Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Guess Whose Birthday It Is

Well, it's time again to send up birthday wishes to - guess who!

Happy Birthday, John Adams!  Hope it's a great one for you.  Time does fly by (I think this one's number 278, but who's counting?) - at least for us down here it still does.

I'm still working on the biography; David McCullough has certainly done a fine job, but it is a big project to get this one finished.  One day I WILL get through it!  I noted that Mr. McCullough said on your life portraits program (C-Span) that you Adamses, down to present day, firmly believe in education.  As an educator (retired now) I second that for sure.

Well, as usual, I'll ask you to help keep an eye on us down here.  We could use it.

And today, celebrate and enjoy.

Friday, October 25, 2013

League of Concussion?

Well, I confess I enjoy watching football on Sundays - and the occasional Monday night.  Kind of strange, I guess, because I certainly tend to be the nonviolent type.  Still, I can't help rooting for certain teams.

Well, I watched the recent PBS Frontline - "League of Denial" based on a book by two brothers. It was really gripping, holding my interest for a full two hours.  If you go to the PBS site for it, there are lots of things: a book excerpt, timeline, chat transcript, and more.

This was brought back to mind especially today, when former QB Brett Favre spoke of experiencing memory loss - perhaps related to concussions.  Here's an online article on this.

My feelings are very conflicted.  I still want to be a fan, but the way the NFL has dealt with this makes me wonder about commitment to player safety.  Further, the results some researchers have found (re: CTE) have been pretty startling, so of course you have to begin to wonder about the safety of the game, period.  Naturally, there are some risks that athletes take.  We do hope that every reasonable precaution is taken to protect players and that players, managers, coaches, and officials manage the risks in a sensible manner.

Finally, one emotion that wants to come out is a great sadness.  I hate to think of the players I have watched over the years, players I'm watching today someday having the debilitating CTE symptoms some researchers found and are detailed in "League of Denial." They are/have been "heroes" and "villains"  to many of us; I'm sure we wish them all an enjoyable retirement after their playing days are over.  The physical toll is bad enough in some cases; let's hope we can help them not suffer from CTE and related dementias.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Watch out - What next?

Came across this article on the NPR news online.  I know some find NPR suspect, but online they have some good articles.

The article in question concerns credit card companies cutting off doing business with certain controversial sites; maybe they have "hate" speech or "adult" content, for example.  In my opinion, the article weighed a little too much toward the fellow who was advocating the companies do just that; I would have liked just a bit more from critics of this practice.

Now I'm  the LAST person who would condone hate speech. I believe in boycotts if you don't support something.  But I feel that people should be free to visit sites and buy goods - certainly as long as all was legal. I'm troubled by this practice, however, because it can have a really chilling on free speech.  Also, these companies don't have consistent policies.  One critic says policies are vague and they've had sites shut down that were completely legal.  I would encourage you all to read the article and to also read the comments.  I find myself more in tune with a commenter (EBrittingham) who asks if allowing a few powerful businesses such command over our financial transactions (which are increasingly online and/or by credit/debit card) is wise. 

Freedom isn't easy. Freedom of Speech and Expression can be very hard when we don't like the speech.  But we must not take the "easy" way and erode our liberties slowly.  I think another commenter posted what if the next site/organization/business these card companies want to part company with is one which you support.  That's the danger few seem to want to face. 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A Must Read from Edward Snowden

I fairly regularly follow The Guardian's coverage of the NSA spying story and Edward Snowden. 

They have a "blog" going now covering NSA/Snowden related developments.  If you visit the link and scroll down to the section marked 11:07 AM BST and marked with the title: "Snowden: Economies Are Built On Creativity, Curiosity, and Privacy." you will be able to read his statement read at the meeting of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs. There is also a video of his statement being read by a Ms. Radack.

The link:  Guardian NSA Blog

There's quite a bit in their NSA files section and Greenwald's commentary series.  I encourage you to browse them and stay informed!