to punish head coach Sean Peyton for not stopping the "bounty" program of injuring opposing players by suspending the coach for the next year they probably did not consider one potential consequence.

Today it became clear Parcells is in talks to take over as head coach for the next year while Peyton is suspended.  What would that mean for the Saints?

They would be trading in an assistant for the master and mentor.

The New Jersey native Parcells is one of the greatest coaches in NFL history leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl wins, taking the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl, and winning the AFC championship with the New York Jets.  

The Big Tuna as he was affectionately known in Jersey when I was there and got to meet him at Giants stadium was AP Coach of the Year twice and is the only coach to take four different teams into the playoffs.  It appears he may want to make that five.

In addition to being a future Hall of Fame Coach, he was a lock this year if he stays retired, his real legacy is how many of his assistants went on to become top coaches.  Three have won Super Bowls themselves for the Patriots, Jets and Saints.  Look at a partial list of the Parcell's disciples.

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Brown

Eric Mangini, New York Jets

Al Groh, University of Virginia

Charlie Weis, University of Notre Dame

Nick Saban, University of Alabama

In his most recent stint as an NFL head coach, Parcells helped rebuild the famed Dallas Cowboys franchise, leading the team to two playoffs appearances (2003 and 2006) and compiling a 34-32 record in four seasons, becoming the first head coach in NFL history to lead four different teams to the playoffs. He stepped down in January 2006 after leading Dallas to a Wild Card playoff berth – the team’s last postseason appearance.

What a legacy coaching some of the top franchises in NFL history, New York Giants, New England Patriots, Dallas Cowboys and New York Jets.

If the Saints can recruit Parcells there could be yet another Super Bowl ring and NFL championship in his already impressive resume.  Now what about the Saints being punished by having to suspend their head coach for a year?  Leave it to the Saints to land a Big Tuna for a savior.

Washington DC - Supreme Court Considers Legality of Obamacare


Coltons Point - People's Court Considers Insanity of Obamacare

The US Supreme Court is listening to an unprecedented 6 hours of debate over the  Constitutionality of Obama's health care program.  It is another face off of biblical proportions between David and Goliath with the all powerful US Attorney General representing President Obama and a group of State Attorney Generals representing state's rights and the people.

The classic confrontation between a strong central government versus a division of authority between states and the federal government.

Federalism versus decentralize government.

More loss of individual freedom versus the government's right to control you.

Boy did we ever need this Supreme Court action in the middle of a presidential election, as if we didn't have enough problems with the staggering economy, the confused foreign policy and the breakdown of morality in government, in most institutions, and in life.

So I say the Supreme Court should declare the whole thing unconstitutional on the grounds:

The name alone is just plain deceptive or stupid.  This is the legal name of Obamacare, the health care reform program, "Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4872)".

Does that say anything about improving medical services, lowering medical costs, eliminating fraud, corruption, conflicts of interests, bribes or kickbacks rampant in the health care industry?

Before we adopt some smorgasbord of medical regulations that will increase the already too high cost of medical care and health insurance don't we need answers to a few questions?

1. Should the government be doing this?

2. Why do we stay sick if we can get well?

3. Will it bring down the spiraling cost of medical care and prescription drugs?

4. Will it help strengthen the body and make it self-sustaining?

5. Will it make the best use of medical knowledge learned throughout time?

6. Does it give incentives to make people well rather than keep them sick?

7. Does it eliminate the conflicts, fraud, corruption and abuse in the industry?

None of this is really addressed in the Obamacare or any other health care program of the government, proposed by the government or even being considered by the government.

Therefore the judgment of the People's Court should be Rejection of the program on the grounds of Insanity, and rejection of the arguments both for and against Obamacare as neither is relevant to the desperate wellness, health care and anti-corruption needs of the people of America.

The Supreme Court would do well to adopt a similar ruling.

Monday, March 26, 2012

America can't seem to get enough of Kentucky


As if the NCAA Battle of the Bluegrass between UK and Louisville is not enough - Kentucky natives carry Hunger Games on film and Missing on TV to astounding successes.

I, for one, can't get enough of Kentucky as you may have noted in my earlier prediction that Hunger Games starring Jennifer Lawrence of Louisville, Kentucky would make history and bring female action leads to the forefront in Hollywood.

