Pirates win; OKC takes 2-1 series lead

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The Pittsburgh Pirates needed an extra day, but they were able to finish their series with the Colorado Rockies by beating them 6-3 Monday afternoon. It was a makeup game because their match up Sunday was finally postponed because of a rain delay that lasted almost 4 hours.

But the victory certainly wasn’t without its concerns as starting P Ryan Vogelsong was carted off the field after getting struck in the head by a pitch in the second inning. With the bases loaded and Pittsburgh leading 1-0, Colorado starter Jordan Lyles (1-2) hit Vogelsong in the left cheek with a 92 mph fastball.

Vogelsong pitched two scoreless innings before getting injured, holding Colorado to two hits and getting two strikeouts on 34 pitches. The Pirates later said he was admitted to the hospital for injuries to his left eye. Vogelsong was replaced by Wilfredo Boscan (1-0), who got the win in relief.

Boscan earned his first career win, allowing two runs on two hits in 4 innings. He also contributed with his bat, hitting an RBI single in his first career plate appearance in the bottom of the third. Mark Melancon pitched the final two outs of the ninth to collect his 15th save of the season.

Pittsburgh took an early lead on Lyles and never looked back. Besides hitting Vogelsong, the right-hander walked three, allowed two stolen bases, threw a wild pitch and gave up six runs over 2 1/3 innings. All of the damage came in the second and third innings, when the Pirates had six singles from five different hitters.

Pirates 2B Josh Harrison went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI in the win. Colorado’s Carlos Gonzalez snapped a 0-for-17 streak at the plate. He finished the afternoon 2 for 4 with a pair of singles and scored on a D.J. LeMahieu sacrifice fly in the ninth.

The Pirates won 2 out of 3 from the Rockies, beating them 2-1 in Friday, and losing the second game 5-1 and Monday’s 6-3 win. They remain in 2nd place in the National League Central Division, suddenly closing in on a once-hot Chicago Cubs team. If the season ended today, the Pirates would miss the playoffs due to trailing the NY Mets and Philadelphia Phillies-but only by a half a game.

The Pirates will now continue their home stand as they prepare to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks starting Tuesday.  Francisco Liriano (3-3, 4.63 ERA) will take the mound looking to shake off back-to-back losses.

In addition to Voglesong, 3B Jung Ho Kang was held out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive day with a left hand injury. He pinch-hit for Boscan in the sixth inning, flying out to left-center field. He is expected to start on Tuesday.

In NBA news: Nope, you weren’t looking at the scoreboard wrong Sunday night. It’s true: The OKC Thunder destroyed the Golden State Warriors 133-105.

Durant scored 33 points, Westbrook had 30 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds, and Oklahoma City rolled to a 133-105 victory on Sunday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Western Conference finals.

The Warriors, who set an NBA record with 73 victories in the regular season, trailed by 41 points, their largest deficit this season. Durant made 10 of 15 shots and Westbrook was 10 of 19. It was the first time this postseason both players shot better than 50 percent from the field.

Serge Ibaka added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who matched a franchise record for most points scored in a playoff game. Oklahoma City outrebounded the Warriors in its Game 1 victory, but the Warriors won the battle of the boards in Game 2 and beat the Thunder 118-91. Oklahoma City reasserted its dominance on the glass on Sunday, outrebounding Golden State 52-38.

Golden State will be in an uncomfortable position heading into Game 4 on Tuesday in Oklahoma City, but the Warriors remain confident. Golden State trailed Memphis and Cleveland 2-1 in playoff series last year and won both on its way to claiming the NBA title.

The last time Golden State’s Stephen Curry had played in Oklahoma City, he scored 46 points, tied an NBA record with 12 3-pointers and hit a game-winning, 37-footer. This time, the league MVP finished with 24 points on 7-for-17 shooting. Klay Thompson added 18 points on 8-for-19 shooting.

Golden State’s Draymond Green, who kicked Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the groin and has become Thunder Fans’ No. 1 target because of some questionable tactics, struggled on both ends of the floor and finished with six points on 1-for-9 shooting. The Warriors were outscored by 43 points when he was in the game.

With 5:57 left in the second quarter, Green kicked Adams after a foul. It was the second time in the series Green hit Adams there – he hit him with a knee in Game 2. The crowd chanted ”Kick him out! Kick him out!” but Green was issued a flagrant 1 foul and remained in the game. Green said he wasn’t trying to hurt Adams.

Seemingly energized after Green’s foul, the Thunder outscored the Warriors 24-7 the rest of the half, with many of the baskets coming against Green. In a play that summarized the second quarter perfectly, Green went in for a layup and got it blocked by Durant, then Durant made a 3-pointer on the other end to give the Thunder a 64-47 lead.

Green fouled Westbrook on a long 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds left in the first half. Westbrook made all three free throws to put the Thunder up 72-47 at the break. Durant had 23 points on 6-for-10 shooting and 10 of 10 free throws in the first half, and Westbrook had 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds at the break. It was the most points scored against the Warriors in any half this season. Curry shot 4 for 13 in the first half, Thompson went 5 for 14 and Green 1 for 8.

The Thunder continued the onslaught by making 17 of 22 shots in the third quarter to take a 117-80 lead into the fourth.

In NHL News: The Pittsburgh Penguins are now in trouble, as they face elimination after losing a 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in OT Sunday night. The Penguins had led 2-0 and 3-2 before the defending Eastern Conference Champions struck back and eventually won the game. Penguins G Marc Andre-Fleury made his first start in this year’s NHL Playoffs and gave up all 4 goals including the game-winner to Tampa Bay’s Jason Garrison.

Big Shout out to Pitt Athlete and running back James Conner who is now cancer free.  Conner announce today on twitter.

james-conner-pitt-de

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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State Officials Provide Community Information About Justice System Reforms

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The grandmother shifted nervously in her chair, looking nervously over her shoulder for her grandson.

He was a few minutes late to arrive to the Criminal Justice Reform Roundtable Policy Discussion hosted by State Representative Ed Gainey at the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood, which featured Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, State Senator Jay Costa and representatives from the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and the Pennsylvania Board of Pardons, which Stack also chairs.

The conversation about pardons, criminal record expungements, and potential changes in laws about drug possession is significant to many in the community because, like the young man, felony convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana can hamper one’s return to society by excluding the rehabilitated from attaining aid for higher education, business loans, public housing and other programs which would allow them to become more financially viable. Nearly 8 percent of African-Americans of voting age are denied the right to vote due to a felony conviction, although Pennsylvania no longer has such a restriction.

High rates of incarceration for minor possession, particularly in minority communities is a major contributor to higher rates of poverty, says Rashad Byrdsong, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the CEA.

“The drug war has driven incarceration,” Byrdsong says. “Most of the people here have been impacted in some way by incarceration. A lot of these people are mothers, are girlfriends, are uncles, nieces, nephews, who want to see their loved ones at home. In the ‘War on Drugs,’ this was one of the targeted communities, so a lot of young folks from this community were incarcerated.”

“Sixteen percent of all people incarcerated are in for drug violations,” Byrdsong says. “Over 50 percent of those, for possession alone. There are 2.7 million children living in homes with one or both parents incarcerated, with two-thirds of them incarcerated for non-violent offenses, including marijuana possession.”

One in 9 children with an incarcerated parent are black, compared to 1 in 28 Latino and 1 in 57 white children with incarcerated parents. Disparities in “pre-trial disposition” can also have greater impact on black families, and has resulted in nearly two-thirds of those in local jails being those awaiting trial.

Rashad says it is important to establish a “broad-based coalition of common folks to work together for criminal justice reform legislation: To stay abreast of legislation; to work toward decriminalization of small amounts of drugs to remove the primary cause of arrest and incarceration of primarily people of color; to provide drug abuse training to work toward the prevention of violent crimes; an the elimination of policies that create disproportionate arrests and incarceration rates by changing police practices and by lowering harsh mandatory minimum sentencing.”

“We should also clear the records of formerly incarcerated citizens who have served their sentences ad behaved as model citizens for a specific period of time,” Byrdsong says.

“I have talked many times about the ridiculous way we do justice here in Pennsylvania,” Stack says. “The system is grossly unequal, and we are squandering the greatest resource we have here, that is, our young people. And, some people who are not so young, but have great things to offer.”

“Instead of teaching people how to get back on the right track, and contribute to society, we warehouse them in prison,” Stack says. “Then, after warehousing them in prison, are we giving them a chance to succeed when they come out? Absolutely not. Continuing to call prison ‘rehabilitation’ is laughable, and hardly a person gets a chance at rehabilitation.”

“We know there is an epidemic of drug use in Pennsylvania, and we know it is a disease,” Stack says. “We have been saying it is a disease for years, but have we been treating it like that? No, we have not. We have to get to a point where treatment is easily available, instead of saying ‘We’ll put them in prison for a long time.’”

As Chairman of the Board of Pardons, Stack says he often hears people talk about getting a second chance, or even a third.

“But how do you have a second chance with a criminal record,” he asks. “Who’s going to give you that chance? For the most part [that record] says there is no way you are going to get a job that is a sustainable income to support your family.”

Stack says “we are supposed to be the land of second chances, and what better way to give people a second chance or, by the way, a third chance if necessary? People make mistakes.”

Stack says that since taking office, he has prioritized the granting of pardons far more than the previous administration, eliminating red tape and modernizing the process to reduce backlogs of applicants so that hearings can be attained in two years as opposed to the previous wait of five or more years.

“In this day and age when we have so much technology available, they are doing it 1950s style,” Stack says, noting that a lack of computerization he is working to remedy could itself streamline the process to further reduce the “still unacceptable” two-year wait for a hearing.

“People are overworked, there is not enough staff,” Stack says, but notes that he is working with Gainey, Costa and others to prioritize the Board of Pardons so it is more accessible and more efficient.

“We know folks who have had criminal records for a long time,” Stack says. “They have been told the answer is ‘no’ to employment and other opportunities. So we are expediting the process. We need more staff. We have a budget crisis, and everyone is saying ‘we need more funding, but folks, we are trying to do a little thing called ‘Justice.’”

“The effect of the justice system is often racial, and racist, where African-American folks and people of color are given much heavier sentences than other folks,” Stack says. “I feel that in the next few months, we are going to hire some new employees, implement some new technology, and we are going to hear more cases and really let folks have a chance at a pardon and a chance to succeed.”

A merger of the Corrections Department and the Board of Probation and Parole proposed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will also eliminate duplicative efforts and help to streamline the process, Stack says.

“In addition to granting more people pardons and giving them a chance at a better life,” Stack says, “the other things we are talking about are really providing job training and giving people a chance. The other thing that will give people a chance is treatment.”

“When I hear people say ‘everybody agrees we need treatment,’ and we do, across the board, what I continue to hear is ‘we don’t have enough beds,’ ‘we don’t have enough facilities,’ ‘we don’t have enough resources,’” Stack says. “But we can find $30 million to build a new prison. Let’s build less prisons, and make more treatment available.”

“We need to make sure that justice is efficient, so that we can get all the things we need to the community,” Stack says. “But we aren’t going to get it done all by ourselves. We all have to do it together.”

“We need to begin to have a conversation about working groups, so that we are well-positioned to have that dialogue about where changes need to be made,” Costa says. “It is not the first time that the Lieutenant Governor has talked about these changes. We need to walk together, shoulder-to-shoulder and arm in arm to make sure these changes get made.”

“We have been successful in getting a pretty significant issue underway in Pennsylvania which says that after five years, if you have a clean record, you can go back and have your record expunged,” Costa says. “We are now working on a second piece of legislation that would address that, after 10 years, folks would have limited access to your records so that folks who go out and try to find a job wouldn’t have to disclose that they had some type of ‘situation’ that today is beside the point. That’s a first step.”

“If you have done what you need to do, whether it’s incarceration or probation or whatever, and 15 years later find out it can still harm you, that’s a barrier, and we have to work to remove barriers,” Costa says. “Expediting the process of expungement is extremely important.”

“Another thing which has elevated itself to the forefront of conversation throughout the Commonwealth is the issue of opiods,” Costa says. “At the end of the day, a lot of crime stems from the use of opiods, and the folks who manufacture opiods, and the role that they play in terms of figuring out whether someone has a successful outcome in terms of treatment. So, in my view, what we have is an industry which is pushing and pushing opiods, narcotics folks start to take for whatever they need and then become addicted to, which leads to other types of drug [abuse] and leads to folks being incarcerated, or to dying in the streets.”

“My view is that we need to look to the pharmaceutical community to be part of the solution, because they are part of the problem as it relates to getting folks hooked on some of these things,” Costa says. “We want them to be part of the solution. Just as we impose an ‘impact fee’ on Marcellus shale drilling, we are asking that a 10-percent assessment be applied to the sale of all narcotics, most importantly without the authority or ability to pass it on to the consumer.”

“What are we going to do with those dollars,” Costa asks. “One, we are going to expand the amount of treatment. We know we have to have that treatment take place in our communities, not necessarily in facilities, but we need to have community-based treatment.”

“The second part of that is that we have to make sure we have people to man those treatment centers,” Costa says. “If we are to expand that capacity, we have to make sure we have people trained to be a part of that process,” including working with the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) to provide grants to those willing to train to work with addiction treatment and counseling “to make it easier for them to follow that path.”

Costa also says that the short-term rehabilitation stays commonly offered are insufficient as well.

“The 25- or 30-day stay is not going to kick someone’s habit,” Costa says. “It needs to be four, five, six months. And we need to make sure that the insurance companies are in this conversation. Insurance companies go to great lengths to mask the coverage that is there, and make sure you don’t get the opportunity to get the treatment you are entitled to. That’s wrong, and we are working with the advocates in Harrisburg to make sure an insurance company does not try to avoid or evade providing the level of treatment that is necessary.”

“We [also] need to let people know the harsh realities of addiction, so we bringing together the Department of Education, Human Services and Drug and Alcohol and ask them to develop a program that provides some type of curriculum, or injects into the curriculum, information along those lines that we think is essential,” Costa says. “It can’t wait until the Junior or Senior year in high school — it’s got to start in middle school.”

Costa also feels that requiring e-prescriptions will prevent the theft of prescription pads, often misused to forge prescriptions for narcotics which otherwise would be unavailable.

Gainey, who recently held the first meeting of the House committee he created to address opioid addictions, “HOPE,” says “incarceration is a step they want to use to rehabilitate, but incarceration only creates more re-entry, more addiction, more problems.”

“If we can’t provide the people of Pennsylvania HOPE, what can we do?”

“When you talk about the ‘War on Drugs,’ let’s talk about how many African-American fathers are missing from the home, for small amounts of marijuana, and how we are three generations removed from fathers in the home,” Gainey says. “If you can’t stop the drug trade, you will never stop the drug war. That’s why I introduced a bill so that if you are caught with small amounts of marijuana — if he is caught with a small amount of marijuana, he is a user, not a dealer. What does he need to be in jail for, or have a felony on his record? Give him a fine, and let him move forward in life.”

“We need laws that improve humanity, not remove us from humanity,” Gainey says. “I believe in reform. If you give someone in trouble a second chance, those who followed them into [trouble] can follow them out.”

Gainey also explains a bill that would, after maintaining a clean record for 10 years, “and, 10 years, that’s a long time,” he says. “If you are clean for 10 years after a non-violent felony, you can have your record set right. What does it take if you have been good for 10 years, and you have already served time — think of the message we are sending to our children, that ‘Daddy messed up,’ and can’t make it right?”

“I stood on the House floor, and said ‘if a family member or a friend you have has not been impacted by drugs, please stand up,’” Gainey says. “Not one person stood up. Over 200 members in the House of Representatives, and every single one of them has had someone impacted by drugs. We should be leading by example. If unions have to be drug tested, if those on welfare have to be drug tested, to be a savior of taxpayer dollars, we should be too.”

“If we were to take a drug test in the House of Representatives, in the Senate, I guarantee we would legislate differently when it comes to drugs,” Gainey says. “If you get busted the first time, we won’t embarrass you, go get help. But if you get busted a second time, it’s at the taxpayer’s expense. We are going to have to make it public unless you have a doctor’s note.”

“We have to make sure that we are doing more to help each other than to separate us,” Gainey says. “I don’t care if you are black, white, Asian, man, woman, or anything else. The greatest power we have is diversity, and we can never move forward unless we move together.           The information provided at the roundtable could not be more important to the community, Gainey says.

“It’s something we are in desperate need of. Change doesn’t happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen unless we have you with us. We are fighting people who want to be tough on crime instead of good for humanity,” Gainey says. “I think sometimes that we have been in the struggle so long we don’t want to fight; we just want to point the finger. Pointing a finger never helped anybody. We don’t have to agree all the time, but we have to come together to empower our interests to get things better for our community. If we do all these things together, we are in business.”

“There couldn’t be a more important thing to do than to seek justice,” Stack says. “And if justice is not equal, it’s not justice at all.”

By Nancy Hart

Nhart543@gmail.com

Twitter: @nhart543

Be the King of the Backyard Barbecue – Tips for Crafting the Perfect Burger

by beconrad

Summer is the perfect time to grill the perfect burger. If you are getting ready to fire up the grill and invite your friends for a barbecue, proper planning and execution are important. The perfect burger does not just happen – it is the result of painstaking preparation. Here are some tips you can use to create a burger that will have everyone at the party asking for seconds.

 

.   Fresh is Best – A pack of frozen hamburgers will do in a pinch, but if you have time to plan fresh is always best. Pack your cooler with ice, stop at your favorite meat market and ask for fresh ground burger.

 

.   A Little Fat is Fine – While we all want to eat better, a little extra fat is good for grilling burgers. The additional fat will provide a juicier burger, while leaner cuts tend to dry out on the grill.

 

.   Let Your Thumb Do the Work – When crafting those delicious burgers, use your thumb to place an indent in the center of each patty. That indent will help the burger cook more evenly and allow it to get done in the center without burning along the edges or on the sides.

 

.   Experiment with Different Cheeses – Swiss and cheddar are fine, but you do not have to settle for the same old thing. Provide your guests with something different this year, with an assortment of provolone, pepper jack, blue cheese and even brie.

 

.   Keep a close eye on the grill. The high heat gas and charcoal grills emit mean food can burn in an instant. Pay close attention to your grilling duties – and never leave the grill unattended.

 

.   Set Out a Bun Bar – The serving table at most backyard barbecues starts with a back of store-bought hamburger buns. You can do better than that. Set out a bun bar with sourdough bread, Texas toast, pita bread and other options. Pick up your favorites at the grocery store, or invite each of your guests to bring their favorites.

 

.   Provide Unusual Condiments — You will want to provide plenty of mustard, ketchup and relish for your guests, but do not be afraid to set out some more unusual choices. From barbecue sauce and mayonnaise to steak sauce and horseradish, there are plenty of ways to top off the perfect burger.

 

There is an art to grilling, and artistry to creating the perfect burger. Whether you are grilling in your own backyard or manning the grill at a friend’s barbecue, the tips listed above can help you craft the perfect burger and keep the guests coming back for more.

 

Single Parenting in African American Minorities – Reality or Myth?

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Over 25 percent of kids in the United States are now growing up in single parent households, mainly headed by women. In case of minorities, especially the African American community in the country, it goes up to over 70 percent of single parent households, again mostly with a woman as the head of the house. This percentage has only increased over the years. It is, therefore, obvious that it is not a myth, not anymore. Why is this a rising trend in the African American community? Why is the traditional family structure undergoing such a drastic change?

 

Single mother households a majority

 

Single parent households with women as the head have been relatively common among African Americans. Such family structures have been called Black Matriarchy by many, given the strong influence that these women have on their families. Some of these are unwed mothers, while some are divorced. A small percentage of them are widows who have chosen not to remarry. Although the general stereotype is that if a single mother struggling to keep going, many single parents are successful and financially well placed. They are able to provide their kids with a good education and start them off on the path of success.

 

It is interesting to note that although most single parent households are managed and headed by women, the father figure is never too far away. Although unmarried, fathers of such kids are mostly around to love, discipline and teach their kids. They visit regularly and fulfill most responsibilities expected of a father. Many of them also contribute financially for the kid’s education and other needs. They are as involved in their kid’s growth and development as any other parent, even if they do not live with the kids.

 

Why the rising trend of single parent families in the African American community

 

  • More acceptance of single parents, divorce and unwed mothers has led to an increasing number of single parent households.
  • Lack of adequate maternity and childcare support from the government for married couples discourages young mothers from getting married.
  • Poverty and financial problems pushing families to split, leading to single parent households.

 

African Americans are known to live as a close-knit community that supports every member of the community in times of need. This ensures that the kids get all the love, care and support they need from the community, even if they live in single parent households.

Providing On-Demand Water Heating with New Tankless Heaters

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by: Jack Russell

Recently new “tankless” water heaters have come onto the market and have been saving homeowners money when they switch from their old conventional heaters. The new tankless versions have become popular for their ability to heat and provide water on demand, with no storage required. Instead of holding water in a traditional water tank, they circulate the cold water through a series of electrically heated coils that warm the water as it moves pass this heat source. This newer process of warming water requires more expensive equipment than the conventional water heater, but this money is regained in the long term with energy efficiency savings. The energy efficiency is mainly gained from no longer needing to heat an entire tank of water. A list of tankless water heaters can be found at http://www.foremansfinder.com/hvac/water-heaters.html.

Since the tankless water heaters do not store hot water but rather constantly heat water as it is demanded, they do not run out of hot water. There is one exception, to this “endless” supply of heated water. The flow rate is limited. In other words if you simultaneously use more water than the flow of the water heater (i.e. 3 people showering at one time) you will receive unheated water.

Since conventional water heater stores the water together in a large tank it is able to provide water at a set temperature. Tankless water heaters differ in this aspect since they are dependent upon the incoming water temperature and the flow rate. The incoming water temperature can vary greatly from summer to winter. The capacity of a tankless water heater is generally measured by how many temperature degrees it can increase water temperature by gallons per minute (gpm). Most tankless water heaters are powered by gas to better handle the heat output and response time required. These gas powered water heaters require proper venting, normally more venting than the older, conventional water heaters required. If you are replacing a conventional electric water heater tank, you may want to add a power vent in the side of the wall. This would be the less costly alternative if there is no existing roof vent. Some of the smaller and more portable single-fixture units are powered electrically.

About The Author

Jack Russell is a retired construction worker who spends his free time as a freelance writer for sites like http://www.foremansfinder.com – an industrial resource site.

