Saturday, January 29, 2011

God Bless America!

   While setting here on a gorgeous 72 degree Saturday afternoon reading about the turmoil in Egypt, I cannot help but beam with pride. The USA, while facing its own struggles, is by far the best political system in the world. Could you imagine a President ruling the United States for over thirty years? The thought is ludicrous, yet in Egypt that is the situation. Their leader has been in power for thirty years. Thirty years of the same political agenda. Thirty years of the same police brutality. Thirty years of ignoring the cry of Egypt's citizens. Thank God I live in the USA.
   We are truly blessed to live in a nation where we have the right to petition our government, speak our mind free from fear of retribution, vote for our leaders every four years, and vote based on our moral, political, and religious views. We haven't had a president serve longer than eight years since the New Deal era, and think about how we sometimes complain; "Jeez, another four years with this guy?!" At least we know when it will end. Unfortunately our brothers and sisters in Egypt are not so lucky. And even worse, countries around the world are in the same boat. Cuba and North Korea are victims of the same type of tyranny.
   How lucky we are as Americans, yet we forget that. We remember one day a year, the 4th of July. And then we focus more on the grill, beer, and fireworks than we do on our freedom. So thank you to those who have gone before us and fought for the freedoms we now enjoy daily. And God Bless America.

Friday, January 28, 2011

It's okay, I'm and athlete.

   While watching the State of the Union address the other night, I was surprised to find myself agreeing with a few points the President made. One in particular stuck out in my mind. Towards the end of the address, President Obama made the remark that we, as Americans, should put more emphasis on education than on sports. I totally agree.
   Today we, as a society, put too much emphasis on sports and the athletes that participate. The NCAA only delivers a slap on the wrist for student violations, and the participants are more athlete-students than student-athletes. We do not even require that student-athletes complete the education that they start. Those playing basketball can enter the NBA draft after one year of college, and before this change, they could enter out of high school. Football players are able to declare after their sophomore year. And while baseball has the strictest requirement, baseball players are still allowed to declare for the MLB draft after their third year of college. That is if they decide to go to college, because baseball players may declare for the MLB draft after high school. The problem is schools do not prepare these athletes for life after their sport. While some will go on an make millions upon millions, the majority will make a little money playing their sport and then have to try and find a job after they either retire or cannot cut it anymore.
   I heard a statistic that over the next few years something like 60% of the jobs available will require some sort of education past high school.  The NCAA needs to prepare these young men and women for life after competition. As a former athlete, I can testify to the lack of forward thinking on the part of athletes. There is only the next practice, the next game, or the upcoming off season. There is little to no thought to their future. I propose that the NCAA make it mandatory that all student athletes obtain a degree in order to go into professional sports. While some argue against this rule saying that the athletes need to go on an make their money while they can, nothing is guaranteed. At least they would have an education to fall back on. Being a professional athlete is a privilege, not a right, and somewhere along the way we have forgotten that.
   Education is important, but unfortunately children these days are not getting that message. We tell them that if they play sports, maybe you can go on and make millions. "Who cares about a terrible GPA or even failing classes, you;re a sports star, you won't need a degree!" That seems to be the message we are sending. We need to push education. We need higher standards and quit giving student athletes a free pass just because they entertain us. Then maybe Americans will be able to compete in the international job market, instead of continuing to decline in the rankings concerning math, English, and overall proportion of citizens with a college degree.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


   At nearly 26 years old I have unfortunately been around my fair share of death. I have lost friends, acquaintances, and even family. Nothing hit as close to home as the loss of my mom. The only thing comparable, in my mind, would be the loss of a spouse or child. After losing my mom, numerous people would ask "How are you holding up?" or "Is there anything I can do?" While those people meant well, when you think about it, those questions are quite ridiculous. There is absolutely nothing that can fill the void of losing someone so close. I have also been asked, "How do you handle it so well?" The truth is I don't really know. I just remember sitting there as the pastor delivered the eulogy and an overwhelming sense of calm came over me. To me it was the hand of God.
   The entire time at the hospital I prayed continuously for a recovery that never came, and while some people would blame God, for me it is easier to believe this is all for a reason. It has strengthened my relationship with my dad, whom I would rarely call back then and instead would go through my mom to see how he was. And it has brought people into my life I otherwise would have never met. It made me lean on God, friends, and family. To all of whom I am now closer.
   The biggest thing to remember is life goes on. And we will never know why it happened the way it did until we rejoin our loved ones. But through it all we have to remember that we should never ask "Why did God let this happen?" Because, in my opinion, He didn't. When Adam and Eve first bit into the forbidden fruit we were separated from God and sin was born. We, as humans, became sinful in nature and evil and death was the result. Death was created by us as a result of our sin, and as sinful creatures we are left to exercise our own free will. So God does not allow bad things to happen, He simply has to let us, as his children, learn from or mistakes like any good parent would. But of all the bad that can happen in the world, death is the best thing that could happen. Our loved one will no longer suffer, will no longer have to listen to all of the bad things happening in the world, will no longer hunger, will no longer thirst. We who are left behind should envy the loved ones who have gone before us, for they are truly the blessed.
   And lastly, if it weren't for loss how would we know what someone really meant to us. I don't think you can truly experience the full spectrum of love without loss. Loss is unfortunately, a necessary evil we as sinners must face. All we can do is wake up in the morning and continue to trust the God knows best and wants only the best for us all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Will (not) work for food

