Monday, March 29, 2010

Final Four is set

The 2010 NCAA Final Four in Indianapolis is all set. It will include Duke, West Virginia, Butler, and Michigan State. Butler will be playing in its home city six miles away from its campus. If they were to win they would be the first mid major to win a national title and it would change the college basketball landscape forever. Duke has returned to prominence as a usual national contender and they may even be the team to restore order to college basketball. Michigan State, although they are a low seed, always seems to make noise come March and them winning the title would not be a surprise and given how strong the Big East has been it would almost be be appropriate if they won.

Personally, for anyone to make the case there is parity in college basketball it would necessitate Butler winning. With all the excitement that March Madness brings one of the top contenders usually rises to the top but a mid major winning the title would change that.

Spring holiday time

This last week of March begins yet another spring holiday season. I always enjoy being able to celebrate Easter and Passover at the same time of the year. They are usually intertwined with various March/April sporting events like Opening Day, the Masters, the NCAA Final Four in both basketball and hockey. They are both low key holidays that don't usually require travel, extensive food and party preparation, and are not spread out over a long period of time (i.e.) the holiday season. The weather usually cooperates as well. Whatever you celebrate, Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and happy spring.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Reaction to healthcare passage

While this is an exciting time in United States history and I am especially glad to be living in DC while this is all happening. However I may not be feeling the same way if I was on the other side. The anger by those that are upset about the reforms scare me a lot. One can only wonder whether it is setting the stage for a more volatile movement then the TEA party. Maybe you can actually wait and see how this is going to affect the system before starting to threaten lawmakers and their families with violence and death threats. Do any of them realize that they are actually committing a criminal offense?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Jefferson Jackson dinner

I went to the Jefferson Jackson dinner with the Arlington Young Democrats for the first time this past weekend in Richmond,VA. It wasn't the marquee event that it has been in years past but there were some great (and humorous speeches) particularly by keynote Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Best of all, I got to have a fun time with all of my AYD friends and we took some great pictures too. We were even intrigued by some of the historic monuments near the State Capitol building.

March Madness lives up to the hype

The first weekend of March Madness did not go to form by any means. The overall number one seed, Kansas got knocked out in the second round and Cornell made it to the Sweet 16. There were several buzzer beater games and my pool took a little hit (like everyone else). However Ohio State is still alive and there is still a possibility for one prediction to come true-Evan Turner appears on "One Shining Moment".

Healthcare-law of the land

The House passed the Senate version of the health care reform bill yesterday making comprehensive health care reform the law of the land. This is very exciting and historic given how hard the Democrats have fought for this for years and even harder for the past year. Given that Ted Kennedy fought his entire career for this and watch it finally happen was really special. Most importantly, President Obama campaigned on the platform of hope and change on his way to the White House. While the American people waited, sometimes impatiently, for this we are starting to see the wheels of change in motion with the passing of this historic legislation.

No one know how the politics are going to play out in November or how this will affect the lives of Americans in the next decade but I feel there will be a shift away from the early prognostications. I also believe it will improve the lives of all Americans. Yes we can!!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

March Madness

As mentioned in my last post, Andover High Girls basketball team played on Saturday and won. As for more on the big March Madness, here are my picks.

Kansas, Duke, Kentucky and Syracuse got the four number one seeds with Kansas getting the top overall seed. My picks for the Final Four are West Virginia, Kansas, Duke and Syracuse despite Syracuse's lackluster conference tournament. Kansas has the most difficult road to the Final Four with Ohio State and Georgetown in their region but like many experts, I feel they have the most complete team to come out of this bracket and make it to Indianapolis.

As for Ohio State, the committee was not exactly sold on them neither giving them a number one seed but putting them in the region with a hot Georgetown team and the top seed of Kansas. If they wind up coming out of this region (particularly over Georgetown and Kansas), the Final Four berth will be well earned.

What I like best about the tournament is that every game has the same stakes, whether it is the first round game or the national title, if you let down your guard the season is over. If I were a coach I would treat each game with the same intensity and preparation. Many may remember how close Kansas came to losing to Holy Cross in 2002.

Having said all of this, this year's field is wide open and I am expecting a lot of surprises. Let the Madness begin!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Andover High Girls Basketball

No matter where you go, you never forget home. This weekend the Andover High girls basketball team will be playing in the state championship in Worcester, MA. The program began their success while I was in high school and have consistently been one of the best teams in Massashusetts year after year. They won the state title in 2003 and have played in the title game 4 times. This is when the alumni "come back" and relive their high school days. Unfortunately that is a sacrifice you make when moving to another part of the country. I will be cheering in spirit. Lets go Andover!!

Kansas City Schools closing

The Kansas City Public School system will be closing almost half of their schools in light of budget problems. While laying off teachers or compromising books and other educational materials is not the best way to solve the problem, I hope they have significant statistics to deal with a decrease in population to back up this decision otherwise they are going to be dealing with severe overcrowding and potentially greater loss of students (and citizens) as they will look for alternatives, which could include moving to other municipalities and/or finding the means to go to private, parochial or charter schools.

Great AYD Date Auction

I am decompressing from a successful Arlington Young Democrats (AYD) Date Auction last night. We had an great turnout and raised plenty of money, half of which goes towards the Arlington Food Assistance Center. There were several people there that I knew from other circles that were very pleased with the organization, entertainment, and atmosphere (some of whom it was their first AYD event). I am sure it will give the rest of the year a lot of momentum especially for other events and groups (like the Careers and Networking Group). Thanks to everyone who organized, volunteered, and attended. Special shout outs to Gordon, Lauren, and Brian for taking the lead on the event. This now adds to the people that get shout outs on my blog.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Nomar Garciparra retires

Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra retired today. He signed a one day contract so that he retired as a Red Sox. I am pleased about that but it will always feel a little empty that we had to give up our most popular player to put in place the team that would win the 2004 World Series and their first in 86 years. If nothing else, he was a major part of a winning tradition that planted the seeds for that incredible run.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Shooting at Pentagon Station

Last night a deranged man fired shots at the Pentagon Metro Station/Transit Center last evening injuring two offers. The gunman himself died. As crazy as it was how I found out about it was even more crazy.

I was coming back from the gym to my apartment (not taking the normal route as I had to go to the bank ATM) and ran into a friend of mine who does not live in my neighborhood on a street corner. When I asked him what I was doing he told me that he heard shots while waiting for his bus at the Pentagon and he ran from the area and was looking for a cab to get home. I inviting him back to my place to get a cold drink and watch news updates. We then grabbed dinner at a nearby diner. It was disturbing for me as it was the first time I had seen someone after they witnessed a violent crime. All of us are okay so that is what matters. Credit to law enforcement for quick action and even sacrifcing their personal safety in defense of the most important military institution in the nation.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kid in control tower

An air traffic controller brought his kid into the control tower at JFK Aiport a few weeks ago and not only did he stay up there he gave instructions to flights taking off (with the aid of his father). This is really scary that a kid would have some level of control over flight operations. This was bad judgement on the father's part and he should be disciplined if not fired. This is a matter of airplane safety and a child should have no part in the operation.

Great first AYD Careers and Networking event

I had a great first AYD Careers and Networking event on Tuesday evening. I mainly introduced the group, got some advice on what attendees would be looking for, I previewed upcoming events, and gave attendees the opportunity to review their resumes. I am going to have events with other professionals but for now this is a great start. We even got a press inquiry which did not pan out but exceeded all of our expectations. Thanks to AYD and our chapter president Gordon for giving me the green light to organize this group.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Earthquake in Chile

Another earthquake disaster struck the Western Hemisphere this time in Chile. It was an 8.8 magnitude that set off tsunami warning across the Pacific. This was the largest earthquake I can remember. I had a friend who studied there and I can relate to a tragedy in a place that is special to you like that. Fortunately the nation is much more prepared for earthquakes. The best donation opportunity is to the American Red Cross at