Archive for May 2018

New Jersey joins Massachusetts as the second state to have Health Insurance Mandate   Leave a comment

Image result for Massachusetts and New Jersey

In 2006, Massachusetts made U.S. history as the first state in the nation to Mandate Health Insurance for all. It also made Healthcare in Massachusetts a right. it was signed into law by former governor and former Presidental candidate Mitt Romney. Four years later, Former president Obama used Massachusetts as a model to pass the Affordable Care Act (The ACA, also known as Obamacare) for the whole country. Republicans spent the next 7 years weakening the ACA until they finally killed it in 2017. This left Massachusetts, which has had had Romney Care since 2006 as the only state in the U.S. with Free Universal Healthcare for all.

That will change on January 1, 2019.

New Jersey Lawmakers passed legislation using the ACA as a model earlier today. Governor Phil Murphy signed the bill restoring the Obamacare health insurance mandate for the state of New Jersey. The move was made because as everyone outside Massachusetts quickly discovered, Republicans in Congress offered no alternative to the ACA and simply wanted to get rid of it for 100% political reasons. New Jersey is also the first state to defy the ACA repeal by restoring what had been rolled back at the state level. They decision was made in reaction to fears of a mass exodus from the state and also to ironically stabilize the state’s healthcare system. Yes, the ACA brought stability as advertised.

Connecticuit, Maryland, California and New Mexico are just a handful of other states that are working to restore and expand on the parts of ACA that were repealed at the state level. Massachusetts passed legislation earlier this year to improve Romneycare in reaction to the ACA repeal as well.

…This is something many of you who follow me on Facebook have seen me talk about alot but it always bothered me that after the ACA repeal, there was no news of states adopting their own version of it until now. New Jersey is the first to step up when it counts big time. Given the circumstances, they were forced to go this route though it was the right move. More states with college.

Now, let’s see if we can get some action in Education: As of 2017, you can go to a 2-year school in Boston for Free.

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The Celtics continue to prove doubters wrong, take 2-0 series lead to Cleveland   Leave a comment

Image result for Marcus Morris yells at Tristan Thompson

 

The stat ESPN started throwing out there halfway through the 4th Quarter: The last time LeBron James was down 2-0 vs. the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, it was in 2008. The Celtics went on to win the series and the NBA Championship vs. the Lakers in 6 games.

…The difference is back then, The Celtics had 3 All Stars. This time it’s been their young players taking point in the absence of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (as well and Daniel Theis). Now the pundits are rightfully saying what Celtics fans have been saying since Irving and Hayward came to Boston last summer: The Eastern Conference runs through Boston. Not next year but now.

Image result for Lebron James joins the Celtics

To say LBJ’s leaving Cleveland again goes without saying. As for where he might end up this time, he will likely want to join a contender again so that means it will likely be one of the following teams:

 

