Not Cease from Exploration

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Coiled Spring Introvert

Last Thursday my company had an all-day learning event held at our corporate headquarters.  My role in the event as two fold:

1) I had overall responsibility for the event's planning and execution.

2) I was responsible for kicking the event off, introducing some speakers and providing closing remarks.

Overall the day itself went very well, at least in terms of the feedback I received.

Here's the first of several confessions I have about the event though:  it literally sucked everything out of me.  Since the event, I've felt an off sense of internal vacancy, as if my mind wasn't truly present inside of my head, as if I were in a kind of mental fog.  I've felt emotionally out of balance, and it has been difficult at times to focus (negative side effect:  I didn't do nearly as well as I should have on my graduate class final exam).

As to what caused this, I know that it wasn't the planning aspect of the assignment, nor was it the directing of "stuff" during the event.  More than anything else, it was the public speaking part.  And for the record I enjoy public speaking.  What's more, I don't think it was my opening remarks, nor was it any of the introductions I did during the day.  Rather, I am reasonably sure that these feels of mental fogginess arose from my closing remarks.

Now by way of context, I had planning on making closing remarks all along, but half way through the day my departmental vice president, who happened to be at the event, asked that I include a reference to something in particular in my closing remarks.  It wasn't difficult to include this new point, but it did necessitate my changing the kinds of remarks I has already written.  No bother, as I had some time during another of the day's workshops to think  through my re-tooled comments.  The actual comments, as revised, were pretty good, even by my own personal standards.  Why?
  • My deliver was very sound from a technical perspective.  No verbal distractors (the "ummm" you hear some people say when they are speaking...it results from a disconnect in timing between the brain and the lips), my tone and my inflection were spot-on.  I sounded genuinely passionate.  I was keenly focused.
  • The my revised content married my old comments with the new request in a way that was seamless.
  • I received tons of positive feedback afterwards, including a very nice note from my departmental vice president.
Yes, I stood there in the main auditorium of my company's world headquarters, in front of about 175 of my fellow associates and about 25 guests, and hit a home run.

But again, the whole exercise completely drained me.

Now I had slept well the night before and I was very, very focused throughout the day.  I did all of the things I had to do (including meeting all of the speakers) to make the day a success.  Before my speaking "gigs" I tried to relax and concentrate on the work at hand.  Again, it all paid off, at least in terms of the actual execution.

So why the vacant feeling?

As near as I can figure, it must be a coiled spring effect of sorts.  What do I mean by that?  Well I concentrated so much, I focused so much, I was so present in the moment...my mental spring being compressed...that after the moment was gone...the spring was "sprung"...there was nothing left.  Now I'm also very much the introvert, which means that, while I can do a  great job with the socializing aspects of any assignment (and for this event  there was a ton of socializing), at the end of the day those kinds of things take energy away from me.  That vacant feeling?  I suspect it was the net result of having no real energy left.  Again, the spring had been sprung.  Recharging might take a while.

* * * * * * * * * *

Post Script
I wrote most of the above posting on Sunday but I am finishing it on Monday morning (I have the day off...a wise move, given the above).  I slept well last night and I can feel some of that vacant feeling dissipating, slowly but surely.  Yet more proof of the coiled spring introvert in action.





Saturday, October 18, 2014

1600

This is the 1600th posting to this blog since I started it back on  October 27, 2008.  Now to be technical about things, I have not published 1600 postings; the actual number of published postings is 1579.  The difference represents draft postings, some of which might actually and eventually make it to the light of day.   I'll also add that over the years I may have deleted 2-3 postings.

This equates to an average of about:

  • 266 postings per year
  • 22 postings per month
  • 5 postings per week

I'll note that the weekly number is highly suspect, as it seems like (especially over the past year) I am not posting nearly that much.

Anyway, it's still nice to acknowledge milestones, even if it only means something to me.

Here are a few lessons learned in the course of those 1600 postings.

Popularity:  I can greatly increase my traffic through the use of certain magic words and names in my posting titles.  Which ones?  Well these, for starters:  Limbaugh, Introvert, Scranton School District, and the name of the current sitting mayor of Scranton.  This kind of posting, by the way, is guaranteed to be not so popular.

Traffic Sources:  Google.  Period.  End of sentence.  I'll also add that using a German word or two in posting titles greatly increases my German traffic.  I know, "Thank you Herr Obvious".

