Nobody’s Perfect: The NFL and its Officiating

Stop whining about the NFL replacement referees.  Should the owners cave to end the strike? Sure. But, the replacement referees have been set-up to be scapegoats since the NFL season started. These refs are under a microscope while lacking confidence. Plus, they have not been granted a grace period to acclimate to the NFL level of play given they do not have prior NFL experience. Are they bad or terrible? Yeah. But, they were the best available—sadly.

The last play of the Seahawks-Packers game resulted in an interception. But, as it is, Russell Wilson and Seattle has come away with a victory that is now in the books. The Bears, Lions (even though they lost this weekend), and Vikings are happy. The players and coaches are entering games with a mindset to argue calls knowing that calls will be missed which is exacerbating the officiating problem. But, as much as players are whining about the replacement referees, is as much as players complain about the normal refs at most levels of athletics. Yes, NFL football should be above the rest since it is as a professional league, but the Referee Lockout is altering things, currently.

The media is just as responsible for the officiating problem as the NFL since the media has created a welcoming platform for the criticism, with the ongoing dispute. The refs have to feel the pressure, which is affecting their performance. Social media isn’t helpful either. Not to mention when the sports pundits open their mouths, they are spewing gasoline on the fire with their policy suggestions for the NFL and fans. Like, don’t say the fans should take a stand. Who knows what that will lead to. The complaining is already out-of-hand. Shut up, and let the players play football and officials officiate. Ray Lewis complained about the calls after the Eagles game, but didn’t thank the refs for getting the call right to beat the Patriots. (I hope the Ravens win it all by the way.)

The NBA had to implement rules to prevent post-game discussion of officiating. The talking matters. Maybe the NFL should do the same. Maybe there is such a rule. But, those rules came prior to this replacement ref debacle, which proves that refs have always been bad and to blame for “blowing it.” Players and coaches are always going to complain about calls no matter if there are Footlocker employees calling the plays or certified professional-level officials. What the NFL should do is amend the rules for replacement refs to allow more calls to be challenged and allow for overturning of certain calls via “the booth” given the issues.

One great thing is being shown with the issues resulting from having replacement refs: the NFL is the best professional league on the planet. That being based on how much the fans love the game. With the officiating problem, it’s only drawing more people to the TV.  The controversy is great, but it must be fixed soon.

Americans love their football.  Each of the seemingly too few, sixteen football games matter for all the thirty-two teams.  Great team and individual stories make the NFL enjoyable. Not every superstar comes from a top college program, and not every team needs a superstar to win. The NFL gives fans something to cheer for, at the same time it gives fans something to prepare for each week: a football watching party, and fantasy league, among other things.

Plus, the players and coaches leave it on the line every game because they have such a limited number of games to prove their worth. The tenacity shown, and difficulty to achieve greatness makes it all the more rewarding when successful. Additionally, the wealth in the NFL is spread around the league. People support their teams.There are multiple contenders every year. It would be great to predict the playoff teams and eventual Superbowl champion, but it can’t reasonably be done, which makes watching so beautiful. Football is such a pure, yet raw sport that is lovable even with the head and bodily injury problems that exist during and post-playing career for players. No matter what, players are excited to put their uniforms on and play football every game.

Currently, the games are being altered in this atmosphere of bad officiating, but teams know that they shouldn’t be in a position where officials can make game deciding calls. It’s a tough position for everyone involved. “Fair exchange; no robbery.” Nobody or thing is perfect and the NFL won’t be when the normal officials return.

Is this from this season or any other?

Letter to the Ladies: Find that Sweet Spot

Dear Ladies,

This is neither Lee Fields-ish, nor a love letter to touch your heart. But, like R.Kelly, we (men) do condone getting together and multiplying, or less seriously sharing love.

R. Kelly’s Love Letter album cover

Ladies, please know that this is written with the best intentions imaginable, even though we are well aware of the pavement that is on the road to hell. With that said, we truly believe what follows can be helpful when dating.

When dating (or talking to) a man, and desiring it to last for more than mere moments, you must find that sweet spot (I don’t know what else to call it). The tricky part is the sweet spot is different for every man in every dating situation. It depends on the people involved and where they are in life, among other things. Also take into account your own nature by choosing a person you think is seemingly worthy of you—at the time—which is conceivably the best suitor.

Trying to balance everything when dating is an art, but it must be done. Controlled honesty without fear of a consequence is also a method for success in any relationship—even in the early stages of dating. So, to avoid that jilted feeling, or confusion as to why a guy flees, or not understanding why a guy can’t find it in him to commit long-term, or at least stay long enough for you to keep your pride, soul, self-image, reputation, and heart intact, after you do have sex; you must find that sweet spot.

