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An old Cherokee chief is teaching his grandson about life:

“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves.

“One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, self-doubt, and ego.

“The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope,

serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.

“This same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”

What a difference a week makes. Just last week I was trumpeting Lesnar as the greatest thing since sliced bread, an outlier, a one-of-a-kind athlete that put all other athletes to shame. I praised Lesnar’s ability to come back to fighting after five years off and destroy someone of Mark Hunt’s ilk. I commended Lesnar for his business acumen and mentioned how much money he stood to make after merging the two worlds of real and fake fighting. I said all of thesethings right before it was announced that Lesnar had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Though it is currently unclear what Lesnar tested positive for, it has been reported to be an estrogen blocker.

What a fall from grace. He had inserted himself into the heavyweight title picture once again, could you imagine someone holding the WWE championship and the UFC championship at the same time? Lesnar famously said that “Brock Lesnar does what Brock Lesnar wants” after the Hunt fight, apparently he thought that extended to failing drug tests.

One thing that always baffles me is how unwilling the public is to seeing how big of a problem performance enhancing drugs are in all sports. Fans like to think that the people that get caught are the only ones cheating, but how many professional athletes would cheat if they knew they were going to get caught? The ones who get caught were either too stupid to get away with it or their “Doctor” prescribed them something s/he shouldn’t have. Are people really that naive to think that Lesnar just happened to cheat for the first time this fight, just happened to cheat before a fight that wasn’t as important as his title opportunities or defenses? Either way, Lesnar got caught and now he will likely never make another return to the cage.

The interesting part is whether or not WWE decides to suspend him for 30 days as they always do for people who violate the wellness policy. It wasn’t a test that they administered, and I am not sure of the legalities in their contracts with talent, but I’d imagine they have to suspend him even though it would mean his absence from their second biggest show every year, Summerslam. Lesnar is a prideful man, does he even want to return to the WWE and risk getting negative reactions from the often hostile WWE crowds? Only Brock knows, I guess. The WWE fans are hard to predict, and with Brock being such a fan favorite it would be hard to imagine him getting jeered while in the ring, but at the same time it is hard to imagine a person who took steroids not get jeered while in the ring.

When asked about steroids prior to UFC 200, Lesnar said he was a “jacked white boy, deal with it”, but I guess he should’ve been more specific. Maybe “I am a jacked white boy who takes performance enhancers, deal with it” is what he is telling Vince McMahon right now.

Good luck with that, Brock.

takingsidesRecently, it was announced that Mike Grebe – the head of the Bradley Foundation – is not only poised to leave the Bradley Foundation, he also decided to give up his delegate position at the upcoming RNC convention.

To be clear, Mike Grebe is one of the most influential individuals in the Republican Party leading the conservative charge across the United States of America. Grebe, together with big donors like the Koch Brothers, are ultimately responsible for placing mediocre, incompetent, easily controllable people in offices and legislators, financing and supporting ultra right organizations; such as ALEC, and finally imposing their own vision of reality on the American people while retaining and accumulating wealth for themselves and in the hands of the few regardless of the negative impact on the many.

Using the resources made available by the Bradley Foundation, Mike Grebe became the lifeline of financial support to innumerable conservative organizations who agreed to impose their vision of America, and directly or indirectly supported organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council – which develops extreme conservative legislation that puppet Legislators across the nation then seek to implement.

Also, directly or indirectly, Grebe has advanced the control of the Republican Party across governors, legislators, at all levels of government.

It was Mike Grebe who propelled to office individuals such as Scott Walker, Reince Priebus, Paul Ryan, Ron Johnson, and many others whose job is to advance the extreme conservative initiatives and corpoarte welfare practices that they are being told to advance.

To sum it up, Mike Grebe, together with other big donors like the Koch Brothers, are the shadowy culprits of the extreme conservative agenda and vision of reality being imposed by the Republican Party and its minions across the entire United States.

This same agenda has been causing the Republican Party to move away from its Lincoln roots. The emergence of Donald Trump as an anti-establishment candidate from within the Republican Party has upset all of Grebe’s plans.

No matter whether Trump wins or losses the general elections, the Republican Party’s mask has come off and the Republican Party as an organization as been exposed as the party of ineptness.

Average Republicans are angry. Change will not come easy for the Republican Party because their masters do not want to let go the practices that have allowed them to accumulate immense wealth at the expense of the rest of the population.

Moderate Republicans across the United States are angry at the establishments rigging of the economy, protecting the rich with unrestricted Tax Credits and corporate welfare without relation to job creation. At the same time radical Republican Trump supporters criticize those receiving public assistance, promote small government while maintaining a permanent state of fear and war that benefits specific special interest groups. The extreme elements of the Republican Party advance policies that prevent upward social mobility and which accumulate capital in the hands of the affluent few at the expense of the majority of the people.

Mike Grebe did well in giving up his delegate seat. Moderate and Independent Republicans across the nation have deeply rejected the policies and candidates Mike Grebe and his power elite have advocated for and placed in power. Mike Grebe knows perfectly well that if he went to the RNC convention he would have likely been called out and he would have had to face the public scorn of the Trump delegates and moderate Republicans as the quintessential representative of the Republican establishment.

Mike Grebe was probably advised that he would be confronted at the RNC convention. He did well to leave the Bradley Foundation as in the future this organization will likely face the wrath of Republicans across the nation for what they have done to average Republicans and the rest of the US population.

It is individuals such as Grebe, the Koch Brothers, Susan Hendricks and others who have placed incompetent yet easily controllable people such as Scott walker in office in order to have their agenda advanced and imposed on the rest of the populations.

One GOP official told me that “Republicans across the nation are revolting against the corruption, elitism, and racism advanced by Mike Grebe, the Koch Brothers, and the people they placed in power”.

When the Republican Party losses the presidency and the general elections, it does not have to look any further than Mike Grebe to blame. Donald Trump is but the representation of angry and disenfranchised white Republicans. Of course, Mike Grebe and the big donors are crying all the way to the offshore bank accounts about this.

The US separated from England because of the elite power England was imposing on the colonies. Grebe’s people seek to do the same as England had done and they have been doing it for a long time. Mike Grebe is no fool; he knows very well that the deterioration of the Republican Party away from its true Lincoln roots has been caused greatly by his actions and money through others. So rather than face the music for what he has done all these years, he has decided to run.

Manifestaciones contra la violencia policial han sacudido Estados Unidos tras el reciente asesinato por parte de la policía de dos hombres afroestadounidenses: Alton Sterling en Louisiana y Philando Castile en Minnesota. Las imágenes en video de sus asesinatos, registradas por ocasionales testigos y publicadas en Internet, provocaron el espanto de millones de personas en todo el mundo. Sin embargo, quienes filman la violencia policial afrontan cada vez más persecución, acoso, detención e, incluso, la cárcel.

El 5 de julio de 2016, Alton Sterling estaba vendiendo CDs frente a la tienda de un amigo en Baton Rouge, Louisiana, cuando la policía lo embistió y lo mató de un disparo. El propietario de la tienda, Abdullah Muflahi, filmó lo ocurrido con su teléfono celular y contó lo que vio ese día en el programa Democracy Now!:

“Él no sabía lo que estaba sucediendo. [Alton] se veía confundido. Les decía todo el tiempo: ‘¿Qué hice? ¿Qué está sucediendo? No hice nada malo’. Cuando salí de la tienda ya lo estaban golpeando encima de un automóvil y le estaban disparando con una pistola Taser. En ese momento, otro oficial corre y lo tira al suelo. Y a continuación ambos policías comienzan a golpearlo en el suelo”.

Alton Sterling estaba tirado de espaldas sobre la acera mientras dos oficiales de policía de Baton Rouge, ambos blancos y corpulentos, lo sujetaban contra el suelo. En cuestión de segundos, los oficiales le dispararon a Alton Sterling a quemarropa y lo mataron.

Abdullah Muflahi añadió: “Después de que le dispararon, no estoy seguro de lo que dijo uno de los policías que estaba allí, pero el otro oficial, el que estaba cerca de mí, le respondió: ‘Que se joda. Déjalo ahí tirado’, en referencia a Sterling. En ese momento me metieron en el asiento trasero del patrullero”.

Abdullah Muflahi estuvo detenido durante seis horas, confiscaron su teléfono y, sin una orden judicial, la policía confiscó la cámara de seguridad de la tienda, además del equipo de grabación. Muflahi entabló una demanda contra la policía.

Una pareja que se encontraba en un automóvil a metros de donde estaba Sterling también grabó lo sucedido. El video llegó a manos de Chris LeDay, un oficial retirado de la Fuerza Aérea de Baton Rouge que ahora vive en Atlanta, que inmediatamente lo publicó en Internet. LeDay es un músico que tiene muchos seguidores en las redes sociales. “Cuando obtuve el video, lo primero que quería hacer era difundirlo porque fue un caso de asesinato a sangre fría. Quería publicar el video para que todo el mundo pudiera verlo, para que los policías dejen de cometer estas atrocidades impunemente”.

El video se volvió viral y, poco después, Chris LeDay fue detenido por la policía. LeDay trabaja en un centro de la Reserva de la Fuera Aérea de Estados Unidos en Dunwoody, Georgia. Lo detuvieron cuando estaba ingresando a la base. Cuando preguntó por qué lo estaban arrestando le dijeron que: “encajaba con el perfil”. Cuando preguntó con qué perfil, no le respondieron. Este ex oficial afroestadounidense de la Fuerza Aérea que mide 1.90 metros y pesa 120 kilos se asustó. Dijo en Democracy Now!:

“Al cabo de media hora vi que venían más oficiales. Cada vez había más oficiales, así que decidí actuar y publicarlo en Facebook. Etiqueté a mi madre y a mi padre para que supieran lo que estaba ocurriendo. Escribí: ‘En este momento estoy rodeado de oficiales de la policía metropolitana y militar. No sé qué está sucediendo, pero quiero que sepan que si sucede algo no me resistiré’”.

Chris LeDay fue esposado, encadenado, lo obligaron a ponerse un overol naranja y lo detuvieron durante 26 horas. ¿La acusación? No haber pagado multas de tránsito.

Esta semana se cumplen dos años del asesinato por parte de la policía de Eric Garner en Staten Island, Nueva York. El 17 de julio de 2014, después de que un oficial de policía le aplicara una llave de estrangulamiento y otros oficiales se pusieran encima de él, Eric Garner logró decir: “No puedo respirar” once veces antes de morir. Sabemos esto únicamente porque un testigo, Ramsey Orta, filmó la agresión con su teléfono celular. El video tuvo amplia difusión. Ninguno de los oficiales del Departamento de Policía de Nueva York fue acusado del asesinato de Eric Garner.

Ramsey Orta nos dijo que la policía lo persiguió y acosó inmediatamente después de que se publicara el video. Una de las veces que lo detuvieron, Orta declaró que le dijeron: “Nos filmaste, ahora te estamos filmando”. Ramsey Orta acaba de llegar a un acuerdo mediante el cual cumplirá una pena de prisión de cuatro años por otras acusaciones no relacionadas con el caso, por lo que es la única persona presente en el momento de la muerte de Garner que irá a prisión.

Filmar un crimen no es un delito, es un servicio a la comunidad. La policía debe dejar de acosar a los ciudadanos que facilitan pruebas de video de la brutalidad policial.

My son was wheezing and gasping for breath. I had never seen him so sick. His face was pale and his irregular breathing pattern was very scary. I got worried and started to panic. I didn’t even call the doctor’s office for an apppointment — no time to waste!

I just bundled-up my son, David, and rushed him to the doctor’s office. All that was going through mind was “I have got to get the doctor see my son immediately.”

When we reached the doctor’s office, I was not happy because there were so many other people waiting to see the doctor. The nurse checked my son and said he’ll be okay — you’ll just have to “WAIT” for your turn. Easy for her to say — David wasn’t her son. So, I did wait (I had to). My son still looked very, very sick, to me.

Finally, I took a deep breath and started looking at the faces of the other moms and dads in the waiting room. I could see a calm, relaxed and peaceful look on their faces. I guess they all knew that they were at the doctor’s office and that their turn would come, and they had faith that the doctor could heal their child, or at least make them feel better.

When I realized that, I said a little prayer, and I imediately started to feel more at peace too. Just knowing I was in the “waiting room” at the doctor’s office, who I believed could make David bounce back to normal made me feel better, and calmed my panicking heart. I knew that everything was under control, and even my son looked like he was getting better already.

In the same way, if we are worried and restless because of other uncontrollable problems in our life, we should rush to the “waiting room” of JESUS. Yes, we will probably have to “WAIT” there too. But when the time is right, He will take care of all our needs.

We panic when we try do everthing on our own and are far away from HIM. So, get closer to HIM by going to HIS “waiting room,” through prayer. When we pray and “WAIT” upon the LORD we can definitely feel the peace and security that only HE can provide. JESUS is the only one who can truly help us. Besides that, HE knows our every “true need,” and He will nerver fail us.

Brock_Lesnar_in_March_2015 07-13-16

Five years away from the cage did a lot of good for WWE and UFC star Brock Lesnar, as his heralded return was a dominant one. Mark Hunt is a top ten heavyweight with heavy hands and the ability to knock any opponent down, but he was the one being manhandled by the much stronger Lesnar. After the fight Hunt would lament that he wasn’t sure how Lesnar is as strong as he is at 265 pounds, and he has a point. Lesnar is a freak of nature, a physical specimen that makes grown men around him look like prepubescent boys.

When Lesnar left the UFC five years ago on a losing streak, it was because of his struggles with diverticulitis, an ailment that left him lacking power, stamina, and the ability to take a kick to the gut. Heading into this fight, Lesnar was an underdog in large part because of his time away from the cage, the fact that the fight was announced without much lead up time, and the fact that he had left on a losing streak. When his match was elevated to semi-main event status after the Jon Jones-Daniel Cormier fight was dropped after Jones tested positive for performance enhancers, Lesnar knew his dominance would be on display for all to see.

One interesting aspect of this fight was that Lesnar is actually contracted with WWE, a form of entertainment based around “fake” fighting. Normally someone contracted with WWE would not be allowed to take part in a UFC match, but Lesnar is not like other people. Not only would Lesnar create a bit of crossover appeal, but he would also, likely, bring legitimacy to the WWE. When I say likely it is because Lesnar had to have done this knowing that he was likely to be the winner. Lesnar is not unintelligent, and he does not like looking like a fool, so if he thought he wasn’t going to win he would have never stepped foot back into that octagon.

Now the question that remains is how long it will be until Lesnar makes a full-fledged return to UFC. He is contracted at least through August for WWE, but details of his contract are scarce and he has left the WWE before to pursue other ventures. After the fight, Lesnar said that he does what he wants, and there aren’t many statements holding more truth than that. If there is one thing Lesnar has proven throughout his life, it is that he does what he wants.

With his time in WWE numbered, it would be smart for the WWE to get what they can out of him. They’ve already advertised Randy Orton as his opponent for Summerslam, but what if they book him to lose to one of their new stars the night after at Raw? Then when he decides to spurn WWE for greener pastures once again, they will be left with more than just their hands in their pockets, they will be left with a bonafide superstar that can remind everyone time and again that he beat the baddest man on the planet.

takingsidesOn Friday, July 8, 2016, I was notified by Wilbert Ramirez, currently occupying the property Miranda owns on the 5200 block of south 24th street, of an encounter with an inspector from the Milwaukee Department of Neighborhood Services (DNS) wearing a bullet proof vest and two armed Milwaukee Police Officers sent by city officials to look into an “anonymous” complaint about the property.

Ramirez notified me that the DNS and the two police officers were sent to the property because the south side 13th District Alderman Terry Witkowski asked that they look into a complaint filed by an “anonymous” individual charging that the property was in disrepair.

DNS informed Ramirez that it was “anonymously” reported that the grass was uncut, vehicles were parking on the front lawn of the property, shingles on the roof of the home were being ripped off by the wind and littering the block, “building materials” were being stored in the backyard of the property and complaints of “excessive public parking” of vehicles on the block.

The dragnet also sought to enter the garage of the property but was told by Ramirez that without a warrant, they were not allowed to look inside the garage.

I have been organizing a lead free water campaign in Milwaukee, helping form the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC).

Upon news of the visit by Milwaukee authorities I contacted the office of Terry Witkowski and spoke with a male who identified himself as Witkowski’s legislative aide.

Witkowski’s legislative aide informed me that one complaint was filed over a month ago regarding vehicles using public parking “excessively”.

I sent email communiqués to Alderman Bob Donovan, Chairman of the Public Safety Committee of the Milwaukee Common Council and Alderman Witkowski, a member of the Public Safety Committee, asking if sending armed Milwaukee Police to assist Neighborhood Services to investigate uncut grass, a roof allegedly in need of repair and a cluttered backyard is standard operating procedure and a wise use of police resources.

Ramirez stated that he was intimidated by the DNS and police officers coming onto the property, but held his ground when they started to ask about gaining access into the garage of the home. Ramirez stated that he denied them access until they produced a warrant.

The DNS and the armed police officers left the property without any citations or warnings being issued.

The incident comes hours after an open records request with the City of Milwaukee Department of Health Commissioner Bevan Baker asking for elevated lead blood data for children under 6 years of age living in the 70,000 homes identified as having toxic lead service laterals delivering drinking water to these homes.

The fact that two armed Milwaukee police officers were sent to do a neighborhood service inspection raises an eyebrow of concern. Is this proper use of police resources?

Esta semana se dio a conocer un devastador informe sobre la activa participación del Reino Unido en la invasión y ocupación de Irak, al mismo tiempo que continúan buscándose entre los escombros los cuerpos de las personas fallecidas en el peor atentado suicida con camión bomba que ha tenido lugar en Bagdad desde el inicio de aquella funesta guerra en el año 2003. El documento se conoce como “el informe Chilcot”, por su principal investigador y autor, Sir John Chilcot. La investigación fue encomendada en el año 2009 por el entonces primer ministro Gordon Brown. Chilcot dio a conocer el informe de 6.000 páginas el miércoles por la mañana, tras siete años de trabajo. El informe ofrece una larga lista de críticas al ex primer ministro Tony Blair y su gabinete al dejar al descubierto de qué manera se exageró la amenaza que suponían las presuntas armas de destrucción masiva de Saddam Hussein, así como la inquebrantable lealtad que Blair demostró al presidente George W. Bush. “Ahora resulta claro que las políticas sobre Irak se elaboraron sobre la base de información de inteligencia y valoraciones infundadas que no fueron contrastadas”, afirma Chilcot en el comunicado que acompañó la publicación del informe.

Un memorando incluido en el informe, enviado por Blair a Bush en julio de 2002, meses antes de la invasión, comienza con la siguiente promesa hecha por Blair a Bush: “Estaré contigo, pase lo que pase”. Muchas personas, entre ellas referentes parlamentarios del propio Partido Laborista, piden que Blair sea llevado a juicio por crímenes de guerra. Mientras el Reino Unido, sumido aún en un caos político a consecuencia del referéndum que derivó en el brexit, reacciona al informe Chilcot, la población de Bagdad no se repone aún del atentado del sábado. La cifra de víctimas fatales del atentado se ha incrementado hasta alcanzar las 250. George W. Bush expresó sin ningún atisbo de arrepentimiento a través de un portavoz que “sigue creyendo que el mundo entero está mejor sin Saddam Hussein en el poder”. Según trascendió, al momento de realizar estas declaraciones, Bush recibía a veteranos heridos en su rancho de Texas.

Mientras que las fuerzas británicas perdieron a 179 de sus miembros a lo largo de toda la guerra, las fuerzas estadounidenses tuvieron 4.502 bajas (siete de las cuales sucedieron en 2016). A la invasión y posterior ocupación se destinaron miles de millones de dólares, y se destinarán miles de millones más para el cuidado de por vida de los veteranos heridos y emocionalmente afectados. Sin embargo, la mayor e incalculable pérdida es la que ha sufrido el pueblo iraquí. Como lo demuestra este reciente y devastador atentado, la guerra en Irak no ha llegado a su fin. Se han llevado a cabo varias iniciativas para contabilizar la cifra de víctimas fatales de la guerra. El más bajo de estos estimativos ubica la cifra entre 160.000 y 180.000 fallecidos. Algunos estudios sostienen que el número de víctimas es varias veces mayor. Resulta imposible determinar la cifra exacta, pero el efecto en la población de Irak ha sido devastador y los daños se harán sentir por generaciones.