   Nearly no other topic in politics is more taboo than that of welfare reform. But as the country continues to go trillions of dollars in debt, nearly no other topic is as crucial. First, let me start by saying that I am definitely for helping someone in need. But I draw the line at people who abuse the system. Evidence of abuse is rampant at this point in our nation's history. Since the economic downturn the number of people in need of government assistance has risen, but the number of abusers has also. By placing restrictions on the assistance given to those in need, we could drastically reduce the number of people abusing the system and help reign in government spending.
   Let's start with unemployment. What is terribly wrong with the idea of having people prove they are looking for a job. Currently, if someone is laid off from a place of business that has paid into unemployment, they can receive something like 99 weeks of unemployment checks. And all they have to do is sign up. Nothing more. As long as they do not work they get paid. So what motivation do they have to look for a job. Why not create a system whereby people receiving unemployment must prove that they are looking for a Job. For instance, create a system where people must mark on an application if they are receiving unemployment and the employer must submit the application. Additionally, require the person to fill out a minimum of four applications a month in order to continue receiving assistance.
   Or how about, food stamps. With food stamps there are very little restrictions on what can be bought. What I mean by this is a person on food stamps can go buy a cart full of T-Bone steaks at $12 a pop while those who are actually trying (working and budgeting) must eat beans and rice. I am not against food stamps, but they should limit the amount of junk food and things like that people can buy. It's no wonder that low income families disproportionately represent obese or severely overweight Americans. Don't believe me, go grocery shopping on the first of the month and look at some of the baskets loaded down with Little Debbie's, ribs, and cokes. It is ridiculous.
   People argue that it is their right and they deserve these government handouts, but if you are using tax dollars to purchase everything, the government should have a say in how it is spent. I should have a say in how my tax dollars are spent. Ironically, it pays not to do anything. You can get medical coverage, your house paid for, your food paid for, and possibly a little spending money for 99 weeks. Something has to be done, and it starts with the politicians growing a pair and tackling the controversial issues.

Monday, January 24, 2011

My Law School Pregnancy

   First things first, I am a man, and no I am not literally pregnant (although my looks may say otherwise). Neither is my wife. The title of this post came to me last night while I was in bed and trying to think of a topic for my first ever blog. It refers to the similarities between a pregnancy and law school, which I will explain below. It may not make sense to everyone, but to me it makes perfect sense.
   Law school is three years, while a pregnancy lasts three trimesters. The fears, struggles, and pain felt during pregnancy, while not knowing first hand, also apply equally with your years in law school as well. Your first year in law school is a lot like the first trimester of pregnancy. Your excited to tell everyone, but in secret you suffer from morning sickness and some slight indigestion. The exams you take at the end of each semester are like contractions, which probably do not happen in the first trimester, but in a law school pregnancy they happen throughout the entire pregnancy. During your second year (trimester) you pretty much have this thing down, but there is a lot more work. Like in real life you prepare for the upcoming bundle of joy, in school you prepare for your "birth" by taking the MPRE which is a pre-requisite to taking the BAR in any state. Plus, those damned contractions! The third year (trimester) you can see the end in sight. You frequently have to use the bathroom, the contractions are more frequent now, and you are just ready to be done with the whole thing. The novelty of of the has worn off (and your boobs hurt like crazy!). And then finally comes the birth (the BAR in my case).
   While I do not know, first hand, what to expect, like any new "mother" I am sure there will be some vomiting, lots of blood, and excruciating pain. But in law school there is no anesthesia. You have to give birth naturally. But when you see your name among the list of those passing the BAR, it's like seeing your child for the first time. You can't stop smiling, the unknown is scary and overwhelming, and you hope you just don't screw up. But ultimately you have a sense of indescribable pride and joy because you did that and no one can take it from you. You created a world of possibilities for yourself, and they are endless.