Life is a Highway

Life is a Highway

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

HBO Docs: 2011 Ronald Reagan Documentary

HBO Docs: 2011 Ronald Reagan Documentary

I just saw the Ronald Reagan documentary last night on HBO and I thought they did a pretty good job. Jumped through his California governorship, focused on the student protests at Berkley and his brief presidential run in 1968. Yes, Ron Reagan ran twice for president before being elected. I would've like to of seen more of Governor Reagan and see what type of Governor he was, even though I already have a pretty good idea from other films I've seen. I would've like to have seen how he worked with the Democratic legislature. How he defeated Governor Brown in 1966, how he got reelected in 1970.

How Governor Reagan closed the budget deficit, Welfare reform, all issues he focused on as Governor of California. As well as how he dealt with President Nixon in the 1970s. The fact he considered himself to be a Libertarian up until 1975 and then became more of a Classical Conservative like Barry Goldwater. His failed 1976 Presidential run against President Gerry Ford, what he did when out of office before he announced he was going to run for president in 1979. His involvement in 1978 California Proposition that would have allowed California employers to fire homosexuals because of their sexuality. That Reagan came out against, when he knew he was going to need the Religious-Right to be elected president in 1980.

There are so many aspects about Ron Reagan, that doing an hour and forty-five minute film about him, doesn't really do justice as far as telling the story of Ron Reagan the man. Someone because of his conservatism, couldn't win national office as a Republican today. The Religious-Right as well as Neoconservatives wouldn't allowed that to happen. They would've treated him like Ron Paul. Accusing him of being a Liberal or Libertarian, which is one reason why he still remains one of our most popular former president's. Because except for maybe Progressives, who still go out of their way to speak against him, he has broad support.

Conservatives love him because he's against big government across the board, for the most part. George Will being an excellent example of that. Libertarians like him because he believed in low taxes and didn't want to tell Americans how to live their lives. Liberals such as myself and others respect him because he's a real Conservative and could work with Democrats. Centrists like him because he made government work and was practical. Reagan has support almost across the board. What you get with the HBO film, is a look at certain targeted aspects of his life, intended to appeal to a broad audience of people. Who don't follow politics and history very closely and feel the need to be entertained, which is one reason why this movie focused a lot on his Hollywood career and his two marriages, as well as his kids and Nancy. And there should be a movie about him, which is how LBJ and FDR have been covered where you get a big picture.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Wilt Chamberlain Interview 1987: A Private Man Showing More of Himself

I never understood the rap that Wilt Chamberlain had of not being an intelligent man and other NBA Centers that played with him. Bill Russell being in the same generation as Wilt, Kareem Abdul Jabbar playing a few seasons with him as a very young player in the early 1970s but being from the next generation. How Russ and Kareem were known as intelligent basketball players, as well as intelligent people but Wilt sorta being cast as a dumb jock. Big tall incredible athlete, one of the top two Centers of all time, a great athlete but someone who was perceived as a dumb jock and needed his Athletic Ability. To be successful in life, when the fact is Wilt Chamberlain was a very intelligent man, came from a good school, could talk about anything from basketball to Current Affairs, to entertainment. Wilt was a very charming and likable man, who his teammates loved but was also someone who enjoyed being alone and lived to be happy doing the things that made him happy. Rather then society telling him this is how you should be and if you don't live life the way we do, there is something wrong with you.

Wilt Chamberlain will always be linked with Bill Russell, the great Boston Celtics Center and Leader. Of arguably the great collection of teams of all time in the 1960s, The 1960s Celtics, that won 8-9 NBA Finals in that decade, while Wilt led the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 1967 NBA Finals. While at the same time Wilt was setting all kinds of NBA Records, points rebounds, points scored in one game etc. Going down by the time that he retired at least, as the great NBA Center of all time and there's a pretty good argument going on today, if he's still the greatest Centers of all time or has Kareem taken that away from him. But Russ is known as a Leader of Champions, the Celtics Dynasty of the 1960s, while Wilt is known for Individualism, this is what he accomplished on his own. So that goes against Wilt and perhaps why he doesn't get all of the respect he deserves.

Its great to see Wilt Chamberlain give public interviews like this and give more people the opportunity to see more of him. They generally get to and learn that Wilt Chamberlain the man, is a hell of a lot more then a dominant basketball player, one of the best who's ever played his position. And who's ever played the game at all and let people in to see the other side of him, the intelligent, witty and likable man that he was.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge: Peter Robinson Interviewing Charles Moore: The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

Hoover Institution: Uncommon Knowledge: Peter Robinson Interviewing Charles Moore: The Legacy of Margaret Thatcher

The situation that Margaret Thatcher inherited from Socialist Labor Party in Britain in 1979, is not much different from the situation that Ronald Reagan inherited from the Democratic Party in America economically in 1981. There were some differences politically, but both economies were in bad shape. High unemployment, low economic and job growth, both Thatcher and Reagan inheriting economic messes in 1979 and 81 respectively.

There were political differences, back in the 1970s. The UK Labor Party, was more of a Marxist Socialist Party, that believed in state ownership of the economy. At least to certain extents and there were British industries, that were owned by the U.K. Government. The U.S. Democratic Party, is made up of Liberal and Progressives and have Democratic Socialists. Progressive Democrats in the Party that believe in democratic socialism. Which is different from Marxism, but both parties have their big government supporters as it relates to economics and they were both in charge back then. But both countries were down and weren’t doing very well and were both looking for a change politically and both got it, with Thatcher and Reagan.

So in Britain, what Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher did and what the new Labor Party under Tony Blair continued in the late 1990s, but added their own touch to it, was bring more economic freedom to Britain. Privatized more British industries, cut taxes and cut spending and freed a lot of Brits to live their own lives. One thing I respect about the British Conservative Party, that unlike the Republican Party, is that they are a real Conservative Party. Not a Neoconservative Party. They truly believe in conserving individual freedom, not subtracting from it, or trying to tell people how to live their lives. The British Conservatives, didn’t bring in conservative economics, with authoritarian policies on Social Issues. They wanted to expand British freedom and give more Brits the ability to chart their own course in life, and not being dependent on the state for their lively hood.

That Thatcher Revolution, worked so well in Britain, that when Tony Blair was running and eventually elected Prime Minster in 1997 with the Labor Party, he did not run on Marxism. He didn’t try to convince Brits that capitalism doesn’t work and they need to go back to nationalizing British industries and return to the 1970s. What he did was to run on a different type of capitalism, that would expect Brits who were physically and mentally capable of working full-time, would be expected to be self-sufficient in life. And that even if you were unemployed and uneducated, that you would still be expected to work and be self-sufficient. And that the state will help you get the skills you need to be self-sufficient if you need it. Thats the legacy of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

First Race TV: Henry Hill Dead- Goodfellas Mobster Dies At 69

Source: First Race TV-
Source: First Race TV: Henry Hill Dead- Goodfellas Mobster Dies At 69

The phrase living the life has been thrown out a lot the last ten years or so. The hip hop group Black Eye Peas, uses it in one of their songs. But thats the best way to describe former mobster, who never really completely gave up his criminal, career but was no longer an official Italian Gangster after he became an FBI informant and ratted out a lot of his former associates and went into the Federal Witness Protection Program.

But thats exactly how Henry Hill lived his life, the life of an Italian gangster, who basically had just two goals in life. Make a lot of money, not really earning any of it legally and what he did make, blew a lot of it. And have a good time. Work hard so to speak if you want calling being a mobster work and play hard and enjoy life as much as possible, after work hours. Enjoying his fruits of his labor so much, that a book was written about him in 1986, which led to the move Goodfellas in 1990. As far as I'm concern the best Italian mob movie of all time because of its accuracy, the great humor that was constant in the movie and of course the great cast. Robert Di Niro, Joe Pesci, Paul Servino, Ray Liotta, Loraine Bracco, and many others.

Henry Hill really did live the crazy life and was very successful at it. Doing one short stretch in prison in the 1970s, for heisting the JFK Airport in New York. Still considered one of the most successful heists in American history. As far as the people actually being able to pull it off, they got caught later but actually managed to obtain what they were searching for and made a lot of money doing it. Henry Hill tried to play himself as a hard-working family man, who worked for a construction union in New York City, with a beautiful wife, which is what he had and a couple of kids.

But Henry actually never set out to be much of a husband or father as far as actually being there for his family. Even though he did provide for them pretty well financially. You know, from the money he made as a mobster, he was a collector as well as hitman, but only whacked bad people who would've killed innocent people or stole from innocent people. Not justifying that, just explaining it.

I'm going to miss Henry Hill from this perspective, because of how interesting he was. To the point that one of my favorite movies of all time, Goodfellas was made based on his life and the work he put into that movie as a consultant, to make that movie as accurate and as entertaining as it was. And how honest he's been about his life, that allowed for the great book and films to be made about him.

Friday, June 15, 2012

CP-B Tracks: Freedom 101- Freedom Fighters From Back in The Day

CP-B Tracks: Freedom 101- Freedom Fighters From Back in The Day

This is about a video I saw on YouTube about Conservatives and Liberals from the past, speaking about the importance of freedom in America. Why we need it and what threatens us from losing it. Ronald Reagan talking about what he saw as the threats of a welfare state, back in 1964, when the debate about the Great Society was underway. Senator Barry Goldwater at the 1964 Republican National Convention, with his famous line, "that extremism in the defense of liberty, is no vice." Dr. Martin Luther King with his I Have a Dream speech, as well as his Promise Land speech, where he had a vision that one day that is children would be treated under law, the same as all American children. And that African-Americans would have their constitutional rights enforced as equally as all other Americans. Malcolm X talking about the need for African-Americans to fight for their constitutional rights and freedom, that they don't have it yet and that they deserve it. President Jack Kennedy standing up for American freedom and saying that Americans can't afford to take it for granted. Senator Bobby Kennedy speaking about the assassination of Dr. King and how huge of a loss that is for America.

I don't want to make this blog completely partisan, but to hear Ron Reagan give that speech, a Classical Conservative speech, about what he saw as the dangers of a welfare state and speaking in defense of individual freedom and describing his own politics as libertarian as late as 1975, coming out against the California proposition of 1978, that would allow employers to fire or deny homosexuals employment, because of their sexuality, just when the Religious-Right was becoming powerful in America. And when he has probably already decided that he was going to run for president in 1980 and he knew that he needed the support of the Christian-Right to be elected president. Which was a big move and big risk on his own part, that he believed that economic freedom was not enough. That government shouldn't interfere with how Americans live their lives, period.

Barry Goldwater coined the phrase, "get big government out of our wallets and bedrooms. A Classical Conservative or Libertarian belief that government shouldn't interfere with how free adults live their own lives. And yet both Ron Reagan and Barry Goldwater would be seen as Moderate-Liberal by todays Republican Party. People who are anti-big government, would be seen as Moderates by todays GOP. Thats how far to the right the GOP has moved today, just a little over twenty years after President Reagan left office. And why neither Reagan or Goldwater could get elected to national office by todays GOP.
CP-B Tracks: Freedom 101

Sunday, June 10, 2012

"The Great Philadelphia Takeover of Baltimore by Phillies Fans": How the Orioles can Prevent this in the Future

This weekend the Philadelphia Phillies came 90 miles South down on I95 to Charm City, to take on the Orioles at Oriole Park. In a three game series, which the Orioles needed to win, to beat a very good team, for the standings but also prove to themselves and their fans, that they can not only beat a good team. A contender, as well as a champion which is what the Phillies are, after losing Friday Night in a slugfest, 9-6, the Orioles bounced back and beat the Phillies Saturday and today, both games in Extra Innings. Where the Orioles are the masters so far, on winning late inning games, something they've struggled to do for the last 5-7 years at least and now have won ten straight games in Extra Innings. They are not only learning how to win in 2012 but are using those lessons to produce victories and setting what will be a very good Divisional Rivalry in the future . Assuming Major League Baseball realigns the way I expect them to, which is moving the Phillies to the AL Eastern Division, where they would be in between the New York Yankees, 100 miles north and the Orioles 90 miles South, setting up where they would have two great Divisional Rivals between two very good teams, with very good histories.

What you get with Philadelphia Sports Fans and one reason why I like Philadelphians and the City of Brotherly Love. And one advantage they have over Baltimore and Washington, perhaps the only advantage they have over Washington, I think I even like Washington Cheesesteaks more then Philadelphia Cheesesteaks. Is their fans their devotion to their teams, Baltimore and Washington have great Sports Fans as well, I'm not putting them down but they are both Football Towns and like their other clubs. Washington is just starting to become a good Baseball Town and Baltimore has a history of being a great Baseball Town as well but with Orioles being as bad as its been the last ten years. That devotion has been struggling to put it mildly but with Philadelphians, if there's a game in town to go to, they'll be there whether their team is good or not. And if they suck, they'll more then let them know about it and they'll travel to support their club, especially for the Phillies and Eagles, to support them and let them know when they are unhappy.

What you get with Baltimoreans and Washingtonians, except for the Ravens and Redskins, is more of an Missouri attitude. Show me you are good from what I see on TV, hear on radio, read online or something and then I'll be there to support you, its more of a Fair Weather attitude with Baltimore and Washington. I'm not saying the Orioles and Nationals should sell out, when they are bad but at least show up, given them big enough crowds so they have the resources to be competitive in the future and not end up like the Montreal Expose. With crowds of 7,000 people in a 60,000 seat stadium, when the team isn't good. Orioles and Nationals Fans do this and they won't have to worry about thousands of Phillie Fans showing up at their ballpark. Because those tickets would already been bought by Nationals and Oriole Fans.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yankees vs Red Sox Rivalry: Why its The Greatest Rivalry in Pro Sports

What makes the Boston Red Sox New York Yankee Rivalry so great, well there are several reasons and there would have to be, for it to be the great Sports Rivalry that it is. One and not to do this in any order, you are talking about two of the most winningest franchises in Major League Baseball, as far as games won and the amount of big games they have played in. Another one would be location, two big Northeastern cities, both two of the biggest markets and cities in the country and they are reasonably close by. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 miles, so the fans travel to see their team play in the other teams ballpark, which just adds to the Fan Atmosphere, with fans from both teams yelling at each other. One side will start cheering and the other side will start booing, just to shut them up, sorta like going to a Eagles-Redskin game, similar Fan Atmosphere but the teams dislike each other even more. And of course they both play in the AL Eastern Division, which makes their games even more important, because they directly effect each other. And of course Hall of Fame players that have played for both franchises, Babe Ruth obviously being the most famous one.

As I've said before, great rivalries only happen between good teams and they are generally great teams. And their games have to be important, not just between the two teams but the division, conference and league they play in. They have to effect Division or Conference Races, making the games important, with all do respect to the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, that wasn't a great rivalry twenty years ago. Falcon-Saints games didn't matter much outside of Atlanta and New Orleans, they do matter today because both franchises are winning at the same time. The Redskins-Cowboys Rivalry wouldn't of been great if neither or only one of them, had a history of winning. I realize the Chicago Cubs St. Louis Cardinals Rivalry is suppose to be great but only the Cardinals have been consistent winners throughout their history. The Cubs are known for losing and blowing big opportunities.

The Yankee-Red Sox is great because you have two franchises that have played each other for over 100 years now. That are fairly close by, where New Yorkers and Bostonians don't like each other to begin with, similar to how New Yorkers and Philadelphians feel about each other. And the Giants-Eagles Rivalry is another great Rivalry for similar reasons and they are both winners with great traditions.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Vikings Beat 49ers In Stadium Game: How Stadiums are now being Financed

Its great news for the Twin Cities and the Bay Region, that the Vikings will remain in Minneapolis and the 49ers will remain in the San Francisco Area. Both markets are rich in NFl History and rich in great NFL fans, the Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers are two of the best franchises in the NFL. And seeing either of them in Los Angeles or Memphis or San Antonio. All three markets that could support Pro Football franchises but would be a very sad day, the 49rs belong in the Bay Region, they would be better in San Francisco, out of the Candlestick Park, perhaps the worst stadium in the NFL, even though it has a pretty good atmosphere. A big loud stadium but was originally built for baseball, when the Giants moved there over fifty years ago and the stadium is falling apart. The Vikings have similar issues with the Metrodome Stadium, the Stadium falling apart and with the Vikings not able to make enough money there to be very profitable. Which is a big problem for a Small Market franchise that need high Stadium Revenue to be very profitable.

What I like about the 49er and Vikings Stadium Deals, is that they both will be financed with a lot of Private Revenue, which makes sense in a market the size of San Francisco. Thats one of the biggest in the country and also one of the wealthiest, similar to Washington but not as big. Especially since we are still slowly recovering from the "Great Recession" and governments are cutting back on things like, infrastructure, including schools, Law Enforcement, including corrections. So to ask Tax Payers for new taxes, when they are struggling just to pay their current Tax bills and when things like education and Law Enforcement are getting cut back. Would be a lot to ask for, and NFL Franchises are now waking up to the fact that if they threaten to move, because they can't get the exact Stadium Deal they want. Then they may be told goodbye and good luck because we can't afford to bail you out.

This is how stadiums should be financed in the future, every NFL Franchise is worth somewhere around 200M$ or more. With the Redskins, Giants and Cowboys all worth over 1B$, the Redskins worth over 2B$, three of the wealthiest Sports Franchises in the World, to go along with the New York Yankees. All of these clubs can afford to put up money for their stadiums and attract outside Private Revenue as well and should be expected to do so.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

BCS Playoff Means Big Money: What an FBS Playoff System Should Look Like

There are several reasons to have a an FBS Playoff System, FBS being Major League College Football. Which is what they should call Division 1 College Football in America but perhaps thats a different story. One to know who the best College Football team in America is, the only College Sport that doesn't have a clear National Champion, the team that wins the BCS Championship game. Is generally regarded as the FBS National Champion but you can have a scenario where and this is hypothetical. Lets say Alabama plays Oklahoma for the BCS Championship, because they are the top two ranked teams in the future. But lets say Texas who's ranked third and undefeated and they beat Oklahoma earlier in the year and lets say Oklahoma beats Alabama in the BCS Championship . The Writers Poll which is different from the BCS Poll, could rule that Texas should be the National Champion, because they are undefeated, lets say they beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. So they are the only undefeated team in the country. Well with an FBS Playoff System, that problem would go away, because there would be only one National Champion.

So this is how I would set up an FBS Playoff System, top thirteen teams in the country. With the 13th team playing the 12th team, in a wild card to decide who moves on in the Playoffs. To help do away with some of the problems, of who should be ranked 13th and 14th in the FBS. The BCS or Bowl Championship Series Conference Champions, would automatically get the top six seeds, sorta how Pro Sports awards its Playoff teams, by giving the top seeds to the Division Champions. So the champions of the ACC, Big East, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12, would get automatically get the top six seeds, and then, but to get an automatic bid, you not only have to win one of the BCS Conferences but you have to win the Championship game in the Conference. Played by the Division Champions of the Conference and then there would be seven wild cards. Of the teams that didn't win their Conference or won a non BCS Conference Championship. Like for example the Mountain West Conference or Conference USA.

I don't believe an FBS Playoff System should replace the Bowl System, just be ahead of it, with the top 13 teams going to the Playoffs. And then you have the rest of the Bowl Eligible teams going to Bowl games or setting up another Playoff System of the best teams that didn't make the playoffs, like the top twelve or something. So you could still have plenty of teams eligible for Postseason but with the best teams having a shot at the National Championship and you could play the FBS Playoffs and Bowls in December, so they don't have to compete with the NFL Playoffs for attention.