If you’re still unclear exactly what the sweet spot is I am referring to, it is this…but before we clearly define it, you must know that this is not a sick ploy or an anti-moral or anti-religious stance I’m taking. This is just a real-world view on sex and dating. Ok, so the sweet spot is that optimum time when you should have sex with the person you are dating, or whatever.

You should not sleep with a guy too soon. Why? Because he may think you are too easy and he isn’t special. “Too soon” can be within thirty minutes of meeting him to a full month—maybe longer. Each guy is different. Basically, having sex too soon prevents the necessary respect or trust components of a relationship from being established. We could be wrong, but weigh this theory if you want a man to stay longer than a night.

You also should NOT wait too long before deciding you’ve made him wait long enough (to earn it) either. Face your fears or don’t. “Too long” can be outside of thirty minutes of meeting him or a full month–maybe longer. Each guy is different! Waiting too long is like pushing a resentment-button that results in anger or leads to a guy practicing his patience. He will wait you out just to find the quickest exit after that climax–pun intended. SO, a guy will date you out of spite…then spite you for making him wait too long. You being his only option alters things. Know the power you have. All while you are making him wait, he could be calling his sure-jumpoff-thing after each date with you. But you being his only option…he may be smart enough to stick around…until something better or new comes along. Waiting too long can also lead to the friend-zone–for both parties. 😦 Strike while the iron is hot.

Dating is unpredictable. Sometimes sex with a person may be unfulfilling and going your separate ways is necessary. Can’t know until you know. And, trying to mind your number is great so long as you marry a guy that cares, and that guy that cares doesn’t divorce you (50% chance in American). Have fun, regret shit later, then get smarter. There are many variables that we are not accounting for, but please know there is that “shit or get off the pot” type of timing a man has, as well as an alarm when the band-aid has been ripped off too quickly.  Good luck out there, Ladies; and, stay safe.

Sincerely yours,

Almost every man on the planet Earth

Sports are a Reflection the Culture: Women Keep Winning

After witnessing the USA women dominate the Olympics by being responsible for 29 of the 46 gold medals earned by the US, and 58 of the total medals earned by the US, it is time to pay homage to a change in gender responsibilities that have occurred in America. The success of the female Olympic athletes should not come as a surprise given the female Olympians out numbered the males 268 to 261 for the USA. Nor should it be a surprise that women are excelling in sports the way they are because women are out performing men across the board. Looking to academics, women are attending college and graduating in higher rates and raw numbers than men. It only makes sense that more women are becoming collegiate athletes, and thusly, Olympic athletes. Not only that, but women are out numbering men in the workforce due to their academic success. Open your eyes! This didn’t happen overnight. This has been the trend for years. And please do not feel shocked or surprised that women are excelling after seizing once denied opportunities.

The advancement of women is not only expected, but it is natural too. Women have been subjugated in this country for years. When faced with bias based on gender, women have had to be that much better to be considered equal. Their standard has been pushed, which pushes their minds and bodies to farther limits. The hard work women have displayed is being realized in droves. Ladies take a bow or boast.

The proverbial doors are opening for women everywhere and women are taking full advantage of that by conquering in their respective field. Whether it’s medicine, the practice of law, engineering, business, or sports, the fact that Olympian women have excelled as they did in the 2012 London Olympics in the 40th year since Title IX is great symbolism for what people are capable of if given a fair opportunity to succeed. It’s inspiring.

Sports are only reflecting the cultural changes that have occurred over the years with more women joining the workforce and becoming more influential through politics, media, arts, and the aforementioned professional fields. The United States of America may be the world’s pioneer for tearing down gender restrictions, which has given American women an advantage over other countries. Women’s excellence in the Olympics and their respective sports is a testament to their achievements that have been occurring on a smaller, less publicized scale. The realization of their determination in the form of Olympic medals is a direct result of having an opportunity in athletics, which had been previously denied for no intelligible reason. From Hilary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Pelosi to Rebecca Soni, Alyson Felix, Katie Ledecky and the entire teams of women’s gymnastics, soccer, basketball, etc. women are showing out.

There will soon be a female President of the United States of America. This will not be because there isn’t a formidable male candidate, but because the female candidate will be the clear, better choice for the job.  It will resemble the way President Barrack Obama in 2008 had to be many times better than his opponents in order to be considered, then later won.  Instead of being surprised by or jealous of the excellence of women; the country should salute, thank, and congratulate our fellow Americans because they are keeping America as world power.

The NCAA must enhance Protection of Student-Athletes

The alarming rate of conference realignment of many NCAA Division-I schools is indicative of the professional atmosphere that has existed in collegiate athletics for years. With these changes, can the NCAA amend a few of their regulations concerning the rights of the athletes? The school administrators and Coaches have all the lobbying power. As the schools profit greatly from the athletic departments, the student-athletes do not receive a benefit comparable to the money the schools they play for profit.

Student-athletes should be able to transfer laterally without having to sit-out a year. Additionally, players should have the ability to identify a coach for wrongdoing without fear of retaliation.  Players should have a united voice in the form of a union. Lastly, the NCAA should license coaches.

These young adults are athletes first and students second. Just think about the time spent training for and playing their sport versus how much time they spend in class or having time to study. Some athletes are forced to red-shirt for a yearin order to put on weight and muscle. This is not an attempt to incite the discussion that collegiate students should be paid, but rather to suggest that the students should have better treatment during their tenure.

Too often student-athletes are not advocated for. Awareness of the issues they face go unmentioned. Student-athletes are confronted with over-exhaustion from grueling hours, deal with abusive coaching personalities, and face stress of quality performance under fear of ramifications, while carrying the weight to represent the institution properly. There are a multitude of nuanced issues the athletes face, just like everyone else. For example, an athlete’s love of a sport is stripped away by the business like culture that bombards them upon entering a college campus. These athletes are sacrificing a normal collegiate experience, which is not offset by an unguaranteed four-year “ride” that does not pay the students back with a dream job in the real world. The system needs to evolve to consider the needs of the players more.

No Players’ Union for student-athletes exist, and the NCAA does not address the athletes’ problems adequately given there is no substantial forum for their voice. Yet, the NCAA is a professional-like climate. The coaches and athletic directors have all the lobbying power with the NCAA. Even if a coach elects a student-athlete representative, who knows if that athlete is adequately taking into account the various issues their peers face. Players are on a quick revolving door, and by the time players realize the inequities, they are too preoccupied with their next step or jaded enough not to raise the issues. The culture does not support the players. Maybe the NCAA should make room for such a union that various professional leagues have.

Moreover, four-year scholarships can be taken away for cause or rescinded when players are dismissed at the discretion of a coach or school administrator. Coaches find ways to manipulate the system to have players exit their program to free up available scholarships to get new talent. Other times, athletes are unhappy in their current academic institution—for whatever reason—and decide to leave for the sake of their happiness. If such a student wants to transfer laterally they would have to sit-out a year, which deters a comparable institution from wanting to accept such a player on scholarship because the delayed gratification of that player’s skill on the field or court may not be worth the wait. Why would a coach want an encumbered student athlete, when coaches can easily recruit a high school or Junior College athlete?

Thus, a student who makes a decision to attend a school, which then does not materialize as they imagined to be happy, then has to make another tough decision to leave or stay while taking in personal considerations. Plus, players have a finite amount of time to play in college, which only adds to the complexity that exists procedurally when asserting their rights. Additionally, if a student does assert their rights, it leads to interpersonal strains that adversely affect their immediate future because the rules do not allow students to act autonomously.

The athletes who make the engine run on profitable sports are given the short-end of the stick too often. Reggie Bush should still have his Heisman Trophy, and the Ohio State football players shouldn’t have been investigated and penalized the way they were. Those are just two high-profile examples of how the system is flawed.

Players are also adversely affected as a direct result of coaches who are quickly expendable if they do not win. Schools need to win in order to take home bigger dollars and keep paying fans happy. Thus, coaches are very hard on, and demanding of players—not always a bad thing—but the line is oftentimes blurred. Basically, the rules need to protect the players more from coaches, who have short careers too, who push and tinker with NCAA limits.

America is built on capitalism, and college sports are not exempt—nor should they be. But, there should be regulations in place to protect the student- athletes. These are kids from 17 to 22 years of age, on average, that make a sacrifice that free tuition does not always or adequately cover.

Given the extraordinary amount of attention on athletics during college to play at the highest level possible, players are devoid of other essential skills like being self-sufficient. The system is broken as far as producing well-rounded people. Many student-athletes have their administrative work addressed for them and never learn to take care of themselves until it hits them—hard—after leaving college. Players are coddled until they aren’t; and that rude awakening creates for more than a difficult adjustment. Student-Athletes get blind-sided by reality when they don’t have coaches dictating their schedule and other people catering to their needs.