Intelligentsia:  Sadly, I am not all that popular with the turtleneck wearing crowd, as 82% of my traffic comes from people using a Windows-based operating system.  Only about 8% comes from a Mac.  iOS adds about another 2%.  Maybe I should knock off the comments about how "Steve Jobs in burning in Hell now, being tormented by the souls of all the Foxconn employees who committed suicide while making iProducts".

Comments:  If I want to generate lots of comments, all I have to do is state an obvious truth or two, such as how slavery was wrong and how the Confederate battle flag is a racist symbol.  Note that I do not moderate comments, but I have threatened to  block comments from anonymous trolls who talk a good game but in the end lack the courage of their convictions.  #Truth.


In the end, this continues to be fun, so I don't see stopping.  Here's to 1600 more.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lewis Black, the ACLU and Voting Rights

This needs very little explanation.



No explanation needed, but let's talk voter fraud for a moment.

Now the fact is that the actual number voter impersonation fraud cases are actually very small in this country.  How small?

Well according to a comprehensive analysis conducted by the Washington Post, in conjunction with a law professor from Loyola University, the number works out to be...

31 out of a billion votes cast.

For you math heads out there, that's rate of fraud working out to...

0.0000000031%

You can read the article HERE.  I think your odds of gaining super-human strength and the ability to shoot lasers out of your eyes are greater than the actual occurrence of voter fraud by impersonation in this country.  But you know what?  Just to be fair, let's take the step of assuming that the Loyola University study is dramatically under-counting voter fraud by a factor of a thousand.  Yes, a thousand.  What would the rate of voter fraud by impersonation look like then?

0.0000031%

I'm still thinking that the odds of me  getting lasers to come out of eyeballs are greater than the actual occurrence of voter fraud by impersonation.

Let's take the argument, just for fun, that requiring a picture ID is a reasonable thing to do in order to prevent that minuscule amount of fraud.  This is one of the go-to arguments made in support of such laws.  Here's my retort:  intersections.  Yes, intersections.

You see, requiring all motorists to stop at every single intersection would no-doubt prevent needless pedestrian deaths, would it not?  Of course it would!  So let's have every state legislature pass a law that requires all motorists to stop at every single intersection, all the time, every time.  Come on, that sounds like a great idea, does it not?  

Well of course the above idea is not a good idea...in fact it's a STUPID idea!  It's a solution in search of a problem...an over-reach and over-reaction of government...but it's the same basic argument made by supporters of voter ID laws.  Could it be that the prevention of incredibly small amounts of voter fraud* maybe, just maybe, isn't the intent of the many voter ID laws?  You can be the judge.

In the final analysis, I do believe that many individuals...outside of the political class that is...who support voter ID laws are doing so because they think it is the right thing to do.  The problem though is that such laws really are not a good idea simply because they represent a big and intrusive solution to an incredibly small (to the point of not existing) problem.  The laws themselves are the real fraud.






(*) Sitting Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, in attempting to defend the state's voter ID law, could not point to a single case of voter fraud that he, as state Attorney General, had prosecuted.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

True Badassery

In these days of talking television heads, blow-hard politicians and radio chickhawks who seem to have no problem putting others in the way of harm, it's refreshing to see someone who is a true badass get the recognition they deserve.  To that end, I present 2014 Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai.


How much of a badass?

Well consider this:  she is lives in an area where militant Islamic terrorists basically say "if you teach girls to read we will burn their schools down, kill them and then kill you".  So what does this young lady do?  She goes to school anyway and blogs about the right girls have to an education.  Previously mentioned terrorists then shoot her in the head.  So again, what does this young lady do?  She gets better and basically raises a (figurative) middle finger to the terrorists and (figuratively) says "Hey, Islamic Terrorists, F&^k You!" and crusades even louder for the education of girls.

There is a world full of public toughs who could learn a lot from this young lady.

Well done Malala, well done.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why no one wants to go to church any more

I had saved this article from a few week or so ago from the Huffington Post...

Why Nobody Wants to Go to Church Anymore

...with the intent of writing a post around it, and as usual it languished in the draft bin until now.

Two items that I think are related to this topic, via the Catholic Church, are:

  • Conflict surrounding the Baptism of the infant children of gay couples.  You can read an article on the topic HERE.  
  • There is also the Synod on the Family occurring in Rome now; you can click HERE for an interesting read on that event.

Here's what I find distressing in all of this:  The Church may in fact say that two individuals of the same sex can never be married.  The Church can say that two unmarried people should not have children.  The Church can proclaim that only certain kinds of opposite sex marriages are considered valid.  All of that is the right of the Church...their church, their rules.  No one is forcing anyone else to join a specific religious denomination in this country.  However, and related to the above, the Church teaches that access to the sacrament of Baptism shouldn't be denied based on the marital status of the parents, provided that there is an intent to raise the child Catholic (reference HERE).  Failing to follow your own rules seems a bit, well, wrong.  Also, the Church in theory has a "love the sinner, hate the sin" attitude regarding homosexuality in general, yet the rhetoric one hears from conservative Catholics is far from loving.  Want proof?  Go to (conservative) Ignatius Press and search for books using the key word "Gay" and you'll see what I mean.  Heck, I'll even do it for you (click HERE and look at the first book you see).  It's impossible to be welcoming on one hand but then with the other point a finger at  a "homosexual agenda".

I know. there are plenty in the LGBT community that are far from loving when it comes to most organized religions, but it's important to note that they don't get to use the whole eternal damnation weapon either.  ActUp, for example, doesn't claim to speak for God, but organizations that do...be they Christian, Jewish or Muslim...should be held to a higher standard of conduct.  Yes, when you claim to be "one of the good guys" then you shouldn't be shocked when, well, people actually expect you to be a "good guy".  Example?  How about honoring your word to love the sinner more than you simply hating the sin, for starters.  Man, that "turn the other cheek" stuff really is hard to pull off, especially when the other party is so very different than you.

By the way, what precisely is the "homosexual agenda"?  Is it to somehow convert others to homosexuality?  I don't know about you, but nothing is ever changing my (hetero)sexuality, so pardon me while I view that concept with just a bit of skepticism.  Fear mongering should be beneath the dignity of a traditional religious conviction anyway, and yet elements of the Church are all too willing to engage in it as part of an extremely misguided "culture war".

So what is the real "culture war"?  That's the one that centers around item #7 of the Huffington Post article, namely false advertising.  In 1950 maybe that was acceptable; it's not in 2014.  Organized religion, meet the connected world, where your failing to live up to your own proclamations will be noticed and will be documented by snarky bloggers (and such).

I'll end this posting with a more personal note.  In my own religious formation there have been times when I've been to church and it has been very welcoming.  My religious experience in college was a good example (disclaimer:  I was the president of the Catholic Student's group my senior year).  Yet, so many others were very far from welcoming.  These were the churches run as cliques where homogeneous groups of folks would just as soon ignore someone new as say hello to them.  Not all are like this, but many are, sadly I will add.  More than anything else though, organized religion...especially the Catholic Church...harms itself far more than any outside force ever could simply by virtue of its inability to live up to its own high moral standards.

"We have met the enemy and he is us." - Walt Kelly


© Stephen G. Albert, 2014

Monday, October 6, 2014

Atlantic City (in October)

Atlantic City is in the news lately, mainly for casinos that are closing faster than you can say "gambling addiction".  That, in and of itself, is a good reason to visit.  I have another reason though:  I've just always wanted to go to the shore in the Fall.  There's just something about the beach when it's cool outside that I find tempting.  Couple the two together and you have last weekend's "AC Getaway".

As a kid the only two vacations I ever remember were to Atlantic City.  Those were back in the pre-gambling days.  


Now for a kid back in those days, a beach...any beach...was reason to celebrate.  It didn't matter if the beach in question was connected to a rotting resort town.  All I knew at the time was that the ocean was there; all other considerations were secondary.

Fast forward a few decades, and I've kept a special interest in "AC", and not because of gambling, mind you, as I really don't do that anyway.  Rather, it's more a connection my younger days, when eyes truly saw the positive in the midst of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  Sometimes I wish I could get those same eyes back (something that many adults wish).  

Last weekend's trip came about simply because, looking at the calendar for the rest of the year, I thought that Ms Rivers and I could benefit from a few days worth of escape.  Be it personally or professionally, the balance of 2014 is mightily booked for both of us.  Given that and my longing for simpler times, AC was the logical choice.  The fact that we already did a summer vacation week at Ocean City MD made the choice a bit easier.  Speaking of Ms Rivers, she also had some special childhood memories of AC, back in the days when her family had just returned from missionary work in the Dominican Republic.  What better a place to transition from a tropical island to the United States than the Jersey Shore of the late 60'/early 70's?

Trip rationale noted, here are a few observations.  In no particular order.  For no particular reason than my own entertainment.

Casinos
Gambling floors were busy at the casinos we visited.  The fact that I think four major casinos have closed in recent memory probably helps the remaining venues tremendously.  Anyway, I've always thought that casino floors have a particular odor about them; think of it as being a combination of cigarette smoke and despair.

