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H2O Man

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Member since: Mon Dec 29, 2003, 07:49 PM
Number of posts: 51,954

Journal Archives

Mayweather

Years ago, when it appeared that Mayweather and Pacquiao might reach an agreement to fight, the editor of The Ring magazine suffered from a moment of clarity: it was likely, he noted, that Floyd would simply rely upon his superior ring skills to win a one-sided decision over Manny. That, he stated, would be a major disappointment for boxing fans. Few things, it seemed, would show the inability of Pacquiao fans to appreciate the mere possibility that much of the boxing community supports Mayweather.

Not to be out-done, the HBO announcer stated before the fight that “many” viewed it as a confrontation between “good and evil.” Since few people who support Floyd refer to Manny as “evil,” it’s fair to assume that Jim Lampley -- still bitter about Floyd’s going from HBO to Showtime -- was speaking of Mayweather.

The fight itself was a classic Floyd Mayweather performance. In nine of the twelve rounds, Manny Pacquiao landed less than 10 punches. Manny’s over-all connect rate was a career-low of 19%. (81 of 429 thrown). Mayweather landed at 34% (148 of 435 thrown).

In terms of jabs, Mayweather landed 67 of 267 thrown (25%); Manny connected with 18 of 193 thrown (9%). Per power punches, Floyd connected with 81 of 188 (48%); Pacquiao landed 63 of 236 (27%).

While neither man was seriously hurt in any round, both were able to connect when their opponent was open and off-balance. Thus, both men “stumbled” at least once during the bout. But the fight was fought almost exclusively at the pace that Floyd dictated. The Pacquiao fans attempted to inspire Manny to pick up the pace several times, especially in the late rounds. However, Manny was either unwilling or unable to do so.

Two judges scored it 8 rounds to 4, and the third had it 10 to 2. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that it did not take several rounds for Floyd to access Manny and make adjustments -- he established his superiority in the first round, and imposed his will through to the end.

The biggest non-surprise was the sour grapes being gargled by both the sports journalists who dreamed of a Pac-Man victory, and the pro-Pacquiao / anti-Mayweather fans on social media. It wasn’t a “super fight.” Floyd is no Carmen Basilio. This was so boring that it will kill boxing. Floyd is no Muhammad Ali. Right, right -- as long as we are talking about the older version of Ali, since the young champion was hated by an even larger percentage of Americans than Floyd is today.

Several people have correctly noted that last night’s fight was very similar to the second Frazier versus Ali bout. It was the only one of the three scheduled for 12 rounds. Ali was focused upon one thing, and one thing only: getting the win. He fought a careful fight, winning more rounds than Smokin’ Joe. Afterwards, Joe complained that Ali pushed down on his neck on the inside, and clinched frequently. Indeed, Ali did. And he won a one-sided decision of the great heavyweight champion, Joe Frazier.

Pacquiao and Freddie Roach attempted to use a shoulder injury as their excuse after the fight. The human parasite Bob Arum did, too -- until a journalist asked him if, considering how much the public paid to watch the fight, he knowingly sent an injured Manny into the ring? As always, Arum whimpered out of both sides of his mouth in response.

Mayweather noted that he had injured both arms and both hands in training, when he met with journalists in the post-fight press conference. This is, of course, common when men in their mid- to late 30s train very hard for a fight. Boxing is a “hurt” business, and that includes training camps.

The majority of the questions posed to Mayweather were disrespectful attempts to discredit his amazing victory. In a calm, rational manner, Floyd was able to redirect the discussion, and to focus on what is important. He handled the reporters with more ease than he did Pacquiao.

Two of boxing’s all-time great champions entered the ring last night. Floyd won a lop-sided decision, based upon his intelligence, ring generalship, and physical skills. After the decision, two of boxing’s all-time great champions left the ring -- for that dynamic had not changed. Manny Pacquiao did not lessen his legend. Rather, Floyd established his superiority. Both men deserve our respect. Both are nearing the end of their outstanding careers, and we will not see anyone like either of them again.

The Fight

Tomorrow night is the “Big Fight” between welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and challenger Manny Pacquiao. The bout is being billed as “The Fight of the Century,” which is accurate at this point -- though there are 84 years to go. Even before the first bell rings, its being compared to Louis vs. Schmeling (6-22-1938), and Frazier vs. Ali I (3-8-’71).

In my opinion, the bout is more similar to Johnson vs. Jefferies (7-4-1910): in that much anticipated fight, the nation was split primarily upon “color lines,” with blacks hoping for Johnson, and whites praying to see “that golden smile removed from his (Johnson’s) face.” Jack Johnson was a complex character outside of the ring, and his flamboyant life-style offended white folks. In the ring, he was a defensive master, who wore his outclassed opponents out, before beating them into submission.

Jefferies, the undefeated former champion, was viewed as the “Great White Hope.” More than 20,000 people traveled to Reno, Nevada, to watch the bout. It turned out to be one-sided. After Johnson put Jefferies away, at least 20 people were killed in “race riots” broke out in 50 cities across America -- from Texas to New York, and from Colorado to Washington, DC.

Floyd Mayweather is the incarnation of Jack Johnson: his ring-style and life-style resemble Johnson’s, far more than they do Ali’s. Yet, besides being all-time great fighters, what the three have in common is being hated by much of the public.

The Louis vs. Schmeling II, and the Frazier vs. Ali I, were definitely “Super Fights.” More, each of them were deemed to transcend sports. Max had defeated a younger Joe, before the Brown Bomber won the heavyweight title. Their re-match was cast as a contest between Nazi Germany and the United States (despite Schmeling’s not being a Nazi). It was a brutal, one-round knockout, in which Joe did severe damage to Max’s spine.

Frazier vs. Ali I pitted two undefeated heavyweight champions, for the first time in history. Ali was, of course, despised by the right-wing, who incorrectly viewed him as a “draft-dodger.” Thus, even Richard Nixon was pulling for a Frazier victory. The left-wing was rooting for Ali.

In many ways, tomorrow’s fight is more similar to the 4-6-87 bout between middleweight champion Marvin Hagler and challenger Sugar Ray Leonard. This was in the golden era for welter-and middleweights; Marvin and Ray were considered the two best. For years, Ray avoided the fight. However, when he saw evidence that Hagler’s skills were deteriorating, and was able to dictate the ring-size, the glove-size, the number of rounds (12, rather than 15), and the location (Las Vegas), he interrupted Marvin’s plan to retire.

By preparing for twelve distinct “mini-” bouts -- each round -- and determing that he could “steal” rounds by fighting in spurts to impress the Vegas judges -- Ray won a decision. It was controversial then, and still is the subject of much dispute among the boxing community today. I recognize that Ray won; however, I recognize that, had the exact same bout have taken place in Atlantic City, Hagler would have gotten the decision. Different venues favor different tactics.

A strong case can be made for either man winning tomorrow night. The only thing that is certain at this point is that anyone who claims either fighter has “no chance” doesn’t understand boxing. Both Floyd and Manny are not only great boxers, but both rank among the sport’s All-Time Greats. Each possesses extreme physical skills. Yet, what makes both unique talents is their mental strength.

In many ways, each will be taking a page out of Ray Leonard’s book: they recognize that each one of the twelve rounds is a battle in itself. More, each round is three minutes long. When two fairly evenly-matched great fighters meet, not only is it rare for one to win every round, but almost impossible to win every minute of every round. (It’s worth noting that for many years, Floyd literally won almost every round of every one of his fights. That is extremely rare, especially considering that he faced tough competition.)

For Manny Pacquiao, that means near-constant foot movement; darting in-and-out at angles -- never coming straight in, or straight out; and throwing high-volume combinations. More, it means trying to throw the last punch in almost every exchange. If he appears busier in two of the three minutes, he can steal rounds.

Pac-Man’s hand-speed may allow him to do something that virtually no opponent has done yet: to land consecutive punches to Floyd’s head. To do so, he will need to throw “up and down,” meaning combinations to the head and body. Still, Manny’s overall intensity in the ring has to be controlled -- after throwing a combination, he must spin away from Floyd, never setting a pattern.

Clearly, Pacquiao can knock an opponent unconscious. But he should not be looking for a knockout In fact, if he starts to load-up on punches, he will pay severely for it. However, he does have the ability to exploit Floyd’s going off-balance: when Mayweather leads with a crisp right-cross -- and he surely will tomorrow -- he tends to bend at the waist, and hop out to the side. Manny need not land a hard counter -- just an accurate one. If he does score a knockdown, even just because Floyd was off-balance, that’s a 10-8 round. And that alone could be the difference on the score cards.

As much as I respect Manny Pacquiao, I definitely favor Floyd Mayweather. I think that “hit and don’t get hit” is the proper approach to the Great Sport. Floyd has accomplished this to great success, actually in two distinct (though related) manners in his career. For the early through middle years, he simply imposed himself on opponents. His 1-20-’01 destruction of undefeated champion Diego Corrales is the best example. I’d also include his 6-25-05 bout against Arturo Gatti; in it, Floyd reminded me of Ali devastating Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams, and landing at an unreal rate.

More recently, Floyd has displayed the ability of a technician, which is rare, indeed. He’s able to measure the exact rate that a Zab Judah or an Oscar de la Hoys will tire. Then exploit it fully. He played with Juan Manuel Marquez, himself a legendary ring technician. Floyd defined controlling the geography of the ring against the much larger Canelo Alvarez. Against Mosley, he showed he could take a very hard, accurate punch that he never saw coming. And with Cotto and in the first Maidana bout, Floyd showed physical strength and endurance.

It’s fascinating to see that Floyd has gone “old school” in this training camp. I was the guest on a sports-radio show last night, with two hosts who had interviewed Floyd the day before; his camp is among the things that has all three of us thinking Floyd may win in impressive fashion in the late rounds. The pre-fight specials show that he is setting down, and lifting from his feet up, hard body shots. (Manny’s first two knockout loses resulted from body punches.)

Floyd is also chopping wood. Reportedly, a lot of it. This results in greater punching-power. This is especially true for punches that he “turns over” (meaning turning his wrist/fist when a punch lands). It seems likely that he will open a cut, somewhere on Manny’s brow, by the middle rounds. It also means that should Manny come straight in with his chin up, or moves straight back after an exchange -- both things he does too often -- he may be knocked to the canvas.

Still, no fighter has shown a greater understanding of a title fight consisting of 12 three-minute rounds than Floyd. While he no longer wins every minute of every round, he has an uncanny ability to “keep score” in his head, and turn on the punches when needed. His defensive skills are legendary: most opponents miss punches at a career-high rate. In response, Floyd lands his punches at a higher rate than any other fighter.

I expect the bout to be fairly even for six rounds. After that, Floyd should be able to impose himself on Manny, with his advantages in size, strength, and smarts. By round nine, I expect Floyd to become more aggressive than most people expect; this doesn’t have to include coming forward, stalking Pacquiao constantly. But it does mean initiating the action with blinding speed.

The most likely outcome is a decision victory for Mayweather. However, a late round TKO isn’t going to surprise me. (In fact, nothing will!)

Enjoy the fight!

Power & Ms. Mosby

Marilyn Mosby just renewed my faith in the ability of good people to transcend the mechanics of “the system,” and to bring about social justice. I realize that she is, in a sense, the public face of a large team. Yet she is clearly the powerful and capable leader of that team.

This is a historic day. The struggle is far, far from over. But we should take time to appreciate the significance of the press conference that we have just seen.

Peace,
H2O Man

Hillary Clinton & Hydro-Fracking

The article linked to below is from the September-October issue of Mother Jones. It is a story about how the US State Department -- and specifically Hillary Clinton -- used their position to advocate for a $68 million deal for Chevron to be able to hydro-frack in Bulgaria.

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/09/hillary-clinton-fracking-shale-state-department-chevron

It is this type of thing that causes people like myself -- a registered Democrat, who has voted for the Democratic Party’s candidate in virtually every election since I reached the voting age -- to question if we can in good conscience support Hillary Clinton for president.

The pro-Clinton people, including here on DU:GD, do not seem to want to have an open and honest discussion about this type of issue. Rather, when a DU community member such as myself raises this concern, it tends to be ignored, or marginalized, or the character of the person raising the question is attacked.

Those are the three sticks that many of the pro-Clinton folks swing, in my opinion, in order to either silence or distract from serious discussions of these types of issues. Because I don’t feel (or fear) such sticks, I thought it might be good if I brought this one to the table.

I do so not in an attempt to deny the many good qualities that I recognize Hillary Clinton as having. These include, but are not limited to, her being a strong advocate for women and children, and on LGBT issues. Those are all extremely important, and the fact is that Ms. Clinton has been a long-time, and consistent, leader in these areas. Likewise, I respect her for her role in advocating for affordable health-care for human beings.

Non-issues, ranging from Benghazi to “Clinton Cash” play zero role in my opinion about Ms. Clinton. Indeed, she has been the target of some of the most delusional projections from the decaying minds of the rabid-right for decades. And a huge amount of that, quite obviously, is the direct result of a deeply-rooted fear of and hatred for powerful women that infects our culture.

The issues involved in fracking are distinct from the nonsense. Attempts to portray these concerns as being much the same are, at best, dishonest. Efforts to paint it as a “single issue,” and those who are concerned about it as “purists,” are, at best, uninformed. And the refusal to acknowledge these concerns, and to discuss them openly and honestly, does not speak to the good will of the pro-Clinton members of this community.

There is a disconnect between being an advocate of health care, and being a supporter of the energy corporations’ efforts to capitalize upon “natural resources” in a manner that is extremely destructive to the environment. Fracking poisons the air, soil, and especially water in a manner that poses serious health hazards to human beings and all other living things. As such, it cannot be dismissed as a “single issue” that is of relatively little significance in the “big picture” -- unless, of course, one is willing to accept the lies from corporate “leaders” such as Dick Cheney.

I will be interested in what, if any responses this OP gets from the pro-Clinton people here on the forum. My essay and link are not intended as an attack, either upon them, or on Hillary Clinton. Rather, it is an attempt to communicate the seriousness of many of our concerns regarding Ms. Clinton, and her presidential campaign.

Peace,
H2O Man

Road-Rage Incident/ Court Hearing

“Let justice flow down like water, and righteousness a mighty stream.”
-- Amos 5:24


There was a pre-trial court hearing in Norwich, NY, today for John Guzy, the man who shot my cousin and his son last October. The incident, which was a case of “road rage,” is something that I’ve wrote about here on DU:GD previously. In fact, with the support of the DU community, we were able to set the county’s record for both contacts with the District Attorney and Judge, with people demanding that bail not be set for Guzy.

In today’s hearing, the defendant’s attorney requested that the judge block the prosecutor from using any of the physical evidence and all statements his client made to police, before being arrested. This is because Guzy has recently decided upon another lie that he hopes to tell the jury -- that his victims had been stalking him, and that a desperate last resort, he had to shoot them to save his own life.

The attorney also requested the court bar any mention of a similar case, just two month’s prior, where Guzy had dogged another vehicle on Rt. 17 -- a four-lane highway, in which he could have simply passed -- then pulled ahead, slammed on his brakes, and got out of his vehicle and pointed his handgun at the other vehicle. They escaped injury, but reported the incident to police. Guzy pleaded guilty, apparently to a lesser charge. This was one of four very similar incidents of Guzy -- a retired NYC cop, who was employed by the county Sheriff’s department in October -- threatening people’s lives with his gun. In fact, he had discharged the weapon in the direction of his neighbor’s children last summer, while they were on their own property, because they were making noise that annoyed him.

My youngest daughter and I were among nine of our extended family in court today. It is extremely rough for my cousin, who held his son while he bled to death on a gravel parking lot, and my aunt and uncle (in their late 80s). To sit and look at this vile individual was difficult. I was glad that he was chained, hands and feet.

The decision about the evidence will take at least two months. We are confident that he doesn’t have a leg to stand on. Two NYS Police officers, including a Senior Investigator for the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, testified. They also produced recordings of Guzy’s initial lies to police, when on his own accord, he went to press charges against his victims. He believed at the time that both were dead, and thus that there were no witnesses to dispute his lies.

The actual trial hasn’t been scheduled yet. It could be in October, or perhaps later. (One scheduling issue is that my cousin and I are planning a trip to Ireland and Scotland. I’m just getting a one-way ticket. I expect he may opt to return.)

I will keep folks here updated as things progress.

Peace,
H2O Man

Message to the Left-Wing

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to who prepares for it today.”
-- Malcolm X

The current tension on DU:GD, between the pro-Hillary Clinton and the anti-Clinton groups, can actually be superimposed over other longer-term tensions within the Democratic Party. That, of course, comes as little or no surprise to most people in this internet community. What has changed, I believe, is that a growing number of people on the left are becoming convinced that -- due to the undemocratic effect that “big money has upon elections -- that the Democratic Party is becoming too much like the republican party, and that they are powerless to change it.

We can trace the negative influence that “big money” has back to Richard Nixon. In both 1968 and ‘72, the combination of legal and illegal contributions to the Nixon cause allowed him to be elected twice to the highest office in the land. The simple fact that money could so influence elections -- to the point that as repulsive a human being as Nixon could be elected -- demonstrates its unhealthy influence on democracy.

Perhaps the biggest change since then is that the US Supreme Court has ruled that money is speech, and has simply made what previously was illegal attempts to buy elected office legal. That this was a partisan decision is beyond question; indeed, it is as part as the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v Gore.

This comes as no surprise to those who are familiar with, for example, Injustice Antonin Scalia’s interpretation of the Constitution. Speaking at a 2002 Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, Scalia said that the 1787 version of the Constitution was inspired, divine law. “That consensus has been upset by the emergence of democracy,” he told the crowd. He added that “the reactions of people of faith to this tendency of democracy to obscure the divine authority behind government should not be resignation to it, but resolution to combat it as effectively as possible.”

There you go: God wanted George W. Bush to be President, but was unable to influence the final outcome, because of democracy. Thus, Scalia & Company had to do for God what he couldn’t do for Himself. Big money in politics? Again, God’s will to promote the divine authority of the dollar.

For a variety of reasons, the tensions that we see here are being played out in direct association to Ms. Clinton’s campaign. For many here (and nationally), Ms. Clinton is an outstanding candidate. Not “perfect,” as no one is; but exactly who is needed at this time. They are confident that she will win. And that’s not only okay -- it’s a good thing.

For many others, she is representative of too many of the problems with politicians in general, if not the very personification of very specific political vice. They view her as working for the same corporate interests as the republicans, rather than the common people. They resent that they may not have a serious alternative choice in the primaries. And they believe that even if she wins the White House, it will not translate into positive gains in their daily lives.

How well do these two groups get along? Well, if we look at DU:GD -- which has been a rather tough neighborhood in past primary seasons -- the name-calling and other insults would suggest “not to well.” That’s not to say that there are not plenty of good contributions from both pro- and anti-Clinton people here. There are. And some people -- again, from both sides -- also raise some interesting questions for those on the opposing side to consider. Now, that’s the way it should be.

However, there is also a semi-organized “neighborhood watch group,” that coordinates attacks on many of the anti-Clinton Ops. I’m sure they believe the opposite is true, too; I haven’t seen evidence of it at anywhere near the same level, though. By no coincidence, this cluster identifies itself as The Democratic Party -- not part of it, but the established party itself. Likewise, they frequently point out the word “democratic” in the Democratic Underground, and express a belief that it indicates support of the party as they define it.

Again: this is a description of some, but definitely not all, of Clinton supporters. By no coincidence, if you are active in your local and regional Democratic Party committees, you will encounter similar atmospheres. There are a lot of good people who fully support Ms. Clinton; not as a “perfect” candidate, but as one capable of winning the election, and dealing with the reality of the dysfunction and corrupt reality that is our federal government. (There are others who are undecided, or who do not feel comfortable supporting Hillary Clinton.) And, among the Clinton supporters, there are always some who are bitter, or histrionic, or closed-minded, who project their personality traits upon the candidate.

In the end, politics is always about power. Those running national campaigns look to harvest two things from the public: financial contributions and votes. They are not primarily concerned with your thoughts or problems; rather, they seek to frame issues in a way where the largest number of voters will identify their thoughts and problems as being addressed by the campaign.

If you want your thoughts and concerns to be recognized, you need to start at the local level. To really have them taken seriously, you have to demonstrate that you can harness local power -- that means expanding your base of support within the community and surrounding area. To be successful, you need like-minded people, ready and able to invest in the effort to spread your position in the next town, city, and county. When you are able to do that, then those at the state level begin to pay attention to you.

Since human beings tend to be human beings, if you are able to do this, you will find the already established folks will take one of three positions: they will want to join with you; they will want to access your votes, money, etc, for their agenda; or they will view you as their competition, and oppose you.

I agree with establishment Democrats who note that there are important differences between the two parties. I also agree with those who note that -- especially at the top -- the two parties have way too much in common. And I fully appreciate the beliefs of those who feel that we need a third party. What I do not believe is that, with a major investment of effort from the grass roots -- and I do not mean in one election cycle -- the Democratic Party can be made to accommodate almost everyone ….excepting only, perhaps, those Democrats who are most like their republican counterparts.

In my opinion, based upon decades of experience, that requires the left-wing of the party to engage in an organized outreach to the Democratic Left; identify as much common ground as possible; and, when possible, work as a coalition. Obviously, that does not mean that you’ll all vote exactly the same, all of the time. But it does mean that when there are good progressive-liberal Democratic Party candidates, that you will increase their chances of victory. That’s power.

When you start doing that, those at the next level up begin to take notice. They will notice a pattern emerging. And even those moderate-to-conservative Democrats who really don’t have that much in common with you, will come to understand that they can no longer take you and your vote for granted. They’ll stop thinking that you have “no where else to go,” because you’ll be making a stronger left-wing of the party your political residence. They won’t be able to treat you like they are your landlord in the Democratic Party any more. In fact, they’ll have to take a whole different approach, when they come knocking on your door, asking you to help them.

I’m not suggesting that this is the “only” way, but rather, just one possibility.

Peace,
H2O Man

Boxing: April 18

April 18, at Verona, NY:
Ruslan Provodonikov vs. Lucas Matthyssa, 12 rounds, junior welterweights.


This is a good weekend for the boxing community. Tonight, there is a good card on ESPN. Tomorrow night, HBO features a double-header, and Showtime has an interesting light heavyweight bout. However, if you are able to watch any one fight, make it the Matthyssa vs. Provodonikov bout on HBO.

Matthyssa is 36-3, with 34 knockout wins. Provodonikov is 24-3, with 17 knockouts. Both have held titles.

Both fighters’ loses have come by decisions, when they were out-boxed by talented fighters, with the exception of Ruslan’s March, 2013 toe-to-toe war with Timothy Bradley. That was the “Fight of the Year” for the boxing writer’s association and fans.

Both are considered as among the hardest-punching, most exciting fighters today. They each have the power needed to end a fight with one punch.

On paper, it is certainly a candidate for one of the best fights of the year. Enjoy watching it!

Evolution, Growth, & a Question

“A person’s consciousness cannot evolve unconsciously.”
-- Rubin “Hurricane” Carter


As the 2016 season approaches, one of the things that I will be on the look out for is politicians who say that their position on one thing or another has “evolved.” I recognize that many of the things that I spend hours thinking about are likely of no significance to others. Indeed, this may be one of them. However, the above quote -- from one of the letters Rubin wrote me from solitary confinement in 1979 -- is evidence that the evolution of human consciousness is something that I’ve found fascinating for many years.

Quite often, in the realm of politics, we hear a candidate explain a recent change in their position on an issue is the result of their evolving opinion. As a general rule, this is a purposeful lie. Most often, that change in position is nothing more or less than opportunism. The candidate has become convinced that: they risk losing support if they continue to advocate for their original position; and they may capitalize on taking a different position. It has nothing to do with actual values.

Let’s consider a crude historic example, shall we? George Wallace is frequently remembered as a racist southern governor, who -- after being seriously injured in an assassination attempt -- evolved in his thinking, and came to like black people. The truth is a little more complicated, and far less attractive. An examination of Wallace’s early life shows that “race” wasn’t an important issue to him. Power was. So, while young George was attempting to harness political power, he really didn’t associate black people as playing any role.

With the Civil Rights movement, Wallace saw an opportunity to gain power by increasing the level of hatred in his state. He knew what every tyrant understands: that if you can get a group to hate a common foe, they will forget their own low level of being, and happily follow the leader. Wallace exploited that hatred for purely personal power. He even sought to become president, or to have great influence over a president (Nixon), by way of hate.

Once that bullet ended his chances of advancing in power, he had no use for racial hatred. This is distinct from evolving. No, old George Wallace was still the same grumpy snapping turtle of a man as he had been before.

Yet people do evolve, and it is something that even politicians can -- rarely -- do. But it is not the result of merely learning more, or adopting to changing circumstances. Those who originally supported George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq probably changed their opinions on that, as the events spun out of control. They may have made 100% sincere attempts to find avenues to resolve the horrible problems that Bush-Cheney created. But that’s not evolving. And while it is better than, say, the republicans who insist that “the world is better without Saddam,” it still raises questions about their judgment.

When President Obama came out in favor of marriage equality, he attributed it to an evolution in his thinking. While I think President Obama is much, much more honest than most politicians -- which really ain’t saying much -- I do not believe that one. I think that he felt that, as a candidate in 2008, it could have cost him the election, had he been honest with the public. Yet that brings us to an important point: the public’s opinion on marriage equality has evolved. And that’s a good thing.

It’s important, though, that we recognize that everyone should have been recognized as having equal rights to marry, all along. It’s great that we have, as a society, evolved; yet we should never lose sight of the fact that our society has denied people their basic human rights for far too long. The same holds true for the Civil Rights movement. And women’s lib. More, none of them have been solved -- they continue to be problems.

When groups of people, formerly denied basic rights, have them recognized, it transforms society. It brings the entire society to higher ground -- even though some people will complain. Those who now can exercise their rights continue to be the same good people that they were before. The actual transformation is found in the once hateful slugs who sought to deny others their rights.

Indeed, an actual evolution in consciousness transforms the individual. It isn’t mere learning some new facts. It’s not simply found in a willingness to try a new tactic to win an old fight. No, it requires a shedding of the qualities of the old self, and becoming new. Not like Richard Nixon kept trying to “re-invent” himself, and pretend to be “the New Richard Nixon.”

The last President to evolve in office was John Kennedy; this was largely as a result of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The last serious candidate for president, who entered the race as a result of his evolution, was President Kennedy’s brother, Robert; his evolution was largely the result of JFK’s assassination.

The majority of politicians never evolve. It may be unfair to expect them to. It is definitely unrealistic.

It is hopeful that politicians will grow over heir career, however. That’s one of the things that I look for in candidates, be they running for local, state, or national office. Thus, my question: Can you give an example -- historical or current -- of a politician that you admire, who has displayed personal growth during their career?

Thank you,
H2O Man

2016

“Every generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists of preventing the world from destroying itself.”
-- Albert Camus


My youngest daughter’s friend e-mailed me a photograph of her meeting Hillary Clinton. Although the picture is a few weeks old, I really enjoyed seeing it today. This young lady -- a senior in high school -- is the type of person that gives me real hope for the future.

A few hours after getting that picture, by way of the internet, I had a meeting with a gentleman who is running for a local position, in an election later this year. Like a number of prospective politicians in our region, he wants my assistance in planning his campaign strategy. As he is a registered Democrat, and strikes me as a decent fellow, I’m happy to be of assistance.

As we went for a walk, I encouraged him to talk about why he is running for office, and what his goals will be if he is elected. From listening to a person talk, I’m able to write up press releases, letters-to-editors, and speeches, that sound as if he wrote them himself. Over the decades, I’ve been pretty successful in doing that.

Since he is one of the very few human beings on earth who is actually older than me, I was interested in hearing his opinion on current events. That included local, state, and national issues, as well as his view of the quality of the current crop of leaders from the Democratic Party. It would be both fair and accurate to say that he has a decidedly low opinion of the majority of our elected representatives on the state and national level.

The only President of recent years that he thought highly of was Bill Clinton. I asked him if he supported Hillary Clinton for 2016? He said that, while she’s probably the best choice we’ll have, he views her more as the “least worse” of potential presidential candidates. He said that he thinks she will slow the pace that our country self-destructs, but not change the general direction we are going in.

I’m aware that he has a daughter and a son. So I asked him if he thought Ms. Clinton getting elected would represent a move towards equality between the sexes? His answer included both “yes” and “no.” He believes that every child in America should grow up believing that they could actually become elected President, in that half the population shouldn’t feel that there are doors closed to them, simply because they are female. On the other hand, he said, issues of social class are more likely to prevent his daughter from accessing all the doors that should be open to her, rather than simply her being female. He said that he believes that Hillary Clinton’s social status has more influence on her actions in government, than her being female does.

I have voted in every election since I was first able to. And not just presidential elections, though I haven’t missed one of them. But “off year” congressional elections, plus state, county, and community elections. Included in this is having voted for the Democrat in virtually every presidential election. In my local area, there isn’t always a democratic candidate; there are times it’s been a third party, or the less bad of two republicans. But I always vote. I view it not simply as a right, but a responsibility to be taken very seriously.

As we begin this election cycle, I appreciate why some people are very excited about the prospects of electing Hillary Clinton as President. I also understand why others feel like it is most likely to be the old “lesser of two evils” deal, which hardly inspires. (Personally, I am not aware of any candidate -- including those that some folks dream of drafting for the job -- who I think has the potential to institute real change. I’m not convinced that the Oval Office actually offers that ability any more.)

In this context, the question will be: Can Hillary Clinton win in November of 2016? Those who believe that she’s sure to win, like those who believe that she’s sure to lose, are unrealistic. Certainly, either one of those outcomes will be possible. The last four elections have indicated that presidential elections are more likely to be close, than not. In fact, this one will come down to one person -- Hillary Clinton, the candidate. In the final analysis, the outcome will be determined by if she can convince enough people to vote for her. It really is that simple.

Mayweather vs Pacquiao

“I’m a boxer who believes that the object of the sport is to hit and not get hit.”
-- Floyd Mayweather, Jr.


On May 2nd, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., and Manny Pacquiao will meet in a scheduled 12-round bout at the MGM Grand, in Las Vegas, Nevada. We are currently 17 days away from the biggest money-making event in sports. It is a title unification bout, with the Champion Mayweather putting his WBC welterweight and WBA junior middleweight titles on the line, and Paquiao bringing his WBO welterweight title to the table.

Floyd’s record is a perfect 47 - 0, with 26 coming by knockout. Pacquiao is 57 - 5 - 2, with 38 knockout victories, and 3 defeats by KO. At 5’ 8”, with a 72-inch reach, Floyd is taller by 1.5 inches, and has a 5-inch reach advantage. Floyd fights orthodox, or right-handed, while Manny is southpaw, or left-handed. Also, at 38, Floyd is two years older than Pac Man.

Manny turned pro in 1995; Floyd did so in 1996. Floyd has fought 363 rounds as a pro; while Manny has fought 407 rounds. One of the more significant differences is that Mayweather has taken relatively few punches in his career, and has rarely been “stung,” much less hurt; while Manny has had a tougher career, and has taken lots of punishment, including his devastating knockout lose to Juan Manuel Marquez in late 2012. While his other knockout loses came by way of body punches, he was knocked unconscious for an extended period just four fights ago.

Although the bout is being promoter -- correctly -- as a “super fight,” the majority of the boxing community’s experts are predicting that Floyd will most likely win a one-sided decision. If they are correct, it should take Floyd about three rounds to figure Pacquiao out, and then dominate him.

Many of Floyd’s opponents have, despite their pre-fight predictions and promises, found it very hard to compete with Mayweather in the ring. Tough guys such as Canelo Alvarez have actually been intimidated, to the point where he stopped trying to win, and was instead satisfied to go the distance. This is because Floyd is very difficult to hit, plus his speed and strength combine to make his counter-punches far harder than opponents’ have assumed they would be. Indeed, in boxing, speed is power.

Another school of thought is that not only is Pacquiao often reckless in the ring -- and I promise that you will hear the word “reckless” coming from the Mayweather camp as the fight gets closer -- but he isn’t cut out to be satisfied with a “safe” decision loss. First, of course, it is important to remember that this is Manny Pacquiao, an all-time great champion. So, not only will he roll the dice, but he will be extremely dangerous when he does so.

More than anyone that Mayweather has ever met before, Pacquiao likes to land the last punch in every exchange. And, with his extraordinary footwork, sliding from side-to-side, to create new openings, Pac Man delivers powerful punches.

I’ll likely change my mind again, at least once per day, but at this point, I’m thinking that Floyd will stop Manny in between nine and ten rounds. I think that after four rounds, Floyd will bloody Pacquiao up, and beat him up. I think trainer Freddie Roach will throw in the towel, to protect Manny from himself.

What is your prediction?
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