The student-athletes are the human capital, which the conference commissioners and administrators profit, as well as the individual institutions. Is it too much to ask that the players have the right to transfer to a school without having to sit-out a year to a lateral school? Or, to make sure they will always have an education paid for as long as the player decides to be a member on a school team that will have them once they have signed a letter of intent to a particular institution? How about players having the freedom to chose a particular major like engineering that can enhance their future without being concerned about their class schedule not working with the practice schedule.

Allowing a player to transfer without fear of losing what was promised is tantamount to the Amnesty Clause used in the NBA, which allows a team to rid themselves of a contract (like a scholarship) for salary cap purposes, but that contract is still to be paid by the releasing team once that player is waived. Given the NCAA is very much like a professional league, maybe some of the professional tools should be in effect. There would need to be some conditions set, but these students should be protected, while incentivizing coaches to want to keep players they bring on as freshmen.

Coaches do oust players and lead players to feel like they do not have any recourse. Given the time sensitive nature involved in college athletics and academics, it is very hard to spend meaningful time in a battle when obtaining a degree and finishing one’s athletic eligibility. One problem that currently exists is, once players find out they need to look for and apply to another school, it could be too late given the time-sensitive nature of admissions offices. This would force a player to make yet another concession when finding a new school.

It is also necessary to protect players because student-athletes pick a school based on the recruitment by a coach of that player—not the programs the school offers. Therefore, if and when the relationship takes a turn for the worst, the student should not be greatly disadvantage, while the coach is unconcerned.

Additionally, coaching is a profession that is unregulated by a commission or licensing board, which allows them free reign. Too many coaches need to be monitored and the NCAA doesn’t always do a great job of it. Just think about Pete Carroll and Kelvin Sampson who found solace in the NFL and NBA respectively. They each left a mess behind that resulted in penalizing the programs and ultimately the players. Looking at the Penn State case, the coaches and administrators left that institution in ruins that the next generation now has to suffer with. That does not make sense. The people that are dealing with the Penn State punishment are not those deserving of it. Punish those who did wrong, not the next people that take their place.

Another issue is that players with legitimate gripes are too scared to speak up for fear of backlash. Therefore, there should be whistleblower protection for players like those that are statutorily set in Employment law. Playing a college sport is every much like being employed, with the coach being the employer.

Moreover Coaches need to be licensed by the NCAA just like teachers, doctors, lawyers, truck drivers, and trainers who attend the players by their respective professions. The coaching profession affects young folks just as critically as the aforementioned. So why aren’t coaches licensed? If they were, maybe they would behave better knowing that their accountability is sanctioned. Many of the NCAA regulations are geared towards the coaches, who have a voice with the NCAA and relationships with NCAA representatives, but players are not spoken for, and if they are, they are certainly underrepresented.

When assessing the huge amount of profit made from collegiate athletics based on the human capital of young people who have a naïve perspective, there should be regulatory or statutory change that protects these players better than such are, currently. This is not only for the student-athlete’s future, it’s for the protection of athletic departments and schools that may continue to conduct themselves in a less than proper manner. Initially, those act go undiscovered, but they tend to be revealed later.

Sports as a Reflection of Our Cultural: Questing for a Perfect Fit Over all Else

Every man and woman has the right to pursue happiness. Young people have made the decision to be happy over anything else. Yeahh…people are doing what they have to, but when a better opportunity comes along, they aren’t thinking twice before chasing it or getting closer to their dreams. This is especially happening with sports. Basically, being happy outweighs loyalty and respect.

Looking to the NFL, there is a mechanism that can allow a team to restrict the movement of a soon to be unrestricted free agent. It’s called a Franchise Tag. Owners had to manipulate loyalty/respect because they know those are values of the past. The tag is necessary in times where being an immediate champion or having the largest paycheck imaginable is more important than sticking-it-out and showing a great willingness to overcome all odds. The great thing about it is: owners and coaches now have to admit how important a player is, as opposed to using an athlete’s love of the game as a weapon to make them be loyal through scare tactics. The Franchise Tag is a reaction to the LeBrons of the world. In fact, it is a reaction to the prevailing view people have, who do not want to invest or pay dues for a day that may not prove to be as gratifying as dreamed.

As seen in basketball, the transferring from high school to high school, college to college, and reclassification is all in an effort to be happy now—or soon enough. (Reclassification is where a student will “stay-back” in order to join a different talent pool. In other words, a player will fail certain classes—on purpose—in order to stand out in the next coming class.) Reclassifying may seem unbelievable to some, but the stigmatism of being considered stupid or a failure is being removed from society given people understand there is a strategy behind it; a strategy people are respecting so far as it can make a person happy… if only eventually. All coaches love jumping ship for a better position or payday by the way. It’s a coach’s American Dream.

