Tag Archives: Kyle Lowry

Jon Stewart rages, properly, at Congress over 9/11 victims compensation running out. A high school principal plagiarizes an Ashton Kutcher awards show speech. And an NBA star answers a kid’s heartfelt question really well

I usually like to see Jon Stewart pop back up on TV for something funny and light, but Tuesday he was in no joking mood at all, and I don’t blame him.

Stewart has long been a major supporter/advocate of 9/11 first responders, helping fight to get health care and long-term benefits for the brave EMS, firefighters, police officers and other personnel who bravely rushed to the scene on 9/11 to help with the Twin Towers tragedy, and now continue to suffer major health problems as a result of their heroism.

The reason for the hearing Tuesday was that the Victims Compensation Fund was up for re-authorization, and it’s running out of money, according to the Dept. of Justice.

In nine minutes of searing, emotional testimony, Stewart excoriated Congress for half of the members of the subcommittee not being there at the hearing, and pleaded with our nation’s lawmakers to compensate and help the thousands who are affected.

It is ridiculous that we have to go through this every few years; this is not a partisan issue, and that so many first responders are sick and dying should be proof enough that there needs to be compensation given to help them.

Stewart was fantastic here; I highly recommend watching the whole thing. Here’s how he closed:

“Thank God for all of these people who will not let it happen again. They responded in five seconds. They did their jobs, with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!”

**Next up today, you know, it’s graduation season here in America, and there are only so many platitudes a commencement speaker can offer up.

You can say “your future is bright,” and “make changes in the world for the better,” only so many times, right?

So part of me has sympathy for this principal I heard about this week, a Mr. Kenny DeMoss of Parkersburg High School in Parkersburg, West Va.

Seems a few weeks ago at graduation Principal DeMoss told the kids about hard work, seizing opportunities, and all that good stuff, and about how “opportunity looks like hard work.”

Well, it turns out Mr. DeMoss had taken entire portions of the speech from that noted brillant thinker of our time… Ashton Kutcher.

Yes, Ashton Kutcher, the former Mr. Demi Moore, the man who’s made more bad movies than any Hollywood star ever has, it seems. Mr. Kutcher gave a speech at the 2013 Kids Choice Awards, and Mr. DeMoss apparently loved it so much he lifted it.

“It was never my intent to take credit for what I said or give a specific credit because of how I prefaced my speech,” his statement said. “I did not get all my ideas from Ashton. Format yes, thoughts and ideas were from my heart.”

Oh Mr. DeMoss, it’s OK to admit it: You love you some Ashton, you think he’s got all the answers, and you wanted to sound cool to your students. We understand.

Above is a video a Parkersburg student made showing how similar the two speeches were.

Man oh man. Plagiarizing Ashton Kutcher, the world truly has gone mad.

**And finally today, the NBA Finals are still going on, with major drama happening in Sunday’s Game 5, with Warriors star (and future Brooklyn Net, I hope!) Kevin Durant returning from a 5-week absence from a calf injury, only to horribly tear his right Achilles tendon, meaning he’s likely going to miss next season.

The game itself was great, the Raptors still look like the better team but man it’s going to be tough to finish of the Warriors.

Anyway, I wanted to highlight what I thought was a fantastic press conference answer to a kid’s question from Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.

“Mr. Lowry,” the youngster asked, “how does it feel to be an icon all over Canada, for kids?”

Listen to this and tell me Lowry doesn’t have it exactly right.

Good News Friday: NBA star Kyle Lowry donates $1 million to his alma mater. A Baltimore school tries meditation instead of detention, and it’s working. And a beautiful story about a father, a daughter and a driving test

And a Happy Friday to you out there, unless you’re a government employee who’s about to go on an unplanned and unpaid vacation because our Idiot-in-Chief has no clue on what he wants, so Washington D.C. comes to a halt and we have a government shutdown.

First up today, college basketball players get a bad rap these days for not giving a fig about school, and only using the university they attend as a “way station” to the NBA.

But the reality is, nearly every NCAA Division I player won’t make it to the pros, and many of them really do care about their university, and realize how big a role it plays in their lives.

One of those who did make the NBA, but didn’t forget where he came from, is Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry. Lowry made a splash this week in a great way, announcing he’s donating $1 million to Villanova University, where he grew up and learned so much.

Lowry’s story, told beautifully here by The Athletic’s Dana O’Neil, is of a hard-headed, sullen kid who came to college and four years later, left a very different man.

