Thursday, March 26, 2015

Flonase: "Six is greater than one!" No sh*t...

Once in a while (probably more often than I'd like to admit), I come across a commercial that appears to suggest that 99% of the viewing audience has a mean IQ of 56. A Flonase allergy relief nasal spray commercial is just the latest such ad.

In this ad, the key line is, "Six is greater than one," referring to how the product will block six allergy symptoms as opposed to just one. Sure, it's good from an advertising perspective to point out that the product blocks six allergy symptoms. However, isn't there a better way of doing that than stating the obvious in an almost jokingly condescending way? "Six is greater than one!" No sh*t there Sherlock...

In any case, based on this commercial, expect Flonase to include the following words of wisdom in their upcoming ads:

- "44 degrees is warmer than -44 degrees!"

- "Right is to the right of left!"

- "'War and Peace' is longer than a haiku!"

- "Race cars are faster than Matchbox cars!"

- "Humans and grasshoppers are different!"

- "Talk show hosts are louder than mimes!"

- "Basketballs are rounder than square tables!"

- "There are more punches thrown in boxing than in meditation!"

- "Red isn't the same as blue!"

- "978 feet 10 inches is taller than 22 feet 3 inches!"

http://www.ispot.tv/ad/7J6U/flonase-allergy-relief-nasal-spray-six-is-greater

Richard Cohen has a race problem

Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen is drawing some heat for a recent article of his, entitled, "Ferguson and Benghazi's Troubling Parallels."

Cohen starts his piece with, "Ferguson has become the liberal Benghazi. It is more of a cause than a place, more of an ideological statement than an incident..."

Another "interesting" quote from Cohen's article is when he said this: "...Let me offer another conclusion: If (Michael) Brown was not criminally shot because he was black, then possibly the cop was accused because he was white. Who was the stereotyped individual here?"

Cohen also writes, "...It (Ferguson) does, though, conform to the very keen feelings of people who see white racism everywhere."

Near the end of his piece, the author writes the following:

"We live in a time where facts that do not fit an ideology or grievance are merely disregarded - or alternative ones concocted: Do you think campus rape is a problem not taken seriously? Then pillory the accused, deprive them of basic rights, say your critics are blaming the victim - and fling the dross of questionable statistics into the air.

Do you think black men are casually killed by the police? Then concoct a statistic, as Arlene Eisen has done, and watch with satisfaction as it goes viral. The widely used "#every28hours" hashtag turns out to be a hash of statistics and hunches, all of it infused by leftist cant about 'the national security state' and the 'perpetual war on black people.'

Do you think that the African American men who are killed by the police are solely victims of racism? If so, then ignore that, in 2013, about 44 percent of the nation's murder victims were black - and some 90 percent of those victims were killed by black people. There is a problem here, and it does not go away by yelling, 'Racist, Racist' at the numbers..."

This isn't the first time Cohen has faced backlash with regard to his views and commentary on race. In a 1986 column, Cohen "sided with city jewelry store owners who refuse to allow young black men to enter their shops because of a fear of crime."

The Washington Post apologized for this article, and in an interview with Politico's Dylan Byers, Cohen attempted to elaborate on the matter, saying, "I didn't say 'black men,' I said 'young black men who were dressed in a certain way." (the article actually didn't mention anything about the "young black men's" attire)

He also said this in the interview with Byers:

"What I'm trying to deal with is, I'm trying to remove this fear from racism. I don't think it's racism to say, 'this person looks like a menace.' Now, a menace in another part of the country could be a white guy wearing a wife-beater under-shirt. Or, if you're a black guy in the South and you come around the corner and you see a member of the Ku Klux Klan."

In the summer of 2013, Cohen wrote a column, entitled, "Racism vs. reality," where he started his piece by saying, "I don't like what George Zimmerman did, and I hate that Trayvon Martin is dead. But I also can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize (a hoodie)."

Then toward the end of 2013, Richard Cohen commented about New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and his interracial marriage, by writing this:

"...People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York - a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts - but not all - of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn't look like their country at all."

Lastly, in another column published in the latter part of 2013, Cohen commented on the Oscar-winning film 12 Years a Slave by saying this:

"Steve McQueen's stunning movie '12 Years a Slave' is one of those unlearning experiences. I had to wonder why I could not recall another time when I was so shockingly confronted by the sheer barbarity of American slavery. Instead, beginning with school, I got a gauzy version. I learned that slavery was wrong, yes, that it was evil, no doubt, but really, that many blacks were sort of content. Slave owners were mostly nice people - fellow Americans, after all - and the sadistic Simon Legree was the concoction of that demented propagandist, Harriet Beecher Stowe..."

I find it fascinating that Richard Cohen, while adamantly denying that he himself is a racist, appears to insinuate that racism is inevitable wherever one travels, so instead of trying to fight it, we should just learn to live with it. Also, instead of being offended by racists' commentary and actions, we should try and be more understanding of them. Yes, this is probably one of the number one signs that a person is a racist - they spend a great deal of time defending the rationale of racists.

Justin Goldstein: "It's so sad what happened to that kid the other day."

Richard Cohen: "What kid?"

Justin: "You know, that black kid that got shot and killed because he supposedly looked suspicious, but it turns out, was unarmed and just wanting to go to the store to get some Skittles and Dr. Pepper..."

Richard: "Well, yeah, it's sad and all, but you can't really blame the guy for thinking he looked suspicious."

Justin: "How'd he look suspicious?"

Richard: "That damn hoodie and his hands in his pockets! I mean, come on! Let's get real here!"

Justin: "It was 20 degrees outside!"

Richard: "So what?"

Justin: "It's April!"

Richard: "Whatever... I saw what I saw, okay? ...and even though it's sad what happened to the kid, I can completely understand the guy thinking he looked like trouble."

Justin: "Whoa... I didn't realize you were so racist!"

Richard: "Oh, shut-up! I'm not racist! The guy just looked suspicious, that's all!"

Justin: "...and why is this?"

Richard: "I told you - the hoodie and his hands in his pockets, and what about those baggy pants? Jesus, do I have to spell it out for you people?"

Justin: "'You' people?"

Richard: "Yeah, you heard me right!"

Justin: "So, let me get this straight - you're not racist even though you can understand a guy shooting and killing a black kid in a hoodie because of how he looked; is that right?"

Richard: "Yeah, now you're thinking!"

Justin: "At least one of us is..."


I also find it funny that Richard Cohen, for as much as he claims to care about "facts," appears to pick and choose his and ignore others in order to fit his narrative. He seems to take the approach that white racism against blacks is no different (nor greater) than black racism against whites and most all of blacks' problems start and end with themselves, pointing to the statistic that 90% of black murder victims were murdered by other blacks. Of course, Cohen doesn't point out the statistic which showcases that around 90% of white murder victims were murdered by whites, but of course, that number is apparently irrelevant.