Young athletes know there is an expiration date on playing their sport of choice. These athletes are not only doing all they can to extend their time, but they are also maximizing the time they spend. This is done by getting as much playing time, winning as many championships, or getting as much money as possible, while they can, depending upon the level and mindset of the player.

Our culture is valuing being happy over sucking-it-up just to get by, presumably that is the reason the divorce rate is so high. Maybe it’s just the ever-increasing, not-really-religious population. But I digress. Also, no one wants to work for an entity for 35 years only to not really be able to enjoy life during retirement due to being old. So, recent college or professional school graduates believe they deserve their dream job. This is just like a player who has the options to decide to transfer from a school, sign with a better team, or seek the biggest payday. There are many reasons for that.

One good thing that has come from the economic downturn is that people aren’t going to just keep slaving away for another’s benefit to only be shunned when times get tough or a worker ages. It’s funny how acceptable it is to cut a player for being old and under preforming compared to their history, but when it happens in the workplace, people are outraged and file discrimination suits.

People do not want to hate their alarm clocks or look up in twenty years wondering where their life has gone and question the value of what they got in return for the time spent. It really makes perfect sense that people are willing to bounce around with the intent to find a perfect fit to make them happy, as opposed to just bearing life. People want more. Not wanting more is a problem.

September 11th

September 11th is a day the world drastically changed. It’s the Pearl Harbor of my generation. After being gathered in a Washington, D.C., high school gymnasium for mass, then being given the confusing announcement that there was an attack on the US, by way of the Twin Towers and the Pentagon…I was beyond shocked. And, we will never forget. I saw other students were crying; and concerned about their relatives that worked in, or near, each site. The sadness was pervasive. It touched many corners of the world, making the world feel really small.

With once Public Enemy No. 1, Osama Bin Laden, dead; at the hands of US government; it still doesn’t rectify what happened. Glad he’s not out there anymore, but no amount of killing, war, erosion of privacy, or destruction can replace the lives and peace of mind lost.

That day, and the next few weeks, people were glued to the TV, but no one had answers. And, no answers will ever be good enough. And, the information that has come out since, is as alarming as the occurrences on that day. During 9/11/2001 and the days that immediately followed, the only thing people could do was: watch; feel sad; feel concerned about the future; feel lucky to be alive; and, hope that America could recover.

Being choked-up at the prospect of having to choose to leap from the near top of a building instead of burning in a fire that was breathing down your back was a life changing moment for me. So was the knowledge that police officers, firefighters, and normal people were giving their own lives trying to save others…knowing people were buried alive in the rubble. But, some people used it as an excuse to be racist and violent. How? I guess we all deal with hardships in our own way. But, just taking the time to comprehend the enormous amount of lives lost in one day should make a person grow to heights where this will never be possible in the future. And, there are people still suffering from related illnesses, such as PSTD and lung related issues.

A war is/was being fought for years after 9/11, and lives are/were being lost because of what happened on this day many years ago. Are people who have birthdays or anniversaries, today, forever marred by the occurrences of this day–so long as they could appreciate the magnitude of the event? Can they truly celebrate? I feel as if that catastrophic incident was that powerful.

Being able to feel the pain and recognize the fallout in movies like Fahrenheit 9/11, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Flight 93, and World Trade Center pays homage to the lives lost, as does The Hurt Locker and Jarhead. Hopefully a time comes when the world and especially America will truly be able to recover from this day.

Just a Thought: Rethinking your Profession!

Given the present condition of the economy and a two great tracks entitled Bands A Make Her Dance and Pop That, people may need to rethink their professional choice. Currently,  many people are willing to accept less than what they deserve in order to be employed, or keep a job. Taking it a step further, managers and “bosses” have heightened demand of their employees while it enhances their egos, knowing employees are not very willing to fight back. Essentially, it leads to a degrading atmosphere where employers have all the power.  Employees are getting the short-end by working gruelingly long hours, and being underpaid.

It wouldn’t matter if you were a lawyer, doctor, engineer, or rocker scientist because the respect one may gain from their job title does not outweigh the very real effects of not gaining the compensation they deserve. Other professions, which may be degrading may be looking up, given the advantage of hours worked for the money earned, while having a better quality of life. I guess a lawyer will think twice before turning their nose up to a plumber, bar tender, Starbucks manager,  Club Promoter, or stripper. Yeah, Stripper! Strippers and Club Promoters work great hours while earning great percentages or tips. It may lack prestige or be degrading, but so is being yelled at by your boss in a cubicle.

Working really hard to climb the social (slash) employment ladder, to have that proverbial seat at the table, is great–so long as it works out. Playing the risk versus reward game is fun—maybe—but, actually having the main things you desire is better; like a quality of life. Defining quality of life is the real issue, here. We all have the inalienable right to pursue happiness.

In Re: Marriage

Marriage is an institution that constantly requires sacrifice. Sacrifice should not seem harsh, but instead a necessity for success, which, in theory, should breed happiness. Nevertheless, marriage is not a fairytale or happily-ever-after. Sacrifice is not pleasant.

In an attempt to remain objective, marriage has its benefits and drawbacks. The respective spouses view those pros and cons differently, which is likely where a lot of the strife comes. But, there aren’t any stats to support that statement, so if you are curious, you should read-up on all the marital issues that lead to dissolution of, or hardships in, marriage. Or, try marriage if the opportunity presents itself.

Marriage is for…

Love? One can imagine that people get married because they really love another person. Some people get married for security of the physical, emotional, or financial variety; or, a combination of the four, including love. Some people get married for the legal rights (specifically thinking about taxes, but there are property related and citizenship perks that are cool—I think). Some succumb to marriage because they think it is the right thing to do based on religion, culture, or pleasing the will of their partner they care madly about. Others want to change their position on the social ladder, or insure a greater future. Some women get married to have a wedding that makes them feel like stars. Other people get married to create a family and raise that family with two parents in order to have the children thrive. Some are married as an arrangement of one sort or another. And, there are those that get married because they want to grow old with another person. In any case, it’s kind of like an investment. The same is true with having children.

Marriage is a Sacrifice…

Marriage is a sacrifice because entering into a partnership, or onto a team requires that the team or partnership come first. Spouses must treat each other with a profound amount of respect. Spouses should always be considering the other when making certain decisions. There is no more complete, autonomous action when you are married—for the most part. The sacrificing really comes in when there are children to be raised.

The issues of the kids take precedence over the adults’, and their well-being is paramount. That’s how it should be. Buying milk and apple juice instead of beer and wine, or fruits and vegetables instead of chips and doughnuts is harder than you may think (if that is a change you must make on your grocery list). Providing discipline for the upcoming generation over continuing to learn as you freestyle it, is crucial. But, winging-it will keep happening in parenting—so that’s pretty much a lost cause. So is letting your children decide for themselves, after certain values have been instilled.

There are other obvious sacrifices, like: forsaking all others; and, not spontaneously going to a club or out-of-state city, town, or national park. Essentially, marriage is like watching an investment grow, which requires a sacrifice of present happiness. That sacrifice is made for the hope or promise that things will be even better, later.

There’s more…

More can be added to each category above, but that was to give an idea of why marriage keeps happening and why it is a sacrifice. Those other reasons for marriage, or why it’s a sacrifice, are no more essential than the aforementioned. Nor are they essential to making the point that follows. Plus, people should be brave enough to define marriage for themselves, by themselves, since they are the ones living in it. That may be the best way. Obviously, communication will be the cornerstone of that kind of marriage, as most other kinds also need.

The Point…

The point is simple. Every man, woman, or other should have an inalienable right to marry whomever they believe they want to to take on the journey of life/marriage with. There are no guarantees in life, so why not let people have their fair shot. Some religions have their tenants, but world governments ought to support marriage for the people, not the prevailing religious view. History should show that religious views are the basis for much destructive conflict. Thusly, a religion does not create a great premise to base an argument given the enormous holes they present.

America is supposed to be the land of the free. And, the basis of America was so people could practice whatever religion suits their fancy. Hopefully, people will be able to marry who they would like, and before that, have the option to live as they feel comfortable without the fear of alienation, hate crimes, and retaliatory action for a genetic predisposition or choice.

Lastly, others should not feel an intense sensation of failure if the marriage dissolves. Shit Stuff happens. Nor should a person feel trapped in a marriage. If you are brave enough to get married, be brave enough to define how you would like to be happily married or just happy…without trepidation. Each person is unique; and life presents certain challenges, but nothing is impossible, even marriage—for anybody.

Gun Violence is Out of Control: Revisit Laws Now!

With the string of mass shootings that occurred in Aurora, Colorado, at a midnight premier of Batman: The Dark Knight Rises; in suburban Milwaukee, Wisconsin at a Sikh Temple; and, Manhattan near the Empire State Building, the federal and local governments must revisit their respective laws and regulations on gun control.

The people have proven they are not competent to handle having access to weapons. Additionally, there is an argument that the coverage of the Aurora shootings and the in-depth detail of the suspect of that shooting led to the Wisconsin incident a short time thereafter. Hopefully, the frenzy of coverage for the latest NY shooting will not lead to another.

Controlling access to guns and harshening the punishment for having certain weapons only begins resolving the gun violence problems. But, it must be done. “A gun problem” doesn’t exist in this country because of the Empire State Building shooting, or because of Columbine, Fort Hood, or Virginia Tech. The problem exists because of the recurring, low scale, daily, less media covered incidents of gun violence like that warzone that exists in Chicago.

See Link

Yet, the mass murder shootings call national attention to the problem. Congress needs to double down on the Gun Control Act by preventing access to guns to curtail the foolhardy action by people who use guns against others. Basically, a person without a gun cannot shoot people.

Photo by Joshuashearn

The federal government owes the citizens of the United States to act with the force of law where the people have shown that such governing is necessary given the peoples’ constant acts proving they cannot handle possessing a weapon. Federal law requires the states to conform. Congress should put tighter controls on the ability to purchase weapons and ammunition as well as creating laws affecting the production of such by the companies that produce them. Congress has the power to regulate commerce, and they should (easier said than done).

Some may assert that gun control is not the answer, but it is the people who get their hands on the guns that are the problem. In refuting that claim, since laws cannot fix the cultural problem overnight, Congress should focus on access to weapons and the rights to have guns. Others assert that even if guns were taken off the market, there are other means and people are ingenious enough to find a way around the law. So what! The federal government needs to act where it can—quickly and swiftly—and if and when other routes to gun access occur, the government should then respond accordingly.

Additionally, the government action must change because evidence shows that some of the aforementioned mass murders have occurred with weapons obtained legally with very little resistance—some otherwise. Owning guns is a constitutional right and people want their guns for reasonable needs such as protection of their homes and hunting. But, it is clear that people are taking advantage of this right and exceeding the permissive use. The United States is in an era of gun violence where a privilege should be scaled back to accommodate ever-present concerns.

Some people believe their ability to carry weapons can help in situations where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was attacked, or to effectively retaliate against the shooter of the Aurora shootings. But, why not consider nipping the problem in the bud by preventing access to weapons in general? Thus, decreasing the likelihood of gun violence of this kind. Hypothetically, if all the guns are taken out of the general population, then no one has a gun; therefore no need for vigilantes or heroism exists in the face of mass shootings or attacks with the use of guns.

The idea here is that eliminating the potential for mass and lower scaled shootings outweighs the unknown response by the general population. Haven’t Americans seen enough devastation and irreplaceable lives lost?

The second issue presented from the Aurora shootings is the media coverage the shooter received. It is reasonable to hypothesize that the media did a disservice by providing so much coverage that it spawned a copycat hoping for a similar media frenzy. The media covered the profile of the shooter from Aurora to a sickening extent, which nearly depicted him as a victim. Understandably, curious minds desired to know what caused this attack. Journalists and media outlets obliged by giving the general population as much information as possible. The media erred by sharing too much, no matter how intriguing the story may have been.

In turn, it created the affect that the shooter was the story. The shooter was instantly infamous. That result potentially encouraged the Sikh Temple shooter. The Sikh Temple shooter could have had hopes to gain the same notoriety as the Aurora shooter and have his life become more important than the sharing of the news of the attack.

Although, the Sikh Temple shootings were far less covered, there was very factual coverage of it. The nation was not bombarded with more information than necessary to inform. In the Sikh Temple shooting, the gunman was taken down by a trained armed officer, who was also wounded in the attack. Some could use this to prove that him having access to weapons prevented a greater loss of life. But no access to guns in the first place would prevent this story from existing. Are you getting the point? That officer is a hero nevertheless, but he is also a trained officer, and his actions were within his trained skill set. On-duty officers took down the New York Shooter. Praise them! But innocent by-standers were also harmed by their acts. Maybe the movie Demolition Man was on to something by ridding the entire population of guns.

The lack of media coverage was appropriate for the Sikh shootings. The reason being is to hope that covering it with less vigor than the Aurora Shootings could preclude another the copycat—if that was the reasoning. The drawback concerning the lack of media coverage for the Sikh Temple shootings raises the thought that the victims of this shooting were less important nationally than the victims of the Aurora shootings. Hopefully, that prior statement is without merit. Now, with the media capital that is New York being affected by this tragedy, it is certain to remain a hot topic for too long.

In 2012, America has seen enough gun violence that action must be taken to prevent it. Violent acts will not cease autonomously. The American culture is not placing the value on human life it deserves given the inaction. The pervasive gun violence issue is an indictment of the American culture’s lack of evolution, which is consequently an indictment of the American people.

Everyone is to blame until everyone is on one accord to recognize a change must occur. The 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms should also be under attack and interpreted differently than is currently by the greatest minds of this country. People may believe that this country is at a point economically that safety is increasingly in question, and no one should be left unarmed. But, fighting fire with fire is not going to prevent people from dying which is the ultimate goal. At this point in time, gun violence can only be remedied by disarming the people as a whole.

The Criminal Business Model of Being in the Legal Profession

The legal profession ought to alter the business model they champion. The model, as is, is a racket.  Lots of people want to be lawyers and for different reasons: they have a passion for the law; want to save the world; work for their parents; find a spouse; want a seat at the table; were avid Law and Order fans; among others. Whatever it is that drives people to attend law school are not acceptable to blame for costs of law school being so great.

A legal education provides a necessary basis for a trade that can be very rewarding, while being more informative about this world than most others. Sadly, those who desire such a phenomenal education—now—will have to do so as victims of a crime because the costs greatly outweigh the coveted reward. (Law Schools shouldn’t use the Supply Versus Demand theory when such an education is integral to the advancement of this country.)

The Legal profession’s business model is a Racket…

The model thrives on costs from the entrance exam, to the costs to remain a licensed attorney. Although some people are fortunate enough to be unburdened by the costs—others are not. The crime starts with prospective students being misled about the potential to earn certain wages after graduating versus the cost of attending. Since most law students do not come out earning $160k per year, law schools shouldn’t keep charging students with a correlated price tag. Moreover, there are some institutions that will take a student’s tuition payment for the entire year, but give them the boot after one semester if they can’t beat the bear that is the grading curve. The grading curve is another thing that should change, but that’s another story. More and more law schools continue to pop-up, and tt makes sense because other people are trying to get in on the action.

Other law schools finds ways to bait students to attend on scholarship, but that same scholarship will be rescinded under the unreasonable academic conditions set-up to keep such scholarship. Without that snake behavior, the education is still not worth the overly inflated money it takes to attend given the average salary of lawyers is reducing. Plus, employment rates of attorneys are still too low to merit the price tags of a legal education, especially for students who would like to serve the public interest. A sector that needs help.

Furthermore, after learning for three-years, students will only be unprepared for a necessary exam to be qualified as a lawyer, which requires more exorbitant costs and an agonizing waiting period to be informed of the results. Now, with the legal market being as tight as it is, people can’t meaningfully job hunt without a bar license. One thing is for sure, if things do not change, future lawyers will have a high endurance for pain.

Another example of the racket comes from the state of Illinois. Illinois requires every bar candidate to sit for the bar exam in the city of Chicago. Thus, every law student from around the country that wants to be barred in Illinois must pay to travel to Chicago, pay for downtown Chicago hotels for two days, and pay for downtown Chicago food for two days; after paying costs for the exam itself and after paying costs for studying for the exam.

Obviously, not everyone can get a scholarship or have parents pay their way, or land the job that makes it all worth it. Yes, like everything, the legal career presents challenges, but these challenges are absurd. No matter what, people will continue to attend law school in order to be on a paper chase, or whatever drives them to attend.

Then once a person triumphs through the LSAT, law school, passing the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam, and passing a state’s bar, as a lawyer that person must pay annual fees to remain a part of the bar. There are also costs for mandatory Continuing Legal Education expectations to remain qualified for the bar. It’s an unnecessarily stressful profession, but not an excuse to be dishonest or be understanding of conduct the falls below the standards set in Professional Responsibility. Paying all of the costs for being lawyer is like paying for “protection.”

It can be fixed

1) Keep all of the things that make law school law school, but reduce the costs associated with attending. Duh! Or; 2) Law schools should find a way to change the curriculum to include more helpful courses to make a lawyer a lawyer, while requiring the incorporation of clinical training as seen in medical school. Students should be provided with a judicial law clerk, private, or government position as training, before graduation. It can be done during that boring and unnecessary third year to give it a benefit instead of furthering an assortment of addictions. If that is done, maybe the costs as is will seem more reasonable.

3) Give the bar exam more than twice a year, which can reduce the waiting period and allow for students to take it on a more flexible schedule while reducing the angst that is associated with the exam. And; 4) Annual bar license costs should be based on a percentage of an attorney’s earnings within that jurisdiction.

The business model shouldn’t just change for law school, but for the entire higher-education academic market. Costs are punkin‘ people out of the opportunity for a brighter future. Although not having a college education or advanced degree is certain to cripple an American’s future in this increasingly educated world.