Ray Jr. on Sports

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  1. The University of Pittsburgh Athletics made news Wednesday evening as they’ve announced that they’ve officially returned to using the Pitt ‘Script’ as their logo, something they hadn’t officially used since 1996. (Although football returned to it in 2014)
  2. At a special news conference, each sports team & cheerleader squad modeled their new uniforms with the script on it, with football team bringing up the rear. Every uniform looked pretty sharp, especially the football team as they’ve added a blue helmet for their away uniform for the first time in school history (although they wore a blue helmet as part of a Nike Pro Combat Helmet campaign in 2010), but they will interchange each uniform, as usual.
  3. I was pretty surprised that the football team didn’t model the rumored alternate uniform, which is a throwback to their 1976 National Championship threads, but it’s no surprise that they’re saving them for a special occasion. And the basketball team didn’t model their gold and black uniforms either. But we’ll eventually see them. And didn’t the football team have a gold uniform too?
  4. Although some fans complained (because you just can’t please everybody) but there were a lot of fans that didn’t just love the uniforms, but the main reason of it all: The script. It’s a reminder of the successful days of Pitt sports and its tradition. It had been on Pitt’s helmets since 1973 and it’s a reminder of the days of Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino and Hugh Green. And the script was in place when I attended Pitt in the early 90’s. It defines Pitt.
  5. Pitt football also made other news as they announced their kickoff times for their first 3 home games of the 2016 season. They open against Villanova Sept 3 at 1:30pm, and then they welcome back Penn State Sept 10th for a nationally televised game at noon (ESPN or ABC), and they will play another nationally televised game vs. Virginia Tech Thursday October 27th. (ESPN)
  6. Speaking of that Penn State game, it’s an understatement that it will be huge as they play their oldest rival for the first time since 2000, when they shut the Nittany Lions out 12-0 at Three Rivers Stadium. Most feel like they will wear their throwbacks for that game, but we shall see.
  7. And even more Pitt football news: They have announced that offensive lineman Alex Officer has been named to the preseason watch list for the Rimington Trophy, annually presented to the most outstanding center in college football. A great honor for a great and versatile player.
  8. Officer started at center in 2014 before moving to right guard last season. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound junior is slated to move back to center for the 2016 campaign. He paved the way for two 1,000 yard rushers in James Conner (2014) and Quadree Ollison (2015). He may pave the way for two 1,000 yard rushers in the same season.
  9. To no surprise, there’s nothing else going on with College Football except they’ve also announced their 2016 Kickoff schedule with a tripleheader s on ESPN and ABC.
  10. Here are some of the games: Defending national champion and No. 1-ranked Alabama facing No. 12 USC (8 p.m. ET, ABC) at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The first college football Saturday of the season begins in Dublin, Ireland, when Georgia Tech plays Boston College (7:30 a.m. ET, ESPN2) at Aviva Stadium. No. 6 LSU will face Wisconsin (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) from Lambeau Field, the historic venue’s first college game in more than 30 years.
  11. Now onto the NBA as they’re getting closer to the NBA Finals. At least on the Eastern Conference as the Cleveland Cavaliers has basically destroyed the Toronto Raptors in the Conference Finals thus far. I honestly don’t think the Raptors don’t have a chance against LeBron James & Co, because they truly look like they’re zoned in. But it’s not over yet.
  12. As for the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors and OKC Thunder are tied at a game apiece. Despite winning Game 1, there’s no way the Thunder will beat the Warriors who are now whole again with the return of NBA MVP Steph Curry. But once again, that is why they play the game.
  13. Congrats to the Philadelphia 76ers on winning the #1 overall pick in the NBA Draft. Now the question is, what will they do with that pick? At 10-72, the Sixers were the worst team in the NBA & they need someone whom they can build a team around. Those poor fan deserve it.
  14. The LA Lakers get the #2 overall pick, followed by the Boston Celtics at #3 (From Brooklyn), Phoenix Suns at #4, and Minnesota at #5. And it’s also mentioned that the Sixers and Lakers my listen to trade offers, which I think is a bad idea. These once-proud franchises need all the help they can get-to be proud again.
  15. And in NBA Coaching news, the NY Knicks announced that they’ve hired former Phoenix HC Jeff Hornacek as their next Coach. The former NBA player coached 3 years with the Suns but was fired in February. I hope he’s ready to coach in that circus.
  16. Apparently former Indiana Pacers HC Frank Vogel fooled everyone (including me) just when it was announced that he was on his way to Memphis, Vogel has now agreed to become the next head man at Orlando. Congrats to him. The Magic need a true coach that can turn the team around.
  17. The Houston Rockets apparently can’t make up their minds on a new HC as they will interview Charlotte Hornets assistant Stephen Silas (son of former Cavs HC Paul Silas) again. I still think they shouldn’t have fired Kevin McHale just 11 games into the season.
  18. As for the Major League Baseball, what is going on with OF Jose Batista? The former Pittsburgh Pirate and current Toronto Blue Jay is in a slump and the team has now put him back in the lineup spot for the first time since 2010. He’s currently hitting just .222 with 7 Home Runs and 28 RBI.
  19. And then there’s another former Pirate and current Blue Jay in C Russel Martin, I can’t believe how bad he’s struggling. One year after signing that $72 million deal and his first All-Star appearance, Martin is hitting just .170 with zero HRs and 8 RBI. Wow. Here’s hoping he’ll turn it around.
  20. Nothing much to say about the NFL (Surprised? So am I) except that Steelers WR Antonio Brown is now ready for off-season drills since he’s not eliminated from Dancing with the Stars Competition. The All-Pro just ought to be.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on Twitter

Millionaire Wealth Building – Reduce Debt And Sustain Your Wealth

wealth

by: Terry Vermeylen

I’m fortunate to have an excellent financial planner who in turn works with an excellent team of financial specialists. These specialists scrutinize all aspects of finance including taxes, insurance, saving and budgeting. They have a wide range of clients, from the average Joe to multi-millionaires. Knowing whether I am spending more than I earn is probably the simplest and best advice he has ever given me. Here is that strategy plus a few others for reducing debt and living a life with less stress and more freedom.

Are you spending more than you earn?

Isn’t it incredibly easy to have money “mysteriously float away” each month on purchases you simply “forgot”? We know we have monthly bills, but a person’s got to live, eh? Are you scared to add up those credit card purchases each month? And then months become years, and the money continues to “float away.” If you really think about it, keeping track of your money is easy. All it takes is paper and pencil. One column for debts and one column for income; add them up each month, subtract the difference and see if you spend more than you earn. Once you clearly see your spending habits on paper, you can no longer hide from them. This is by far the single most important step towards debt reduction and wealth creation. Being completely honest with yourself is the first crucial step towards incorporating positive financial change in your life. Are you spending more than you earn? Credit cards got a hold of you?

Understand how emotional intelligence and your values can rid you of crazy monkey brain.

How many times have you innocently walked into a store and found a million reasons why it’s okay to purchase something? This is the last time I will buy this. My credit card balance is low; it’s okay. I love it and it’s on sale! I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing it for them. Hey, I have some extra cash! We all have these emotions and thoughts coursing through our heads at some time. Real millionaires with solid finances realize that spending money on stuff doesn’t buy lasting happiness. In the short term, it’s pleasurable but financially disastrous. So the next time you have the spending bug, take a moment to simply appreciate everything you do have. Appreciation is a powerful emotion and a fantastic core value. Appreciating your family, friends, health, nature and the simple pleasures in life will make you realize that spending won’t buy happiness. Use your emotional intelligence. Make appreciation a core value. Real millionaires respect the dollar but place appreciation, gratitude, family and friends before all else. You most likely don’t need to buy it.

Hold on to your own reality. Don’t give in to the advertisers.

In this information age we are continuously assaulted with advertising images trying to convince us to buy, buy and buy. Bigger, better and faster. We will look more successful. We see celebrities using their names to sell almost anything. Tiger Woods drapes himself in Nike from head to foot because Nike is trying to convince us that it is a groovy and respectful company. We begin to respect Nike because Tiger Woods uses them. Tiger has sold his image. Using my treasured rock songs to sell cars, computers and any other consumer product really offends me. The Who, Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith and The Rolling Stones do it and have sold out. The Doors have not (completely). Advertising images and music are reality. Success isn’t about exciting rock songs and getting everything you want. It isn’t about looking like Tiger. Spend your time on what is truly important to YOU and not on what the advertisers tell you. Close the television and get outdoors. Take a hike in the woods. Marvel at the beautiful sky. Life can be magical at times. Sometimes it’s the simple pleasures that are the most rewarding.

Note: Although they allowed one song to be used in the 70’s, here is what the drummer Densmore from the Doors said recently being offered millions to use their music for Apple and Cadillac advertising. From the LAtimes…

“People lost their virginity to this music, got high for the first time to this music,” Densmore said. “I’ve had people say kids died in Vietnam listening to this music, other people say they know someone who didn’t commit suicide because of this music…. On stage, when we played these songs, they felt mysterious and magic. That’s not for rent.”

Let’s summarize:

1. Take action today to spend less than you earn. It will reduce stress and release those shackles of debt.

2. Your emotions and thoughts can easily make you spend more. Use appreciation or gratitude to realize what is truly important in life.

3. Don’t let the advertisers make your reality. Your reality and beliefs should have little to do with snazzy rock songs and advertising.

Please consider this article for your website, blog or ezine. Permission to reprint if by-line stays intact and links are activated on the Internet.

About The Author

Terry Vermeylen is one of those rare people that is passionately driven to help others unlock their own barriers toward fulfillment, meaning and purpose. He is the founder ofhttp://www.mylifechanges.com/, an Internet value identification and goal setting enterprise.

terry@mylifechanges.com

Are You Really Aware of Your Surroundings?

be-safe

by: Regina Jacques

Many of us get so wrapped up in our daily lives that we become unaware of our surroundings. Nobody ever thinks crime is going to happen to them. It’s out there…don’t let yourself fall victim to it.