Not only that, but the centerpiece of Cohen's latest writing, in comparing Ferguson to Benghazi, falls flat on its face without a great deal of effort. While conservatives may have gotten some (most) of their facts wrong regarding Benghazi and liberals may have gotten some of their facts wrong regarding Ferguson, there isn't a seemingly growing trend, with evidence to back it, of so-called Benghazigates; there is, however, that growing trend, with evidence to back it, of minorities becoming victims of police brutality due to the color of their skin.

No, Mr. Cohen, the problems won't go away by just yelling, "Racist, Racist," but then again, the problems will be even less likely to go away if one doesn't admit there's a problem at all.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ferguson-and-benghazis-troubling-parallels/2015/03/23/5812b468-d17a-11e4-a62f-ee745911a4ff_story.html

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/24/richard_cohens_latest_racial_disgrace_hack_calls_ferguson_the_liberal_benghazi/

http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/07/a-conversation-with-richard-cohen-168462.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-cohen-racism-vs-reality/2013/07/15/4f419eb6-ed7a-11e2-a1f9-ea873b7e0424_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-cohen-christies-tea-party-problem/2013/11/11/a1ffaa9c-4b05-11e3-ac54-aa84301ced81_story.html?hpid=z2

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/richard-cohen-12-years-a-slave-and-arts-commentary-on-the-past/2013/11/04/f0e57a92-4588-11e3-b6f8-3782ff6cb769_story.html

Column: "Concussions have become the new global warming"

What is it with the extreme right-wing and their seemingly strong case of Einsteinophobia (yes, my new term for fear of science). Just yesterday, I read an article where Texas Senator Ted Cruz compared himself to Galileo and compared climate-change alarmists to "flat-Earthers," even though logic would dictate that climate-change deniers are the flat-Earthers in this scenario. Then today, I read an article written by a Fox News guest columnist, entitled, "So Long, NFL: San Francisco 49ers' Chris Borland is no hero," where Dylan Gwinn starts his "piece" by saying this:

"Don't look now, but concussions have become the new global warming: a debate where 'consensus' trumps evidence, and heroes and villains are determined by their stances on an issue where the science is bogus at worst and murky at best."

Gwinn finishes the article with this paragraph:

"What we know for sure is that, as with the climate-change debate, the media will feed us nothing but a steady diet of fear and angst. And the facts that show football isn't killing people will be an inconvenient truth."

First thing's first, 97% of climate scientists agree that humans have caused global warming (or climate change). So, if Dylan Gwinn really wants to cast doubt on the dangers of football, namely concussions, he may want to make a different comparison. Then again, to him, "evidence" trumps consensus - you know, evidence like rising temperatures, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, more intense and damaging storms, etc. When it comes to climate change, much to Gwinn's dismay, it appears that there's near consensus because of the evidence. So, right from the outset of Dylan Gwinn's column, he appears to be less concerned about consensus or evidence (which resulted in the consensus) and more concerned with the consensus of one person, himself, and the evidence he's decided to pick and choose in an attempt to prove his point.

Now, I for one, love football. I enjoy watching coaches battling wits, as if in a chess match of sorts. I enjoy watching great execution by the offense and defense - seeing eleven players perfectly in sync with one another to pull off the perfect play, much like watching poetry in motion. I enjoy the improvisation and players finding a way to trample the odds. When his offensive line didn't do their job and he appeared to be bound to lose four or five yards, it amazed me to watch former running back Barry Sanders juke, dance, spin, and hurdle his way for an almost mathematically-impossible touchdown. I enjoy upsets, of seeing a team that's clearly over-matched finding a way to pull off an incredible victory. I enjoy seeing the passion of the players and coaches, of people being brothers and fighting for each other, regardless of age, race, creed, or orientation. Like a great movie, I enjoy the unpredictable plot twists and breathtaking climaxes of some games as well. So, if anyone doesn't want to see football end due to concussions and the fear of a shorter life due to the game, it's me. However, even for as much as I love football, I'm not going to be naive about the dangers involved in it, especially with regard to head injuries. Now, Dylan Gwinn is right about one thing in his article - the science/evidence regarding concussions in football is still quite murky. We're really in the beginning stages of researching the matter and it will take some time to be as confident about the NFL's ultimate impact on players' livelihoods (in relation to head injuries) as we are about  humans' impact on climate change.

It may just be a PR campaign by the NFL at this point, but as more retired players report back about how head injuries have impacted them in the long-term and as more research is being done on the matter, the more changes the league has made in an attempt to decrease the number of concussions. To this point in the research, there appear to be definite reasons to continually make such changes. Out of 79 former NFL players whom donated their brains to the nation's largest brain bank after their eventual deaths, 76 were shown to have "degenerative brain disease." Also, in a study conducted by the NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health), it was found that NFL players are over three times more likely than other men of contracting ALS and Alzheimer's Disease, and slightly more likely to contract Parkinson's Disease. Again, the research is still in its early stages, but to this point, it appears to be trending in the direction of football historically having a significant impact on players' health in the long-term. Hopefully the league can make enough adjustments and outright changes to slow this trend, and even reverse it, before an increasing number of players, like Chris Borland, decide to take their talents elsewhere, the talent in the league decreases, and with that, the entertainment value does as well. Chris Borland may not technically be a "hero," but most people respect his decision, and unless football fans, such as myself, want this to be the start of a trend, we'll be highly supportive of making proper changes to the game in order to decrease the odds of players getting concussions and suffering the ill consequences of those head injuries further down the line.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/25/fox-news-concussions-global-warming-climate-change_n_6939490.html

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/03/23/so-long-nfl-san-francisco-4ers-chris-borland-is-no-hero/

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New idea for schools: To keep kids off drugs, have them listen to Phil Robertson speak...

From this point forward, what doctors should do to convince kids it's not good to take drugs is, instead of comparing fictionalized brains in a don't-do-drugs educational film, have them listen to Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson speak for a couple of minutes, and once he leaves, tell the class, "Okay, kids, if you don't want to ever sound like that, lay off the drugs!" I think that'd be about as persuasive of an argument as any!

When speaking at the Vero Beach Prayer Breakfast last Friday, Robertson had some interesting choice words for his audience, as he said the following:

"I'll make a bet with you. Two guys break into an atheist's home. He has a little atheist wife and two little atheist daughters. Two guys break into his home and tie him up in a chair and gag him. And then they take his two daughters in front of him and rape both of them and then shoot them and they take his wife and then decapitate her head off in front of them. And then they can look at him and say, 'Isn't it great that I don't have to worry about being judged? Isn't it great that there's nothing wrong with this? There's no right or wrong, now is it dude?' Then you take a sharp knife and take his manhood and hold it in front of him and say, 'Wouldn't it be something if this [sic] was something wrong with this? But you're the one who says there is no God, there's no right, there's no wrong, so we're just having fun. We're sick in the head, have a nice day.'"