“They always accepted me. They all wanted me to do well,’’ Lowry says. “Yeah, I took advantage of it, but they helped me figure out how to do it.’’

Really great story here.

**Next up today, I found this next story fascinating, and hopeful. We all know teachers and principals have been giving out detentions and suspensions forever, and whether they work or not is always up for debate.

An inner-city elementary school in Baltimore named Robert W. Coleman has been trying something different: Not suspensions, but sending kids to a “Meditation Room,” where they learn to breathe and relax and not stress so much.

It’s part of a partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation, a Baltimore non-profit. Does it work? Well, there have been ZERO suspensions at Coleman this year, so that certainly seems to be a good number.

Read the story here about other ways meditation is helping these students.

**And finally today, a beautiful story from Joe Posnanski, about his daughter, turning 16, and the fear of a driver’s license test. I think we can all relate to the terror of sitting there at the DMV, waiting for your instructor to call your name, and then hoping to hell you can finally pull off a solid parallel park. (2nd-best parallel park of my life happened on my road test; it was a freaking miracle.)

Posnanski is never better than when he’s writing about his family, and this column is just sensational.

Here’s the lede:

She is so scared. I can always tell when she’s scared; she has this look on her face, and it’s not so different from the look she had when she was three years old and we were walking through Times Square, and the crowd was overwhelming her. I reached down then and picked her up and slowly the fear drained from her face. She was happy again. I cannot pick her up now. She stares at the monitor, the one that shows who will be called next. D113. C149. E228.

I look at her card again. It is A102.

It’s a wonderful tale that we all can relate to. Have a great weekend. Oh, and I’m picking the Vikings and Patriots to meet in the Super Bowl.

 

My Nets squeak out a Game 7 win. The worst political ad, maybe ever. And Obama kills it as usual at WHCA

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You would think, with a $190 million payroll, a ton of veteran experience and a coach who played forever, that the Brooklyn Nets wouldn’t need to make a great defensive play at the end of Game 7 on the road to win a first-round playoff series.

But that’s what it took. And you know what? How hard it was doesn’t matter. The pro basketball team I’ve rooted for since I was 14 is moving on to play the Miami Heat, who will promptly smack the Nets into the offseason in, oh, five games.

But hey, let me enjoy Sunday, since the Rangers gave me no enjoyment Sunday night at all (Not that I was surprised. This team is incapable of winning two in a row in the playoffs.).
The Nets were brilliant at times Sunday against a pretty damn good Toronto team and an insane Raptors crowd (seriously, those northerners were loud.) Joe Johnson was fantastic. Alan Anderson was great, too, and Marcus Thornton (Marcus Thornton!) was huge in the second quarter.

But the Raptors kept fighting back, and I got nervous like I do when that happens in an elimination game. Kyle Lowry was magnificent, Demar DeRozan was good, and even Grievis Vasquez, who I’ve hated since he was a Terp, was playing well. And the Nets crumbled, and the lead was down to 1, and the Raptors had a shot to win…

And then Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who have played about 4,000 playoff games between them, combined to make one final stop and preserve the win.
Great game. Great win. Great 1st round of the NBA playoffs (I saw most of Game 7 of the Warriors-Clippers Saturday night too, and that was fantastic as well. Steph Curry… man!)

It’s a wonderful time of the sports year, isn’t it?

**Next up, this is without a doubt the stupidest political advocacy ad I’ve ever seen, and it’s the worst by a mile (hat tip to my old friend Frank G. for pointing me toward it). In Harrisburg, PA this TV ad (paid for by the union that represents liquor stores) has been running as the state considers allowing beer and wine and other alcoholic beverages to be sold in gas stations and supermarkets.

Now, this is not a big deal at all in most states, but in Pennsylvania it’s still illegal, and well, these “fake moms” on the playground are not going to stand for any legality.
Truly, the arguments made here are the most inane you will ever hear, and the statement at the 20-second mark about deaths in N.C. is just completely irresponsible and wrong.

**Finally today, my usual cut-and-paste diatribe about the White House Correspondents Dinner, held again this past weekend: It’s ludicrous, stupid and unprofessional to the extreme for professional journalists who cover Congress to drink, party and have a gay old time among them at this event every year; there’s no way you can cover such important people and topics objectively when you spend five hours every year schmoozing and kissing up to them like this.

That said, as always our President was pretty damn funny in his speech; I liked the Joe Biden “shoe” joke the best: