Friday, April 28, 2006

Athletes an embarrassment to rest of city

By now, we have all heard way too much about the Duke University Lacrosse players accused of raping a stripper during a house party. And now this:

The Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. - Top Tampa Devil Rays Bay prospect and Durham Bulls standout Delmon Young was suspended indefinitely by the International League on Thursday, a day after throwing a bat that hit a replacement umpire in the chest.
"The Devil Rays' organization supports the decision," said Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay's team's executive vice president of baseball operations.

Young, 20, brother of Detroit star Dmitri Young, was ejected in the first inning following a called third strike in the Bulls' Triple-A game at Pawtucket, R.I.

When Young took his time leaving the batter's box, the umpire tossed him. Young then flipped his bat underhand, and it sailed end over end, striking the umpire. The umpire, whose name was not released, did not appear injured and remained in the game.

C'mon all you Durham athletes. Get it together. Learn some good sportsmanship and respect for your fellow citizens. Durham, NC, is known for a lot of great things. Don't overshadow them with your disgraceful behavior.

By the way, did I mention that in August, I'll be moving to the fine town of Durham? So I have a special investment in a positive public image of Duke University and the surrounding town.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jose, can you see?

Urban Box Office, a New York-based record label and marketing company, is recording the United States' national anthem in Spanish as part of an album called "Somos Americanos" or "We are Americans." You can read more about it here.

Many people are really upset about this, and I just don't get it. America is the country of immigrants, and although English is the national language, I don't see why anyone who feels patriotic toward the U.S., whether they're from Mexico, Poland, Botswana, or Mars, shouldn't be able to sing the national anthem in their native language. There's no such thing as "American" culture really, because we're such a melting pot, and immigrants who become citizens are required to know the national anthem in English anyway. People don't give up everything they are when they become a citizen, they still retain and celebrate their heritage and culture. So why not open our minds and learn something about the artistic touch given to our national anthem from another culture? Heck, translate it into any of the hundreds of languages spoken by citizens of the United States. Add a funky beat, mix in some inspiring words that actually mean something to people (Do Mexicans really care so much about our WASPy war with England? They historically had their own problems with the Spanish, and most Mexicans are a mix of Native American, European, and possibly even African blood anyway). People emmigrate to the States because they have more economic and educational opportunities, more religious freedom, and/or because their families are already here. They're not looking to take over the country, they just want to make a living for themselves.

Some people might argue that it's wrong to change the national anthem, to add words or infuse artistic flair. Might I remind those people that it's just a song, not a church hymn or prayer. No one will get struck down for changing a song that was written in the 1700s and doesn't even apply to many of this country's citizens who don't have the same history with Imperialist England.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Happy Belated Earth Day, y'all!

Looks like environmentalism is becoming the latest fad--this month's issue of Vanity Fair magazine is the special Green Issue, with articles about the famous environmentalists we all know and love, as well as other tips and information about the environmental movement. Ironically, the magazine is printed on the usual glossy magazine stock, which probably contains little to no post-consumer (aka recycled) paper. Eh well, they do what they can, right? I mean, that photo of George Clooney in cargo pants has to look high quality, right? In any case, the magazine features Chicago's very own Ruler of the Universe...ahem...Mayor Richard Daley, who has been a leader in creating a greener city. Chicago's City Hall building was the first in the country to have a green roof, which includes rooftop gardens and other energy-saving building materials that keeps the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Prior to the green roof installation, the AC ran at 100% capacity all the time; with the green roof, the AC only has to run at 80% capacity because the roof helps keep the building cooler.
Obviously, you have to go buy the magazine to read all the articles (couldn't they have put all of this issue online, which reduces the paper waste of having to buy a thick magazine?!) But check out the preview here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Say what you will about Utah...

...but they are surprisingly progressive when it comes to environmental issues. Kennecott Utah Copper Corp., a mining company, has supposedly converted to environmentalism and is planning an environmentally conscious megasuburb near Salt Lake City that will be twice the size of San Francisco when it's completed in 50 years. The true sustainability of this megasuburb remains to be seen, but in the meantime, it's creating some buzz and will perhaps encourage other mining companies to turn from their evil ways and give something back to the earth. Read more about the megasuburb here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

DeLay follow up

I have decided to join the masses and obsess about the whole DeLay-mission from God thing, mostly because my head is just spinning from trying to figure out how this guy thinks that he's God's messenger. This article from Washington Post highlight's DeLay's next mission to bring the United States together under a fundamentalist Christian agenda. To quote from the article, "...the Rev. Rick Scarborough, introduced DeLay to a Christian conference just last week, saying, "This is a man, I believe, God has appointed . . . to represent righteousness in government."
Besides the obvious fact that DeLay is the very opposite of righteousness, I'd like to point out that he is BFF with Jack Abramoff, who was just sentenced to 6 years in prison and whose downfall is just the first in a long line of dominoes destined to fall in the coming years. Abramoff is an "Orthodox Jew" which really is a joke because probably most Orthodox Jews could argue that his religious conviction is all a front, contrived to gain support from the religious right. So if DeLay wants this to be a fundamentalist Christian country, where does his buddy Abramoff (and all other Jews in this country) fit into the political, law, and business structures of this country? Or shall we all just convert now?
To quote DeLay, "People hate the messenger. That's why they killed Christ." I don't even know what to do with that.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Hot News Day

A few more things that might be below the radar:
Mass. Bill Requires Health Coverage

Agencies Not Protecting Privacy Rights, GAO Says

Hope Flows Anew for Troubled Klamath

Maybe he doesn't know about that infamous video

One down, how many more to go?

Tom DeLay is leaving politics. Well, at least he's resigning from his duties and not running for re-election. But he has so many connections in Washington that I would guess he will find other ways to get his grimy little hands into some more trouble.
He said he was in public service (a policitian as public servant?! Hah! Not these days!) to do God's work and bring Christianity to government. But he's leaving because his buddies are getting busted and the polls show he would have a very challenging re-election campaign. So does he think God really approved of the money laundering and the pandering and the work done on behalf of lobbyists to degrade the environment, reduce medical benefits for the poor, take resources away from those who need it most, and line the pockets of the ever-richer corporations to the detriment of individuals and small businesses? Just like athletes and musicians, politicians are very quick to praise God and Jesus when they're successful. Funny how God and Jesus don't seem to be nearby when scandal or misfortune hits, eh? I'm not against having faith and saying a little prayer once in a while if it helps people feel better and maintain confidence as they pursue their work. I'm just saying, was God on the side of those choosing to break laws or get involved with shady business deals or keep resources from the people who really need them? Most regular people who are in some way religious try to live up to the moral standards taught in church or synagogue or other places of worship or religious observance. It's the bad eggs who preach moral and religious superiority, yet blatantly harm others behind the scenes, who try to set the standard. Because all the best things in life are free, but money sure buys a whole lot more.

Monday, April 03, 2006

FYI for Women

I've been complaining lately that despite my years of training, with weights, cardio, and yoga, and my general improvement in fitness, I just can't break my threshold in speed and endurance when it comes to running. I've been blaming it on the boobs. I know many of my sister athletes have similar woes, especially we Jewish girls with hearty Eastern European blood. I think there's hope for us though, as evidenced by this article in Discover magazine. Breasts that can fill a D-cup bra can weigh 15 to 23 pounds. Try strapping that much sand to your chest, then running a few miles.

Maybe the next generation of sports bras will help not just 20- and 30-something women who are entering the athletic community after discovering the gym in college, but also girls in junior high and high school whose adolescent body issues (embarrassment over blossoming early and avoiding gym class) prevent them from feeling empowered through sports and general athletic activities. Think of how this could reduce obesity problems in kids and reduce cancer rates in adults.