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Jumping the Gun – Making a Mole Into a Mountain to Overshadow What’s Important

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Just over a month ago, the nation was shaken by the Sandy Hook shootings.  It was the worst school shooting since the infamous Columbine shooting first put such tragedies under the microscope in America. In the aftermath, the usual battles on the political stage are taking place, using the tragedy as a shameless tool to further agendas.

The usual arguments over gun control, gun laws, and school safety took center stage right away. People were quick to look for a simple answer in the form of a scapegoat. In the midst of this, the Sandy Hook facts were twisted and used in such a way that the truth has been lost somewhere in the turmoil. The number of weapons, type of weapons, and placement of weapons have all changed several times according to whose telling you about it. There exists a shotgun, an AR-15 assault weapon, and anywhere from one to four handguns that may, or may not have been used, but were all present in the vicinity of the school. The only detail that hasn’t changed is that the shooter, Adam Lanza, committed suicide with a handgun shot to the head.

This is a troubling pill to swallow as the argument continues. How is it that the agendas have become so important, and the people behind them so adamant that they no longer care about the truth? What good does it do to try to push change when you ignore what’s really important? No amount of gun control or gun laws would have prevented this shooting. An armed guard would not have prevented it from beginning. The guns were legally owned by Lanza’s mother, and he had to use them to even enter the school through the locked door before the killing began.

Things would be different if he’d obtained the guns himself, but he didn’t. America must look at the other aspects of this tragedy if they truly desire working to prevent future incidents. Our society is hurting, and in need of real healing.  People have developed this notion that it’s best to turn your cheek on something because it’s “not your business.” Turning around and closing your eyes doesn’t make the problem go away. If people are suffering, we should be reaching out and helping them, not shrugging our shoulders and trying to convince ourselves with figures of speech.

The law is there to protect us. It is up to us to help ourselves and each other.

Bounties, Cover-ups, No Hall of Famers, Fake Girlfriends. Is This the Year of the Sports Scandal?

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2013 is shaping up to be the Year of the Sports Scandal.

This year started off with a bang in terms of sports scandals. We’re only on the third week of 2013, and already we have so much going. The NFL continues to see more and more trouble with concussions, brain damage, and most recently, depression. This season, in fact, saw a spike in player deaths off the field for various reasons, all of them tragic. Moving forward, the NFL still must face issues with New Orleans’ apparent bounty system, which is under even more scrutiny now that all of the players have had their bans removed.

Last week, no players were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for only the third time in history, because there’s still a rift between voters regarding players that have been found  guilty of using PEDs. While this is not in of itself a scandal, it does put the spotlight on a rather scathing double standard. Players found guilty of PEDs in the MLB can’t play, but their records still stand.

Now, just this past week, the scandal gates were blown wide open when it was revealed that Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o’s girlfriend, whose death was once a story of overcoming tragedy and finding inspiration, was discovered to have never existed. This story has yet to be concluded, with questions swirling around whether or not Te’o knew what was going on, and if he was fooled, or part of the fooling.

Now, Lance Armstrong has topped them all by finally coming forward, and admitting to doing PEDs while he achieved his seven Tour De France win streak. His 2-part interview with Oprah brought an end to his long battle against allegations that he cheated with him giving an at times cold and calculated confession. Now it only remains to be seen just how far this rabbit hole goes down into the depths of Hell.

2013 is still young. We’re still 23 (Hello Mr. Jordan) weeks from the NBA draft, which is often hailed as one of sports biggest conspiracies year after year. The shortened NHL season is launching right now, which is sure to be rife with drama regarding player health, the hectic tightened schedule, and other bits of chaos. What kind of madness will 2013 bring next?

NRA Shows Us All How to Make Asses of Ourselves

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The NRA has been a source of conflict for a long time in America, but recent events have shown just how foolish the organization can be. It’s stance on gun control hasn’t budged for over a decade. They think things are fine, and continue to wave that second amendment like it’s some kind of God Given shield.

In the modern world, the NRA doesn’t just stick to guns, however. Violent video games have been the center of attention in a lot of political battlefields. They’re blamed for certain behaviors in teenagers, including aggression, depression, and most importantly, violence itself.  Regulations to control the sale of games have been brought up, citing the danger to young minds, even violent game taxes, but thus far, nothing has yet to pass. In all of this, the NRA has been silent, showing no support for action.

Shortly after the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA quickly blamed it on violent video games. They were quick to name specific examples involving schools, claim armed guards in schools will help, and anything that took the attention off of gun control. This earned them slaps in the face already. Leland Yee, the California senator that fought for regulations on violent video game sales to children in 2011 didn’t hesitate to point out the NRA was nowhere in sight when he proposed his bill. You know you’re making an ass of yourself when both sides of the debate attack you.

The NRA has come full circle now. Exactly one month after the Sandy Hook shootings, after pointing the finger at a shooting game, the NRA released a shooting game for the iOS. That’s right, they went there. They want to curb gun violence and foster gun education with a shooting game.

This begs the question, have you ever witnessed such stupidity before? Have you ever seen someone light themselves on fire twice, just because they didn’t learn the first time? I sure haven’t.

We’re All Made of Stars

Remember when movies and television shows used to show quotes from magazine and newspaper reviews? Those little tidbits were used to sell the products to people on the fence. Better movies and shows had more, better quotes. It was a simple system that allowed the viewers to make quick decisions on whether or not they wanted to pay attention, or even look into watching. That system is officially broken.

Today, we have those same commercials running, but they no longer provide snippets from reviews. Instead, they run quotes from twitter, made from anyone and everyone they could find. A flood of quotes can and will dominate the entire screen for anything that chooses to do it. Every product, show, movie, and what-have-you will be able to make itself look like the next grand slam since sliced bread. The truth is, no matter how bad something is, it can find enough good comments about it on twitter to make it shine like polished gold.

There is something to be said about user input. It allows us to connect and share our opinions on matters. This is something that is good. When that good is taken, and twisted in such a way to sell a product aggressively, it becomes something very bad.  Keep your guard up, because that devil on your shoulder has a new ally.

Understanding CES and the Target Market: Not You

There is something to be said about CES. It is a place of wondrous advancements in consumer electronic technology, where masses can see the future. What the masses must understand, however, is that these advancements are not for everyone, and almost certainly are not for them, not yet. Those massive 80+ inch 4K TV sets everyone is showing off? Those are for the ultra rich. That’s right, ultra rich. The rich will still be hard pressed to buy these kinds of TVs.

Over the past few days, I’ve read hundreds of comments made about these TVs, and the technology, and how “Stupid” the companies are for developing them. They see things they cannot possibly afford, and immediately write them off as wastes of money and time by the companies. Well, here’s a dose of reality for everyone. If the companies don’t “waste” their time and money developing these technologies, there won’t be any advancements at all. These early, big screen launches are a means of recouping some of the R&D costs. Every single piece of recent technology had similar offerings. HDTVs launched in the mid 90s at prices well over $10,000. DVD players actually launched AFTER HDTVs (How’s that for a mind job?), and were over $1000, with $50 discs. How about MP3 players? That was something scoffed for the price and the limitations of internet speed, but who’s laughing now?

So, when you see these new pieces of cutting edge tech, and feel the need to remark on how out of range they are, or unnecessary they are, stop. Take a moment and think about the past two decades. You probably thought the same thing about HDTV, Blu-Ray, DVD, MP3 players, laptops, and smartphones. Do not be foolish with blanket statements, simply because the future is not the today of your price range. Like all things technological in your possession, there was a time when they too were not for you. Here’s to the future!

America the Wasteful

Having been born and raised in America, I’ve been exposed to quite a broad spectrum of personalities, cultures, and walks of life. Being a prosperous nation in the thick of the global rat race can make it pretty easy to let things fall to the way side.

The past decade has been full of initiatives and messages towards going green, recycling, saving energy, and producing less waste. I’ll be the first to admit that I have not been active in this movement, but I do try to produce as little waste as I can. So I am rather neutral in this issue, but what I saw today really irked me.

I am sitting at Starbucks as I write this, having finished yet another wave of job applications and cover letters. What I have been watching is customer after customer using 2-3 wooden stirrers for their drinks. I really have to wonder where this kind of wasteful behavior comes from where a person grabs an abundant amount of anything to do a simple task. These same people are taking handfuls of napkins to wipe the smallest spills, as if the thought of their hands getting a little damp from using only one is unacceptable. One of these people is even wearing a t-shirt proclaiming they drive an electric car. Is that a proclamation of pride, or defensive message to show he’s balancing the wastefulness he’s displaying right now?

I don’t mean to come off as some kind of pro-earth nut, but I love my planet, and I love being in a clean city. So exercise some common sense, and use only what you need. I think your hand can afford a couple extra twists to mix in that non-fat milk.

Obama’s Attack on Romney Makes This Election a Fool’s Game

The presidential election is always a pllace of ultimate scrutiny, and 2012 is more of the same. While we would like to think the presidency is about leadership and policy making, it is a candidates personal qualities that seem to fall under the microscope. Obama’s recent attacks on Romney, pointing at the lack of tax disclosure, however, is a Fool’s game

It’s no secret that to win an election the candidates need to swing the masses in their favor. Rather than play on their own strengthens though, it is more common to see the the players attack their opponents’ apparent weaknesses. Obama’s attacks on Romney has done just that, but the people being moved are being fooled.

Lack of disclosure is a weak argument to knock someone down. In doing so, Obama’s camp has offered no evidence of wrong doing, instead simply claiming that Romney “must be hiding something.” This gives Romney’s camp a lot of room to maneuver, as they don’t have to refute any evidence. The coming days could prove the folly ofthis tactic. It is up to Obama’s camp to use this time to prepare something real to talk about.