Concussions and the impact

We all know that football is a violent sport. It is a fast pace and aggressive game that is played by men of all sizes. The one thing these men that play have in common is that they all hit hard. From one of my coaches that played in college and in the NFL, he said that every time a lineman fires off the ball and hits another lineman it is like a mini car crash.

We all see those players that are out a week or two because a concussion and then they are back to playing. Players lie to get back in the game or just ignore the pain in their head and the lack of concentration. Without knowing they are doing more harm to their brain than they know. A study from 1979-2011 saw that just in professional football that the average tackle grew from 6’ 4”; 264lbs to 6’ 6”; 314lbs, the average center grew from 6’ 3”; 242lbs to 6’ 4”; 304 lbs, the average guard grew from 6’ 3”; 250lbs to 6’ 4”; 317lbs. There is a big difference in the size and how much these players have grown since the late 1970’s. My coach is right when it is like a mini car crash. What is more shocking is that concussions can affect the brain at an earlier age than just in professional sports. Concussions can cause a serious brain disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. This disease is a result from being repeatedly hit in the head. Another study from July 1990-June 2010 found that on average twelve high school and college football players die annually. The cause of these deaths is also brain injuries. From June 1990-July 2010 243 players died that were in high school and college. One hundred from underlying heart condition, sixty-two from brain injury, thirty-eight from heart related causes , eleven from sickle cell disease, seven from asthma, seven from a sudden blow to the chest, five from a blood clot, and the rest from broken necks, abdominal injuries, infections, and lightning. Of the 243 players that died from this sport, 203 of them were high school football players. In the NFL there have been changes made but it is not affecting the amount of concussions. The NFL is assumed to follow this sequence to get players back on the field. Complete physical and cognitive rest, light activity such as stationary biking, heavier activity such as running and cutting, non-contact practice, full-contact practice. This shows that it is not working if the player is back in the same position a week to a couple weeks later. This has gotten the attention of the government. One example is when a middle school boy became concussed during a game but was sent back in to finish the game. As a result he suffered permanent brain damage. Legislature now requires that if a player shows any sign of a concussion to be removed from the field and not return until the player has been cleared by a medical official. This has been adopted by thirty states in some way.

Helmets have become more advanced but players still get concussions from the hit no matter how high tech the gear has become since the start of the game of football. With the evolving of the male athlete and the helmets players are still going to suffer concussions and with rules regulating the hits may result in a decrease it will never be preventable. The players no matter how much they practice on the technique of their tackle will always somehow hit the head and cause a concussion

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One Shutdown to Rule Them All

The time for Congress to pass the new budget for the federal government has come and gone, resulting in a partial shutdown of the federal government. While the United States cannot afford to send home our police officers or armed forces for fear of global anarchy, the country can do without a few museums and national parks. If history is any guide, our federally employed public service workers will take a week or two off from work, and receive a paycheck immediately upon their return. Unfortunately, those employed by the federal government will not be able to return to their posts until Congress sorts out the budget, a seemingly impossible task assigned to politicians who so far are unwilling to compromise.

 

The Republican Party is getting most of the blame for the shutdown of the government, led by Speaker of the House John Boehner, as it is the party that controls the house and has not passed a bill that includes funding for the Affordable Care Act. A poll taken by the Associated Press shows that 62 percent of Americans believe that the GOP is to blame for the crisis that our government is facing. Because the Republicans refuse to fund the Affordable Care Act, a budget was not finalized in time, and consequently the government was shut down. The leverage that the GOP thought they had on the left to defund Obamacare did not pan out, and now they have found themselves in a pit of disapproval because of their unwillingness to accept that the Affordable Care Act will continue to go into action. The only way the Republican Party will be able to recover from this hit is in the event of the failure of the Affordable Care Act. If Obamacare hurts the economy as much as Republicans think it will, then they will be able to tell every Democrat “We told ya so” in front of the American People, a distant and uncertain light at the end of the tunnel for leaders of the Republican Party who have led this charge.

While most of America seems to think that the Republican Party is the reason that the government has been partially shutdown, it is certain that the blame can go both ways. While Republicans have tried to evade Obamacare by defunding the Affordable Care Act, the Senate, which is controlled by the Democratic Party, has not shown any willingness to compromise with the House of Representatives. The Senate has denied all three of the emergency funding bills that the House has Passed in the time that the government has been shutdown, standing by the premise that they do not have to compromise by defunding Obamacare, the largest change in National Policy to be brought about by the left since the New Deal. After passing through both branches of Congress, being signed by President Obama, and upheld by the Supreme Court, the left claims that they do not have to dispose of the Affordable Care Act because it has gone through all of the necessary procedures to become a part of public policy, and that the House of Representatives should do its job by passing the budget including the Affordable Care Act.

Because neither side seems willing to budge on their conditions to fund the federal government, a compromise is what will almost certainly be the end to the partial shutdown of the federal government. One of the many impressive features of our bipartisan democracy is the inevitability of the necessity of compromise between the two parties. Both sides of the political spectrum have interesting and valid arguments in the crisis of a government shutdown that we as a country are facing at this time, and only time will tell who will give way in this high stakes game of political chicken.

Sources:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/09/government-shutdown-republicans-poll_n_4069254.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/10/10/the-three-biggest-ways-the-government-shutdown-has-hurt-the-gops-image/

http://www.usa.gov/shutdown.shtml

CNN News channel over the past ten days

Fox News channel over the past ten days

Sparks Fly: An American Love Story

What does it mean to be a good citizen in the United States of America?

The Onion-Nov 6, 2012 Statshot

In elementary school, when a teacher asks the class this and perhaps Suzie would respond with “helping others” and maybe Arthur would say “not breaking the law”. Sure, these are both true, but they are agonizingly bland when one considers the all-encompassing dues that being an American is all about but perhaps we take for granted. And that’s a reality that I, after 17+ years of being an American, finally began to grasp through our studies and discussions in government class.

The fact of the matter is that while “helping others” and “not breaking the law” are both respectable starts to being a good citizen, it shouldn’t and doesn’t stop there.

And the last thing I want to do is admit to my own naïveté, but the truth of the matter is that up until this point in my life the closest thing I have to keeping up with world affairs was my meticulous reading of The Onion and my dutiful weekly viewing of Saturday Night Live.

And I saw nothing wrong in this! In fact, it made me almost feel cool to be vacuous of what the horrible footage was that flashed across the news channel my parents watch. I never realized how abysmal I had been at upholding my right to cultivate political awareness. Yet I have the audacity to try to form opinions and ignorantly voice them solely on the grounds of others’ comments or maybe something Stephen Colbert said on his show.

With the answers to billions of questions just a click away thanks to my snazzy 4g iPhone, we still manage to go day in and day out without the slightest regard for our tragically stagnant social consciousness. This dispensation we possess, a vast accessibility of knowledge and means of communication, is too habitually neglected. As eloquently expressed in the TED Talk by Eli Pariser, we Americans choose lighthearted desserts over intellectual vegetables (ironically, this is not only responsible for our lazy minds but our generally poor physical health, but I digress). Too often do we indulge in the desserts of satire and social networking and not in the nutrition of a hearty CNN update; thus we need hold ourselves accountable for the filters applied to us and at fault for the inexorable boxes put our perspectives in with passive citizenship.

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To give myself some credit, the right we enjoy to express dissent from the majority opinion (there is no truer sign of being an American than this) is something we not only value but also strive to do on a daily basis. But I implore you, my fellow Americans, to try browsing the text of our brilliant constitution while in the waiting room of the dentist’s office; I promise you that in this brief exploration you will discover many American-ly entitlements that you haven’t even considered exploiting that you totally should. I’m just kidding (kind of). On a more genuine note, (and much to the derision of my audaciously left brain or the  adolescent subversion I occasionly feel towards my right-wing parents), I have unexpectedly fallen in love with our country and have become completely captivated with our government’s conception. I’ve decided that I want to make an effort into cultivating the relationship I have with the U.S. of A and to try to take charge of my  citizenship. Sure America isn’t perfect, but at the end of the day her intentions are good and I’m in it for the long haul.

Frisk it to get the biscuit

The Stop and Frisk law allows police to stop, question, and frisk any citizen that is found reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. The controversy presented by this law is whether or not the law is defying the Fourth Amendment and how this law is causing concerns on racial profiling. The Fourth Amendment gives “the right of the people to be secure in their persons […] against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath of affirmation […].”

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The majority of people getting stopped and frisked are Hispanics and African Americans. This is what raises serious concerns on racial profiling. Because of the discrimination occurring, citizens begin to lose trust in officers and see them as villains and not as people who are trying to help stop violence. As a young female I understand and appreciate the attempt to better improve the streets by making the stop and frisk law, but as a Hispanic I do not feel comfortable with this law and I see it as a way to invade privacy due to appearance. I am in no way saying that I would think otherwise if I was a white female, I am just stating that I better understand the threat of having no privacy that is present to those who are Hispanic. Your appearance is what determines whether or not you will be frisked. African Americans and Hispanics are falsely represented due to their skin color and appearance. The law degrades them and embarrasses them as they are frisked and treated as they had done something wrong in public. No one enjoys invasion of privacy and that is exactly what stopping and frisking is doing. This lawdefies the Fourth Amendment and gives a stranger the authority to stop you during your day to pat you down and invade your privacy.imagesCA4W7Y0S

Although the law proves to be unfair to minorities it provides evidence to be unjust to officers as well. Minorities have been given this image of being criminals and being violent. There is no denying the fact that minorities are looked at this way because of past experiences. Officers see this as well and use these facts to determine who to stop and frisk. I believe that some officers are falsely accused of being racist when doing their job by stopping a citizen who is a minority and who is acting suspicious. Not all minorities can use their skin color as an excuse to call an officer racist. If anyone seems to have suspicious behavior they may be in danger of being stopped and frisked. I do believe some officers being racist due to their constant stopping and frisking of minorities. If there were no officers that proved to be racist and taking advantage of the stopping and frisking law, no citizens would be so passionately angered by this law.

