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Archive for March, 2011

In Morey We Trust

Since the All-Star the game The Houston Rockets are 11-3 and have shoved their way back into the Western Conference playoff picture and stand at 1.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot.

Rockets fans shouldn’t be surprised to see their team perform this way, especially after the trades.  For the past 3-plus years Daryl Morey has served as General Manager and in that time he has found talent where other haven’t.

During his tenure he has made it a habit of drafting quality players in the second round, players like Carl Landry and Chase Budinger.  And has made trades that have brought efficient players, the likes of Kyle Lowry, Luis Scola, and Kevin Martin.  The biggest thing to take from all this is that he has done this while saving money.  Words any owners loves to hear.

So now, here are the Rockets, 1.5 games from making the playoffs for the first time since the 2008-09 season, despite Morey trading away former starting point guard Aaron Brooks and fan favorite and starter Shane Battier , who Morey once called the no stat all-star.  It seems Morey is always two steps ahead of the game, and these trades prove it.

Kyle Lowry has been leading the charge in the Rockets recent playoff push and becoming the catalyst the team needs.

“The way Kyle is playing now, he’s our floor general,” Chuck Hayes said in an interview for The Houston Chronicle. “He’s going to get whoever is in rhythm their shots. If it’s himself, he’ll know it. If it’s Kevin (Martin), he’ll get something for Kevin. Right now, he’s playing great, not only from a statistical standpoint, but as a leader, as a floor general.”

In the last 10 games Lowry is averaging 20.4 points, 7.9 assists and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor.  Which have led an NBA.com reporter to potentially add him to the list of one of the NBA’s best young point guards.

If the Rockets indeed make the playoffs its a testament to the organization, from the top to the bottom, but best believe the man pulling the strings is Daryl Morey.

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Categories: Sports

And then there were three

News broke on Sunday that AT&T has unveiled a plan to buy T-Mobile for a reported $39 billion.  The move would make AT&T the largest cell phone carrier in the nation with 130 million customers surpassing Verizon Wireless’ 102 million.  According to a report in the Huffington Post by combining companies AT&T will now serve about 43 percent of the U.S. cellphones.

AT&T’s chess move to be the nations leading cell phone carrier spells trouble for consumers, as there could be a ripple effect down the line.

T-Mobile had been aggressive in offering lower prices for their voice and data plans in order to compete with the likes of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint but with the merger there will only be 3 cell phone carriers in the nation.  What guarantee do current T-Mobile customers have that AT&T won’t raise prices?  With less cell phone carriers in the nation the big companies, Verizon and AT&T can raise prices knowing consumers have no other choice.

“We know the results of arrangements like this – higher prices, fewer choices, less innovation,” said Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn in the same Huffington Post report.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in the same article that one of the goals of the acquisition would be to move T-Mobile customers to smart phones, which have higher monthly fees.

Despite being rated as the worst cell phone carrier by Consumer Reports in December 2010, AT&T may have started a wave of change.

It’s important to note that Sprint had been in talks to buy T-Mobile and then take on the big boys, but the fairy tale ended when AT&T unveiled its plan

Perhaps AT&T took it to heart when T-Mobile started ripping them on television.

Categories: Uncategorized

Higher education should remain top priority

The drastic Texas deficit estimated to be somewhere between $15 and $30 billion has legislators looking to cut funding for higher education and it’s a move that could potentially harm the future of the Texas economy.

If legislators truly want to cut down this deficit, cutting funding is not the way to go about it.  The only result of that will be fewer students in colleges, less graduates earning degrees and ultimately less of the Texas public in the work force.  Meaning the Texas economy will suffer from it.  Less people with jobs equal less spending to circulate the Texas economy.

The easy solution would be to raise tuition to supplement the loss of state funding, but raising tuition is the equivalent of less state funding.  The problem is students are finding it tougher to pay for their college education.  Federal grants and financial aid has been declining and further impacts will happen to students in need of financial help.

The question then becomes, how do legislators avoid cutting funding to higher education, while at the same time making the necessary budget cuts?

Governor Rick Perry does have an ace up his sleeve in the form of the Rainy-Day Fund, which is ripped and ready to be devoured given the current economic status of the state’s budget crisis.

As it stands the Rainy-Day Fund, or as it’s better known, the Economic Stabilization Fund, is estimated to be about $9.4 billion.

There is no dire need to spend the entire fund, but simply half or at the very least one-fourth of it, roughly $2.35 billion.  This will ensure that higher education continues to progress and be able to compete on a national level.  If only Governor Rick Perry would see it that way.

Perry has publicly stated that Texas must protect the Rainy-Day Fund.

 

His reasoning is the fund should be used to handle bigger emergencies.  I guess cutting out higher education is not a big emergency to our governor.  And if the governor has enough support behind him, the Rainy Day fund will not see the light of day anytime soon.

Which leaves funding for higher education on the cutting table and on the way out.

 

 

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized