Monday, February 28, 2011

The Curious Case of Belize's Independence

Belize gained independence from Britain, its colonial overseer, in 1981. The independence movement in Belize, which had its first seeds planted in the wake of a devastating hurricane in 1931 in which the British government did not provide adequate assistance, truly began in 1950 when the British devalued the Belize dollar.

So why did Belize miss the wave of independence that swept across Africa and Asia throughout the 1950s and 1960s? The reason was that Guatemala claimed the entirety of Belize as its own. If the British withdrew, Guatemala's powerful U.S.-backed military would sweep into Belize and take the land for its own.

The dispute began in the wake of an 1859 treaty between Britain and Guatemala. Britain believed the treaty was of a boundary variety while the Guatemalans believed it was one of cession. Britain wanted to grant Belize, called British Honduras before 1973, independence, but was willing to cede some land to Guatemala to quell any impetus for invasion.

Belize's leaders, such as George Price, demanded independence with the entirety of Belize in tact. They also wanted a sustained British defense guarantee. The British were reluctant to defend the Belizeans against a potential Guatemalan invasion.

Finally, through a policy of gaining support from such international organizations as CARICOM and the non-aligned movement, Price was able to convince Britain to grant full independence to Belize and guard its sovereignty in 1981. Though the Guatemalan land claim issue has been sidelined, even now, it isn't closed.
(More at The HQT- IE)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Amar'e vs. Carmelo

I must admit that I wasn't thrilled when the Knicks signed Amar'e. I felt a little better when he turned out to be a Jew. I felt even better when he turned out to be a better player than I expected.

I continue to be impressed with Amar'e. Watch the interview he and Carmelo did with ESPN today. When asked about bringing a championship to New York, look at the reactions of Amar'e and Carmelo. Carmelo says, "It's my job," behind a well-placed smile. You get the feeling Carmelo would've given the same answer if he was in Minnesota. It was a rehearsed response.

Amar'e's was not. His eyes sparkled thinking about the prospect of a Knicks championship. I know that expression. As a teenager, I remember making the same face upon dreaming of a potential title for the Knicks. Amar'e gets it. Carmelo doesn't... yet.

Further proof that Amar'e gets it comes from tonight's game against Miami. Amar'e took just 14 shots. He made 8 for an efficient shooting night. Amar'e sacrificed his numbers for the good of the team. He added the game-saving block of LeBron late in the fourth quarter. Carmelo had a good game. But he still only shot 10-22 from the field, his best as a Knick. He's now 29-69 with the Knicks in three games, a 42.0% mark. He has only six total assists. Thank G-d for Chauncey Billups!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I'm thrilled the Knicks traded for Chauncey Billups. This is a guy who understands what it takes to win basketball games. He knows that his ppg average is not the sole arbiter of a winning basketball team. Then there's Carmelo Anthony.

Even just one of three things would make me happier about the Knicks acquisition of Carmelo.
1) If he passed the fucking ball to the open man once in a while,
2) If he played a modicum of defense,
3) If he turned out to be a secret Jew like Amar'e.

In his first two games as a Knicks, Carmelo has shot 19-47 from the field for a 1950s-like 40.4%. In those two games, he has all of four assists. He's shooting 45% from the field this season. Wait, I thought he was a good post player, how is he shooting so poorly? Is it because he'd rather take a tough shot than pass to an open teammate with a better shooting percentage? Yes.

For now I'll take a wait and see approach. But there's been a lot of talk about whether or not pairing two superstars makes for a title-contending team. It depends on the players. LeBron doesn't mind deferring to Wade. Wade will pass to LeBron if he has to. When Carmelo was teamed with Iverson, neither wanted to pass to the other and the Nuggets never made it out of the first round with the duo.

If Carmelo learns to be unselfish, the Knicks will win. If not, my Mays will be a lot less nerve-wracking.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I Hear Your Cry, My Children

Fellow citizens, I know you're upset. You say you are fed up with my tyrannical rule. You call me a dictator. You say I come up with arbitrary decrees and unilaterally force them upon the populace without regard to consequences. I can hear you, my people.