Stop and Frisk was intended to better improve the safety of citizens and help lower crime rate but instead made citizens feel uncomfortable and threatened. Www.policymic.com shares that “There is no conclusive evidence directly linking the NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy to the overall decrease in crime rates or to the slight decrease in shootings.” The law has cause more stir than help. Stopping and frisking civilians embarrasses and downgrades them. It creates controversy on racial profiling and depicts police officers as malicious. Although this law has decreased some violence, it denies citizens their privacy and authority to walk the streets without being accused of seeming suspicious and has made minorities feel like the main problem. The stop and frisk law is a flawed law that does more harm than good.

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Resources: http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Stop+and+Friskhttp://www.nyclu.org/issues/racial-justice/stop-and-frisk-practiceshttp://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/stop-and-frisk-leads-mistrust-cops-study-article-1.1460528, http://nypost.com/2013/08/24/nypd-cops-say-they-wont-go-above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty-over-stop-frisk-lawsuit-risks/, http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/fourth_amendment, http://www.policymic.com/articles/9914/stop-and-frisk-law-is-racist-and-the-shame-of-new-york-cityhttp://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/stop-and-frisk-leads-mistrust-cops-study-article-1.1460528

Don’t Stop Frisking

Protesters in New York City who want to end Stop and Frisk because they think it is racial profiling.

Protesters in New York City who want to end Stop and Frisk because they think it is racial profiling.

Last week in class, we discussed the controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy that is currently being practiced in New York City. An overwhelming majority of the class strongly opposed the policy. With no legitimate information presented to me, I skeptically disapproved of the intrusive policy. Because of this, I deemed it necessary to do my own research before further forming an opinion.

This policy became a topic of discussion because of the New York mayoral race. All of the candidates are being pressured to stop the practice, but Bill de Blasio has made a name for himself stating that he is “the only candidate to end Stop-and-Frisk targeting of minorities”. In early August, de Blasio was a potential but unlikely democrat to win the primaries. Surprisingly, he was not favored among minorities. I think the emphasis on “Stop and Frisk” is entirely exaggerated in order to gain minority voters.

The policy has been obscured from one enacted to ameliorate the crime issue to one enacted to unjustly target minorities. “The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices raise serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights” states the New York Civil Liberties Union, a progressive group working to end racial discrimination. The NYCLU’s view on Stop and Frisk are simply looking at half of the facts. The following table shows crime statistics for the city:

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The furthest right hand column shows that between 1990 and 2012, the total crime rate has dropped 78.87%. (Click table to enlarge.) In 1994, Rudolph Giuliani inherited a city too dangerous to manage. Various factors contributed to the drop in crime rate, but Stop and Frisk positively contributed to the decline. The NYCLU also determined that “Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports” (they rounded up). Assuming this is true, I do admit that it is inconvenient for the 90% of innocent people who were stopped by police. However, that means that about 10% (more than 10% because the NYCLU grossly rounded that fact up) of these people were criminals – intending to somehow break the law.

Now, to address the racism issue: the following text will, most likely, not be “politically correct”. I am going to state the truth and the reader can choose whether to be offended or not, although there is no reason to be offended by statistics.

In de Blasio’s second ad, he tells how he has already talked to his son about WHEN he will be stopped and frisked. Why does de Blasio make such an absolute statement? Simply because his son is black, and de Blasio is campaigning off the idea that racism is the leading factor to why so many minorities are stopped. The reason police target minorities is because minorities account for a large majority of crime rates.

https://www.bja.gov/Publications/Jail_Focus_Group_Papers.pdf

Clearly minorities represent the majority of convicts, but a question remains: is the reason for them being the majority because of racial discrimination? Admittedly that may account for a slightly higher rate, but to say that it completely is due to discrimination is simply illogical. If the statistics were closer together, this would be more probable, but with statistics such as 1:15 black men going to jail sometime in their lives when only 1:106 white men, there is no possibility that this huge difference is solely due to racism.

Leading back to Stop and Frisk, I am in no way suggesting that police should discriminate when deciding who to stop, but the statistics show that there is a higher probability of a black man breaking the law than a white man. The policy was enacted to lower crime rates, not offend minorities. The dangerous city of New York has lowered its crime rates 78.87% – that is huge! I cannot say that specifically the Stop and Frisk policy lowered the rates, but more than 10% of the stopped were breaking the law, so it does account for some of the crime decrease. I think our society is too concerned with being “politically correct” and therefore refuses to look at the facts.