But it is even better than that.  Both young leads from Hunger Games, Jennifer Lawrence from Louisville and Josh Hutcherson who was born in Union, Kentucky have put the state firmly on the map as the film stunned Hollywood with a blockbuster $155 million opening weekend.  Not bad for a film that cost $80 million and the first of four films in a series.

Estimates are the film could generate over $400 million in domestic sales alone and the sequels could keep making a small fortune for the next seven years.

Yet there was another Kentucky actress also making headlines as UK's number one fan, Ashley Judd, premiered her new ABC series last week and finished in the top ten shows in spite of going head to head with American Idol.  Over 10.6 million watched Ashley bring Missing to life.

Here is what the media had to say about the Kentucky stars and shows.

The Washington Post

By Cara Kelly, Monday, March 26

The much anticipated film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’s book, “The Hunger Games,” surpassed expectations on its opening weekend, pulling in $155 million. The total earned the film several impressive distinctions, including third-biggest opening weekend of all time, the Associated Press reports.

"The huge haul marks the third-best debut ever in terms of revenue, behind the $169.2 million opening for last year’s “Harry Potter” finale and the $158.4 million opening of 2008’s “The Dark Knight.”

“Harry Potter” and “Batman” were well-established franchises. “The Hunger Games” set a revenue record for a non-sequel, taking in more than twice what the first “Twilight” movie did with its $69.6 million opening weekend.

“This is the birth of a franchise. To launch in this fashion is mindboggling,” said David Spitz, head of distribution at Lionsgate, which now also owns the “Twilight” franchise after its purchase of Summit Entertainment.”

The impressive revenue also earned the film several other honors, says Jen Chaney of Celebritology.

With just a single weekend under its belt, “The Hunger Games” is already very close to becoming the biggest hit of 2012.

"The Lorax,” which has been in wide release for three weeks, remains the year’s top grosser with $177.3 million in its pro-environment pockets. Expect it to hand over that title to “The Hunger Games” sometime during the next week.

“The Hunger Games” has already earned roughly 2.5 times as much money at the North American box office as "John Carter" has during the past two weeks.

And it did so with a budget well below half of what it cost to make “John Carter.” If only Disney had spent less money and handed Taylor Kitsch a bow and arrow, things could have turned out differently.

The earnings are great news for Lions Gate Entertainment, the production company behind ‘Hunger Games.’ The company bought Summit Entertainment in January, effectively bringing the other teenage smash “Twilight” under the same roof as Collins’s hit, the Associated Press reports.

These two movies could generate about $450 million in profit combined, estimates Cowen & Co. analyst Doug Creutz. The adventures of bow-wielding heroine Katniss Everdeen alone could translate to 6 to 7 years of higher earnings, Creutz says, adding that Lions Gate may post its first profit in five years when its fiscal year ends on March 31.

More than two-thirds of Lions Gate’s revenue comes from the movie business, so its first blockbuster means a lot. It had been getting by with staples like Tyler Perry comedies and the “Saw” horror series.

The rest of Lions Gate’s revenue comes from television productions such as “Mad Men,” which kicked off its fifth season Sunday. Although the company doesn’t reap ad revenue from the hit TV show, success with audiences keeps it in demand as a production company. It also boosts sales of DVDs and licensing revenue from reruns.

The opening figures are also good news for films featuring female action heroes. The success may inspire Hollywood to make more films with female leads, according to Christopher Palmeri.

“The Hunger Games,” which set a record as the biggest opening ever for a non-sequel, illustrates how Hollywood under- appreciates audiences’ acceptance of female action heroes, according to Phil Contrino, editor of researcher

“People were hungry for something like this,” Contrino said in an interview. “Now everyone will be looking for the next ‘Hunger Games’ instead of every male-driven, Will Smith action film,” he said, referring to the star of “Independence Day” and “Men in Black.”

“The Hunger Games” may go on to capture $400 million domestically, according to Contrino.

The movie, which stars 21-year-old Jennifer Lawrence as an arrow-slinging killing machine, sold $59 million of tickets outside the U.S. and Canada, and was first in almost all of its 67 markets, Vancouver-based Lions Gate said yesterday in a statement.