  • Cleveland: LBJ’s current team got the #8 pick in the 2018 Draft Lottery, which they received from the Celtics along with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder (Both traded mid-season) and Ante Zizic in exchange for Kyrie Irving. The Cavs have clearly been making moves since the offseason independent of whatever LBJ decides so clearly the team is positioning itself to be in the playoff picture with or with him. LBJ reportedly asked that Irving not be traded. Irving reportedly threatened to have elective surgery if he was not traded, LBJ’s wishes be damned (LOL). It would be fair to say LBJ would stay with the Cavs as a last resort.
  • Boston: Let’s be real, the Eastern Conference runs through the Celtics now. Not next year but now. The Celtics can make that claim after they finish off LBJ and the Cavs but at this point it’ll be a formality. Next year the team will be at full power with the return of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. Having said that, could LBJ pull a Kevin Durant and join the NBA’s newest Super Team just to play with Kyrie Iving again? Sure, but unlikely. For one, the Celtics don’t have the money to pay him after they signed Hayward and Al Horford. The Celtics blew up the team just to sign Hayward as a reminder. Plus, there IS the fact Uncle Drew didn’t want to play with him anymore. LOL.
  • Philadelphia: Many have picked the 76ers as the most likely team in the Eastern Conference LBJ would go to. LBJ going there would mean both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid would have reduced roles on the floor with him in the lineup. That would be a big X-Factor just to compete with the Celtics in the ECF.
  • New York: The Knicks haven’t had a deep playoff run since the 90s but then they ran into Michael Jordan and later the Orlando Magic before they fell off completely. It’s been far longer since the Knicks last won a Championship. Having just hired former Grizzlies Head Coach David Fizdale to coach the team, LBJ would be the star power the Knicks could use to Make the Knicks Great Again. LOL.
  • Toronto: What’s this? Go to a team you just swept out the payoffs?! Well, Kyrie Irving did it last year after the Cavs beat Boston in 5 games. It is a stretch though not improbable. More so givien after the Head Coach was fired, there is speculation DeRozan or Lowry or both could be traded during the offseason.
  • San Antonio: Experts don’t think LBJ will leave the Eastern Conference but if he does go West, the Spurs are believed to be one of two teams he’s most likely to go to. It would be as boon for the team given Kawhi Leonard is expected to be leaving for another team, likely East.
  • LA Lakers: Goes without saying this is the most likely team in the West for two reasons. One is he recently bought a house in LA. The other is Magic Johnson has been laying to groundwork to get LBJ, Paul George possibly Kawhi Leonard as well. The sad irony is a deal to bring LBJ to the Lakers could jeopardize Isaiah Thomas’ chances of getting a new contract. It could also mean Lonzo Ball and/or Brandon Ingram are kicked out of the starting five as well.
  • Golden State: See what I put for Boston. ‘Nuff said.

 

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The Celtics weathered the early storm in the first Quarter and dared LBJ to will the Cavs to victory. He could not. Now with the series shifting to Cleveland for the next two games, even LBJ’s biggest fanboy–ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith–plainly stated “If the Cavs lose Game 3 they’ll probably get swept.” He also plainly said the Celtics are the better team and would match up well against the Rockets or Warriors. Speaking of, the Western Conference finals is tied 1-1 with Game 3 on Sunday in Oakland (Golden State).

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If I’m a betting man, it will be Warriors vs. Celtics in the NBA Finals. Celtics will close out the Cavs in 5 or 6 if they don’t sweep. Warriors will beat the Rockets in 6 games. Let me tell you, this would be a MONSTER series in the NBA Finals. Draymon Green vs. Marcus Smart would be fun to watch as would KD and Tatum.

 

Celtics on the verge of sweeping The 76ers out of the playoffs   Leave a comment

Image result for Celtics vs Sixers Game 3

To say this Celtics team defied all expectations would be a MASSIVE understatement. They put down Giannis and the Bucks in 7 games in the first round of the playoffs. Now they’re on the verge of sweeping the very team everyone outside New England picked to go to the NBA Finals out of the playoffs.

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…Yes, THAT  team. “Trust The Process”? Process Failed. LOL.

Now, the obvious question to be asked is how did the Boston Celtics, who are without 2 of their 3 All Stars get to this point?

This is how:

Image result for Bill Belichick and Brad Stevens

…Great coaches think alike.

Local media spied Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens hanging out with Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick in Foxboro last summer during the Patriots training camp. The NBA Summer League had ended, Gordon Hayward signing with Boston became official and the Isiaiah Thomas for Kyrie Irving trade was about to go down. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year but lost to the Cleveland Caveliers in 5 games (who themselves lost to the Golden State Warriors in 5 games in the NBA Finals). After the Celtics lost the series, Brad Stevens said in the postgame press conference he considered anything short of winning the NBA Championship a failure to be learned from.

Image result for Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward
Everyone knows Gordon Hayward went down with a ankle nasty injury in the season open against the Cavs. It was a season-ending injury but fortunately not career-ending. Everyone wrote off the Celtics’ season at that point. Then the Celtics went on a 17-game win streak. Kyrie Irving missed several games earlier in the season due to injury and is out for the postseason after having knee surgery in March. Everyone wrote off the Celtics getting out of the first round at that point.

…Big mistake.

The Philosophy in Boston Sports is and always has been “Next Man Up.”

Image result for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum

Nowhere has this been more apparent than Celtics Rookie Jayson Tatum and Sophmore team mate Jaylen Brown. Both were drafted third by the Celtics, much to the surprise of everyone. Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball were both drafted Second by the Lakers.

…Who were drafted first?

Image result for Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz

These two.

Ben Simmons, who was drafted last year missed the whole 2016-17 NBA Season after breaking his hand during the Summer League. Markelle Fultzm who was drafted this year hasn’t played a single game this season because he doesn’t feel 100%. There’s nothing physically wrong with him. It’s all in his head. So, yeah.

The 76ers were overhyped and the Lakers failed to make the playoffs. LOL. As a reminder: Both teams–The Sixers and the Lakers–tanked HARD so they could get the top draft picks, ending up with Ball, Ingram, Simmons and Fultz respectively. The Celtics took the Nets’ future from them via the trade that sent Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to Brooklyn back in 2012 and held it until they dealt it and Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland last year as part of the trade that brought Kyrie Irving to Boston. While the Sixers and Lakers tanked on purpose to get the first two picks, the Celtics could safely stay competative while the took the Nets’ picks.

…The Process is a failure. LOL.

The Sixers were able to hold off the sweep tonight but you can be certain the Celtics will close out the series in Boston on Wednesday. It will be a repeat of last year’s ECF between the Celtics and the Cavs, who could close out their series with the Toronto Raptors tonight. Or if the Raptors hold off elimination, the Celtics and Cavs will start on Sunday.

The Korean War to officially end 65 years later   Leave a comment

Image result for Korean War Ends

 

The Korean War (1950-1953) will always be remembered as the first modern proxy war. Although a ceasefire was signed in 1953, no peace treaty had ever been signed so technically the war never officially ended. The outcome of the war had lasting consequences not just for the region but the balance of power over the last 65 years. North Korea would have 3 leaders–Kim il Sung, Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un–all from the same family since the Korean War ended in 1953. South Korea would have 8 presidents in the same span of time.

Think about that.

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History will record the 2018 Winter Olympics as the watershed moment that led the formal signing of the Peace Treaty on Thursday, officially ending the Korean War. In December, South Korea invited North Korean athletes to compete with them as one unified Korean Team in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Peong Chang, South Korea. After the Olympics ended, the door was opened for dialogue between the leaders of North and South Korea.

That was the opportunity for common ground former NBA Superstar Dennie Rodman, who is a friend of North Korea’s Kim Jong Un said would one day come a few years ago. Rodman was vilified in the media for not using his friendship with North Korea’s dictator to advocate for the release of westerners being held prisoner in North Korea. He made it clear he was no diplomat and was no negotiator. These were not the purpose of his visits to North Korea, which can only be entered via China and only with written permission from the North Korean government. It’s no fair to say he has been vindicated for what he said at the time.

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…This is history.

This is North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-In. This is the first time the leaders of both countries have met ever and they have only been talking for a few months now. The two leaders met at the DMZ Boarder where Kim Jong Un crossed into South Korea to a throng of excited international journalists and soldiers from both countries. The two formally signed a peace treaty as the world watched in amazement. In the span of about 8 months, what was long considered the most hostile country in the world had taken its first steps to lasting peace in the region.

Contrary to what #45’s fans said at an event Saturday afternoon–they chanted “Nobel!” at him–#45 and the U.S. had NOTHING to do with the peace talks between North and South Korea. In fact, he said he plans to walk out of a planned summit that will involve all three leaders (Trump, Moon and Un) “If he feels like it.” So, yeah. Let’s not give credit to a person or country that not only doesn’t deserve it but had a hand in the war that split the Korean Penninsula in two in the first place. Plus it will be a very bad look for the U.S. should #45 walk out as he has threatened to do.

South Korea became Democratic and like Japan after World War II, fell under the military protection of the U.S. Unlike Japan, South Korea was not only allowed to keep their military but they received a blank check from the U.S. to bolster their military along the boarder with North Korea. On that note. Every year since the end of the Korean War, the U.S. would do joint military exercises with South Korea as a “show of force” to North Korea (and by extension China). South Korea requested the planned exercise for this year be postponed as formal talks between the North and South began.

North Korea became Communist with the guidance of the Soviet Union and later China. It would come to be known as the most secretive country on the planet and hasn’t changed much since the end of the Korean War. Foreigm Journalists who are allowed into the country from time to time are followed by “Government Minders”, government officials who “escort” them from within the country. Not only does one need permission to enter North Korea but one also needs permission to leave the country. It’s death to those who are caught trying to illegally cross into South Korea, China or Russia (which all boarder North Korea) as well as their families in many cases. Foreign nationals arrested at the boarder are usually given harsh sentences for the purposes of propaganda.

Image result for Korean Peninsula at night

…This picture of the Korean Peninsula highlights the disparaties between the two countries. The South is modern while the North has little to no infratructure to speak of. Such is to be expected of a country that has closed its boarders to the world and is wary of who or what it lets in or out.

This is to speak nothing of the recent problems that have started to trickle out of North and is likely why Kim Jong Un has taken steps to shut down the country’s Nuclear Weapons research:

 

  • There has been a sharp increase in North Korean soldiers deserting and crossing into South Korea from North Korea in the last year.
  • There have been increased instances of North Korean soldiers allowing North Korean nationals to cross into South Korea. North Korean soldiers have orders to shoot on sight anyone trying to cross into South Korea.
  • Reports of famines and food shortages in North Korea are nothing new but things have reached crisis-level that even North Korean officials are not immune from.
  • Medical examinations and autopsies performed North Korean defectors and the bodies of those who died shortly after crossing into South Korea have revealed digestive diseases and illnesses are rampant. Cholera, Dysentery and tapeworms to name a few.
  • Rumors have been rampant for years that North Korea’s First Lady Ri Sol-Ju–formerly a government cheerleader–may be sterile and has failed multiple times to produce an heir since their marriage. Her sudden disappearance from the public eye until recently fueled speculation she had join the members of the Kim family who were executed. She joined her husband for the Inter-Korean Summit held in South Korea.

Things have reached the point it where would be fair to now say North Korea is a failed state. Unlike Afghanistan at the end of 2001 however, the transition will obviously be different. Other dictatorships would dig in deeper in this kind of situation but Kim Jong Un has instead begun moving to open the country to the world. These are interesting times not just for the region but the world and most importantly, the Korean Peninsula.

My guess is North Korea will likely go the same as Cuba in some regards and China in others in regards to human rights. Kim Jong Un is clearly preparing the country for life without him running it. Of the 3 possible successors after his father passed away, he was chosen simply because he was still in the country and was of age. He was the youngest of Kim Jong Il’s three sons and one of who who was in North Korea when their father passed away about 10 years ago. One brother, who was living in Malaysia had little interest in politics while the other, who was in the country was deemed unfit for rule.

So, the youngest son became the new leader of North Korea by default. It seemed he would continue where his father left off but Kim Jong Un has made many efforts to counter and even conflict with those who supported his father’s regime. A few years back, he personally executed his uncle, who was his top advisor along with other senior staff to head off a rumored coup being planned.

Having secured absolute power, the Nuclear Weapons program he developed deep underground appears to have been his way of heading off further dissent within the military. It would seem he never actually intended to make a nuke as his father did even though he did progress much further than the world thought he would. And now he’s shutting down said Nuclear Weapons program. More than likely Kim Jong Un is preparing to open North Korea to the world for the first time since the end of the Korean War.

The needs of the North Korean people are many to say the least. We’re talking about a whole nation that was isolated from the outside world for 65 years. If and only if the world comes together, the current generation of North Koreans might be able to chart their own desitinies.

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