“Time To Re-Boot America,” a great Op-Ed by Thomas L. Friedman.

Time to re-boot America,” a Great Opinion Editorial written by Thomas L. Friedman  in the New York Times, yesterday:

“I had a bad day last Friday, but it was an all-too-typical day for America.

It actually started well, on Kau Sai Chau, an island off Hong Kong, where I stood on a rocky hilltop overlooking the South China Sea and talked to my wife back in Maryland, static-free, using a friend’s Chinese cellphone. A few hours later, I took off from Hong Kong’s ultramodern airport after riding out there from downtown on a sleek high-speed train — with wireless connectivity that was so good I was able to surf the Web the whole way on my laptop.

Landing at Kennedy Airport from Hong Kong was, as I’ve argued before, like going from the Jetsons to the Flintstones. The ugly, low-ceilinged arrival hall was cramped, and using a luggage cart cost $3. (Couldn’t we at least supply foreign visitors with a free luggage cart, like other major airports in the world?) As I looked around at this dingy room, it reminded of somewhere I had been before. Then I remembered: It was the luggage hall in the old Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport. It closed in 1998.

The next day I went to Penn Station, where the escalators down to the tracks are so narrow that they seem to have been designed before suitcases were invented. The disgusting track-side platforms apparently have not been cleaned since World War II. I took the Acela, America’s sorry excuse for a bullet train, from New York to Washington. Along the way, I tried to use my cellphone to conduct an interview and my conversation was interrupted by three dropped calls within one 15-minute span.

All I could think to myself was: If we’re so smart, why are other people living so much better than us? What has become of our infrastructure, which is so crucial to productivity? Back home, I was greeted by the news that General Motors was being bailed out — that’s the G.M. that Fortune magazine just noted “lost more than $72 billion in the past four years, and yet you can count on one hand the number of executives who have been reassigned or lost their job.”

My fellow Americans, we can’t continue in this mode of “Dumb as we wanna be.” We’ve indulged ourselves for too long with tax cuts that we can’t afford, bailouts of auto companies that have become giant wealth-destruction machines, energy prices that do not encourage investment in 21st-century renewable power systems or efficient cars, public schools with no national standards to prevent illiterates from graduating and immigration policies that have our colleges educating the world’s best scientists and engineers and then, when these foreigners graduate, instead of stapling green cards to their diplomas, we order them to go home and start companies to compete against ours.

To top it off, we’ve fallen into a trend of diverting and rewarding the best of our collective I.Q. to people doing financial engineering rather than real engineering. These rocket scientists and engineers were designing complex financial instruments to make money out of money — rather than designing cars, phones, computers, teaching tools, Internet programs and medical equipment that could improve the lives and productivity of millions.

For all these reasons, our present crisis is not just a financial meltdown crying out for a cash injection. We are in much deeper trouble. In fact, we as a country have become General Motors — as a result of our national drift. Look in the mirror: G.M. is us.

That’s why we don’t just need a bailout. We need a reboot. We need a build out. We need a buildup. We need a national makeover. That is why the next few months are among the most important in U.S. history. Because of the financial crisis, Barack Obama has the bipartisan support to spend $1 trillion in stimulus. But we must make certain that every bailout dollar, which we’re borrowing from our kids’ future, is spent wisely.

It has to go into training teachers, educating scientists and engineers, paying for research and building the most productivity-enhancing infrastructure — without building white elephants. Generally, I’d like to see fewer government dollars shoveled out and more creative tax incentives to stimulate the private sector to catalyze new industries and new markets. If we allow this money to be spent on pork, it will be the end of us.

America still has the right stuff to thrive. We still have the most creative, diverse, innovative culture and open society — in a world where the ability to imagine and generate new ideas with speed and to implement them through global collaboration is the most important competitive advantage. China may have great airports, but last week it went back to censoring The New York Times and other Western news sites. Censorship restricts your people’s imaginations. That’s really, really dumb. And that’s why for all our missteps, the 21st century is still up for grabs.

John Kennedy led us on a journey to discover the moon. Obama needs to lead us on a journey to rediscover, rebuild and reinvent our own backyard.

Merry Christmas!”

Let There Be Peace For Christmas…

In 2001, Shaquille O’Neal called him “the Truth,” in 2006 LeBron James called him “the top at [his] position in the league,” This year the NBA called him ‘Finals MVP’ and Champion, someday they’ll call him a legend….Celtics Captain, PAUL PIERCE IS THE TRUTH.

December 19, 2008:  The Boston Globe Magazine today announced that it has selected Boston Celtics captain, Paul Pierce, as its 2008 Bostonian of the Year. Mr. Pierce will be featured in a special edition of the Globe Magazine which will be available in The Boston Globe on Sunday, December 21.

On September 25, 2000, Pierce was stabbed 41 times in the face, neck, and back,  He had to undergo lung surgery to repair the damage.[18][19] Nevertheless, Pierce was the only Celtic to start all 82 games in the 2000–01 season. [20]… Three weeks later he was back at practice for the Celtics and played the entire 2000-2001 season, averaging 25.3 points.)

  • NBA Champion: 2008
  • NBA Finals MVP: 2008
  • 3-time All-NBA Third Team: 2002, 2003, 2008
  • 6-time NBA All-Star: 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team: 1999
  • NBA regular-season leader, total points: 2002 (2144)
  • NBA regular-season leader, free throws made: 2003 (604)


  • Named First Team All-America by the Associated Press after his junior year at the University of Kansas.
  • Named Big Eight Freshman of the Year in 1995-96.
  • MVP of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in both 1997 and 1998.

NBA records

  • Most consecutive free throws made, playoffs: 21 (Game 1, 2003 Eastern Conference First Round).
  • Most free throws made in one quarter, NBA Finals: 10 (Game 5, 2008 NBA Finals).

Boston Celtics franchise records

  • Scored 30 or more points in a franchise record 12 consecutive games
  • Most points scored in a game at TD Banknorth Garden: 50 (February 15, 2006 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers).
  • Most points scored in a half (including Overtime): 46 (December 1, 2001 2nd Half vs. New Jersey Nets).
  • Most points scored in an overtime period: 13 (December 1, 2001 vs. New Jersey Nets)
  • Most three-point field goals made, career: 989 (1998–present).
  • Most three-point field goals attempted, career: 2769 (1998–present).
  • Most free throws made in one game: 20 (November 2, 2002 vs. New York Knicks).
  • Most free throws attempted in one game: 24 (November 5, 2005 vs. New York Knicks).
  • Most free throws made in one half: 14 (March 2, 2001 vs. Utah Jazz).
  • Most free throws made in one season: 612 (2005-2006, breaking his own record of 604, set in 2002-2003).
  • Most free throws attempted in one season: 812 (2005-2006, breaking his own record of 753 in 2002-2003).
  • Most steals in one game: 9 (tied with Larry Bird; December 3, 1999 vs. Miami Heat).
  • Most free throws made without a miss, playoffs: 21 (Game 1, 2003 Eastern Conference First Round).
  • Most points scored in one half, playoffs: 32 (Game 4, 2003 Eastern Conference First Round vs. Indiana Pacers).
  • Highest scoring average through one month: 33.5 PPG (February 2006).
  • Only Celtics player in franchise history to lead the NBA in total points scored in a season, scoring 2,144 points in 2001-2002.
  • Playing with Celtics he accumulated 2,071 points in 2000-2001.
  • Career scoring average: 23.6 PPG, 2nd only to Larry Bird.

As a High School Student, he participated in the 1995 McDonald’s All-American Game alongside future NBA stars Kevin Garnett, Stephon Marbury, Vince Carter, and Antawn Jamison, and was a contestant in the game’s Slam Dunk Contest, which was won by Carter.

After his NBA debut, Pierce’s ability to score, rebound and play defense, and a healthy dose of late-game heroics led to his emergence as a top player in the Eastern Conference. Along with forward Antoine Walker, Pierce led the Celtics to the playoffs in 2002 for the first time in seven years and on to the Eastern Conference Finals. In the historic Game 3 of that series, he led the Celtics to the biggest fourth-quarter comeback in NBA playoff history. Pierce scored 19 of his 28 point total during the fourth quarter, and the Celtics recovered from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets.[2]

Pierce has often played his best games against the best individual competition, such as LeBron James, Tracy McGrady, and Kobe Bryant. For instance, Pierce scored a career high 50 points in a loss against the Cleveland Cavaliers on February 15, 2006. After the game, James stated that he feels that Pierce is the top at the position in the Eastern Conference.[4]

In the 2005-06 NBA season, Pierce had the highest points-per-shot average among the top 30 scorers in the league, indicating that he is an efficient and consistent player. On March 8, 2006, Pierce extended his franchise-record streak of 30-point games at 8. On March 7, he scored seven points in overtime to beat the Washington Wizards on a “buzzer beater[5], and the next night the Celtics eked out a victory against Philadelphia on the strength of two late-game improbable shots by Pierce, one a three-pointer, the other an off-balance “buzzer beater” for the win. He scored at least 30 points for the 13th time in 14 games (between February 4 and March 12), the best such stretch in Celtics history. He has six career triple-doubles, the most recent on March 8, 2006.

On May 18, 2008, Pierce recorded the second-highest point total in franchise history in a Game 7 with 41 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers,[11][12] as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.[13] On June 5, 2008, in Game 1 of the 2008 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, Pierce was injured in the third quarter and was carried off the court in serious pain.[14] However, he came back to the court only a few minutes later to spark the Celtics with 15 points in the third quarter en route to a 98–88 victory.[15][16] He was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after the Celtics’ 131–92 victory in Game 6 on June 17, 2008.[17]

Pierce was a member of the US national team for the 2002 FIBA World Championship, starting all nine games and averaging 19.8 ppg.

  • His nickname, The Truth, was accorded him by Shaquille O’Neal. After a Lakers‘ victory over the Celtics in 2001, O’Neal pulled a Boston reporter over and gestured toward his notepad. “Take this down,” said O’Neal. “My name is Shaquille O’Neal and Paul Pierce is the m——f—ing truth. Quote me on that and don’t take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn’t know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth.”[22]
  • Has a charitable foundation known as The Truth Fund, which lends support to children from the greater Boston area and California inner cities.[21]

(pictured: Paul Pierce greeted by fellow Celtic Champions ML Carr, Jo Jo White, Bob Cousy, John Havlicek, Tommy Heinsohn, Cedric Maxwell and Satch Sanders. )

…”I just couldn’t hold it in. This moment right here, this is why I play the game. You think, “Is that day ever going to come?” Everybody has dreams. Sometimes dreams don’t come through. You reach so far, and you come up short. I’d been coming up short so much. Damn, it finally happened! In high school, we were one game away from the state championship. College, one game away from the Final Four. This is the ultimate level, in the pros, and it finally happened.”


What kind of dad do you think you’ll be?

PIERCE: “I want to be the dad that my father never was. When I think about raising a child, and knowing I didn’t have a father around, I want to be there for my daughter, to watch her grow into a woman.

I didn’t have a dad around to pick me up when I fell, throw the ball to me outside. I always wonder how it would be if I did have a dad there.”

December 19, 2008:  The Boston Globe Magazine today announced that it has selected Boston Celtics captain, Paul Pierce, as its 2008 Bostonian of the Year. Mr. Pierce will be featured in a special edition of the Globe Magazine which will be available in The Boston Globe on Sunday, December 21. In choosing Mr. Pierce, the Globe Magazine cited “his pivotal role in bringing green glory back to New England and … his perseverance through a decade when that seemed more like a hopeless cause.”

According to Globe Magazine editor Doug Most, the Celtics’ ‘worst-to-first’ 2008 season, capped by the team’s 17th championship, was a monumental story that captured the hearts of Boston sports fans. It also reshaped basketball’s popularity in a town where the sport that was once king had fallen badly. Mr. Pierce was the centerpiece to the 2008 team, garnering the MVP trophy in the NBA finals and elevating himself among the elite players who have taken the court for the Celtics.

“In a year when good news was hard to find, Paul’s story was uplifting in so many ways,” said Mr. Most. “He’s played his entire career for the Celtics but easily could have abandoned the team when they were a perennial cellar dweller. When the team’s owners finally delivered on his request for help, he returned their commitment with his own, and brought the city the game’s ultimate award – a championship ring.”