This is what the media had to say about Missing, Ashley Judd's new TV series.

Debut of Judd's 'Missing' on ABC lands in top 10

By David Bauder

AP Television Writer / March 20, 2012

NEW YORK—If your television show revolves around a search for someone missing, it helps to have Ashley Judd looking.

That's ABC's lesson from Nielsen's television ratings. Last Thursday's premiere of the network drama "Missing," starring Judd as a former CIA agent trying to find a teenage son who disappeared in Rome, landed among the 10 most popular series last week with 10.6 million viewers. The strong sampling came despite "Missing" competing directly with Fox's "American Idol."

Go Kentucky...

The Battle of Bluegrass Thoroughbreds

Pitino Louisville versus Calipari Kentucky

March Madness and the Midwest Hayseeds - Where are the power conferences now?

East coast sports writers are left stunned after the NCAA round of eight left only Midwestern teams in the final four for national champions.  What happened to the eastern power conferences that dominated the selection process, conferences like the Big East and ACC?

Ashley Judd with UK Wildcat

Kentucky remains the prohibitive favorite and is the only number 1 team left in the tournament.  For the first time in about 50 years two teams from the same state will meet in the final four, Kentucky and Louisville, while the other two contenders are Ohio State next door to Kentucky and Kansas farther west.

We picked Kentucky as the winner and so far no one has come close to them.  Louisville, under the magic of former Kentucky coach Rick Pitino, has pulled off a series of major upsets to get to the final four.  Kentucky played Louisville earlier this year and UK won at home by just 7 points.   No one has come that close to UK in the tourney though they have played all away games.

Louisville Cardinal

Some sports analysts say the championship match will take second place to the semi-final battle between Kentucky basketball giants.  UK is the most successful team in NCAA basketball history while Pitino has made Louisville into the biggest basketball money generator for the school in the nation.

As John Clay of McClatchy Newspapers wrote:

ATLANTA — Not even Bourbon Street will know what hit it.

Welcome to what promises to be the wildest, craziest, most hyped, most exciting, most nerve-wracking and sleepless six days leading up to the biggest, most-anticipated sporting event in the history of our little commonwealth.

For a state that lives for basketball, this is a dream and a nightmare all at the same time.

This is Kentucky vs. Louisville in the Final Four for the first time.

This is the top-dog Cats, the NCAA Tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, winners of the South Regional by beating Baylor 82-70 on Sunday, versus the underdog Cards, No. 4 seed and surprise 72-68 West Regional winner over Florida on Saturday, squaring off in the Big Easy for a berth in the national championship game.

This is something that comes along once in, well, never.

It’s UK versus U of L, the state’s two biggest rivals on the sport’s biggest stage.

It’s John Caliapri and Rick Pitino, former coaching friends, now, well, current coaching competitors.

It’s one passionately insane fan base against another passionately insane fan base, that happens to reside within the same borders.

“It’s basketball,” said Calipari on Sunday as if this were a mere sporting event.

No, it’s Kentucky and Louisville basketball.

Oh, UK and U of L have played in the NCAA Tournament before, in the 1959 Mideast Regional semifinals (Louisville won), in the 1983 Mideast Regional finals (Louisville won) and in the 1984 Mideast second round (Kentucky won).

They’ve never met in the Final Four, however, though they came close twice.

In 1986, Louisville beat Auburn to win the West Regional, but Kentucky lost to LSU in the finals of the Mideast Regional.

In 1975, the two actually came within a whisker of playing for the national championship when Kentucky beat Syracuse in the national semifinal in San Diego, then Louisville lost a heartbreaker to UCLA in the second game that day.

Now, finally, everything has fallen into place.

However, don't overlook the other teams, Ohio State and Kansas, who rank among the basketball elite though they will not get the media attention of the Kentucky duo.  I lean toward Kansas reaching the finals against Kentucky with Kentucky winning but any of the four teams is capable of knocking off the others.

It should be a rousing finish to a rather lackluster NCAA season and if you have ties to Kentucky, the semi-final could just be a classic.  This is truly the Battle of Bluegrass Thoroughbreds.

By the way, UK is also still in the running in the NCAA Women's national tournament.  We just can't get enough of the Wildcats.