As unintentional as it might have been, that finalizing line was pitch perfect! Who's sick in the head again, Mr. Robertson? Read what you said and then get back to me. Thanks...

For as graphic and disturbing as Phil Robertson's speech was, where he appears to be most off-base is with regard to his belief that atheists can't have any sense of "morality." It's his belief that since atheists don't believe in "God," they don't believe in the concept of right and wrong - that even things like rape and murder are wrong. What Robertson seems to be missing, besides most of his brain cells, is that the concept of morality is not dependent on a belief in a higher power. The Bible may say, "Thou shalt not kill," however, even if one has never read the Bible, there's a 99.9% chance they know murder to be wrong. Who's likely to be more genuinely "moral" - a person who needs a supposedly sacred text to tell them murder is wrong and if they partake in this act, they could be punished with an afterlife in the fiery pits of hell, or a person who doesn't need this book and induced fear of eternal damnation to know such an act is wrong? I may not be an avid reader of the Bible, but I know right from wrong. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to say, "Gosh, if I shoot and kill an innocent person, that would be like bad and stuff." Robertson's final line really is quite humorous, because here he went at length to paint a very grotesque and disturbing image of an atheist family to try and showcase their lack of morals. However, the facts are that this family was fictional, and derived from his "Christian" mind, these vivid, graphic, and disturbing thoughts of his were not.

"...We're sick in the head..."

Yeah, speak for yourself, there, Phil...

http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/phil-robertson-hypothesizes-about-atheist-family-getting-raped-and-killed

Ted Cruz and Galileo are as similar as Madonna and myself

Texas senator, climate-denier, and 2016 Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made his modest climate change views known when he spoke with the Texas Tribune yesterday, saying this: 

"[Contemporary] global warming alarmists are the equivalent of flat-Earthers. You know it used to be it is accepted scientific wisdom the Earth is flat, and this heretic named Galileo was branded a denier."

The problem with these comments is that, like most of Ted Cruz's opinions, he gets things backwards. Climate-change deniers are the flat-Earthers in this scenario, not the Galileos. 

You see, Ted, many believed the Earth to be flat until science and reasoning proved otherwise. Once it was proven through these measures that the Earth was round and not flat, those whom denied this fact were called deniers or "flat-Earthers." Similarly, while many people may once have doubted the significant impact humans have on this Earth's climate, science and reasoning have proven otherwise. So those whom deny these findings are commonly labeled as climate-deniers or climate-change deniers, akin to flat-Earthers. In other words, Ted, you're a flat-Earther. Congratulations!

Given Cruz's rationale here (or lack there of), expect him to say the following things in the future: 

Cruz: "What's this deal with gravity? Gravity? Seriously? Gravity isn't even real!"

Fact-check: "Gravity is in fact real."

Cruz: "Who do you think you are, Albert Heinstein? Galileo's my middle name!"


Cruz: "I can't stand when people tell me that 2 + 2 = 4. It doesn't equal 4! It equals 7!"

Fact-check: "2 + 2 = 4"

Cruz: "That's such bull crap! What do they know? I tell you what, if Galileo had a doppelganger, that person would be me!"


Cruz: "How could the Earth be round? It just makes no sense. The only things that are round are balloons, balls, and boobs. I'm telling you, the Earth is flat!"

Fact-check: "No, the Earth is not flat; it's round."

Cruz: "Whatever. I'm like Galileo, man."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/25/3638622/ted-cruz-is-like-galileo/

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

"Religious freedom" = freedom to discriminate

It's a growing trend, unfortunately. With gay marriage being legalized in an increasing number of states, so too have "religious freedom" laws as a counter move by the far-right. These laws make it legal for companies to not offer service to those they feel are not in line with biblical teachings - namely, the LGBT community. They say forcing them to offer their services to homosexuals or gay couples is an affront to their religious freedom to believe what they want as Christians. But, as the saying goes, let's not beat around the bush, and just call these bills what they are. They're not "religious freedom" bills; they're "freedom to discriminate" bills. 

These bills are bass ackwards in multiple ways. First off, there's a distinct difference between one's personal life and their professional life. These "Christians" can believe whatever they so choose. They can go to church on Sundays, can read the Bible every day before bed, can pray every morning, and can firmly believe that after they leave this earth, they'll be rewarded by joining a higher power in a paradise known as heaven. However, while they can still believe these things at work, as professionals, they still owe equal treatment and service to each and every customer. Just because a person is dressed in goth attire, another has a green mohawk, or a person is extremely overweight, doesn't give these professionals the right to refuse them service because they don't like or approve of something about them. I'm sure if they looked at each and every person closely, they could probably find something about their past of which they didn't necessarily approve, including themselves. It seems rather hypocritical to deny a person of service because they're deemed "sinful" when every person has "sinned." Also, how does it help professionally from a financial standpoint to refuse service to at least one demographic? From both a moral and professional vantage point, the move appears to be twisted. 

There's been a long line of such service protections for people like those in the LGBT community in order to offset potential discrimination by businesses. African-Americans know this better than anyone. Was it right then to afford businesses the "freedom" to not serve these individuals because of their skin color? No. Would it be right to allow businesses the "freedom" to not serve women if they so chose? No. Just as such, it's not right for businesses to not offer their services to people based on their creed or orientation. 

What these "religious freedom" backers seem to be missing is the fact that, regardless of where they work, they have the freedom to believe as they so choose. If they're a mechanic in Reno, Nevada, they have the freedom to be a Muslim. If they're a librarian in Pierre, South Dakota, they have the freedom to be a Christian. If they're a landscaper in Roswell, Georgia, they have the freedom to be a Buddhist. Yet when these far-right individuals pass "religious freedom" laws, what they're essentially doing is stripping others of freedom by making professional discrimination legal once again. When it comes right down to it, "religious freedom" laws aren't about religious freedom at all; they're about the freedom to discriminate.

George Zimmerman may want to lash out at himself rather than at President Obama

Three years after the death of Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman has come forward, releasing a 13-minute video regarding the incident and his life following it, lashing out at President Obama amongst other things. In the video, Zimmerman made the following statements:

- "Only in a true life-or-death scenario can you have mental clearness to know that you cannot feel guilty for surviving. In all fairness you cannot as a human feel guilty for living, for surviving."

- "By far, the president of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama." (when asked who has been the most unfair to him)

- "To me that was clearly been a dereliction of duty." (regarding President Obama inviting the Martin family to the White House)

- "Unfortunately for the president, I'm also my parent's child and my life matters as well. And for him to make incendiary comments as he did and direct the Department of Justice to pursue a baseless prosecution he by far overstretched, overreached, even broke the law in certain aspects to where you have an innocent American being prosecuted by the federal government."

- "They (the Congressional Hispanic Caucus) aligned themselves with the Black Congressional Caucus and did everything that they could to throw me under the bus. ...[They portrayed me as a] white racist...without knowing anything about my character."

I find it rather humorous that George Zimmerman painted himself as an innocent man with great character in this video, because no matter how much he wants to claim his innocence in the death of Trayvon Martin, the guy's record has been about as clean as a Chicago Cubs fan that said in 1908 he wasn't going to shower until the team won their next World Series. Here's a timeline of Zimmerman's legal troubles since the Martin trial:

7/28/13: He gets pulled over for speeding

8/19/13: He gets pulled over for his windows being tinted too dark

9/3/13: He gets pulled over for speeding again

9/9/13: He gets taken into custody after a "domestic dispute" with his wife, whom just recently filed for divorce

11/18/13: He gets arrested and charged with felony assault for pointing a gun at his girlfriend

9/12/14: He threatens to kill a man in a road-rage incident

1/9/15: He gets arrested and charged for aggravated assault with a weapon, allegedly throwing a wine bottle at his girlfriend

So, in less than two years, this "innocent" and "character-driven" man has been pulled over three times by police, been named in a road-rage incident where he allegedly threatened to kill a man, and has been arrested or taken into custody on three separate occasions due to charges of domestic violence of some kind. Does he seriously think even the least rational among us would buy what he's selling about him being an "innocent" and "character-driven" man? I don't think so. No matter what George Zimmerman wants us to believe through his drivel and no matter how he wants the world to believe he's the true innocent victim here, one person will never speak again because of him, and at least three other lives may have been close to receiving a similar fate.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/03/24/zimmerman-video-trayvon-martin/70362142/

http://miami.cbslocal.com/2014/09/12/police-george-zimmerman-named-in-fla-road-rage-incident/

http://www.mynews13.com/content/news/cfnews13/news/article.html/content/news/articles/cfn/2015/1/10/george_zimmerman.html

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCraigRozniecki?ref=hl


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 19,410 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

https://twitter.com/CraigRozniecki


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rozzy81

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=craig+rozniecki&x=7&y=5&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=craig%20rozniecki%20kindle&sprefix=craig+rozniecki+kindle%2Caps%2C228&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acraig%20rozniecki%20kindle

Monday, March 23, 2015

The most pointless poll of the day

A handful of times every year, I have to roll my eyes at a poll, as I think to myself, "What was the point of that exactly?" That very thing happened just this morning as I read a headline regarding a Reuters poll, which said, "Fictional TV Presidents Are More Popular Than President Barack Obama, Poll Finds." Oh, it just gets better (worse) from there.

According to this poll, here's how the presidents' (real or fictional) approval ratings stand at this very moment:

David Palmer (from the show 24): 89%

Jed Bartlet (The West Wing): 82%

Laura Roslin (Battlestar Galactica): 78%

Fitzgerald "Fitz" Grant (Scandal): 60%

Frank Underwood (House of Cards): 57%

Barack Obama (the actual president): 46%


Yeah, based on this poll, expect to see the following headlines from future Reuters polls:

- "Animated animals more popular than Congress"

- "If he were on the ballot, Santa Claus would be our next president"

- "Americans would rather have a beer with the Easter bunny than Ted Cruz"

- "The Tooth fairy is more socialist than Bernie Sanders"

- "John McCain and Stewie tied atop the most likely to start World War 3"


Here's my headline: "Laffy Taffy releases a more worthwhile poll than Reuters"

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/23/fictional-tv-presidents-poll_n_6921096.html

Ricart: "We're dealin'!" Yes, they certainly are!

I got a new car over the weekend. Before that point, I had owned just one car in all my years. In '97, I purchased a '95 Saturn, which lasted me through the start of 2013. However, it recently breathed its last breath, so it was time to say goodbye and welcome a new automobile in my life.

I went to two places before purchasing my new car. At Toyota, while the seller himself came across as very approachable and kind, others whom spoke to me appeared to be rather irritable, arrogant, and not at all interested in working with me to buy a car. After filling out some applications, I was told I'd receive a phone call that night or the following morning regarding the cars I was interested in and if we'd be able to work out a deal, but never received the call. Perhaps it was just a bad day for them, but in any case, it definitely wasn't a good first impression I had of the place and unless I found a potentially great deal there, I'd be hard-pressed to ever return.

I then went to Ricart. I'd never gone to the place before, but had definitely heard about it, and would even poke fun at some of their ads, which always end with, "We're dealin'!" Well, after my afternoon there, I can say that the ads definitely aren't examples of false advertising. The place is huge and they're definitely dealing cars left and right. While the whole process took longer than I would have liked, I'd still highly recommend Ricart to potential car buyers (or leasers). Unlike at Toyota, the people at Ricart looked at every possible option to find the best deal for me, took their time explaining all these options, and did everything in their power to make me a satisfied customer. I even received a call the following day from Ricart, thanking me for the purchase, hoping I was satisfied with the product, and if I had any questions or concerns, not to hesitate to contact them. Ricart actually made me feel like a valued customer, didn't appear to cast judgment on me due to some credit issues (due to the recession and past health problems), and put forth a great amount of effort to make sure I got the best deal possible. If I still live in the area when the time comes, I'll definitely check Ricart out first when making my next car purchase and recommend others give them a look as well!

Here's a link to their webpage in case anyone is interested:

http://www.ricart.com/index.htm

What I learned during the first weekend of March Madness...

During the first weekend of March Madness, I learned that...

- ...Villanova likes playing in March about as much as Pope Francis likes playing with himself.

- ..., if referees starred in their version of the film The Princess Bride, "goaltending" would be the term they'd frequently misuse.

- ...Wichita State is as much a #7 seed as I'm a woman named Flo.

- ...Enterprise still picks people up.

- ..., playing 6 games in 10 days, Dayton appeared to lose some kind of bet.

- ...Michigan State may be attempting to get the month of March nicknamed Izzo History Month.

- ...Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan will likely audition for the next Grinch film.

- ...Charles Barkley would make a "turrible" poet.

- ...Kansas coach Bill Self will one day write a book, entitled, Always the Favorite, Rarely the Winner.

- ..., almost overnight, people went from saying, "You know who I haven't heard about in a while? Christian Laettner," to saying, "Laettner again? He's all over the place! He's like Jesus!"

Michelle Fiore calls a black man "colored" while claiming racism is over

When discussing the voter ID law with her colleagues, Nevada Republican Assemblywoman Michelle Fiore said, "We're in 2015 and we have a black president, in case anyone didn't notice. So the color and the race issue, I think it's time that we put that to rest."

She then went on to congratulate Democratic Assemblyman Harvey J. Munford for being "the first 'colored' man to graduate from his college."

Yes, at the same gathering, Ms. Fiore claimed that racism is over and also referred to an African-American man as "colored." Given these comments, expect the Nevada Assemblywoman to utter the following quotes at some point in the future:

- "Sexism? Sexism is over! Just look at that b**ch we have in the White House!"

- "Homophobia is simply a myth pushed by all those fags, queers, and lesbos!"

- "There's no such thing as xenophobia! That's just something all those terrorist Muslims want you to think!"

- "You can't spell 'crazy and stupid' without 'Fiore.' Wait, can you? Eh, whatever."

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/nevada-gop-lawmaker-to-colored-colleague-racism-is-over-because-the-president-is-black/

Band wonders if 16-year-old Muse riff was a rip-off of their 2-year-old song

Peter Darrington, former member of the band Cable and current member of the band The Hudson Super Six, just recently wrote a post concerning Muse's new song, "Psycho," and how he feels it sounds like one of his band's songs, "Heartbreakin'." Apparently, some friends of his notified him of the songs' similarities, especially in light of the fact Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams were recently ruled to have copied a Marvin Gaye song, which cost them $7.3 million.

The major issue with Darrington's comments, however, is the fact that The Hudson Super Six released their song, "Heartbreakin'," in 2013. The main riff used in Muse's new song, "Psycho," has been one they've played live since 1999, 14 years prior to the release of "Heartbreakin'." So while I personally don't think the songs sound so much alike they'd warrant a lawsuit, if any band could take the other to court over the matter, it'd be Muse claiming Peter Darrington and The Hudson Super Six stole their riff, since they started playing it 16 years ago, 14 years before the release of "Heartbreakin'."

When this was all brought to the attention of Darrington, he responded with this following comment:

"To be clear. My article contains NOTHING accusatory or defamatory against Muse. Its purpose was three fold. 1. Pointing out that the Blurred Lines verdict could be a game changer for plagiarism claims, that the whole thing is a controversial and dangerously subjective area. 2. The parallels I draw between Muse's record and our record illustrate a personal point of view that when you feel it has happened to you, it's gutting, like it must be equally gutting if you feel you've put your all into writing a great song only to have someone make a claim against you. 3. I also wanted people to listen to our record. Job done. Whether you agree or disagree, like or dislike, I couldn't care less. As for the idea that Muse might seek litigation against my group - I think they're a bit more grown up than that. We sell a handful of records. A 100% of nothing is nothing."

Nice attempt in backtracking, wasn't it? It sounds to me the only thing Darrington was attempting to do here was garner attention for his band, and while he definitely accomplished that, the old adage about how any kind of publicity is good publicity, doesn't always work. Sure, more people are now familiar with the band The Hudson Super Six, yet they're also more familiar with the band's sad attempt of garnering publicity through making a claim that a major band may have stolen their riff when that wouldn't have been chronologically possible. Perhaps Mr. Darrington should do more research prior to making such claims in the future.

This is what worried me following the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams ruling. There are three main questions it sparked: 1) Will more such lawsuits be filed in the future? 2) Will it negatively impact new artists? 3) Will this result in more bands coming forward about being ripped off just to generate attention?

I sincerely hope that the Robin Thicke/Pharrell Williams lawsuit and ruling was simply an aberration and it doesn't become the start of a growing trend. It'd truly be a shame to see the quantity of talented new musicians shrink due to the fear of such lawsuits.

http://www.nme.com/news/muse/83578

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Muse's new song, "Reapers"

I'll wait to cast my final judgment until I hear the studio version of the song, but in the meantime, I'm finding Muse fans' reactions to their new song "Reapers" to be quite amusing.

A couple nights ago, Muse debuted a song from their upcoming album "Drones" live in Belfast, before performing it for a second time last night in Glasgow. The song, "Reapers," was actually the band's closer for the two nights, and upon reading the reactions from fans on the band's homepage, as well as on YouTube, I've had to chuckle a few times.

According to these fans, the song "Reapers" shows hints (influences) of the following bands/musicians:

1) AC/DC
2) Van Halen
3) Led Zeppelin
4) Queen
5) Def Leppard
6) Rage Against the Machine
7) Linkin Park
8) Jack White
9) Madonna
10) Prince
11) Lady Gaga
12) Deep Purple
13) Lynyrd Skynyrd
14) George Michael
15) Iron Maiden
16) Nirvana
17) Radiohead
18) Queens of the Stone Age

Never in my life did I think I'd hear people say a song sounded like both Iron Maiden and Lady Gaga. I suppose that's one reason why I love Muse so much. There are times I wonder if they just place the names of different genres or artists on a piece of paper, put them into a hat, pull a few random ones out, and say to each other, "Yeah, let's see if we can pull off an old school Metallica riff with the beat of a KC & the Sunshine Band song, the vocals of Prince, and oh yeah, let's also include some piano, a saxophone, maracas, and cowbell." Knowing them, they'd probably find some crazy way of making it work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UC1yYHnIOSY

Aren't song similarities increasingly inevitable?

Like a lot of people, I love music. Most of my family was born and raised near Detroit, Michigan, so I heard a lot of Motown and soul music growing up. My father was always into classic rock, my mother loved the oldies, and my younger brother was typically into what was new and popular, not to mention some friends of mine whom were into rap and country. So I was exposed to a very diverse array of music throughout my childhood, young adult, and adult years, and have been able to garner a liking to at least one artist or a handful of songs in each and every genre. I've never been too big into rap or country, but still like a few songs from Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Johnny Cash, and a few other artists from those two genres. I've also never gotten into boy bands and the like, but would be lying if I said I didn't find a couple such songs to be regrettably catchy. My two favorite genres, though, have to be rock and soul. From classic to southern to hard to alternative to even '80s, I've always loved rock. The same goes for soul. I'm amazed at all the odd looks I get from "middle-aged" people (to be nice) when I play '60s Motown songs on the jukebox at a bar. Yes, I'm often times referred to as an "old soul." Regardless of the fact that I enjoy Marvin Gaye's music, the Isley Brothers, the Temptations, Frank Sinatra, Franki Valli & the Four Seasons, Three Dog Night, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, and a host of other musicians whom were around well before my time, like most people (I think), my favorite artists are ones that were around (started) as I was growing up and I've enjoyed listening to for about as long as I can remember. So while I hold great respect and admiration for the artists that came before and influenced my favorite bands and musicians, that still doesn't detract from the fact that these very artists and musicians are still my favorites.

Having said all that and while I much prefer Marvin Gaye's music to Robin Thicke's, I don't think Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams should have been punished at the tune of $7.3 million for the similarities between their song "Blurred Lines" and Marvin Gaye's "Got To Give It Up." Without question, the similarities are there, yet I still don't believe it was a direct rip-off and worry that due to the result of this case, it could prove problematic for new artists and the music industry in general somewhere down the line (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ziz9HW2ZmmY).

While no artist nor song should be completely ripped-off by another, influences and similarities will always be present. Every musician was influenced by another, and the more music that gets released, the more likely it is that we'll hear a song and say, "That part sounds like the song, X by Y." Nirvana is often times labeled as the most influential band of the '90s, but guess what? They had their influences. The band even faced some reports that their song "Come As You Are" was a rip-off of the song "Eighties" by the band Killing Joke (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8saQ3PtCrro). Led Zeppelin, regarded as one of the greatest rock bands in the genre's history, also faced accusations of ripping off other bands. This includes even the iconic opening riff from the song "Stairway to Heaven" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czfI66yQUkk).

I guess the big question is, "Where do we draw the line?" At what point does a song go from being influenced by another to being a rip-off of it? It's inevitable, given all of the different sounds we've heard musicians project through our speakers over the years, we're going to hear similarities and influences among them. So at what point can we say, "That part of the song was a complete rip-off of another one"? Given the differences I heard between "Blurred Lines" and "Got To Give It Up," I guess I just worry that the before-mentioned line in the sand either isn't very stable or is moving toward the point where new artists, fearful of such inevitable sound similarities and potential lawsuits, decide to forego such risks and find work in other professions.

http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2015/03/_free_from_their_chains_come_on_nona_gaye.html

The Art of Denial and Redundancy brought to you by Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder

Republican Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder was recently interviewed on the Steve Malberg Show by host Steve Malberg, courtesy of the conspiracy-obsessed network NewsmaxTV, with regard to the Department of Justice (DOJ) report on the Ferguson police force. Here are just a couple of Mr. Kinder's more "interesting" comments from the interview:

- "[The DOJ is staffed with] hard-left radical leftist lawyers..."

Yes, as opposed to hard-left radical rightist lawyers or hard-right radical leftist lawyers...

Given his statement, I have to believe the Missouri Lieutenant Governor will soon write a how-to book, called, "How To Master the Art of Being Redundant and the Mastery of Redundancy."


- "There is more racism in the Justice Department than anywhere I see in the St. Louis area. We've come an enormous way in 50 years, that's not to say that we don't have still more to do. It is the left, it is the Eric Holder and the Obama left and their minions that are obsessed with race while the rest of us are moving on beyond it."

This line of thinking has always baffled me a great deal. To Peter Kinder and those with his mentality, "moving beyond" race means not discussing it, for if race isn't discussed, racism can't exist. However, when people choose to discuss race and racism, they're only adding to the problem, for the issue then can't be ignored, and with that, it still exists. So, in other words, the true racists are those that bring up the topic of race or racism because they can't simply move beyond these issues by pretending they don't exist, whereas the non-racists prove such by ignoring the issue to such a grand extent, they believe it's not an issue at all.

Of course, that rationale is ludicrous, yet it doesn't surprise me given the source and how the far-right tends to think nowadays. To them, if a person contends that the U.S. is flawed or needs to improve in a certain area, this is often times translated as, "Well, it's obvious he doesn't love this country." When someone questions a biblical interpretation of a pastor or conservative politician, that's often times met with, "That person needs to read their Bible again" or "How can a true Christian say that?" No pun intended, but most of these individuals think in black-and-white terms. Something is either right or wrong; there's no grey area. Due to this kind of thinking, they feel it's best to not discuss certain issues, because that will just leave open the possibility of another poking a hole in their belief system, especially when a certain belief can be fact-checked. This is why often times when another calls them out on a myth or lie through a fact-checking site, they'll respond with, "You know all those things are all liberally-biased." Many with this mentality also believe that admitting any kind of flaw is a sign of weakness, and it's better to accept oneself flaws and all than to admit any and attempt to improve upon them. No matter how hard I try to understand their rationale, however, that still doesn't make their rationale actually rational. Just because one doesn't talk about their drug addiction doesn't mean they're not addicted. Just because an alcoholic doesn't outwardly admit his problem to the world doesn't mean he doesn't have a problem. Just because one refuses to talk about racism doesn't mean racism doesn't exist. As the saying goes, the first step to overcoming a problem is admitting the problem exists, for how can one overcome this problem if they don't believe it to exist? That's the biggest problem with Peter Kinder's (and those like him) line of thinking. The fact is no country is perfect, including the U.S. We have areas in which we need to improve, such as with: Education, infrastructure, obesity, poverty, equality, pollution, gun violence, prisons, etc. However, unless the GOP realizes it's okay to admit this isn't a perfect country that's in need of some improvements, they're going to be hard-pressed to vote for such improvements to be made. Likewise, unless we as a country admit that racism is still a problem here, we're not going to be able to progress much in that area and will continue to have these ridiculous debates on whether it's a better method to end racism by admitting it and making necessary changes to overcome it or to ignore it altogether. Denial may at least temporarily rid oneself of feelings of guilt, but it does nothing to deal with the problem at hand or to overcome said problem.

Department of Justice (Eric Holder, Barack Obama, and the "hard-left radical leftists"): "Upon further review, the Ferguson police force did exhibit numerous signs of racism toward blacks and something needs to be done to improve on that."

Peter Kinder: "Say what?!? We're not the racists! You're the racists! You know how I know?!? We don't talk about it!"

Yes, on that note, expect Missouri Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder to soon release a book entitled, "The Art of Denial and Redundancy, Redundancy and Denial."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/16/peter-kinder-ferguson_n_6882538.html

Info on my Facebook business, Twitter, and Tumblr pages

Here's the URL to my Facebook business page. I update it fairly regularly, but still haven't put forth a great deal of effort yet in researching matters and attempting to make the most out of it. In any case, it can be perused here:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorCraigRozniecki?ref=hl


Up next is my Twitter page. I'm still not 100% certain what I'm doing on there yet, but feel I'm gradually getting the hang of it and am up to 18,503 followers. I update it daily with many of my own tweets, but also by retweeting some others'. It can be found here:

https://twitter.com/CraigRozniecki


Lastly, here's my Tumblr page, which I've neglected quite a bit recently, but if you're at all curious, you can find it at the following link:

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/rozzy81

Weekly update of my book information

For new readers (and regular ones, I suppose), here's some information pertaining to my books.

All twelve of my books can be purchased in paperback form at the following site (and others):

http://www.lulu.com/shop/search.ep?type=&keyWords=craig+rozniecki&x=7&y=5&sitesearch=lulu.com&q=

The ten books I've written and released in the past 4 years (yes, I've been on a roll) can be purchased for much cheaper in Kindle form at the following link:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_22?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=craig%20rozniecki%20kindle&sprefix=craig+rozniecki+kindle%2Caps%2C228&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Acraig%20rozniecki%20kindle

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ted Cruz decides to fight the impossible

Ted Cruz is at it again - taking a stand for the American people against the big bad government! On Sunday, the Texas senator posted this tweet on his Twitter page:

"Federal govt has no business sticking its nose in education. We need to repeal every word of Common Core! #nhpolitics #MakeDCListen"

What's the problem with that message? Oh, just the fact that Common Core, or the Common Core State Standards Initiative, isn't actually federal law. So, best of luck repealing any word of the nonexistent Common Core federal law, let alone every word, since it doesn't exist as such, Mr. Cruz.

Given the Texas senator's seeming desire to overturn federal laws that don't exist, expect him to post the following tweets in the future:

- "We need to repeal every word of the Baby's Barred From Driving Tractors law!"

- "Every word of the Pit Bulls Dog Fighting Without AK-47s law needs to be repealed!"

- "You know what law needs to be repealed? That Russia As the 51st State law!"

Yeah, good luck with all of that, Mr. Cruz. Perhaps the Texas senator should, instead of focusing his attention on the nonexistent Common Core federal law, he should instead focus it on garnering some common sense. Any common sense would be a vast improvement from where he stands today...

http://thinkprogress.org/education/2015/03/16/3633972/ted-cruz-makes-impassioned-plea-repeal-federal-legislation-not-exist/

Rand Paul's crazy hair has gone to his head (yes, in more ways than one)...

Kentucky Senator and person voted most likely to be part Chia Pet - Rand Paul - was one of 47 Republican senators to sign the recent and controversial Iran letter, a move which many experts have called unprecedented, adding that it could seriously damage Iran-U.S. negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. However, the giant Chia Pet doesn't see things that way. When speaking with SXSW in Austin, Texas on Sunday, he said the following on the matter:

"There's no one in Washington more against war and more for a negotiated deal than I am. But I want the negotiated deal to be a good deal. So my reason for signing onto the letter, I think it reiterates what is the actual law, that Congress will have to undo sanctions. But I also signed onto the letter because I want the president to negotiate from a position of strength which means that he needs to be telling them in Iran that 'I've got Congress to deal with.'"

Yes, it's Rand Paul's belief that by potentially destroying any negotiations President Obama has made with Iran to this point through the letter he and 46 other senators signed, in the end, it will only help the president with these very negotiations. Given his logic here (or lack there of), expect the Kentucky senator to make the following statements at some point in the future:

- "Yes, it's true, I did give my cousin some illegal drugs, but the only reason for that was to help him with his addiction so that he would stop doing drugs."

- "I may have said I want the death penalty abolished, but that's only because I want more dangerous criminals to be killed via the electric chair."

- "Sure, I've plagiarized here and there, but whenever I do that, it's just to show people I have thoughts and feelings of my own."

Yes, I'm starting to think that crazy hair has gone to his head, in more ways than one.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/15/rand-paul-iran-obama_n_6874582.html

Tom Cotton won't be teaching world geography any time soon

Arkansas Senator and man front and center of the not-fully-accurate-yet-still-condescending-U.S. Constitution-lecture-to-Iran letter - Tom Cotton - engaged in the following back-and-forth with Face the Nation host Bob Schieffer on CBS regarding the matter over the weekend:

Schieffer: "What do you want to happen here? What is your alternative here? Let's say that the deal falls through, then what?"

Cotton: "Well, as Prime Minister Netanyahu said, the alternative to a bad deal is a better deal. The Iranians frequently bluff to walk away from the table. If they bluff this week, call their bluff. The Congress stands ready to impose much more sever sanctions. Moreover we have to stand up to Iran's attempts to drive for regional dominance. They already control Tehran, increasingly they control Damascus and Beirut and Baghdad and now Sana'a as well. They do all that without a nuclear weapon. Imagine what they would do with a nuclear weapon."

Iran already controls Tehran, eh? Tehran is the capital city of Iran, slick. Based on this quote, I predict the Arkansas senator will utter the following statements at some point during his political career:

- "The longest flight I was ever on had to have been when I flew from Dublin to Ireland. I remember waking up, looking around, and asking everyone, 'Are we there yet?'"

- "The Red Lights District is in Hoover Dam, right?"

- "Where's China again? Next to Sweden and Cuba, those other communist countries, right?"

- "The worst experience I had in a foreign country had to have been when I went to Austria. Everyone was so rude to me when I kept saying things like, 'Good day, mate' and 'Where can I find Crocodile Dundee?'"

- "I think the coolest road trip I was ever on was back in college when my buddies and I drove all the way through Little Rock to get to Arkansas. Talk about crazy, right?!?"

Yeah, crazy, that's the first word that comes to mind here...

http://thinkprogress.org/world/2015/03/15/3633912/tom-cotton-alarmed-capital-iran-controlled-iran/

My semi-hypocritical tournament selection stance

While hypocrisy does bother me a great deal, I'd be lying if I said I was never a hypocrite. Chances are each and every one of us has been hypocritical at one point in our lives or another. So, when I say I can't stand hypocrites, to not sound hypocritical in saying that, I'm just referring to those whom are hypocritical so frequently, people are often times shocked when they're actually consistent.

In saying that, I find myself being slightly hypocritical when it comes to the tournament selection for March Madness.

After the field of 68 was announced last night, I overheard ESPN basketball analysts Dick Vitale and Jay Bilas debating one another about which teams belonged in the tournament.

Dick Vitale stood up for the little guy (Murray State in this case) and basically said, "It's all about winning games! Murray State won 25 in a row at one point! They went three months without a loss! I mean, are you kidding me?!? It's about winning games, baby! How can you deny these kids the shot at going to the tournament when all they did was win games?!? That's not right and that's not fair!"

Jay Bilas then went in the I'm-a-dick-lawyer-but-am-thinking-with-my-mind-and-not-my-heart route, basically saying, "If LSU played Murray State on a neutral court, are you telling me you think Murray State would win? Is that what you're saying? Are you seriously saying that? That's what I thought! Case dismissed!"

While I can understand Jay Bilas' argument, I tend to side with Dick Vitale on the matter, which is contrary to my position in college football. In the current college football playoff format, I want the four very best, most deserving teams to battle it out for the right to the national championship. In college basketball, though, sure, I want the best of the best to be in the tournament, however, when it comes to the bottom few slots, I'd much rather see the Colorado States, Temples, and Murray States than 18-13 power conference teams like UCLA, Oklahoma State, and Indiana. If we want to speculate how these teams would fare against one another on a neutral court, chances are we'd typically side with the power conference teams. This is largely due to the fact that week in and week out, they were forced to play tougher in-conference competition than the mid-major schools, and given a couple of decent wins against such competition, they were better able to prove they can compete against good, tournament-caliber competition than the mid-major schools. However, while this may all be true, the mid-major teams didn't have nearly as many opportunities to prove themselves against tournament-caliber opponents as the major conference teams, so if a major conference team is on the bubble, this means they often times failed against tournament-caliber competition - so why should we reward them with yet another opportunity instead of providing a mid-major team with AN opportunity? 

UCLA finished 11-7  (20-13 overall) in a very mediocre Pac-12 conference, where their lone "impressive" win was a home victory against Utah in the mid part of the season. LSU and Mississippi were both 11-7 in a rather mediocre SEC conference (22-10, 20-12 overall, respectively). The Big XII was more respected than the two before-mentioned conferences, yet both Texas and Oklahoma State finished 8-10 in conference play and 20-13 and 18-13 overall, respectively. Indiana was 9-9 in Big Ten play and 20-13 overall. The Big Ten may be seen as one of the better conferences overall, but failed to live up to expectations this season. These big name schools didn't prove through the course of the regular season that they deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament. Sure, if LSU was paired up with Murray State on a neutral court, the odds would suggest that LSU would come away with the victory. However, LSU, like UCLA, Mississippi, Oklahoma State, Texas, and Indiana, had numerous opportunities to prove to the college basketball world that they belonged in the field of 68, without any ifs, ands, or buts about it. They failed to do that, so it doesn't make a great deal of sense to me to reward them with yet another opportunity over a team like Colorado State, Temple, or Murray State, whom all had much better records than them and simply just want to be given AN opportunity. 

Two phrases that irritate me

I know people mean well when they can't think of anything else to say other than an old cliche they've heard since the time they were a fetus and their mother was listening to a radio show called, Dr. Coach: The Wisdom From An Ex-Football Coach That Became A Shrink. However, as I've mentioned in posts prior, when people tell me, "Everything happens for a reason" or "God has a plan," I then become at a loss for words. I kind of slowly nod my head, as I bite my tongue, and think to myself, "Really? Want to inform me about the reason for the Holocaust, child abuse, poverty? How was it all part of 'God's' plan?" I know people mean well when they say such things, but the phrases still irritate me, because when I hear such comments, to me it comes across as though the person wasn't actually listening to my specific story, that they don't truly know me, and that they didn't genuinely think about what they said before they said it.

Another couple of phrases I've heard a great deal of late which irritate me less than the two before-mentioned ones, but irritate me nonetheless, are, "God is so good" and "Another prayer has been answered."

Granted, I'm not a religious individual. If I had to label myself, it'd be as an agnostic or a humanist, but with a lean more toward the atheist than the theist side of the spectrum. I suppose I'd like to believe in a paradise (heaven) after death, of something greater than this world and life, but I often times have trouble believing such a thing. However, even with that and the fact some studies have suggested that people whom are sick and get prayed for have a better chance of survival than those whom don't get prayed for, whenever someone says, "Another prayer has been answered," I immediately think, "Well, that's kind of insensitive. What about all of the prayers that weren't answered? The child in the hospital after being struck by a car? The middle-aged man that gets a sudden stroke or heart attack? The mother who has health complications following the birth of her child?" Also, since so many prayers go unanswered, I have a hard time believing the prayers themselves actually work. I believe it has more to do with the ill individual being fully cognizant that people love him/her and are thinking about them, hoping they get over the obstacle on their way to a full recovery. If a person has nobody in their life whom cares for them at all, I have a hunch they'd be much more prone to giving up without much of a fight. However, if friends, family, and loved ones are constantly at a person's side while they're struggling in a hospital bed, I have to believe that person will often times feel more motivation to fight and get through the ordeal, which would lead to better survival rates.

The "God is so good" line bothers me more than the previously mentioned phrase, especially when the word "always" is included. Again, people can believe what they want, but I can all but guarantee when one person is overjoyed by "God's" blessings with the positive result of a particular situation, another person is saddened by the polar opposite result in a similar situation, and probably isn't thinking "God is (always) so good." Again, I guess I just see this phrase as insensitive, even though I know that's not the person's intention.

The reason these two phrases irritate me so much is because they come across as narcissistic and insensitive, which is odd when thinking about the concept of God and religion in general. When it comes to supposed die-hard believers, they tend to believe in one almighty being (God) there watching out for everyone. This being is supposedly omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent, and he/she/it is greater than this world, this life, and in particular, each individual person (or family). So why is it that so many people believe God seems to be only watching out for them and not others? Why do they outwardly express that God is so good to them when that doesn't appear to be the case with many others?

Maybe it's because many people truly want to believe they're one of God's "chosen ones." People want to feel special, like a higher power is watching out for them and always has their back. While this outlook may result in less worry and stress during difficult times, when such sentiments are expressed outwardly, they come across as narcissistic and insensitive. Yes, we should all be grateful for many things in our lives, yet that doesn't warrant us the right to believe we're one of "God's" privileged few and express that belief to many others, especially those whom have recently been struck by tragedy or heartache.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

"Political correctness just stifles white heterosexual Christian males."

On The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore last night, I was struck by a quote from renowned conservative stand-up comedian Nick DiPaulo in the discussion portion of the show and felt the need to comment on it.

The central focus of last night's show was political correctness, the word police, and whether or not certain words should be off limits in most (or all) situations if not outright banned. Overall, the group of guests (as well as the host) seemed to believe that while people should become more culturally aware and sensitive given our ever diversifying country and we should refrain from saying certain words, it'd be a potentially dangerous slippery slope to actually start banning these very words.

DiPaulo then went on a mini-rant, saying that political correctness always stems from the left, dealing with racism, sexist, and homophobia. He followed that up with this gem: "Political correctness just stifles white heterosexual Christian males."

Now, let's get something straight here - sometimes the word police go way too far with their supposed political correctness ("bossy" and "crazy"? Really?), but the main purpose of political correctness is to find a way to be sensitive and inoffensive to different groups of people. Yes, sometimes, like I said, some go way too far in an attempt to achieve the impossible of not offending anybody, but the intent is still good, and we should at least make some kind of an effort to not be insensitive to people different than us.

Having said that, DiPaulo's comment is both ridiculous and sad. Yes, white heterosexual Christian males had more rights (and privileges) than any other group of people in this country for quite a number of years, and as statistics would show, that's still the case, but the gap is closing. What DiPaulo and his ilk don't seem to understand is that women, homosexuals, blacks, Muslims, and other minorities aren't asking for more rights and respect than white heterosexual Christian males; they're asking for equal rights and respect. Just because women got the right to vote, that didn't take away men's right to vote. Just because African-Americans were allowed to drink from any water fountain didn't mean whites couldn't drink from these same water fountains. Just because Muslims are allowed to build and worship in mosques doesn't mean Christians can't do similarly with and in churches. Lastly, just because homosexuals are able to legally marry in some states, that doesn't take away the right of heterosexuals to marry. This "liberal political correctness" Mr. DiPaulo is talking about and seems to despise isn't about trampling the rights and respect of white heterosexual Christian males; it's simply about trying to provide all other groups of people similar rights and respect.

According to DiPaulo, it seems that Section I of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution says the following:

"All white heterosexual Christian males born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any white heterosexual Christian male of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any white heterosexual Christian male within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

I'm sorry to disappoint him, but it actually says this:

"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Well, I must be going. I'm going to try and prevent Florida Governor Rick Scott from stifling intelligence by banning the term "climate change." Wish me luck...

https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv