by Troy Sparks
If you’re looking for some improvement from the Milwaukee Bucks, don’t hold your breath. It’s one thing to have talent on your team, but getting that talent to play together is another thing.
One look at how the team is performing through the preseason and you can see why it’s hard to think they will make the playoffs in 2013.
Since none of the Bucks’ preseason games are on TV, you had to see firsthand as I did last weekend why some basketball experts think the playoffs aren’t on the horizon.
Starting guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis don’t want to hear that kind of negative talk. The two recently held a powwow at a location inside the apartment building where they live. Jennings spoke up during a team dinner to declare that he’s the man to lead the deer to the postseason.
Based on the offseason acquisitions, draft picks and free-agent signings, it looks like the Bucks can back it up on paper. Add that to the sense of urgency of sending head coach Scott Skiles either riding off in the sunset if they’re winning or packing by midseason if their progress as a team goes south.
Skiles is in the last year of his contract. Team owner Herb Kohl will retire as U.S. senator at the end of the year, so he will have lots of spare time to track the return on his investments, all 12-15 of his players, during the upcoming regular season.
When the Bucks played the visiting Washington Wizards, Oct. 20, at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, I expected a blowout win by the home team. The lineups and team chemistry is still a work in progress, but based on the results in that game, Jennings and Ellis took most of the shots.
When Jennings threw up two off-balance air balls, I was mumbling to myself that he shouldn’t shoot any more the rest of the night. I don’t think making five of 15 shots in 36 minutes will win many games.
Maybe he should have passed more to the three frontcourt starters. They had a combined 25 shot attempts, but they also bricked too many of them. If you’re counting on center Samuel Dalembert and forwards Tobias Harris and Ersan Ilyasova to pick up the slack when Jennings and/or Ellis have off shooting nights, then you’re in trouble.
And to think that watching the Washington Wizards play good preseason basketball was refreshing. For once, they didn’t play like the Washington Generals. If you don’t know who the Generals are, they are usually the opponent that loses to the Harlem Globetrotters all the time.
The Wizards had a 1-4 record entering the exhibition game against the Bucks.
You can say that it was only a preseason game, but if Milwaukee shoots 36.7 percent in the first half and 39.5 percent in the game, then there will be plenty of times that fans will exit the building when the opposing team steals a road win. That’s what Washington did in their 102-94 victory.
Skiles is challenging his team to put forth more of a defensive effort, especially when they let the Wizards score 54 points in the second half. “Overall, it has been our third game in a row where our defense hasn’t been very good,” he said after the game.
With the regular season beginning on the road at Boston, Nov. 2, and the first home game, Nov. 3, at the BMOHBC, the Bucks must get it together or they will be left in the dust. “We still have multiple guys that aren’t real sure what we’re executing out there (on offense),” Skiles said. “It’s stuff that we got to clean up.”
And who says that going through the motions in the preseason campaign carries over into the regular season? It will be time for the Bucks to shape up or ship out when the season starts.
“We need to tighten things up before the real stuff counts,” forward Mike Dunleavy said. “Hopefully we don’t wait until then. We get some momentum and play well (the final stretch of preseason).”
So are you sold on the Bucks making the playoffs or not? With no real superstars on the team that will draw fans to the arena, it could be hard to sell the concept of “Work Hard, Play Hard,” which was their slogan two years ago or the “Be Milwaukee” slogan from last season. I didn’t hear of any new team slogan yet. Maybe it should be, “Oh well, we’ll put anybody out there and see what happens.”
The Packers and Brewers didn’t play last Saturday night and the Badgers football team played earlier in the day. I brought this up because the BMOHBC needed just 33 more people to come into the building to make it an even 10,000.
When you’re 33 people short of 10K for a practice game, I’m sorry, that doesn’t get it done for the bottom line. Without giving away the answer, subtract 33 from 10,000 and that’s how many people were interested in watching the Milwaukee Bucks because they played the Wizards. If Miami, Boston or the L.A. Lakers were in town, almost the whole arena would have been packed because those teams have all-stars and superstars.
Both Jennings and Ellis shot a combined 12 for 33 from the field. If you’re counting on those two to take up the scoring load and try to win the game, then you need to wake up. Maybe Ilyasova may get some shots every once in a while. Dalembert and Harris – if that starting lineup stays the same for a while – might not get many touches on offense.
So when it’s a close game in the fourth quarter, who will be the closer? That was one problem the Bucks had in some games last season when the game was down to the last four minutes and they let the other team come back to win. I know anything can happen in the last minutes of the game, but this team has to close out games in order to win. We will see very soon if this squad has what it takes to hit the ground running for 82 games.