By the way, we lost a total of $19.06 in the casinos.  Not too bad for someone (me) who is too impatient to actually figure out how to wager on a slot machine.

I didn't take any pictures of the gambling floors, as quite frankly, they all look alike.  

Hotels
It was interesting driving in to AC on Friday night, seeing some of the casinos completely lit up, like giant Christmas Trees, while others simply stood there, dark and stark.  Not wanting to be actual vagabonds, we did stay at one of the major resort hotels (sorry, since they are not paying me for a mention I will not be providing any free advertising).  The service was good by and large, and the room was fine for the price we paid.  The bed was a bit hard for my tastes, but that's just me.  The room did have a nice view.
(Three casinos, two of which are actually closed)

We wandered into two other hotels and by and large most of these places are pretty much the same, with the exception of the Borgata.  More on that in a moment.

The Food
The food was inexpensive and good.  We had Italian one night and ate at an Irish pub the second night.  The Irish Pub had this sign, which I just had to take a picture of...

Just a twinge of the ironic in that sign, as I know a few NEPA residents of Irish ancestry that seem to take a dim view of current day immigrants.  Restaurant service was so-so, which makes me wonder what it is like when the town is actually busy.

The Boardwalk
We took many-a-stroll on the (famous) Boardwalk, the first being on Saturday morning.  It was pretty much vacant.
It was an eerie kind of feeling actually.  Now in all fairness, it was overcast and rainy on Saturday morning, so maybe we were just the only folks crazy enough to want to be out at the time.  As Saturday wore on the Boardwalk did get far busier.  
For the record, most of the folks I saw on the Boardwalk did not look like degenerate gamblers, although we encountered multiple pan-handlers.

The Entertainment
Saturday night we went to see comedian Brian Regan perform at the Borgata.  For those not in the know, the Borgata is not on Boardwalk, but rather is in the marina section of AC.  It's a little bit of a drive, but worth it.  The show as pretty good, and the Borgata is exceptionally impressive...a world-class, high-end resort.  I can see why that particular venue is apparently doing very well:  it simply out-classes all the competition.

Other Thoughts
A few other random observations about AC in October:
  • Police...always present, but seemingly oblivious to the pan-handlers.
  • Pan-handlers...speaking of people begging for money, if you are a 20-something young man wishing to be successful in the pan-handing game, it probably makes sense to ditch the Abercrombie and Fitch top and expensive sneakers.  Just saying.
  • Grease...my body is still digesting the grease from Saturday morning's breakfast at Bill's.  It was good though (at the time).
  • Beach...was nice.  I as you can see in the photos above, they've taken to planting vegetation along the beach side of the Boardwalk, which I think has something to do with preventing erosion.  I get the need, but  it's not the greatest visual.  As I kid I also remember the beach being somehow lower, as in you had to walk down steps to get to it.  Maybe I'm just confused on that point.

Would we go back?  Absolutely!  It was, all in all, a fun and relaxing time.  I'm not sure I would go during the heat of the summer, but as a relatively easy spot to get to, AC is a nice choice to visit off season.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dear Scranton Leaders

Dear Scranton Leaders,

The commuter tax you enacted was declared null and void by a visiting judge in Lackawanna County.  He ruled that you didn't follow the applicable law by taxing both residents and commuters, just as every other community that has enabled a similar tax has apparently done.  For whatever reason you chose to ignore that part of the law; I just hope that choice was a conscious one, because the alternative is frightening.

So, what's next?  Well for starters, how about a reality check?  Scranton's bills are higher than the money it takes in from taxes and fees.  There are two ways to solve that:

  1. Income - You can continue to try and raise more money.
  2. Expenses - You can reduce your expenses.


So far you've put almost all of your energy into item #1.  Oh, and you've done it poorly.  Oh, and it's a poor idea in the first place.  Why?  Simply put, trying to just balance a budget on the revenue side is a bit like saying to someone awash in credit card debt to "just earn more money to pay your bills".  Sure, that works over the short term, but it doesn't nothing to address how they got into debt in the first place.  That's Scranton by the way.

Yes, I know, you'll say "there is nothing more to cut", but I think's just code for "there's nothing left that painless and easy to cut".  There is a big difference.

Want to know something else?  Most people with a half functioning brain have already figured out that Scranton's biggest expense has to do with personnel costs.  What is it, 60% or more of the budget?  Again, it's not a secret, and your seeming inability to actually to do anything to reduce those costs isn't exactly a secret either.  No, I don't want to see anyone working for the city earning less money, but when personnel costs are such a major part of a budget that is structurally imbalanced, the reality is that something will have to be done in that area.

In the final analysis, an inability on your part to make difficult decisions now* only guarantees that future decisions will be even more difficult.  As I have said many times in the past, Scranton is already bankrupt; what's lacking is the formal legal declaration.


Regards,
Steve Albert



(*) For the record, deciding to tax people that can't vote you out of office does NOT count as being a difficult decision.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee's Theocracy Statement

An actual quote from presidential candidate Mike Huckabee's remarks to the 2014 Values Voters Summit:

"Some of you are frustrated and even upset and angry about America, and I get it. And I say to you, the answer is as simple as it is that the answer to the phones in our hearts that God is ringing. When we register people to vote, when we get them to the polls to vote, when we hire the people that will take our values to this city, and when we fire the ones who refuse to hear not only our hearts, but God’s heart."

Citations HERE (conservative) and HERE (liberal).

Let that last phrase sink in just a bit:  "...and when we fire the ones who refuse to hear not only our hearts, but God's heart."

Did I read that right?  Is the former Arkansas governor basically saying that, in order to work for the federal government, you have to follow "God's heart"?

Now when last I checked:
  • No one really has a monopoly on, nor is there complete consensus around understanding just what is in "God's heart". 
  • Believing in God has no bearing on one's performance on the job, unless the job in question is being a minister or priest (and even then I have suspicions).

While we're at it, just how would following "God's heart" be determined anyway?

  • Attending morning prayer services?
  • Loudly and publicly proclaim Jesus Christ as their "personal Lord and Savior"?
  • Disassociate  themselves from non-believers?
  • Wear cross-bearing armband?
  • Attendance at anti-abortion events?

I could go on, but the point is made.

The bottom line for me is this:  there are some in our society, such as former governor Huckabee, who would like nothing better than to establish a theocracy of sorts in the United States.  Oh, and it's not the atheists who should be the most worried about that by the way, it's those who are religious.   Why?  Because the separation of church and state exists to protect both entities.

I no more want government involved in religion than I want religion involved in government, as both will soil the other:  Government's lust for power can infect and harm religion, just as religion's insistence on absolutist truths will stifle and alienate government from those who are governed.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Porn and Politicos

IIt was officially announced late last week that the Pennsylvania Attorney General's office is investigating the sending and receipt of pornographic emails by state government officials.  Some of these government officials are department heads.

You read more about it HERE.

It seems to me that there are three logical parts to this story, so I'm going to deconstruct things a bit.

Part 1 - The Porn
Strictly from an intellectual perspective, I have no problem with pornography.  It's not my cup of tea, but if it is for someone else, well then that's their life and not mine.  However the real world is far different than an intellectual pursuit, and as such I think that one has to consider that the pornography business hasn't had a stellar reputation when it comes to things like the safety of it's "actors".  I am also absolutely certain that there are younger folks who get caught up in the business who probably end up wishing they would have stayed in, say, Iowa.  Let's also not forget that porn can be the source of societal issues through the creation of unrealistic (in the real word outside of porn) body images and expectations.  My biggest gripe, if you want to call it that though, is that porn objectifies people; not just young women, but just about everyone, as it's a business about your "parts" not you the person.

Part 2 - The Government
I've never, ever received a pornographic email at work, despite having worked for the same large financial services company for over a quarter century.  Not one.  Not even by mistake.  It goes without saying that I've never sent one either.  Why?  Well part of it, I suspect, has to do with me (see below), but part of it has to do with the fact that my employer has this crazy notion that allowing pornographic emails at work is is wrong.  I know, that sounds crazy, but it's true.  Now because my employer views it as being wrong, it actually stops such things.  It may not be completely successful all the time, but by and large is is very successful.  In the case of this story, it seems as if there are zero controls in place at a state information technology level to monitor and prevent this kind of stuff.

Part 3 - The People
Lastly, there needs to be a willing audience.  As noted above, I've never received a pornographic email at work in over 25 years of employment.  If I did though, you had better believe that I would immediately act to make sure it wouldn't happen again.  What's more, my employer should be preventing this from ever happening in the first place as well.  How would an employer help me?  Well how about this?

  • Make sure that everyone in the organizations knows that there is a zero tolerance for pornographic emails.  I know, this is like saying "don't kill kittens", but still one has to be specific when it comes to policy stuff.
  • Make sure that the employer has an IT infrastructure to block and prevent these types of emails.  
  • Have a mechanism in place to randomly sample email attachments, especially those coming from outside the organization.  
From a practical standpoint it also involves actions and consequences.  Two come to mind right off the bat:

  • If you receive a pornographic email, you are responsible for reporting that to an appropriate party (such as Human Resources) immediately.  Failing to do that should result in disciplinary actions, up to termination if you are a repeat offender, assuming that you have been given notice that you are responsible for reporting this in the first place.
  • If you are the sender of a pornographic email, you should be terminated immediately.  Zero tolerance.  No second chances.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $100.


When it comes to this particular news item I suspect that there zero IT controls in place and even fewer human controls as well.

In the end, Pennsylvania's state government is paid for by all of us.  As a result, we should have a reasonable expectation that state employees are working, not snickering at the daily porno delivery.  In this case, employees (including those represented by a labor union) need to be terminated if they repeatedly engaged in this kind of behavior.  It's really that simple.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Obligatory Sports Posting

I am not a sports fan, at least in terms of watching sports.  There's just something odd about passively sitting watching others be active.  What's more, sports can sometimes have the impact of dulling and distracting people from the stuff that really matters.  Take high school football for example:  but when a football program becomes the focus of a school, instead of, well, actually educating students, then you know a line has been crossed.

Anyway, all of the above is simply a ramp-up for a posting about sports.  They don't come very often.

Pete Rose 
I hear much grumbling in the dank corners of the Internet that Pete Rose should be "allowed back into baseball".  Let's set the record straight:  Pete Rose is sleaze.  He basically crapped all over the game he supposedly loved.  He then lied about his craptastic activities.  There is no constitutional right to be a part of professional sporting activity.  His presence in the Baseball Hall-O-Fame would be a sham.  Let him die and then, maybe, have a plaque honoring him installed in a Cooperstown ladies bathroom.

Penn State Football
Yes, Penn State is winning football games.  Yeah!  But let's not forget that it was a "football uber-alles" mentality that got the school national attention for allowing the rape of little boys by an assistant coach.  Yes, I know, it was the assistant coach who assaulted the boys, but that activity was passively condoned by a head coach and an administration.  Passively allowed.  When a child is seen being assaulted by an assistant coach and the observer doesn't immediately rush in to try and stop the activity, well then I suspect that maybe concerns for a football program begin to outweigh concerns for basic morality.  Never forget Penn Staters...never forget.  This alumni will not, that's for sure.

High School Sports
I've watched three high school football games so far this year, which for me is a lot.  I actually enjoy watching the kids play.  The fact that they make mistakes helps to create much more enjoyable spectacle.  What's more, high school football games create this unique sense of community that you just don't see just about anywhere else.  Let's not forget though that sports are secondary to the formal education that schools provide to our children.  I cringe when I hear and read stories about academic programs being cut in schools due to budgetary concerns, yet football and other sports programs are left in tact.  Oh, and let's set the record straight:  virtually no high school football program is even capable of earning enough money to pay for itself, when you consider the costs associated with facilities, staff, liability insurance, equipment, transportation and the like.  If you love high school sports then you should also love paying your property taxes.  Period.

Professional Abusers Football Players
So we have this endeavor that encourages people to be ultra violent...

...and we pay these folks very, very well to be that way...

...and by and large the people engaging in these activities are poorly educated products of college jock factories...

...and then we shutter in disbelief that they may engage in violent activity at home?

Come on people, let's get real.  I'm not, in any way, shape or form condoning the violent activities of any professional football players (from any team, be they the Washington Wife-Beaters or the Cincinnati Child-Abusers), but I am saying that these individuals are the products of the systems in which they have been placed.  It's starts in high school, with football players being allowed to cut classes (because we all know that football is more important than education).  Then it progresses to college, where blind eyes are turned on the extra-football social activities of star players, some of whom are not even qualified to be in college in the first place (and yet manage to get through four years of academic studies...hmmmmmm, I wonder how?).  Then they graduate to the professional ranks where they are worshiped as icons by a bread-and-circuses desiring population.  We then feign outrage when these athletes act as if they can get away with beating a spouse or a child?  Oh come on!  These athletes have been trained to believe that they can get away with just about anything.


In the final analysis, I do believe that sports do play an important role in our society...as entertainment.  Yes, I said entertainment.  The fact that these activities play a far larger role in society today than just another means of entertainment speaks to the fact that it's in the best interests of some that the populace be distracted and complacent.  Bread and circuses folks, bread and circuses.