The Tragedy of Syria

A couple of weeks ago, we discussed the atrocious situation in Syria and how the whole world reacted. I always feel like there is a revolution happening in the Middle East. First it was Libya, then Egypt, and now Syria. I’ve followed the Syria situation much more than the others so I feel that my opinion has more of a basis behind it.  President al-Assad used chemical weapons on his own revolting people which is viewed as the one of the most heinous war crimes. Not only is he killing his own people, but he’s all doing it in a cruel manner. It sounds bad but I think it would have been better if he just lined them up and shot them, giving them a quick death. I don’t think what al-Assad did was right, but I’m  not of the opinion that America should have done something to stop him. The revolution in Syria is terrible and some of my morals really try and make me want to help, but I’ve taken the time to think about the pros and cons. We have our own problems as a nation, it’s not smart to try and get more. Why should we make other people’s problems ours anyways? It’s not our business so we should keep to ourselves and let them handle it.

I was talking with my father around the time President Obama said that America would do something before he changed his mind and pushed a vote to Congress. We both agreed that President Obama should have acted differently. I didn’t want America to get involved at first but when the President said that we would, I felt like we should have. America gave its word to step in if al-Assad crossed the line and he did. Why did we send this issue to Congress? Why didn’t we just stay true to our word? I think it was a mistake to say we would get involved in the first place, especially considering the fact that we were the only nation wanting to get involved. It made us look unloyal as a country when we hesitated, which is something we don’t want our allies seeing. We gave the Syrian people hope, only to postpone our decision for several days. That doesn’t seem right to me. I thought America had a better sense of honor than that.

Since the debate in Congress over military action in Syria, al-Assad agreed to give up all of his chemical weapons to the United Nations. It’s a victory for America in a certain sense because we don’t have to do make a decision anymore, but I still question all that has happened. What if al-Assad didn’t give up all of his chemical weapons? What if America intervened in Syria’s affairs? Russia is aligned with Syria and they said publicly that they wouldn’t sit idly by while America indirectly hurts their economy. It sort of feels like the Cold War all over again. I truly think that we might have gotten into a third World War if Congress voted for military action, that’s what conflicts me on this issue. Should we risk the safety our country’s innocent people or should we break our word because we made a promise we shouldn’t have made? We are always getting into other country’s foreign affairs and it causes us more trouble than we bargain for. America needs to stop trying to be the police of the world. Unless it directly affects us, we should stay out of it and not get involved. It sounds selfish but America has to look out for itself before it can even consider helping someone else.

Work Cited for images

https://www.exposenewsnetwork.com/sites/default/files/media/marcia_mendes/2013/08/syria-conflict.jpg

 http://www.geostrategicforecasting.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Chaos-in-Syria.jpg

The Horrors in Syria

The Death toll from the use of chemical weapons in Syria sits somewhere above 1300 people, and almost 3600 more were injured in some form. I think that the sheer amount of pain being caused by this governing body was shocking. I truly believe that chemical weapons should not be used in any situation, especially on that of innocent people. Whatever reason that a Government leader could have to use chemical weapons on people of his country is beyond me. I feel that the use of these weapons have no true benefit for the leader anyways, because of the exact thing that happened, the world learned about his actions.Image

America being the “police” of the world thought it was their job to go into this foreign country and put a stop to these actions. As I stated before, this whole epidemic should have never happen and was truly terrible, but putting the United States in harm for this reason would not have been the best idea. Within the US alone, there are many problems that have not been resolved, so undergoing something of that magnitude would present larger problems. The problems that the US undergoes might not have the gravity of the actions of the Syrian government, but after a more than ten year war held in the Middle East more fighting would not be the best answer to this problem.

The involvement of Russia was also frightening to say the least, because any time major counties have a conflict with the United States there is concerns to be had. Russia had a long standing history of trading goods with Syria, and developed quite a strong relationship. This being said, Russia would support Syria in this situation especially if the United States was to use military force. This situation has the potential to evolve into an escalating problem that could eventually lead to a war.

From the point in time that I gained the knowledge of the actions of the Syrian government, I thought a more passive approach would be more beneficial to all parties involved. I relies this is far easier said than done, and the US government would probably look for a passive way of resolving the problem before moving to more aggressive actions. I just hoped that everybody involved in the situation would come to a compromise without military action.

Once I learned about the Syrian leader meeting with the United Nations and forming a passive agreement to not use chemical weapons on his own people, I almost felt a sense of relief even though I have no direct link to these problems. I felt that this meeting came at just the right time, because if this meeting would not have happened military action from the United States would have eventually been used. If we got caught up as long as we have in the Middle East, then it would be possible for it to happen again, which would benefit nobody.

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