Thursday, May 1, 2008

2008 NBA Playoffs

Another crazy basketball season has ended, but it doesn’t mean the fun stops there. The first round of the playoffs has been very entertaining to watch. Intriguing match ups such as the San Antonio Spurs against Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Lakers versus the Denver Nuggets prove to be the coveted series in the Western Conference. As far as the Eastern Conference is concerned, the series involving the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks and also the Cleveland Cavaliers facing the Washington Wizards will shape up to be an epic match up.

The San Antonio and Phoenix playoff series will be the highly anticipated grudge match. Both are highly regarded to be contenders and go all the way to the championship game. The Spurs and Suns have met the last couple of years and every game has been totally exciting. The match up is also hyped up this time around. Tony Parker against Steve Nash for the guards, and Tim Duncan against Shaquille O’neal for the centers, will prove to be something to watch out for.

Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets match up doesn’t seem to be a favorable series for the Nuggets due to their inability to defend against star players. They have to do their best in order to shutdown Kobe Bryant, practically the best all-around player in the game today. Bryant has also received a much needed help from Pau Gasol, who was acquired from a trade that sent the disappointing Kwame Brown packing to the Memphis Grizzlies. Gasol, a proven all-around player, will taste his first playoff series of his career. The Nuggets have great athletes in Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, but their defensive game does not compare to their abilities in offense.

The Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks series will be something to watch. Boston has not seen a title come through their town in a while. Now that additions like Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen were added, the Celtics believe they have all the pieces to bring another championship to Boston. The Celtics posted a season record of 66-16, which is the best record in the NBA. The team Boston will be facing in the first round is no push-over. The Atlanta Hawks, known to be one of the worst teams in basketball, has finally emerged to be a threat in the Eastern Conference. Sure, they might be young and inexperienced to deal with the stage that the playoffs will put upon them, but their exciting play will prove to be tough to beat. Rising stars like Josh Smith, Joe Johnson, and Al Horford will bring a level of intensity to the game and hopefully contend against the predicted NBA Champions in Boston.

Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards match up will be an interesting series to pay attention to in the long run. The team from Ohio has had Washington’s number the last three seasons. All series led to an early exit of Washington from the playoffs. This year proves to be another fun-filled series that includes trash talking and physical play. Cleveland has LeBron James, one of the best players in the game today, to lead the team to another run that led them all the way to the championship series last year, but falling to the San Antonio Spurs in four games. The difference for the Cleveland Cavaliers this year is new additions to the team through a last minute trade before the trading deadline. The team added Ben Wallace, a playoff-tested veteran, along with sharp-shooter Wally Sczerbiak and point guard Delonte West. Don’t sleep on the Washington Wizards because they have players of their own to contend with in the series. Gilbert Arenas, Antawn Jamison, and Caron Butler, are three players Cleveland needs to watch out for in the game. All three are very explosive and can change the outcome of a game in an instant.

Overall, there are other games on the schedule and the series mentioned above are just the beginning of a great playoff season to remember. By the time an NBA champion is crowned in June, many memorable match ups will have been played already. Surely, the 2007-2008 NBA season and playoffs will go down in history as one of the most competitive and challenging season people have ever seen. Be sure to watch the playoffs, because once you start viewing, it will be hard for you to get your eyes away from the television. The NBA playoffs format of 40 games in 40 nights has proven to be the best marketing idea by the NBA.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Net Neutrality

The battle for the free internet has now begun to take a more serious turn. Cable and phone companies are trying to create sources in the internet to go fast and slow. Profit usually is the best explanation for actions of the companies, but this would mean an end to internet freedom for the masses. Internet users will only be allowed to access certain areas of the internet while most mainstream sites will be more controlled by the big cable and phone companies such as Comcast and AT&T. There are many people for and against Net Neutrality, and this post will introduce some of those individuals. is a coalition that has been mobilized to defend freedom in the internet. This coalition believes that eliminating Net Neutrality will ultimately result in crushing economic growth and any free speech policy. Why is Network Neutrality so important? suggests it is the First Amendment of the internet. Anybody can search online for content in any website that will provide the information without any worry of restriction. All content is open for the public to access. Eliminating Net Neutrality will only provide power to big media and enforce their own road in the internet super highway. The “Internet Freedom Preservation Act 2008” (HR 5353) was introduced on Feb. 12, 2008 by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Chip Pickering (R-Miss.) The main purpose of this bill is to prohibit internet service providers from discriminating against sources and web sites in terms of content and destination of information. Another purpose for the bill requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to have public “broadband summits” summits to get input from the public on how to create an even better internet through openness and innovation. The overall goal of the bill is to keep the future of the internet in the hands of internet users and not any phone or cable companies.

Many people out there are against the idea of Net Neutrality. Keeping this belief means that there is no room for innovation and broadband service providers won’t have the ability to offer more than one service. Scott Cleland, founder and president of Precursor LLC and chairman of, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington believes Net Neutrality hinders growth. According to Cleland, "How does a new entrant succeed? You differentiate and you innovate. (Net neutrality) is saying you have to have the same price, and the same terms and conditions." He is obviously pointing out the fact that Net Neutrality can only be a hindrance from the internet taking a bigger step forward. Robert Kahn, considered as one of the pioneers of the internet, is against any idea of Net Neutrality. According to him, “so called ‘Neutrality’ legislation posed more of a danger than fragmentation.” He firmly believes that if innovation occurs in order to take the internet to the next level, you are going to need the help of companies to lead the way. Kahn believed that the internet was almost lost not so long ago, and he intends to support the cause to prevent from any such thing to happen.

The very thought of the internet being controlled by phone and cable companies seems so outrageous. As if television and radio stations are not controlled enough that big companies such as Comcast want to control the internet also. For years the internet has been successful because of the willingness of people to use the system for everyday use. People depend on the internet to get the latest information that they may not get from the newspapers, television, or any other media. Many agree that an internet network’s job is to move the data and not necessarily choosing which data to privilege with higher quality service. Hindering the general public from accessing important information online can only mean disaster in the years to come. Small businesses being taxed to get their information out in the internet seems unfair because of the price they have to pay. These businesses will be phased out of the equation if the legislation is turned down and big companies get their way. Everyone should have the same form of access to the internet. Fair game must be enforced in order to maintain a balance of power between the general public and big media companies. The internet has come a long way and to give the power to big companies only diminishes any accomplishments that have and will be done. Net Neutrality must remain in order to maintain the balance of power between big and small companies out there.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Basketball Hall of Fame 2008


Hall of Fame Induction

The Basketball Hall of Fame has inducted many deserving players in the past. The class of 2008 is no different from any other. Notable basketball icons that were selected this year included Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Pat Riley, and announcer Dick Vitale.

Ewing and Olajuwon are considered by fans and players as two big men who have played their position well. Ewing, a product of Georgetown University, played his career in New York City. During his time there, he became well known for his presence on the court and his defensive techniques. Ewing’s skills were proven to be helpful especially during the classic Knicks versus Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls showdown. Olajuwon, the center for the Houston Rockets also had a lot of accomplishments. Unlike Ewing, he won two NBA championships with his team and also holds the record for the most blocks in NBA history. Both players had always been intertwined in their careers. Ewing (Georgetown) and Olajuwon (Houston) both played against each other in college while leading their team to the coveted Final Four round. At the professional level, the rivalry did not stop. Both centers met again at the championship series, which at the end, Olajuwon had the upper hand.

Dick Vitale, a well-known college basketball analyst, has also been inducted to class of 2008. He did not find great success as a basketball coach, but found his calling as an announcer. For many years, Vitale entertained the basketball community with his style of play-calling and memorable catch phrases. He has witnessed many great games as an announcer. Memorable games that included players such as Jordan, Ewing, and Olajuwon were priceless because of the way Vitale brought it to his audience. A lot of colleagues believe that his induction is by far the greatest story of this year’s class.

Pat Riley is the third-winningest coach ever in the National Basketball Association. He has won four titles with the Los Angeles Lakers and then one with the Miami Heat. Riley has also garnered championships as an assistant and a player.

The newest class will be inducted at Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, on September 5th of this year.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

California Budget Cuts

As a result of budget cuts made by the Governor of California for the upcoming fiscal year, many programs around California will be cut or reduced in a significant way. A lot of businesses will feel the effects of these cuts, but the programs that will get the brunt of the cuts will be the schools. It doesn’t matter where you might be going to school in the state of California, it is almost certain that some funds from your school will be cut off.

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Public schools, whether middle school or high school, have the potential to lose some of their faculty and also the resources that are available for the kids now. Budget cuts within this sector of the school system may also result in limited classes this coming fall and the semesters afterward. Class sizes these days are staggering, but be prepared for schools to add more students to these packed rooms because of the impending cuts.

There will also be noticeable effects from the number of students graduating from High School that may not continue their education to the college level. Lower-income families heavily rely on financial aid to help their children go to school and with little money potentially being given out next fall to students, an education might have to wait.

The impact of the budget cuts doesn’t really affect people until it hits close to home. As a San Francisco State University student, messages from the financial aid department has been circulating that reminds students to take as much classes within the next two semesters. The message warns that a lot of programs might not appear anymore due to low funding. Another blow to college students preparing to finish school within a reasonable timeframe.
Overall, many school officials are trying to make their voices heard by joining protests around the state. Students are coming together to make their voices heard also to the administrative body to protest their concerns. What will you do to help?

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Wild West

The stars of the NBA (National Basketball Association) can be found in each team in the league. However, this season will feature multiple superstars aligning themselves with other elite players for the chance to compete for an elusive championship. Below are some of the players who are making headlines for their move to a competitive team. Only time will tell which one will make the most significant impact.

Shaquille O'neal, a member of four championship teams, has left the struggling Miami Heat to join forces with Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns. The Arizona-based team has never won a championship, but believes Shaq's presence on the court will change all that. The seven-foot O'neal is not the same explosive and dominant player he used to be, but with a team full of complimentary players, he will not have to carry the team on his own.

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Jason Kidd, one of the greatest point guards in the game, packed his bags and left the New Jersey Nets and headed to the Dallas Mavericks. The aging star will share the court with reigning Most Valuable Player Dirk Nowitzki and provide much needed help in the leadership department. Most people will remember the Mavericks as the number one team last season who was elminated in the first round by the Golden State Warriors. Hoping to reach the finals, the Mavericks chose to risk loosing its rising stars for Kidd.

Paul Gasol, the seven-foot center from the Memphis Grizzlies was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers to provide a much needed help for Kobe Bryant. Los Angeles has not seen another star that is close to Bryant's level since Shaquille O'neal was still part of the dynasty team who won three championships. The move puts the Lakers as one of the teams that have the potential to bring back a championship title to Los Angeles.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Grammy's 2008: The Aftermath

Watching the Grammys this year, I can seriously say that those who deserve to win does not get the recognition they deserve. However, I completely agree that both Amy Winehouse and Kanye West are completely deserving of their nominations. Both artists combined for 14 nominations: Kanye West (8) and Amy Winehouse (6).

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Amy Winehouse nearly won all of the awards she was nominated for during the night. Her winnings included Best New Artist, Best Pop Vocal Album, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Winehouse performed her hit songs "Rehab" and "I'm no Good" in London via satellite. The artist was unable to make it to the Grammys because her U.S. visa was denied and was only approved a little late for her to come to the U.S.

Kanye West also had a night to remember. Like Amy Winehouse, West also won multiple awards during the night. His winnings included Best Rap Solo Performance, Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Song. With all is said and done, Kanye West's best moment came during his performance of "Stronger" and then "Hey Momma," which was a tribute to his Mom, Donda West, who passed away from Plastic Surgery complications.

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The most disappointing moment of the night is the winner of Album of the Year, which later went to Herbie Hancock for his album River: The Joni Letters. Everyone, including Herbie Hancock himself, were surprised of the announcement. The announcement was another blow for Kanye West who is denied of the award for the third straight year.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

February 5, 2008 Primaries

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One of the most anticipated events this year has got to be the Democratic and Republican primaries going on across the country. Nominations to represent each party is very critical because this person will eventually run for the White House and possibly running the country for the next four years. Below are the remaining candidates that I believe will have the strongest chance of representing their respective parties for presidential candidacy:

Democratic Party

1. Hillary Clinton- I admired her work during her husband's term in office especially during the Monica Lewinsky scandal that rocked the core of their marriage. Hillary believed that low points like this can be resolved without ruining a marriage. Her philosophy stays the same for her own bid to the White House as she promises to mend the nation's problems without changing the aspects that makes this nation great.

2. Barack Obama- The Illinois has gathered momentum since his speech during a Democratic Convention for John Kerry. His voice and his message stuck to the minds of the people and that's why he is still in the running for the White House. If elected, Obama will be the first African American president to lead the country.

Republican Party

1. John McCain- The Arizona senator has been well-known for his swift actions and sometimes controversial ones also. As a conservative candidate, his beliefs are totally parallel with the beliefs of the democratic candidates. It's been a long time in the making, but it seems that the Republican party's candidate during the convention this summer will be John McCain.

If you want more information about the candidates, I have posted the links below to their official web sites.