What you have failed to understand is that words hurt. Didn't your mothers ever tell you, if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all? If you keep saying not-nice things, maybe I will have to start teaching your mothers about manners.

Protests rage in Liberation Quadrilateral (that's what I get for hiring a cheap construction company). You may not see it, but I do; you are simply acting like rebellious teenagers. Though you might say otherwise, you love me as the benevolent decision-maker that I am. While I am a forgiving man, sometimes your children, even though you love them so much, need to be beaten by hired thugs on horses to get the picture. I understand and accept this.

Today's decrees
Those hired thugs on horses are simply shows of spontaneous support for my regime. I thank them in advance. And I ask for peace and unity.

My The Tiny Teal Book will be 20% off from now until Monday.

Everyone must clear Liberation Quadrilateral within 48 hours so that we can try to turn it into a Square; this is just embarrassing. Even Bahrain is making fun of us.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Recap of the 2011 Dunk Contest

My rule for the dunk contest is that if I can do it on an 8-foot hoop, it's not that impressive. I can jump halfway over the hood of a car, grab an 8-foot tall rim and swing over the rest of the hood. Thus, Blake Griffin's car dunk wasn't that impressive. I can do JaVale McGee's pitty pat double dunk after 12 tries. That one wasn't so inpressive either. Neither was his triple dunk.

Both men did have very impressive dunks though. The best dunk of the night was McGee's reverse windmill. He had to duck his head so it wouldn't hit the backboard while performing the reverse windmill at the same time. Griffin's spin dunk was incredible. I stood up when he first missed. But the initial miss didn't damper the make as was the case with virtually every other missed dunk performed last Saturday night. Though his elbow dunk was a rip off of Vince Carter's, I couldn't do it on an 8 foot hoop.

Serge Ibaka's free throw dunk was also nice. He's much taller than MJ and Dr. J, so it's less impressive that their free throw line dunks, but still, I can't do that on any size rim. I thought his teddy bear dunk was great, but he needed to make it on the first try for the skit to work. DeMar DeRozan was also there.

There needs to be a rule that if you make a dunk, that's it. If you're going for three and one goes in, your turn is over.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

NBA Coaches Draft

Scores are based on career points per game in the NBA among current NBA coaches. Starters count x 1.5.

Doug Collins 17.9 (x 1.5) = 26.9
Scott Skiles 11.1 (x 1.5) = 16.7
Byron Scott 14.1 (x 1.5) = 21.2
Alvin Gentry 0 (x 1.5) = 0
Avery Johnson 8.4 (x 1.5) = 12.6
Tom Thibodeau 0
Kurt Rambis 5.2
Nate McMillan 5.9
George Karl 2.6
Flip Saunders 0

Raw score: 65.2
Final score: 91.1

Doc Rivers 10.9 (x 1.5) = 16.4
Paul Westphal 15.6 (x 1.5) = 23.4
Vinny Del Negro 9.1 (x 1.5) = 13.7
Paul Silas 9.4 (x 1.5) = 14.1
Rick Adelman 7.7 (x 1.5) = 11.6
Monty Williams 6.3
Larry Drew 11.4
Tyrone Corbin 9.2
Lionel Hollins 11.6
Keith Smart 1.0

Raw Score: 92.2
Final Score: 118.7

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tshombe Witchcraft

I went searching for a speech by Moise Tshmobe, the former leader of secessionist Katanga region in the Democratic Republic of Congo and later prime minister, on YouTube because I was reading about him recently. Instead, I got one of the worst news reports I've ever seen in my life.

A journalist's job is to report on a subject and hopefully put it into context. This ABC News report on children accused of witchcraft in the Democratic Republic of Congo in May of 2009 fell far short of journalism.

The reporter doesn't put the belief in child witchcraft into perspective at all. Instead, he belittles the participants in the story. He moralizes. He chastizes the pastor for commiting "child abuse" whin the name of Jesus. The reporter asks, "You're wearing a picture of Jesus Christ on your robe here, do you think he'd approve of what you're doing?"

That question angered me like none other. A little "child abuse" is nothing compared to the what has been done in Jesus's name throughout history. Yet, the reporter believes he has the right to decide what is and is not appropriate to carry out in Jesus's name. That is not a reporter's job. it also shows a cultural arrogance and general ignorance on the reporter's part.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Single Mothers

I'm glad that Americans are coming to accept same sex parents, but what is this bullshit about single motherhood still being rejected by most Americans? America is filled with a bunch of sexist assholes.

It's true that single mothers tend to head lower income households. That might be because women are paid less than men for doing the same job. It doesn't help that women's ability to rise up the ranks is also often stunted by the ever-present glass ceiling.

There is nothing wrong with being raised by a single mother as my brother and I anecdotally show. The issue is class. my brother and I were raised in a middle class single mother household. We are both college educated and have never been in trouble. Our jobs involve helping people. Whether in a single mother household or one that has two parents, kids that grow up in lower income environments are more at risk to be in trouble and have less chance of graduating from college.

There is nothing fundamentally better about having a father than not having a father. What if the father is a bad guy? His presence will likely have a destructive effect on the children. In that case, a single mother is a better option than two parents. That wasn't the case for me, my dad was a good guy, but I'm still not convinced that being raised by two parents would have impacted my life in a more positive way than being raised by a single mother.

So America needs to shove their sexist preconceptions of single motherhood right up their assholes.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My Vision

I can see it. Throngs of peaceful protestors flood Tahrir Square in the heart of Baghdad. Saddam Hussein is trying everything to desperately cling on to power: American teargas, hired thugs, speeches filled with promises. But the spirit and the determination of the Iraqi protestors will not be broken.

Think of all the lives that would not have been lost.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Zayde

I've gotten a chance to spend more time with my zayde since my father died. My momala reluctantly allows me to go with him while he's on business. I'm not sure what he does, but I know he's important. My friends at school sometimes say he's scary and there are kids at school who stay away from me because of him. But, if people are respectful to my zayde, he's respectful to them. He tells me, "Avrum, you should always be respectful."

Last week, I went on a trip with my zayde while he was on business. He met a tall skinny man with glasses. The man's face was very wrinkly and he kept rubbing his hands. Sweat dripped down his face. He spoke, "Mr. Goldstein, it is a pleasure to finally meet with you." My zayde laughed, "You don't know that yet, Mr. Braumowitz. Now what has brought you here to see me today?" My zayde's face made it seem like he already knew the answer. But he sat back in his chair and waited for Mr. Braumowitz to speak.

"Well Mr. Goldstein, sir, my wife is very sick. It's her liver." Mr. Braumowitz tried not to cry. My zayde lit a cigarette and stared towards the ceiling. "It's failing. Something must be done soon or I will lose her. I cannot go on without her, you see. Do you think you can help, Mr. Goldstein?"

My zayde took another puff from his cigarette. The smoke drifted into my face, even though I was sitting behind my zayde and to his right. I coughed. He turned and rubbed behind my head. "My business is to help, Mr. Braumowitz. An arrangement I believe we can strike." Mr. Braumowitz's face showed a huge smile. "Oh thank you so much. You truly are a mensch, Mr. Goldstein." He kissed my zayde's hand. "You don't know that yet, Mr. Braumowitz. But I think we can make a deal. We'll come to you. Good day."

That was a very different scene than the trip I went on a month ago. That man was not so nice to my zayde. He called my zayde a crook. That man said my zayde played with human lives like a Nazi. My zayde didn't like that much,"I try to help you and you talk back to me! You think you're a bad man? You're not a bad man. I'm a bad man!" Then, my zayde smacked the man, who didn't seem so old. Two of my zayde's friends dragged the man out of the room while he was screaming and kicking.

I asked my zayde if he was a bad man. My zayde said that he wasn't. I told him, "But you told that mean man that you were a bad man." My zayde picked me up. "Avrum, my puchkala, I'm not a bad man. I like to help people. But if I'm trying to help someone and they show disrespect, then I am a bad man." That made sense to me. I asked him why people would not be nice if he was trying to help them. "Because Avrum, people don't appreciate. Always be appreciative."

My zayde had to be a bad man on another occasion. It was in October, I think. Another man who didn't look old was not being nice to my zayde. He didn't give my zayde what he owed him. My zayde didn't like that. He whispered to the man, "Fuck you. Fuck your family. Fuck everyone you've ever talked to." My zayde thought for a second and said, "Besides me," as he smacked the mean man in the face. The man fell. Then, my zayde's two friends stomped on the mean man until he didn't move anymore. They picked him up and carried him away.

I love my zayde. I hope I can go on more trips with him. But I hope he doesn't have to be a bad man anymore. I hope people are more respectful and appreciative that my zayde is trying to help them.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My CL Scandal with a Congressperson

I had my own scandal when a congressperson answered my Craigslist personal ad.

Date: Friday, January 14, 2011, 2:41 PM
Subject: Will Someone Prove To Me Not All CL Women Look Like Toads - 29 (DMV)


Hope I'm not a toad. :) i'm a very fit fun classy gal. Live in Cap Hill area. 38-24-37. 49 yrs.. Lobbyist. I promise not to disappoint.

Date: Friday, January 14, 2011 9:57PM

Hot pic. Are you sure that's not a photo from a Jcpenney ad?


Lol…no…Here.. I just took one..i'm relaxing at home. Hope you like it.


Holy shit! Thanks! So do you always send shirtless pics to men from cl?

After a few more email exhanges where the woman told me that she was "divorced with five children," I decided to do a Google search for the woman, named "Michele Bachmann."

Turns out she lied about her age, occupation, and marital status. But I'm keeping that glorious topless photo for myself!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Finally, A Resignation

Crowds in Egypt have been protesting boisterously. Rumors of a resignation swirled earlier in the day. And then, finally, after decades of autocratic rule, a tyrant resigned. Jerry Sloan resigned as coach of the Utah Jazz.

Sloan apparently feuded with his general manager Kevin O'Connor and his star player Deron Williams. Sloan, a gritty player, made the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 2009 despite only making two NBA Finals during his 23 year career as head coach of the Jazz.

But Hosni Mubarak defiantly hangs on. Mubarak is apparently a little more oblivious than Jerry Sloan.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Correction: An Ugly Rumor

My fellow citizens, I have been informed by my Washington-based PR firm, Weinberger & Brack, that I do not in fact eat people because they're delicious. In fact, I've been told that I don't eat people at all. So there you go.

Also, remember to buy my The Tiny Teal Book available at for $12.95. You can also get it for less from eBay, but it's a felony to sell The Tiny Teal Book or buy it for less than full price, so maybe you shouldn't do that.

Quotations from The Tiny Teal Book
"Ask not what your country can do for you you selfish motherfucker."

"The greatest gift you can give your nation is a bunch of hot daughters."

"Work will set you free. A lot of work. Like a lifetime's worth."

"Don't bite the hand that feeds you... unless it's delicious."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

An Ugly Rumor

A vicious rumor that holds absolutely no validity has been spreading about me, my dear citizens. People have claimed that your Dear and Fearless Leader eats people who disagree with him politically. Let me repeat, that is simply not true! I eat people because they're delicious. Political bent has nothing to do with it. It's absurd to think it does.

Remember, my The Tiny Teal Book is still on sale at all locations for $12.95.

Quotations from The Tiny Teal Book
"You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. Especially when you're playing cards with me; I'm a sore loser with a lot of power."

"I'm going to Disney Land... thanks to your hard earned tax dollars. It's great to be in charge!"

Some say 'luck is when preparation meets opportunity.' I say luck is being next person in the buffet line when I feel full."

Monday, February 07, 2011

Top 5 QBs and RBs Now

This list takes more into account than one pass, one game, or even one season. But it's not a list one the best who happen to be active. It also isn't a prediction of what will happen either. Injuries are not ignored. The previous list was posted on February 18, 2010.

Quarterbacks (Previous Rank)
1. Peyton Manning (1)
2. Tom Brady (3)
3. Drew Brees (2)
4. Michael Vick (NR)
5. Aaron Rogers (NR)

Running Backs
1. Adrian Peterson (1)
2. Chris Johnson (2)
3. Ray Rice (NR)
4. Jamaal Charles (NR)
5. Arian Foster (NR)

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Recap

The Green Bay Packers won their 4th Super Bowl and their first since 1997. The defeated the Steelers 31-25. Turnovers told the story. The Steelers committed three while the Packers gave up none. All three Steelers turnovers were converted into Packer touchdowns.

The Packers were the first to break through, driving down the field and scoring a touchdown. On the next possession, Roethlisberger was hit as he threw, which resulted in a Collins interception returned for another touchdown. It was 21-3 with the first half winding down. The Packers scored another touchdown off of another Roethlisberger interception. The Steelers were able to march down the field on the strength of the running game to cut the halftime lead to 21-10 in favor of the Packers.

The Steelers grabbed momentum early in the second half. A TD drive made a 21-17 game. The Packers were showing nerves. They were making dumb plays as when Williams smacked a Steeler in the head during a punt. Pittsburgh was driving in for the go ahead score. At the outset of the 4th quarter, Mendenhaal fumbled. The Packers drove for another touchdown.

Down 28-17 with 12 minutes to go in the game, Pittsburgh didn't give in. The came right back and Roethlisberger hit Wallace for a 25 yard touchdown pass. The Steelers converted the 2 point attempt on an option play.

But the Packers offense staged another methodical drive. it was remarkable in that they struggled to run the ball all game long. Green Bay could only muster a field goal and with two minutes left, The Steelers had one last chance, down 31-25.

A dumb penalty on Fox was an inauspicious start to the potential championship-winning drive. Things didn't get much better from there and after only one first down, the Steelers turned the ball over on downs to cap their season. Aaron Rodgers was the Super Bowl MVP with 304 yards passing and 3 TDs.

The best commercial was the Reply All ad. The worst was the Tibet one, which was just offensive.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Preview

2) Pittsburgh Steelers 14-4 vs. 6) Green Bay Packers 13-6

Recent Super Bowl History
The Steelers are making their third Super Bowl since 2006. They are 2-0 in those games. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is starting in his third. Head coach Mike Tomlin is leading his team to their second Super Bowl. The Packers haven't made the Super Bowl since 1998 and don't have a player who has won an NFL championship on the roster.

How They Got Here
Overcoming Roethlisberger's 4 game suspension at the outset of the year, the Steelers have been a title contender throughout the season. They rely on their hardnosed defense, tough running game, and on their quarterback's propensity to make a big play in the clutch.

The Packers were one of the favorites in the NFC at the beginning of the year. But the loss of starting running Ryan Grant proved a tough hurdle for much of the season. The Packers needed a last season surge to creep into the playoffs, where they've won three road games and have looked impressive. Green Bay has a high-flying passing assault and a very underrated defense that is no stranger to making big plays.

How the Game Will Shape Up
I'm counting on this game being a defensive struggle. For the Packers, cornerback Charles Woodson can change a game on a corner blitz. He's Green Bay's answer to Troy Polamalu, the defensive player of the year. The Packers do not contain a running game, which will free up Polamalu to make plays against the Packers' passing attack.

The Steelers' low-risk running game and Roethlisberger's calm under fire could very well carry the day. Limiting turnovers will be the key objective in a game with two great defenses. The Steelers are more prepared to do so. That the Packers cannot move the ball on the ground should be their undoing.

To win my family pool for the entire season (I'm down by 1) I need the Steelers to win (or at least lose by fewer than 2.5). To win the tie-breaker, both teams need to score fewer than 39.5 points combined. I believe it will happen as Pittsburgh will win 21-14.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Donald Rumsfeld's Memoir

Here are a few excerpts from Donald Rumsfeld's memoir: Do I Have Any Regrets? Read and Find Out

from page 1: Did I enjoy my time in my mother's uterus? It's difficult to say. Was it difficult to pass through my mother's vagina? Could be.

from page 128: Was my first time engaging in sexual relations a success? It depends how you define success. Did I bite her too much? Perhaps. Did I ejaculate far too quickly? That part is hazy. Was it a miserable experience for all involved? This is not the time to point fingers.

from page 374: Was the war in Iraq woefully mismanaged? It's possible. Was it tantamount to a crime to send U.S. soldiers into battle without proper body armor? It's easy to make accusations. Did I know all of the intricacies of Iraq before the invasion? No one can know everything. Could I have hired competent people to carry out the war? What's done is done. Was the torture perpetrated at Abu Ghraib a stain on the idea of America? It's a less than stellar metaphor. If I had to run the Iraq war again, would I do anything differently? No one gets a redo.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The Egypt Crisis's Forgotten Victims

With the protests in Egypt turning violent as detractors and supporters of Hosni Mubarak battle for power, a forgotten victim has emerged. As the future of Mubarak's reign lays in wait, few seem to be concerned about a group sure to be heavily impacted by the crisis.

By way of generalization, Hosni Mubarak biographers are an educated bunch. But don't let that fool you into thinking that they have a variety of skills. They don't. They know about one subject- expertly so- and that's Hosni Mubarak.

"Whether or not a person is in power when you make a contract to write a book amounts to a $10,000 difference with regards to the advance," says Mubarak biographer Mahmoud Ahmed. Ahmed believes that the advance for his next book on Mubarak, his fifth on the subject, will be significantly less if Mubarak should be ousted from power.

"If Mubarak is no longer in charge of Egypt, who will care that he had two scrambled eggs, a piece of rye toast, and pulpy orange juice for breakfast on November 16, 1986? No one. It would become irrelevant," says another Mubarak biographer, James Kennedy, "And that's what my next book was supposed to be about! All 823 pages of it."

The most dire case of all Mubarak biographers belongs to Jessica Al-Farooq-Berg. Her first book on Mubarak is due out this coming Tuesday. "If he's still in power next Tuesday, my kids will eat, because people will still be interested." Al-Farooq-Berg continues, "If he's gone by then, my family's doomed, because no one will care about Mubarak anymore. He'd be yesterday's news."

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Hosni Mubarak's Latest Speech

Editor's note: Here is an exclusive look at Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak's most recent speech in the wake of mass protests against his rule.

I've offered to leave at the end of my term just to appease you. You've rejected me. You want me out. My heart sheds a thousands tears at the prospect of leaving you. A day without you would be more painful than a million filled with torture.

We've been together for these past 30 years. They have been the best 30 years of my life. Every one of those nights, in my dreams, I've seen you, I've felt you. How do I get through one night without you? If I had to live without you, what kind of life would that be?

You've asked me to leave. But every day with you has been special. I remember when we first came together. Life was beautiful then. I remember that time I knew what happiness was. Let the memory live again. But you wish it would die. If I have to sacrifice, if I have to take apart, all that I am, there isn't anything I would not do, because I would die without you.

But the protests keep mounting. Nothing I seem to say will bring you back to me. I go out every night and sleep all day since you took your love away. I feel so lost without you. I feel so sad, I don't know what to do.

Tell me how to win your heart for I haven't got a clue. But let me start by saying, "I love you."

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Internal Revolutions over U.S. Invasions

The recent developments in Egypt, Tunisia, and Sudan show that the people of those countries are strong. They don't need the United States to determine their political futures for them. As a result, the path of those countries is likely to be healthier- especially Egypt and Tunisia- than Iraq's or Afghanistan's. Internal revolutions are always more positive than foreign impositions. The reason has to do with legitimacy. More than freedom, democracy, or capitalism, legitimacy is the primary factor as to whether a political entity will succeed. Popular internal movements provide legitimacy, not foreign invasions.