Archives for October 2012
Milwaukee County Supervisors Nikiya Q. Harris, Russell W. Stamper II, and David Bowen are inviting residents of Districts 2, 5 and 10 to join them for a “Tri-District” Budget Listening Session at the Washington Park Senior Center, 4420 W. Vliet St., on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 from 6 to 8 p.m.
“Hosting a budget listening session in a central location, such as Washington Park, offers constituents another opportunity to share their concerns prior to the budget adoption,” said District 5 Supervisor Stamper.
District 10 Supervisor Bowen echoed the sentiment, adding, “I welcome this opportunity to give people who could not attend my town hall sessions another chance for their voices to be heard.”
Supervisor Harris, District 2, said, “Hearing the concerns of District 2 residents is a top priority of mine, and I’m pleased to host this ‘Tri-District’ Budget Listening Session with my colleagues and to hear the concerns of neighboring districts.”
The Milwaukee County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to convene on Monday, November 5th to decide how they will revise the County Executive’s 2013 Recommended Budget.
The 22nd Annual Ozaukee County Freedom Fund Dinner will feature a stimulating panel of distinguished guests who will discuss, “Your Power, Your Decision – Vote.”
Radio host Earl Ingram will moderate this timely public discussion and lead the panelists through a series of questions that puts the spotlight on the deliberate strategies that were designed to adversely affect many citizens, making voting more difficult, more intimidating, more inconvenient, more time consuming, and in some instances, impossible, for individual citizens to vote.
Panelists will discuss their views on how the outcome of this election will affect our way of life and perhaps change the direction of our future.
Our distinguished panelists, all leaders known locally, nationally and internationally, are Dr. Howard Fuller (Marquette University Distinguished Professor, Founder/Director of the Institute for the Transformation of Learning), Claire Vanderslice (President of the Ozaukee League of Women Voters), Connie Pukaite (former mayor of Mequon), and James Causey (columnist and blogger for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).
With this panel, the audience is expected to leave inspired, informed and challenged to participate and engage in voting…Your Power, Your Decision- VOTE! Following the discussion, the audience will have an opportunity to engage with the panelists and offer their views on voting and what this election means to them.
The NAACP is committed to advocating for the protection of voting rights and minimizing the disenfranchisement of communities of people of color. The NAACP continues to fight for civil rights! The message this year is: Your One Vote Counts! It’s Your Power and Your Decision!
The 22nd Annual Ozaukee County NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner will be held Sunday evening, November 4, 2012 at the River Club of Mequon, formerly the Mequon Country Club, located at 12400 Ville du Parc Drive, Mequon, Wisconsin 53092. The evening will begin at 4PM with a social hour and a silent auction. The dinner will start at 5PM.
With the 2012 election, just two days after the dinner, each attendee should be “fired-up and ready to vote”. It is critical that everyone exercises his/her right to vote.
This year, more than ever in our history, we must let our voices be heard, and the only way to effectively carry our message is at the polls. Please visit the website at www.naacpozaukee.org for information regarding the dinner and ticket prices. Join us! “Your Power, Your Decision – Vote “
by Aja Chestine
Milwaukee born Ashlee Jasper is a young upcoming gospel sensation. She belts out notes with her powerfully mesmerizing voice.
She began singing in her youth choir at an early age, but it wasn’t until she was 15 years old that she realized God had blessed her with a divine gift.
When asked who inspires her to sing she smiles and replies, “my grandmother and mother. Growing up watching them captivate a whole church congregation was all I needed to follow in their footsteps.”
Ashlee sings neither traditional nor contemporary gospel music, but a style of her own. Her sound merges gospel, jazz and r&b soul music. Ashlee’s voice echoes the sound of legendary artists Nancy Wilson, Phyllis Hyman and Kim Burrell.
I asked her opinion on the subject. She simply stated “I don’t think I sound like anyone else, I have a raspy voice that makes my sound unique. “
Ashlee was shot into the spotlight during her sophomore year at Vincent High School when she participated in High School Celebrity.
To enter into the competition, you had to have full support of your high school, a 3.00 GPA and be a participant in some form of community service.
She met all three requirements easily. The competition was made up of 863 students across the state of Wisconsin. Week after week, Ashlee shocked and impressed the audiences that filled the Midwest Center.
After three months of practice, auditions and showcases, Ashlee was pronounced the winner of High School Celebrity.
Since then, Ashlee has opened for BET’s Sunday Best mentor & gospel powerhouse Kim Burrell. She has also been highlighted by organizations like Running Rebels, where she won the Free Yourself Award twice.
Ashlee recently pursued another dream, graduating from VICI Cosmetology School in 2012. Ashlee says “I’m the second oldest of 5 siblings and it makes me tremendously proud to be the first in my family to finish college.