El pronunciamiento británico fue claro: “Nuestros ejércitos no llegan a sus ciudades o a sus tierras como conquistadores o enemigos, sino como libertadores”. Sin embargo, estas palabras no fueron expresadas en 2003, sino en 1917. La guerra arrasaba Europa y la Marina Británica dependía ampliamente del petróleo proveniente de Irak y el Golfo Pérsico. Como sostiene el detallado anexo histórico que acompaña al informe Chilcot: “Para asegurar ese petróleo para Gran Bretaña, en la primavera de 1914, el Primer Lord del Almirantazgo, Winston Churchill, adquirió para el Gobierno Británico el 51% de las acciones de la Anglo-Persian Oil Company o Compañía de Petróleos Anglo-Persa”. Y fue así como todo un siglo de ocupación, explotación, represión, violencia y dolor se ha grabado a fuego en la vida de los iraquíes y en la historia de Irak.

Para Sami Ramadani todo esto es más que historia. Ramadani nació en Irak pero vive en Londres desde que se convirtió en un exiliado del régimen de Saddam Hussein. Durante mucho tiempo se ha dedicado a impulsar el movimiento contra la invasión y la ocupación de Irak, pero también contra las devastadoras sanciones que las precedieron. Poco después de que el informe Chilcot fuera dado a conocer, Sami Ramadani dijo en “Democracy Now!”: “Irak, como sociedad, como Estado, fue destrozado de la manera más cruel desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la Guerra de Vietnam, con tácticas como la llamada de ‘conmoción y pavor’ y con crímenes en masa a una escala indescriptible. El verdadero objetivo no era sacar al dictador, sino controlar Irak. Y al no poder controlarlo, lo destruyeron, al igual que están haciendo con Libia, con Siria y demás. Esto entra en esa escala. Pero la peor de las tragedias es la pérdida de vidas”.

Un año después de la invasión, en la cena anual de la Asociación de Corresponsales de Radio y Televisión en Washington, D.C., el presidente Bush bromeó ante los cientos de periodistas presentes en la cena: “Esas armas de destrucción masiva tienen que estar por aquí, en alguna parte. No, por allá no hay armas. Puede que estén aquí debajo”. Imágenes de Bush en el Despacho Oval, en cuclillas, buscando armas de destrucción masiva bajo los muebles, acompañaron la comedia cotidiana de aquellos días. En tiempos en que los miembros fallecidos del Ejército de Estados Unidos eran retornados a la Base de la Fuerza Aérea de Dover, en donde estaba prohibido tomar fotografías de las bolsas en que se transportaban los cuerpos, y en que los cadáveres de los iraquíes se amontonaban en las calles y las morgues, la conducta de Bush resulta incomprensible. La guerra no es broma. Tras el informe Chilcot, debería emprenderse una iniciativa seria para que personas como Bush o Blair rindan cuentas por la muerte y la destrucción que siguen teniendo lugar en Irak y en otras partes del mundo.

Just close your eyes and open your heart and feel your worries and cares depart, Just yield yourself to the Father above and let Him hold you secure in His love-

For life on earth grows more involved with endless problems that can’t be solved.

But God only asks us to do our best, Than He will “take over” and finish the rest-

So when you are tired, discouraged and blue, there’s always one door that is open to you, and that is the door to “The House of Prayer” and you’ll find God waiting to meet you there-

And “The House of Prayer” is no farther away than the quiet spot where you kneel and pray.

For the heart is a temple when God is there as we place ourselves in His loving care-

And He hears every prayer and answers each one when we pray in His name “Thy will be done”-

And the burdens that seemed too heavy to bear are lifted away on “The Wings of Prayer.”

The Decision Part Two: Kevin Durant occurred this week, with the former league MVP agreeing to sign with the Golden State Warriors to help lead their super-team into the next season. With a player opt-out clause after the first season this is clearly Durant chasing the ever elusive championship ring before he plies his trade on the open market with a huge contract on the line. Right or wrong, players are remembered most for the championships that they won, or didn’t win. Michael Jordan is the best because he won so many championships (in a watered down league, but that’s another story), Bill Russell is fondly remembered because of the number of banners he hoisted, and Tracy McGrady is remembered for how many times he failed in the playoffs. If Durant and the Warriors are able to win the championship next season it allows Durant to seek the best landing spot for his family the following season without the added pressure of playoff failure hanging on his resume.

The comical part about the signing was the backlash against Durant from fans. Fans questioned everything from his integrity to his manhood, which was never fair. Fans like to put sports on a pedestal and act like every player treats every game like it is life or death. Do players enjoy winning and being considered the best in their respective sport? Of course, but we often forget that these athletes are people. Fans have no idea what transpired behind the scenes, they have no idea what pushed Durant into the arms of Steph Curry and company.  Consider the fact that Durant is moving from Oklahoma City to California for a second, consider the fact that Durant is leaving a team dominated by Russell Westbrook and his me-first mentality for Steph Curry and the Warriors mantra of being a family.

On a competitive level, Durant leaving for Golden State leaves much to be desired. Because Jordan was an ultra-competitive jerk with no friends, fans expect every great player to be like that, or at least to want to be like that. Players aren’t allowed to have friends in the business because they often get criticized for befriending the “enemy”. No matter that they are a part of a select group of people who are going to have trouble relating to anyone with a “normal” life because of their money and celebrity status.

Don’t get me wrong, everybody has a right to voice their opinion, and everybody has one. Fans choose to pay their money to enjoy the product put on by the NBA, and because of that they think that they are owed something by the players. If you devote your life to following another human being, that’s up to you, but these players owe you nothing. The team owes you a seat in a stadium, the cable company owes you a channel with NBA access, but the player owes you nothing. The player is a contracted worker who gets to decide which jobsite they would prefer to work at, don’t make them wrong for choosing a jobsite that looks more appealing to them and better works with their life goals after they have already fulfilled the contract work with the other company.

Don’t make it more than it is.

takingsides

“We have known about the problem with disturbing lead pipes and how that may increase the leaching of lead into the water for decades.” Ald. Bob Bauman

During the Steering & Rules Committee meeting on January 28, 2016, Alderman Bob Bauman declared that Milwaukee city officials should not consider the matter of lead service laterals an emergency. His justification at the time was that the City of Milwaukee has known for decades that construction projects around the city have disturbed lead pipes causing materials in the pipe to go into the water.

Ald. Bauman’s testimony that the city has known about lead getting into drinking water from disturbing lead pipes can be viewed here. His statement begins at approximately 1 hour and 23 minutes into the meeting. The link will allow you to skip forward to that time.