I know first hand…I was on vacation in the Bahamas with my husband and some friends. We had just left a restaurant and were heading back to our hotel. Wrapped up in our conversation, we were unaware that there were two men following us very closely. Then out of nowhere, one of them grabs my friends purse and runs. We all scattered and ran in different directions. My husband was running after him thinking her passport was still in her purse. I felt like I had just stepped into a movie. This couldn’t have just happened. I was wondering if I was going to find him with his throat slit when I came around the corner on the other side where he was running to. So I’m here to tell you…it’s best to be aware of your surroundings. You just never know who’s watching you! Yes, this happened in the Bahamas, but it can happen ANYWHERE. It was just a rude awakening for me.

There are many ways to protect yourself…perhaps learning with a self-defense training video, carrying a convenient sized stun gun or concealable pepper spray.

About The Author

Regina Jacques  http://ezinearticles.com/?Lucky-Moments&id=2461254

Long Standing Stereotypes about Hispanic Women in the US Media

U.S. Supreme Court Justices Pose For Group Photo

Justice Sonia Sotomayor

The American media has always been a bit unfair to Latinos, putting them into stereotypical boxes that they constantly have to fight to get out of. Here are some common stereotypes about Hispanics in the US media:

 

  • Latinos are maids. Yes, just like any other community, there are Latinos who work as maids. Maybe there were a lot of maids from the community at some point of time, but not anymore. There are a lot of other professions and careers that Latino women are into today.
  • Latino men are always amazing lovers. There may be many Latino men who are really good lovers, but certainly not all of them are the same. They have the same problems as other men when it comes to dating women. They are also sometimes shy, not always exceptionally experienced and are real men with real problems in life.
  • Latino women are always overly sexy. Latino women have different body types, just like the rest of us. They are not always bearing their cleavage or oozing sexuality. They have individual and unique personalities that go beyond their looks and physical appearance.
  • Latinos are drug dealers and peddlers. Yes, certain South American countries have drug cartels and there are Latinos who deal in drugs. But again, not all of them are the same. Every community has people who get into drugs or crime, and is the same with the Hispanic community as well. Most Latinos have good jobs and families that have never been into crime or drugs.
  • Latinos are loud and always overreact. There are shy, reticent Latinos, people who are not always attracting attention to themselves with their loudness. They are not all overly emotional either, knowing very well how to manage difficult situations and people with ease without losing their cool.
  • Latinos have very large families. Yes, some Latinos do have big immediate and extended families and some of them may live together as well. But that does not mean that there are no small families among Hispanics. Nuclear families are as common as huge joint families in this community too.
  • Latinos cannot speak English, and if they do, it is heavily accented and nasal. There are many Latinos who have lived in the United States all their life and speak English as well as any other American. Some of the second and third generation Hispanics speak English as their first language.

The US media surely needs to change their portrayal of Latinos and showcase the community for what it really is – vibrant and diverse.

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/hispanicwomen/

Asian Americans – Impact on US Economy

asia american

Asian Americans, as of 2014, constituted the fastest growing ethnic and racial minority group in the United States, with over 40 percent of all immigrants being of Asian origin. This community forms a little over 5 percent of the total population of the country and is expected to grow to over 8 percent in coming 50 years. They are, on an average, well-educated and employed. How important is this ethnic group to the US economy today?

 

Have Asian Americans impacted US economy in a big way?

 

Asian Americans as a whole seem to be doing pretty well for themselves in the country, with the average income of this group being higher than the majority. A good majority of Asians work in tech related jobs in Silicon Valley and elsewhere. Among Asians, the Indian, Korean, Anglo and Chinese communities seem to be doing exceptionally well financially for themselves.

 

This ethnic group can be found in major towns and cities that are high up economically. Be it the tech hub of Silicon Valley, the manufacturing hubs in Seattle and Detroit or the global service centers in New York, Asians now live in some of the most economically advanced parts of the United States. Asians are not only working in high paying jobs; they are also investing in businesses. Both of these considered together have had a huge impact on the American economy, with the impact only increasing over the years. Asian Americans are now shaping the country’s economy and are important contributors to the global financial standing of the United States.

 

Was the Asian American community badly affected during the recession?

 

The Asian American labor force, given how large it is in the United States, seem to have been left relatively untouched by the recession of 2007. With a small dip in between, this ethnic group has been doing consistently well for themselves financially. The community as a whole has an employment rate of over 60 percent, with Indians and Filipinos having the highest employment rates within the community, at close to 65 percent each. Filipinos have a bigger women employment share as compared to other Asians in the group.

 

Overall, the Asian American community in the country seems to be doing exceptionally well for itself. Not only that, the community is actively investing in the American economy. It has slowly but surely become one of the most economically important minorities in the United States. For more information

http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/asianamericans-graphics/