No one told me I had to further my education; I’ve just always wanted to be an example for my younger brother & sisters as well as the youth I mentor at church.”
Giving back to her community is a huge part of who Ashlee is. She has volunteered at Luther Manor Nursing Home for the past 5 years, interacting and supporting the elderly. Due to her hard work and dedication, Luther Manor offered Ashlee a job.
Ashlee also makes return visits to Vincent High School to speak to students about putting their education first. This keeps her very much grounded as she pursues her passion & dreams.
When I spoke to Ashlee about her family unit, you could see the love in her eyes. She said her parents have always been extremely supportive of her dreams.
Her foundation and connection with the Lord grew and was strengthened by going to church 3 or 4 times a week with them. Recently, she met up with her biological grandparents, stating, “you can’t truly know where you’re going until you know where you come from.” She added the experience was a life changing experience for her that she didn’t regret at all.
On Saturday, September 29, Ashlee performed at Zion Rock Missionary Baptist Church’s 2nd Annual Gospel Explosion where she opened as the featured artist. She electrified the crowd with her dynamic sound. Ashlee is currently writing and recording music for her first solo project. S
he is also a part of the United in Worship Choir, under the direction of Minister Ky’eric Powell. I asked her how she juggles everything. She was very animated when she responded, “I haven’t gotten where I’m at alone. I’m supported by the AJ team: Agent Jason Rush, assistant Latoya Love, background singers Felicia Smith, Julianna Jasper and Jazzmine Finger; vocal Coach Ky’eric Powell, spiritual advisors Julian and Joyce Jasper Sr., and countless band members. She went on to express that, “without a doubt, I’m living the words I’m singing.”
Thousands of striking workers have been sacked in recent days
(BBC News Africa)
South African unions and gold-mining companies have agreed a deal aimed at settling a bitter long-running dispute.
The National Union of Mineworkers and two other unions signed the pay deal with industry body the Chamber of Mines, but few details were released.
It is unclear whether the deal will satisfy thousands of striking workers, many of whom have been dismissed after their action was ruled illegal.
The strikes have slashed production and cost the industry millions of dollars.
Strikes in the platinum and coal sectors, which are not covered by Thursday’s agreement, have also raged for weeks.
More than 40 people died in violent clashes between police and striking workers at a platinum mine in August.
The National Treasury said on Thursday that strikes across the mining industry had cost the country’s economy 10bn rand ($1.1bn; £710m).
South Africa is one of the world’s biggest producers of precious metals.
‘Worst is over’
Unions and employers gave few details of Thursday’s agreement.
NUM spokesman Lesiba Seshoka said the deal represented a 10.8% wage increase, but did not specify which workers would be affected.
“The worst in the gold sector is over. Members have accepted a new pay structure,” he said.
But he added that the deal would only cover the next few months, and negotiations would resume in February.
Marian van der Walt of Harmony Gold, one of the firms represented by the Chamber of Mines, welcomed the deal.
“We’re very pleased that they signed [to] bring all of the uncertainty and turmoil in the market to an end,” she said.
Harmony said 98% of its striking workforce had now returned to work.
Another firm, Gold Fields, also welcomed the agreement.
Gold Fields said more than 28,000 of its workers had gone out on strike, 8,100 of whom had been dismissed after they failed to honour an ultimatum to return to work.
On Thursday a spokesman said 7,300 of the sacked workers had appealed against their dismissals.
Analysts say workers across the industry are disaffected with the NUM and other mainstream unions, regarding them as too close to the employers.
The workers had been demanding 6,000 rand ($1,800; £1,100) in monthly pay, more than three times their current average salary.
Thursday’s deal looks like a tentative step to ending all the strikes in the gold sector. But the impasse in the platinum sector still exists and many mines remain closed.
Part of the problem is that platinum mines, unlike their counterparts in the gold industry, tend to negotiate with their own workers rather than with all the workers across the sector. This is why workers for the Lonmin firm got a 22% wage increase but 12,000 of those at Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) who were out on a wildcat strike were sacked.
Amplats expects its refined platinum production to fall to between 2.2m and 2.4m ounces this year. The Treasury says that the production of platinum group metals slumped by more than 15% in August, compared with a year earlier.
Thursday morning, Colin Powell told “CBS This Morning” why he is throwing his support behind President Barack Obama for a second term and not endorsing fellow Republican Mitt Romney on November 6.
Using Monday’s final presidential debate as his touchstone, Powell grilled Romney for straying too far from his original foreign policy points as well as his economic plan.
I’m not comfortable with what Governor Romney is proposing for his economic plan. I have concerns about his views on foreign policy. The Governor, who was speaking on Monday night at the debate, was saying things that were quite different from what he said earlier. So I’m not quite sure which Governor Romney we would be getting with respect to foreign policy.
