Another Tough Year

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Last night the Suns squared off against the Lakers in Game 6 of the Western Conferance finals. The Suns went in down 3-2 facing a must-win situation. The Suns were unable to pull off victory as the Lakers won 111-103 which means that the Lakers will advance to the NBA Finals. I titled this post as "Another Tough Year" because of how far the Suns have gotten and how well they have played under Alvin Gentry. The Suns were awesome and long-time Suns players like Amar'e Stoudemire and Steve Nash once again missed the finals in an attempt to get a championship ring. This time, at the Suns were able to beat the Spurs at least but fell short against the Lakers. Outstanding Suns players such as Stoudemire, Hill, and Nash played with passion and planet orange was behind every second of the playoffs hoping for the W. There was definitely a sense of "now or never" in that despite having excellent years, Grant Hill and Steve Nash are approaching retirement and Amar'e Stoudemire's future with the Suns becomes uncertain as he will be a free agent with several teams drooling over the prospect of signing Amar'e. However, there are things to look forward to starting with Alvin Gentry who has provided the necessary spark and determination to give Suns fans something they did not have the last couple of years: hope. You can look at this year as another failed attempt at the Suns trying to get a championship; however, it is important to remember that the Suns had an excellent season that was certainly not expected to go as far as it did. Gentry coaching ability has been outstanding and the Suns players played great despite not getting the final result as hoped. Younger players like Jared Dudley, Channing Frye, and Goran Dragic had their best seasons and Suns fans can expect more excellent seasons to come. Despite what happens in the off-season with trades, there are definitely some bright spots that the Suns future has in store.

[Note this blog post was not edited but preserves thoughts jotted down, please disregard any possible grammatical errors through the post]

Glimmer of Hope Snatched

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Despite an amazing start in the first half of the first quarter it seemed like the Suns had played "coming from behind" in nearly the entirety of the game. For much of the game the Suns were down by double digits; however, in the third and fourth quarter the Suns fought to chip away at the Lakers' lead. With just 3.5 seconds left to go in the game Jason Richardson put up a three that went in after two previous missed three attempts that possession by him and Nash. This tied the game up 101-101, but unfortunately this was not enough to take the game into overtime. After a Laker timeout Los Angeles was able to inbound the ball on their side of the court. Despite a failed three attempt after putting the ball in the hands of Kobe, Artest was able to catch the airball and sink the two at the buzzer which gave the Lakers the game. The Los Angeles Lakers now go up in the series 3-2; however, all is not lost for the Suns. The Suns have proven themselves worthy adversaries even away from their home court. The Suns now must win Game 6; however, if they pull off a Game 6 home victory the Suns will have another shot at Staple Center to go to the NBA Championships.

Suns Win Game 4 to Tie Series Against Lakers 2-2

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

[Christian Petersen/Getty Images]

Beat LA? Celtics Fans Need to Reconsider Arrogance.

After the LA Lakers, the #1-seeded team in the West, had won both of their home games against the Suns to go up 2-0 in the Western Conference finals and after the Celtics had won both of their away games in Orlando to go up 2-0 in their series, Celtics fans started to sport signs at the games that said Beat LA. Worse, Celtics fans have even made green shirts saying Beat LA which were brought to TD Garden to be distributed after the game if the Celtics were to win. I tend to root for the Celtics when in comes to teams in the East, but "Beat LA" premature messages...seriously?

The Suns victory tonight was beyond awesome as Phoenix was able to tie up the series against the Lakers 2-2 after winning both of their home games. While the Lakers are still the favorite, the Suns have proven to be worthy contenders against the defending champions. This game was absolutely awesome as the Suns bench was huge coming up overwhelmingly positive when they were put on the floor. This is a contrast from Game 3 in which although the Suns won it took outstanding performances by both Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire to come up victorious. The Suns now head to Los Angeles in hopes of snatching an away game.

I realize a Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals is still likely, but I sure hope it is not the case. Suns players and fans deserve much better as Alvin Gentry has done some great things with the teams to put form a top-quality team. The Suns have been awesome and I love watching them play and I would love to see the arrogant Celtics fans who have prematurely endorsed the "Beat LA" message proven wrong. The Suns-Lakers series is now tied 2-2 and Suns fans such as myself who have been longing for a Suns championship will be cheering out hearts out for the Phoenix Suns.