Alderman Bauman’s testimony may provide a brief glimpse into why city bureaucrats and Mayor Barrett’s office are reluctant to send city engineers to the various street resurfacing and sidewalk replacement construction sites in order to formally determine if the road construction is indeed causing lead pipes to be disturbed and if the leaching of lead in the drinking water is happening because of the road construction. They do not want confirmation.

Road construction proven to elevate lead levels in drinking water when engineers conduct testing

In Antioch, located in Lake County, IL on the border between Illinois and Wisconsin, they tested the drinking water in the most high risk homes, older built homes with lead pipe laterals, and found alarming high levels of lead in the drinking water; in some cases lead levels 18 times higher than the federally mandated limit.

They “knew something was very wrong” and were unwilling to stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich and pretend that the problem did not exist.

The Director of Public Works of Antioch ordered the engineers to look into it and they discovered a pattern; they found that homes with higher lead readings were clustered near a massive street resurfacing project. The engineers deduced that the road construction was shaking loose phosphates that coat pipes to keep lead from leaching into the drinking water.

The City of Milwaukee also uses phosphates to coat pipes to keep lead from leaching into the drinking water.

Road construction often shakes homes, why believe lead service laterals aren’t shaking too?

Milwaukee bureaucrats and elected officials seem to ignore the urgency of removing lead service laterals from Milwaukee homes as evident by Alderman Bob Bauman’s comments that we don’t have an emergency issue in Milwaukee statement during the Steering and Rules Committee meeting in January of 2016.

It’s as if City Hall is the only place on earth that doesn’t understand that lead has been known to be poisonous for at least two thousand years.  Which could explain why bureaucrats seem to not quite appreciate how toxic it could be in the smallest of doses.

It was not until the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed in 1986 that significant reductions in lead content of plumbing was mandated by law. Further limits on lead were enacted in 2011.

Because lead is such a toxic metal, it borders on negligence that our city officials and the bureaucrats that manage our water are unable to come to terms with the idea that if road construction projects can shake up houses, isn’t it logical that the same vibrations are disturbing these toxic lead water pipes?

Why did city leaders fail to inform homeowners and renters of the potential spiking of lead in drinking water that these road construction projects could manifest?

The Department of Public Works, the Milwaukee Water Works and Department of Health failed to ensure that families where many street construction projects took place were properly advised of ways they can reduce lead exposure in their homes. Instructions like cleaning faucet aerators, flushing pipes when water has been standing for a long time (e.g. overnight) and using a filter, weren’t provided to homeowners and renters before construction on Milwaukee streets began.

If the bureaucrats weren’t sure if vibrations would cause lead service laterals to leach lead in the drinking water, why didn’t they send city engineers to inspect and give their opinion on the matter?

Milwaukee has a public health crisis.

Emergency? We’re past that.

Esta semana la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos hizo historia: resolvió una importante batalla por los derechos reproductivos de la mujer tras derogar la tristemente célebre ley contra el aborto del estado de Texas, conocida como HB 2. La decisión de la Corte en el caso Whole Woman’s Health contra Hellerstedt, por 5 votos a favor y 3 en contra, estableció que la ley de Texas violaba el derecho de la mujer de acceder al aborto. La ley HB 2 es una de las muchas leyes denominadas “TRAP” (trampa, en inglés) que han proliferado en el país. La sigla “TRAP” significa Reglamentación Específica de las Clínicas que Practican Abortos. Estas leyes fueron creadas para cerrar clínicas al obligarlas a realizar renovaciones costosas en sus instalaciones o exigir que sus médicos posean permisos de admisión de pacientes en hospitales cercanos. Las leyes TRAP provocan inevitablemente el cierre de las clínicas en que se practican abortos. Whole Woman’s Health, una organización que gestiona varias clínicas que brindan servicios de aborto en Texas, decidió demandar al estado e impugnar la ley.

Esta importante victoria judicial no se logró solamente en los despachos de las tres magistradas mujeres que integran la Corte Suprema, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan y Sonia Sotomayor, y de sus colegas del sexo masculino Stephen Breyer y Anthony Kennedy, sino que es el resultado de años de lucha popular, en los medios de comunicación y en los pasillos de la legislatura de Texas.

La ley fue aprobada en julio de 2013, en medio de una polémica sin precedentes. El Senado de Texas se disponía a estudiar el proyecto de ley el 25 de junio de 2013, el último día de una sesión extraordinaria. Wendy Davis, senadora demócrata de Fort Worth de la legislatura de Texas, se puso unas cómodas zapatillas rosas y tomó la palabra pasadas las 11 de la mañana con el objetivo de obstruir la aprobación de la ley. Tenía pensado hablar hasta medianoche, momento en el cual, en virtud de la legislación estatal, la sesión extraordinaria debía terminar. En el Senado de Texas, el senador que toma la palabra debe seguir hablando de pie solo todo el tiempo, a diferencia de lo que ocurre en el Senado de Estados Unidos, donde el senador que decide embarcarse en la teatral táctica del obstruccionismo, como recientemente hizo el senador Chris Murphy tras la masacre de Orlando, puede ser interrumpido con preguntas de sus colegas, que suelen realizar intervenciones prolongadas para permitirle que se tome un descanso. Sin embargo, Wendy Davis habló sola, sin parar, durante todo el día sobre el tema que se estaba tratando. No pudo dedicar tiempo a hablar de otras cuestiones, como hizo el senador Ted Cruz durante una obstrucción en el Senado de Estados Unidos cuando leyó el cuento de Dr. Seuss “Huevos verdes con jamón” para hacer tiempo. La transmisión en vivo de la obstrucción de Davis tuvo amplia difusión en Internet. Miles de personas se dirigieron a la sede del parlamento de Texas para expresar su solidaridad.

La mayoría republicana del Senado de Texas logró sacar a Davis del estrado a las 10 de la noche aduciendo problemas de procedimiento, por lo que los senadores tuvieron dos horas enteras para aprobar la ley HB 2 antes de medianoche. Sin embargo, las miles de personas congregadas fuera del Capitolio del estado habían comenzado a corear: “No nos moverán”. El ruido fue tan molesto que el Senado no pudo realizar una votación nominal. En esa ocasión, venció la obstrucción de la población. Dos semanas más tarde, el entonces gobernador de Texas Rick Perry convocó otra sesión legislativa extraordinaria, en la que se aprobó el proyecto de ley.

En el fallo mayoritario de la Corte a favor de derogar la ley HB 2, el magistrado Stephen Breyer escribió: “Los abortos practicados en una clínica para abortos son seguros. De hecho, son más seguros que muchos procedimientos que se realizan fuera de hospitales y a los que el estado de Texas no aplica los requisitos de que se realicen en centros quirúrgicos…A nivel nacional, hay 14 veces más probabilidades de que un nacimiento termine en una muerte de que eso suceda durante un aborto. Sin embargo, en Texas, la ley permite a una partera asistir un nacimiento en la casa de la paciente”. Breyer también señaló que la colonoscopía, un procedimiento que suele realizarse fuera de un hospital, tiene una tasa de mortalidad 10 veces mayor a la de un aborto y la tasa de mortalidad de una liposucción es 28 veces más elevada que la de un aborto.

Stephanie Toti tenía 37 años cuando presentó los argumentos en defensa de Whole Woman’s Health ante la Corte Suprema de Estados Unidos. Toti es abogada del Centro por los Derechos Reproductivos. Le preguntamos en el programa Democracy Now! cómo había sido su experiencia –como mujer y abogada– de haber presentado un caso por primera vez ante la Corte, a lo que Stephani Toti respondió: “Los demandantes de este caso estaban convencidos de que querían que los representara ante la Corte y creo que fue muy significativo para muchas personas que una mujer en edad reproductiva alegara a favor de su causa ante la Corte”.

La lucha por los derechos de la mujer se ha librado durante varias generaciones. Desde la demandante Amy Hagstrom Miller, fundadora y directora ejecutiva de Whole Woman’s Health, que ha proporcionado servicios de aborto desde 1989, pasando por Stephanie Toti, del Centro por los Derechos Reproductivos, que ha representado a mujeres durante casi 25 años, y las tres magistradas de la Corte Suprema, un número histórico en un tribunal superior, los movimientos sociales son fundamentales. Teniendo en cuenta que existen cientos de proyectos de ley contra el aborto en todo el país, esta victoria histórica es motivo de celebración, pero no de descanso. Como dijo Amy Hagstrom Miller ante la Corte Suprema: “Una victoria no significa que la lucha ha terminado”.

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Why, John Hammond, why? Why did you select a player whose talent is more in line with second round draft pick than a first rounder? I understand the rule of not making a trade just to make a trade, but why wouldn’t you trade down if the player you drafted was projected to be available well into the back of the first round? Is Thon Maker going to be a piece of the puzzle that brings the Bucks back into relevance? The selection of Maker is puzzling at best and horrendous at worst.

While the NBA draft was not full of talent like next years is projected to be, there were still quality players like Denzel Valentine and Henry Ellenson on the board when the Bucks made their selection. If the goal is to be a paltry team this year and try to grab a top selection in next year’s draft, I can live with that, but this team isn’t going to be a bottom of the barrel team next year. The Bucks have way too much young talent that is progressing year after year under the tutelage of head coach Jason Kidd to not be fighting for a playoff spot next season. The Bucks were the tenth worst team in the league last year but they were also one of the youngest both in terms of age and basketball experience. While a rookie available at the tenth pick is unlikely to lead the Bucks to the playoffs, there were nice pieces left to grab that could have contributed. As it stands, Maker is not expected to contribute in any meaningful way for years to come.

When the Bucks selected Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick in the 2013 draft he was a project player who was clearly very athletic and very young. After three years in the NBA Antetokounmpo is still only 21 years old and has progressed into being one of the most exciting young players in the league. Thon is nowhere near the caliber of player that Giannis is, even when comparing them prior to coming to the NBA. Maker couldn’t even dominate the Canadian high school basketball scene, how is he going to compete in the professional American league?

Thon Maker will be riding the bench for three years, coming in to get “experience” at the end of meaningless basketball games before being released when the team option comes up. Maybe the Bucks send Maker to the Developmental League and hope that he can develop a decent low post game there before calling him up to play in Milwaukee. But what happens when Maker can’t even compete in the D-League?

I am all for the feel good story, but this was Hammond swinging for the fences because he didn’t see any good players left. I guess if you don’t think there is any NBA level talent remaining in the draft, why not roll the dice on the guy that young know least about and is 7’1”. Who knows, I could be eating my words in 2020 when Maker is contributing for a NBA playoff team, but I doubt it.

takingsidesEl corrupto Gobernador del Estado de Wisconsin, Scott Walker, se encuentra visitando México con objetivos de supuestamente avanzar lazos económicos entre México y el Estado de Wisconsin. De hecho, de acuerdo a las cifras estadísticas más recientes, México es el segundo mercado mas alto para la exportación de productos de Wisconsin.

Para el lector en México es bueno preguntarse si Walker es un amigo de Mexico o de los Mexicanos? La realidad es muy distinta a las imágenes y ruedas de prensa preparadas artificialmente a fin de transmitir un mensaje positivo en México acerca de Wisconsin y de su actual gobernador, Scott Walker.

De manera que los mexicanos deben recordar que este señor, Scott Walker, es el mismo que antes de de que fuera rechazado por los Republicanos en su intento de obtener la nominación del Partido Republicano para la Presidencia de Estados Unidos, ganada ya por Donald Trump- fue el primero que siguió a Donald Trump repitiendo su intención de si ser electo Presidente de Estados Unidos, no solamente montaría una pared con México para impedir la entrada de Mexicanos a Estados Unidos desde México, sino también montaría una pared con Canadá.

Este mismo Gobernador ha sido quien ha avanzado piezas de legislación que son claramente en contra de los trabajadores Mexicanos y de otros países en Wisconsin sin analizar el efecto que esto tendría en las compañías que contratan trabajadores indocumentados, en la economía de Wisconsin, ni en las familias en México que reciben dinero de sus familiares en Wisconsin. Ejemplos de estas maniobras legislativas incluyen el que la policía pueda parar autos para chequear si son legales o indocumentados, el rehusar que trabajadores puedan obtener una licencia de manejar, el no atender las causas fundamentales por la que ocurre la migración de personas de países hacia Estados Unidos.

Por ejemplo, en Wisconsin la industria lechera –y muchas otras mas- emplean trabajadores indocumentados; particularmente de México. Estos trabajadores son responsables y eficientes en su trabajo inclusive más que los trabajadores nacidos en EEUU. No fue sino hasta que companias le advirtieron a Walker lo que el ya sabia acerca delos trabajadores Mexicanos que se vio obligado a desistir de acciones contra ellos.

Esto sin mencionar que este Scott Walker permitió corrupción de $140,000 millones de dólares en la Corporación de Desarrollo Económico de Wisconsin, que debido a la falla de su política económica no ha podido colectar la cantidad suficiente de impuestos y ahora no tiene dinero para pagar por reparaciones de autopistas lo cual es necesario para el movimiento de productos en Wisconsin, y que es el cuarto Gobernador menos gustado en toda la nación. De hecho bajo su mandato de 5 años, Scott Walker solo ha producido 165,000 trabajos cuando su plataforma electoral era producir 250,000 y Wisconsin esta a número 36 en generación de trabajos en Estados Unidos

Todos esto el lector Mexicano lo puede constatar por su cuenta a través del Internet ya que esta información ha sido publicada. De manera que el lector Mexicano no se debe sentir alegre de que Scott Walker les visite ya que el no tiene ninguna sensibilidad hacia México ni sus habitantes. Sus acciones demuestran lo contrario.

El debate sobre el control de armas dio un giro histórico el miércoles en Estados Unidos cuando miembros demócratas de la Cámara de Representantes llevaron a cabo una ocupación del Congreso por primera vez en la historia, al realizar una sentada en el recinto de la Cámara baja para exigir una votación sobre la denominada restricción “no fly, no buy” a la compra de armas. Esta disposición mínima impediría comprar legalmente armas a los sospechosos de terrorismo que están en la lista de exclusión aérea de Estados Unidos. La protesta fue iniciada por el congresista de Atlanta y legendario defensor de los derechos civiles John Lewis. Lewis habló desde el estrado de la Cámara de Representantes: “A veces hay que hacer algo fuera de lo común. A veces hay que inventar una solución cuando no la hay. Hemos permanecido callados por demasiado tiempo. Llega un momento en el que hay que decir algo. En el que hay que hacer un poco de ruido. En el que hay que dar un paso. Este es el momento. Ahora es el momento para intervenir”. Lewis abandonó el estrado y, junto a varios miembros del Congreso, se sentó en el suelo y se negó a ponerse de pie.

En el Congreso hay cámaras de televisión que transmiten en directo los discursos que tienen lugar allí a través del canal nacional de cable C-SPAN. Pero las cámaras están controladas por los republicanos y fueron apagadas. Al menos dos miembros de la Cámara de Representantes que participaron en la sentada transmitieron en vivo en las redes sociales los discursos de protesta a través de sus teléfonos móviles y las aplicaciones para transmitir videos. A modo de protesta, C-SPAN tomó las imágenes en vivo que se emitían en las redes sociales y las retransmitió y, así, puso a disposición de los televidentes la demanda de control de armas censurada por los republicanos. “No se permite que las cámaras instaladas en el Congreso transmitan la sentada”, señaló C-SPAN mediante una leyenda en la parte inferior de la pantalla.

“Sin Proyecto de ley no habrá receso por vacaciones” coreaban los congresistas, rompiendo con estruendo el decoro habitual del Congreso. Uno tras otro, estos congresistas (todos ellos demócratas), se pusieron de pie para expresar su apoyo a una votación sobre la disposición “no fly, no buy”, que la representante demócrata de Nueva York Nita Lowey propuso el miércoles como enmienda al Proyecto de Ley de Presupuesto para la Seguridad Nacional. Al igual que el proyecto de ley propuesto en el Senado por la congresista Dianne Feinstein, la enmienda de Lowey fue rechazada por los miembros de la mayoría republicana de la comisión. Según Lowey, la enmienda habría otorgado al “fiscal general la facultad de impedir la venta de armas de fuego a terroristas o sospechosos de terrorismo si el fiscal general tiene sospechas razonables de que el arma de fuego podría ser utilizada en actividades relacionadas con el terrorismo”.

Las mayorías republicanas de ambas cámaras del Congreso repiten como loros los argumentos de la Asociación Nacional del Rifle (NRA, por sus siglas en inglés). La principal crítica de la NRA es que personas inocentes pueden ser incluidas en la lista de sospechosos de terrorismo. “Es necesario establecer protecciones para que se pueda eliminar de la lista de sospechosos de terrorismo a los estadounidenses respetuosos de la ley que han sido incluidos en ella por error”, afirmó Chris Cox, director ejecutivo del Instituto para la Acción Legislativa de la NRA. Es sin duda admirable que se plantee la cuestión de estas deficientes “listas de vigilancia” y la preocupación de cómo las personas pueden ser excluidas de ellas. Sin embargo, muchos republicanos están planteando el problema por primera vez ahora, lo que sugiere que lo único que les preocupa es que las listas de vigilancia limiten el número de personas que pueden comprar armas.

En virtud de la enmienda propuesta por Nita Lowey, que incluye hacer seguimiento a las personas que estuvieron en la lista de sospechosos de terrorismo en algún momento en los últimos cinco años, se habría podido detectar al asesino de Orlando, Omar Mateen. Mateen era un ciudadano estadounidense que había sido investigado dos veces por el FBI en los últimos años por sospechas de que simpatizaba con grupos terroristas, pero en ambas ocasiones las sospechas fueron desestimadas. También se sabía que había golpeado a su primera esposa, que lo dejó después de cuatro meses de matrimonio. La violencia doméstica es otro indicio importante en casos de asesinatos masivos. A pesar de las señales de alerta, Mateen compró legalmente un rifle semiautomático del tipo AR, que utilizó pocos días después para matar a 49 personas y herir a muchas más.

El representante John Lewis afirmó justo antes de que comenzara la sentada en el recinto de la Cámara baja: “No podemos seguir haciendo la vista gorda a la violencia masiva con armas de fuego que sacude a nuestro país. Las matanzas se están volviendo cada vez más frecuentes. El momento del silencio y la paciencia se terminó hace tiempo. Instamos a los líderes de la Cámara de Representantes a que propongan a este cuerpo legislativo una legislación sobre el control de armas de sentido común. Dennos una votación. Permítannos votar. Vinimos aquí a hacer nuestro trabajo. Vinimos a trabajar. El pueblo estadounidense exige que se adopten medidas”.

Esta histórica protesta estaba exigiendo lo que tan solo puede considerarse una medida insuficiente, que es postergar la posible compra de armas de fuego por parte de sospechosos de terrorismo. ¿Pero dónde quedó la demanda de reinstaurar la prohibición a las armas de asalto? Estas armas, diseñadas exclusivamente con la finalidad de matar personas, han permitido una y otra vez los asesinatos masivos, de Columbine a Newtown, pasando por Aurora, San Bernardino y Orlando. A lo largo de su vida, John Lewis participó de muchas manifestaciones y ocupaciones y fue golpeado por la policía por exigir un cambio radical, por luchar por los derechos civiles. Quizá esta histórica ocupación del Congreso genere una ley de control de armas auténtica, significativa y duradera.

Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they were meant to be there, they serve some sort of purpose; teach you a lesson, or help figure out who you are, and who you want to become.

You never know who these people may be: your neighbor, child, long lost friend, or even a stranger who, when you lock eyes with them, you know at that very moment that they will affect your life, in some profound way.

And sometimes things happen to you, and at the time they seem painful and unfair, but in reflection you realize, that without overcoming those obstacles, you would have never realized your potential strength, or your hearts desire.

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness, as well as experiencing sheer stupidity; all occur to test the limits of your soul.

Without these small tests, whether they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a paved straight flat road to nowhere, safe and comfortable, but dull and utterly pointless.

The people you meet who affect your life, and the successes and downfalls you experience, create who you are, and even the bad experiences can be learned from; in fact, they are probably the poignant and important ones.

If someone hurts you, betrays you or breaks your heart, forgive them; for they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to whom you open your heart…

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love, and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment, and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again…

Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Let yourself fall in love, break free and set your sights high…

Hold your head up, because you have every right too. Tell yourself you’re a great person and believe in yourself… for if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.

Create your own life and then go out and live in it! “Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last… Tomorrow is Not Promised.”

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The wait for Cleveland is over, the King has returned from the NBA Finals with a championship trophy. Cleveland had not seen a championship trophy in over 50 years, but when LeBron James came out of high school and went straight to the NBA the same year that the Cavaliers won the NBA draft lottery, things were supposed to change. LeBron was the kid from Akron who would save Cleveland and deliver the championship that the city desired and deserved. LeBron instantly made the Cavaliers championship contenders and led them all the way to the doorstep before the San Antonio Spurs turned them away. While LeBron languished and hoped for a few more superstars to share the burden with, the Cavaliers surrounded him with Mo Williams and Antawn Jamison. LeBron would leave Cleveland before winning a championship and would go on to win two with the Miami Heat.

The Shot, The Fumble, The Drive, The Decision, all of these things convinced sports fans in Cleveland that they were forever doomed in the sports world. When LeBron became a free-agent again after his contract in Miami concluded, Cleveland fans did not dare get their hopes up that the King could return, even amid the swirling rumors. One Sports Illustrated article later and LeBron was “Coming Home”. Things had changed in Cleveland since LeBron’s departure; they had two number one overall picks in Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson who had learned to lead the team to a .500 record but were crucially missing that last piece of the puzzle. LeBron is the missing piece to pretty much every puzzle, and his return concluded with another trip to the NBA Finals. Standing in their way ended up being the team that would put together the greatest regular season in history the following year, the team with the 2015 MVP Steph Curry. The Warriors would win that best of seven series in six games and Cleveland fans once again succumbed to the idea that their city would never win a championship.

The 2016 Finals arrived and the Cavaliers were faced with a familiar opponent, the greatest regular season team of all time, and the 2016 unanimous MVP Steph Curry. This Golden State Warriors team had gone 73-9 in the regular season and had just won three straight elimination games against the Oklahoma City Thunder. When Golden State won three of the first four games, heartbreak again seemed inevitable for the city of Cleveland. At least until LeBron put the whole city on his back and carried them past the Golden State Warriors and into the history books as the first team to ever come back from a 3-1 finals deficit and win. LeBron would average 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists, 2.6 steals and 2.3 blocks per game, leading both teams in every major statistical category. In the critical games five and six, LeBron scored 41 points each game and coupled with Kyrie Irving to ensure that there would be a game seven.

Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while and when I predicted the Cavaliers would win in seven games I did not expect that the series would go this way. Golden State may not be the greatest team of all time, like many expected they would be, but LeBron just may be the greatest player of all time. Sorry Chicago.

After the Freshwater for Life Action Coalition (FLAC) raised concerns that construction on Milwaukee streets could be contributing to spiking lead level contamination of drinking water in neighborhoods with large number of lead lateral water pipes, the city of Milwaukee Water Works (MWW) issued notices to homes on south 13th street in Milwaukee’s near Southside cautioning residents to flush their home water system before cooking and drinking water on June 10, according to Sandra Rusch Walton, DPW director of public relations.

The MWW notices were issued several days after FLAC members started voicing concerns about the construction on south 13th street.

The notice indicated to residents that “currently there is no definitive scientific research indicating that specific types of public works construction activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead concentrations in drinking water.”

That is true. However, there is good reason to believe that lead leaching may be occurring in Milwaukee neighborhoods where street construction is taking place because similar public works construction that took place in Antioch, Illinois, where city engineers were directed to find out why lead levels were mysteriously rising in homes in that city. What the Antioch engineers found is that public works construction similar to the kind of construction Milwaukee is undertaking caused lead levels in water to rise.

The notices sent to residents of south 13th street were sent by MWW as a “precaution”. Department of Public Works spokesperson, Sandra Rusch Walton made it a point to mention that the notices were hand delivered to the residents on South 13th street where construction is taking place between Historic Mitchell street south to Windlake Ave.

The notices sent to this neighborhood are insufficient. More needs to be done to get to answers raised by FLAC regarding construction work possibly causing lead in the water to spike, because of vibrations the heavy equipment on the street is making as sidewalk concrete is busted up into manageable chunks of concrete to be chopped up and used as aggregate in cement mixing. 

It’s unfortunate that MWW does not take a more proactive effort to determine if in fact the construction on south 13th street, and other neighborhoods of the city, might be causing the loosening of prosperous compounds protecting the inner lining of these lead lateral pipes from leaching increased amounts of lead into this neighborhood’s drinking water.

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis acted to test the water where city water mains were being replaced for fear of spiking lead levels. In fact a pilot test program was established in order to collect the data which was used to justify the suspension of water mains removal in neighborhood’s with higher numbers of lead laterals.

Before she did this there was no “definitive scientific research” indicating water mains construction “activities around lead water service lines would result in increased lead levels in drinking water” before Milwaukee suspended water main replacement project.

The city should do the same kind of water testing to check for spiking lead levels at these construction areas as it did with the mains removal for neighborhood projects currently removing sidewalks and repaving streets.

If Milwaukee is truly seeking to become the Freshwater Capitol of the World, it must become a leader and set the example by going the extra effort and test the water in these neighborhoods where lead pipes are vibrating from street construction.

Testing the truth about the City of Milwaukee’s comment that the city “does a lot of testing”

Mayor Tom Barrett and his administration released a statement they’ve repeated in the past to the media after local TV news networks covered the FLAC press conference. The city response to the FLAC request for more lead water testing to see if spiking lead levels in homes with lead lateral service pipes along road construction sites is happening in the City of Milwaukee is consistent with past remarks by the Mayor. Here is WISN’s Channel 12 coverage.

That response was, “the city does a lot of testing”. Really?

In a memo from MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis dated June 8th to Mayor Barrett she stated that, “50 samples are collected every three years for lead. The last testing cycle was the summer of 2014. That cycle did include the pre-stagnation flushing instruction.” You can read that memo here.

Is testing 50 homes for lead every three years in a city where you have over 70,000 homes with lead lateral service pipes “a lot of testing”? This is utterly absurd!

MWW Superintendent Carrie Lewis did state in that previously mentioned Steering & Rules Committee that her department conducted lead water testing on six homes that were along a street construction site; five of which tested showed increased lead levels in drinking water.

So that brings the total homes tested for lead in the drinking water to 56 over the last three years. Once again, this is absurd at best.

If removing lead pipes to reduce poisoning of children is a priority, why no plan from Mayor Barrett?

Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works stated in response to the FLAC press conference and questioning by local TV News reporters that, “The mayor continues to make this issue a priority, that is, fixing the infrastructure in this city…”.

If that is true, why has Mayor Barrett, the City of Milwaukee and the Department of Public Works not developed a comprehensive plan, either operationally or financially, to test the water in the 70,000 homes that have been identified as having lead lateral service pipes; let alone why have they not started removing the lead lateral service pipes?