When probed to explain exactly what about Romney’s foreign policy that he found unsettling, Powell acknowledged the fact that Romney has and continues to flip flop on key issues:
One day he has a certain strong view about staying in Afghanistan, but then on Monday night he agrees with the withdrawal. Same thing in Iraq. On almost every issue that was discussed on Monday night, Governor Romney agreed with the President with some nuances.
But this is quite a different set of foreign policy views than he had earlier in the campaign. And my concern, which I’ve expressed previously in a public way, is that sometimes I don’t sense that he has thought through these issues as thoroughly as he should have, and he gets advice from his campaign staff that he then has to adjust to modify as he goes along.
After pointing out Governor Romney’s many flaws, the former Secretary of State made his case for why he is rolling with the President for the second time. Powell explained that while times are difficult, he does believe the country is going in the right direction and even went as far as saying that he was against Romney’s plan to do away with Obamacare.
I think we ought to keep on the track that we are on. I voted for him in 2008 and I plan to stick with him in 2012.
I’m more comfortable with President Obama and his administration when it comes to issues like what are we going to do about climate, what are we going to do about immigration? What are we going to do about education? Lots of things like that.
I do not want to see the new Obamacare plan thrown off the table. It has issues, you have to fix some things in that plan. But what I see when I look at that plan is 30 million of our fellow citizens will now be covered by insurance. And I think that’s good. We’re one of the few nations in the world, with our size, population and wealth, that does not have universal health care.
by Carrie Heale, The Grio
Rapper and ex-felon 2 Chainz has teamed up with the Respect My Vote! campaign to help educate disenfranchised felons on how to get back their right to vote.
The “No Lie” rapper talks in a video about becoming a felon at the age of 15 and thinking it was too late to vote.
2 Chainz regained his right to vote after meeting a woman registering people to vote in a mall during the 2008 presidential election.
He admits in the video that “after talking to her and just doing my research, I realized that you can vote again once you’re a felon.”
While sharing that he is “confident in the leader that we have,” 2 Chainz notes that is just his personal opinion, and that everyone’s opinion matters.
The Associated Press
What’s real estate mogul Donald Trump got against President Barack Obama? The president says it’s an old grudge that goes back — way, way back — to their childhood days in Kenya.
Burbank, Calif. (AP) — What’s real estate mogul Donald Trump got against President Barack Obama? The president says it’s an old grudge that goes back — way, way back — to their childhood days in Kenya.
“We had constant run-ins on the soccer fields,” Obama told “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno during a tongue-in-cheek knock on Trump Wednesday night. “He wasn’t very good and resented it. When we finally moved to America, I thought it would be over.”
Trump became a leading voice in the “birther” movement, the discredited but very much alive conspiracy theory that Obama was actually born outside of the U.S. and isn’t constitutionally eligible to be president. Earlier Wednesday, Trump offered to donate $5 million to the president’s charity of choice if he would release his college and passport records.
Wisecracks aside, Obama told Leno that he has never actually met Trump.
When Leno asked Obama if he was glad the presidential debates are over, the president responded, “You know, I was sort of getting the hang of it.” Obama, whose performance in the first debate was widely panned, said he didn’t do an effective job of energetically outlining the contrast of visions between him and Republican Mitt Romney.
Part of the problem with a debate, Obama said, is that it’s not a natural way of communicating — having an argument with someone as you sit next to him.
“Well,” Leno said, “you’re married.”
Obama shot back: “But the difference is, with Michelle, I just concede every point.”
Asked which team he was backing in the World Series, the Detroit Tigers or the San Francisco Giants, Obama managed to get in a dig at Romney: “I will say, I’ve spent a lot of time in Detroit lately, and I didn’t want to let go Detroit go bankrupt. So in this particular World Series, I might be a little partial.”
Sean “Diddy” Combs was a passenger in an SUV that was hit by another car in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel, but the hip-hop and fashion mogul was not taken to a hospital.
The Associated Press
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Sean “Diddy” Combs was a passenger in an SUV that was hit by another car in front of the Beverly Hills Hotel, but the hip-hop and fashion mogul was not taken to a hospital.
Beverly Hills police Lt. Lincoln Hoshino said Combs was riding in a Cadillac Escalade on Sunset Boulevard Wednesday when a Lexus sedan turned left in front of it, and the vehicles collided.
Hoshino says Combs complained of pain, but said he would seek his own medical attention. No one from either vehicle was hospitalized.
A phone message left for Combs’ publicist was not immediately returned, and Combs made no mention of the crash on his often-updated Twitter account.
Photos posted on celebrity website TMZ showed the Escalade’s bumper badly smashed and Combs lying on grass after the crash.