Paying the Full Cost of Your Gas-Guzzler: Why the US Gas Tax Should Increase

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The United States is a leader in many things. We were the first to go to the moon. We have the most Olympic gold medals. We lead in social networking. However, we also lead in Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Crude Oil consumption—something to be far less proud of. One of the biggest sources of this problem is automobiles running on gasoline. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, US passenger vehicles are responsible for 40% of US oil consumption and 20% of US carbon dioxide emissions. Senators Kerry, Lieberman and Graham are currently working on an energy reform bill that includes a section on raising the tax on gasoline. Unfortunately, this proposal has already been met with severe criticism. The Obama Administration has already expressed opposition to raising the gasoline tax. Such a stance is poorly conceived as increasing the gasoline tax has some hefty advantages.

Automobile emissions are a serious problem that Obama and critics in Congress need to come to grips with. According to the EPA, motor vehicle emissions cause respiratory illnesses and cancer. Furthermore, a recent study by Stanford scientist Mark Jacobson has shown a direct link between carbon dioxide emissions and mortality. The study found a causal relationship to conclude that each one degree rise in Celsius caused by carbon dioxide leads to 1,000 US air-pollution deaths per year, plus many more new cases of illness. By increasing the fuel tax we can reduce carbon dioxide exhaust by gasoline-powered vehicles. Oil analyst Paul Roberts indicates that price and fuel consumption are directly related and price determines whether we consume or conserve. Those who really need to get places may be inclined to take public transportation which is typically a much greener alternative particularly in Massachusetts where nearly all MBTA vehicles run on natural gas or electricity. While the fare at two dollars may seem pricey now, it might not seem like such a bad deal if your alternative is to drive and pay higher prices at the pump. As a result, by increasing the price of gasoline, we can help reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Reducing the demand for oil also has some indirect benefits by encouraging auto-companies to develop more fuel efficient cars. According to Lee Schipper, a senior researcher at EMBARQ, the average fuel economy of a privately owned vehicle in Europe is about 10 miles per gallon higher than in the US. It should strike you as more than mere coincidence that the tax on gasoline is significantly higher in Europe than it is in the US. Moreover, raising the tax on petroleum-based gasoline provides an incentive to invest in safer and cleaner alternatives.

Another benefit of reducing consumer demand on oil is it reduces our oil dependency in an international context. The Government Accountability Office of Congress indicates that 85% of known oil reserves are in medium-to-high investment risk areas, which includes Middle Eastern nations with who our relationships with are not exactly that pleasant. By reducing our reliance on foreign oil we can improve our security and reduce our involvement in foreign conflict. General Charles Wald states that our dependence on foreign oil reduces our international leverage, funds nations that wish us harm and puts troops in unstable regions. I understand that raising the gasoline tax may be politically difficult as constituents tend not to understand the full benefit of a gas tax increase. However, consumers could be compensated by the increase in the gas tax by channeling the money back to consumers in the form of stimulus money. This would mean that no matter how much someone drives, all US citizens would be paid equally from the revenue collected by the tax increase. This benefits those who drive less or drive a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

It is also important to note that the United States has one of the lowest gasoline taxes in the world. In the United we get upset when we see gas prices in the 2.80-3.00 ballpark, but in countries like Britain the tax alone is 3.50 a gallon with an overall gasoline price of $7.00 a gallon. On the other hand, state and federal taxes in the US combine to only 40 cents a gallon. We can still raise it by a couple dollars and still be on the lower end of gasoline tax rates among Western nations. I am not suggesting we have such a massive hike overnight, but rather a tax increase should be gradually phased out in the course of a year or two. One thing for certain is that the demand for petroleum-based gasoline needs to be reduced and increasing the gas tax provides just the remedy. The fact that the United States is responsible for 45% of the world’s automotive carbon dioxide (Environmental Defense Fund) should strike anyone as unacceptable and something we need to take action against.

It's Decided: Suns versus Lakers in Western Conferance Finals

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The Suns and Lakers have swept there adversaries in Round 2 and will go head to head on Monday. The Suns cleanly swept the Spurs with tons of production coming from the bench. The Lakers expectedly beat out the Jazz and this best of 7 Conferance finals is sure to bring some excitement. Hopefully the Suns can shoot at their A game. Alvin Gentry has done so many great things for the Phoenix Suns which had really been lost the last couple of years.

The Diamondbacks Win Tonight

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Tonight the Diamondbacks beat the Houston Astros 6-3. Dan Haren was rightfully credited with the win after pitching his first complete game of the season. The Diamondbacks scored six runs which was enough to give Haren is fourth win of the year taking him to 4-1. Dan Haren also helped his cause behind the plate with a double and run scored. Wandy Rodriguez for the Astros on the other hand got the loss and is now 1-4.

Notable Performances:
Dan Haren: 9.0IP, 7H, 2ER, 1BB, 9Ks
Tony Abreu: 4-5, R, RBI, 2B

Loser of the Game:
Wandy Rodriguez - 3.2IP, 9H, 5ER, BB, 4Ks, HR

The Suns Keep Rollin' On

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Last night the Phoenix Suns faced off against the San Antonio Spurs. The Suns won 111 to 102. The was actually a lot closer than the score may have you believe because the spurs rallied in the third and fourth quarter with the game tied at several points. Suns lead the series 1-0 and play tomorrow at 9PM eastern.

The Celtics on the other hand rocked the Cavaliers who only managed to score 12 points in the third quarter and lost 86 to 104. Boston tied the series 1-1

Water Crisis - Eastern Massachusetts Gets Hit Day 2

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Yesterday, a pipe leak caused a sewage dump in a Massachusetts reservoir that polluted the water supply of the greater Boston area. As a result, the tap water of roughly 2 million residents has been deemed unsafe to drink, brush teeth with, and wash dishes with. This has caused Boston residents to rush to the grocery and drug stores to stock up on bottled water. Fortunately, the stores so far have not hiked up the prices of drinking water which has at least softened the blow to residents.

Dismantling the Land of Opportunity

Saturday, May 01, 2010

This past Friday morning the Arizona legislature passed Senate bill 1070 which furthers the hostility against illegal immigrants in the state of Arizona. This bill has already been met with extreme criticism and rightfully so. SB1070 is a serious affront to America's image as a land of opportunity. The bill reinforces a lot of Arizona's current harsh immigration laws as well as adding a couple new provisions. The bill triples the fine for hiring illegal immigrants; however, it also provides legitimacy to racist acts. SB1070 allows police officers to stop and arrest illegal immigrants without a warrant. The bill also forces identification to be carried around at all time as proof of citizenship.

Since our nation's inception people have come to the US in search for a better life. People should be welcomed and legalization should be made easier in the process of becoming an American citizen. Instead, Jan Brewer and the Arizona Senate has decided to criminalize immigration explicitly ostracizing Mexican-Americans many of whom have lived here for a long time and would do anything to be an American citizen. Crime is one thing, but this isn't the case with the average "illegal" immigrant. Most work very hard and support our economy as much if not more than the average citizen. The next step should be giving access to citizenship including legitimate social security information to make it easier for current illegal immigrants to pay taxes and further help the economy. However, the Senate out of touch with the issue has decided it best for Arizona to spend resources on jailing and booting immigrants from the the US despite the fact that many have no place to go and call Arizona home.

I did a little bit of research on the issue of the Arizona economy and if illegal immigrants were really harming it that badly. This is what I found:

Tough immigration law forced 100,000 immigrants to leave the state of Arizona in 2008 (still perhaps only 1/6th of illegal population), yet the economy did not improve. Furthermore, Unemployment actually increased significantly in Arizona. I have spent months of my life in Mexico and while in Arizona have known several immigrants whether they are illegal or not does not concern me because more importantly they are people and should be treated as such. Aside from my experience, the facts go against this legislation and is something the Arizona Senate needs to come to grips with. It is no coincidence that in just that last couple of days over 1 Million people have already joined in protest of the new Arizona immigration law on facebook.

US Department of Labor provides statistics for Arizona's Economy: