A technical foul on Donald Sterling

It is pretty much a given in this day and age of huge media that some public figure will slip up and say something very controversial. When those comments come out, they spread like wildfire and the accused is stuck with some serious damage control. It could be a simple little joke that gets totally blown out of proportion. Careers have been ruined by a simple slip of the tongue. Any racial comment is especially toxic; they are not forgivable. You will be branded as a racist for the rest of your life. Of all the controversial comment that I have ever heard from a public figure, the alleged comments made by the owner of the LA Clippers NBA team, Donald Sterling are among the most disturbing ever. lf those comments about not wanting black people to attend your games are true, then Sterling might go down as one of the biggest high-profile racists ever.

Imagine for a minute what the players of the Clippers must be thinking. A majority of them are black. If the owner of the company that I work for is black and he told someone that he does not want any white people to buy our products, I would be greatly offended. Why would I want to put forth any effort to make this guy look good as an owner? He just insulted my race for crying out loud!! I don’t want to work for this knucklehead. I cannot imagine that the moral on the Clippers is very good right now. That is very unfortunate because they are one of the most exciting and best teams in the NBA right now. After those comments became known yesterday, one has to wonder how this will affect them for the rest of the playoffs. I doubt very few free agents would want to play there in the future if Sterling is still the owner.

What makes Sterling’s alleged comments even more ridiculous is the fact that these black fans buy tickets to see his product. Why would you want to insult them like that? They are some of your customers. Many of them probably bust their butts off at a 9-5 job just so they can attend a game and help line your pockets with cash. Making comments like that are extremely degrading to those fans. In the process, you are insulting about 70-80 percent of the players in the league who are African-American. They are very much responsible for how an owner does financially. If the players perform well and the team wins, then more people attend the games and more money flows the owner’s way. The value of the franchise goes up and the owner does better. The players are their customers as well. Does Sterling not know this? Is he that stupid and ignorant to realize that those comments could potentially cost him millions of dollars?

If the voice on that tape is indeed Sterling, then the only honorable thing for him to do is to step down. I am not sure what the NBA can do at this point. They can fine him, but I don’t know if they can force him out. He should do the honorable thing and just resign. An owner who says racist comments about people, who make up about 75 percent of the league, should not even be considered to be an owner.

I hope other owners in the league band together and condemn these foolish remarks. The league suffers greatly when people make offensive remarks like that. The league likes to speak about diversity and how they are accepting to all types of people. Here is a great chance for the commissioner Adam Silver and his executives to show that they are really serious about these issues. Insulting fans and players have absolutely no place in the league and should be dealt with quickly and harshly.

A burglar’s worst nightmare

There is no doubt to owning your own home is a dream of every person in this country. It is your territory. Unfortunately, everyday in this country and around the world, a home gets invaded by criminals intent on stealing stuff that people have worked so long and hard to obtain. Many of these criminals are very brazen in their efforts. Some do not care if the home is occupied or not, they will use any force necessary to achieve their intents. In some instances, that means shooting the homeowners or members of their families. That scenario is the worst fear of any homeowner. It is refreshing to know that a homeowner has the right to defend his or her property and family in the case of a burglary; this law is know as “Stand Your Ground”. The owner cannot be prosecuted for using deadly force on an intruder if their is imminent danger to the owner or his or her family, That law has once again been at the center of attention this week in Minnesota and throughout the nation with the Bryon Smith case.

To summarize what happened, Smith is being prosecuted for killing a couple of teenagers who entered his home in November of 2012. Prior to the killing, Smith’s home had been burglarized several times. The way the killings were carried out leaves Smith with an almost certain guilty verdict as well as his actions after the killings. On Thanksgiving Day, 2012, Smith was in the basement of his home when he heard somebody trying to break into his house. The two teenagers, a boy and a girl entered the home with the intent on stealing pain killer drugs. Smith hid in the basement, grab his gun and waited for the teens to come downstairs. The boy was the first to enter the basement where he was promptly shot and killed. The girl did not enter the basement until about 5 minutes later, no doubt to check on her accomplice. As she walked down the basement steps, Smith shot her numerous times, including an execution style shot which he described as a finishing shot. He wrapped the bodies in his basement and did not report the shootings until the next day.

There is little doubt in my mind that Smith went too far in this case. It is obvious that he probably snapped after months of burglaries and growing frustration. The teens were not armed and Smith was not in imminent danger. But at the time, is that a certainty? He had several guns stolen from his home and I can certainly understand his fear. I think many homeowners would have assumed these teens were armed and dangerous. You just never know. This “Stand Your Ground” rightly gives a homeowner certain rights. But it also leaves so many questions that would test even the best prosecutors and defense attorneys. The imminent danger clause is very vague. Suppose a homeowner has a certain prejudice against a certain race and captures kids of that race breaking into his home. He shoots and kills them. He makes up this story that he thought they had weapons when he knew all along he was in no danger. The only reason he shot them was because of the color of their skin. In many cases like this, there are few witnesses so proving beyond any reason can be a difficult task. Just look at what happened in the Trayvon Martin case.

I think the moral of this story is quite simple. If you are thinking about burglarizing some house, just remember that the homeowner could be waiting for you with a gun. That thought should make any potential burglar think twice before unlawfully entering someone’s home. You might pay for your life! I am sure these kids were not thinking that. They were probably thinking this burglary is going to be a peace of cake. Encountering an angry old man with a gun in his basement was those teen’s worst nightmare and hopefully this will deter other criminals young and old from doing the same. Being greeted at somebody’s home with a bullet is any criminal’s worst nightmare.

A big day for Boston

Normally, the Boston Marathon is an event that I only casually follow. If you are an avid long distance runner, it is a race that you dream of participating in. Every marathon runner speaks of lowering his or her time so they can run Boston (which refers to qualifying for the race). The city even declares the day as Patriot Day, a holiday, and includes many events besides the marathon, sort of like the 4th of July in many cities. The event and day, you could say, really is a symbol of the United States. Much of this country’s origin started in the Boston area. Last year’s terrorist attack during the race was not only an attack on the race and city, it was also an attack on our entire country.

Who can forget the images of that fateful day? Whenever I think about the victims, the first person who comes to mind is that innocent little 8 year boy. He just happened to be in the wrong place and his young life was snuffed out in a split second by a bunch of cowardly terrorists who did not care who their victims would be. It could have been any one of thousands of people who were watching the race as well as many of the runners. The bomb blast did not kill a lot of people, but injured nearly 260 people. Several lost arms and legs during the explosion and will have to endure many hardships for the rest of their lives. Some of the injured were runners, who may have run their last steps before the blast. A few are now wheelchair bound and yearning for a chance to just run again. It is indeed very sad when you think about how the lives of those victims have changed.

Although the event was a big tragedy, many acts took place after the bombs went off that really define what people in this country are all about. Normal everyday people helping total strangers in need. The bravery of those people to go into uncertain danger was truly remarkable. They could have easily run for cover, but instead, they went back to the area to help the fallen at the risk of having another bomb go off. I think of the brave and courageous police officers and authorities who risked their lives in pursuing the suspects. They did a great job in hunting down the 2 suspects. Their quick actions could have saved many more lives.

Tomorrow is the day for the race again. There will no doubt be a lot of emotion tied in with this year’s race. The images of last year’s race will be fresh on everyone’s mind, but it is very refreshing to see that this year’s race appears to be one of the biggest ever. Many have signed up and the acts of a few evil people will not stop one of the grandest events in the country. Terrorists think they can intimidate people by doing these acts, but they fully underestimated the people of this country. We bounce back. bigger and better than before. I am hoping that this race will demonstrate this. You can damage our bodies will your cowardly acts, but you cannot damage our spirits.

I am wishing the best of luck to any runner who participates in this race. May you run the your best marathon time ever. But even if you do not, you are still a winner for going back to a race that was marred with tragedy just one year. The same goes for all the spectators who will be watching the race. You guys are winners to for showing any terrorists that their actions will NOT make you sit at home and be afraid. That is what American is about. Best of luck to Boston tomorrow!! Be Boston strong!!

Jesus’ life in today’s modern world

Whenever I read or hear about the life of Jesus Christ, I cannot stop thinking about what it would be like if he was physically alive in today’s world, such as the case 2000 years ago. For 33 years, he walked this earth. Imagine for a minute what it would be like if he was living in the modern world of today? How would this world react to a man who goes around and declares himself the son of God? I have several thoughts about this that I would like to share.

Jesus was loved by many back then and that would certainly not change in today’s world. He had a genuine compassion for people and that would definitely score big today. I personally believe that many people would be drawn to him because of his kindness and love for people of all nations. He would definitely be the biggest celebrity in the world. People all around the world would want to hear more about him and what he is about. Several of the networks would fight for an exclusive interview with Jesus. Imagine if Jesus sat down with someone from 60 Minutes?. It would be the highest rated television show of all time.

But having said those things, I also believe that Jesus would be deeply hated in this modern-day world, much like he was back then. Some terrorists groups would want to kill him because of his claim to be the only way to God. That claim would not sit well with many radical groups and a bounty would definitely be placed on his head. Jesus would condemn certain lifestyles and sinful behaviors and that would offend many people. It would be no different from some famous pastor condemning a certain behavior. Whenever that occurs, the pastor is usually racked over the coals by the media and in the comment sections. People do not take lightly being called out for what they do in their lives. “Tell those Jesus freaks to mind their own business” is a typical response. The tabloids would try to do everything in their power to find a chink in his holiness. They would make up stories about him and try to make him out to be a hypocrite. I think many folks would just be very skeptical about someone walking around who claims to be the son of God. We are by nature, a bunch of doubting Thomas’s! People would want Jesus to prove that he is indeed the son of God.

Although Jesus would no doubt be a big celebrity in the world, he would certainly not act like one. He mission would be to serve others, not himself. He would not want the attention that a famous celebrity usually gets. I can just see Jesus wanting to spend time at a prison, talking to inmates or at a homeless shelter for the poor. His lifestyle would not be about glamour and glitz, rather helping others in need. I can just the smile on his face when he helps inmates become believers and obtains salvation. That is what he would really want in today’s world, the ability to go around and minister to other people. Along the way, I could just see him calling upon normal people, you and I to help out in his ministry. Perhaps he would use social media like Twitter to get his message out to people. His disciples back then were just normal, everyday people. He would not necessarily call upon famous people to help him spread the word. He may indeed use that prison inmate to become one of his modern-day disciples.

I can go on and on and speculate what his life would be like today, but I really don’t see a big difference from 2000 years ago. He still would value the same things today as he did back then. The world has changed a lot in 2000 years, but Jesus and his teachings have not. He might have access and use of the modern-day technology to help get his message out, but his message is still the same as it was many years ago. On this Easter week, I think it is important for any believer to live like Jesus would today and help spread his world to a very dark world.  


The unfortunate trend of college riots

On of the great things about college life is having your school’s team participate in a big tournament game, whether it be for the championship or something close. The excitement builds as the moments before the big game slowly pass by. Students like to get together with their friends and enjoy the big game. Very few events bring students together like a big sporting event. Unfortunately, some students have taken the events to a whole new level in recent years with their rioting and totally foul behavior. Just this year, there have been numerous reports of college students rioting in the streets after their school’s big game. Last night, several University of Minnesota students decided to take to the streets after the championship hockey game and wreak total havoc around the college community. It took a few hundred police officers to tame the unruly thugs. Sadly, this type of behavior is becoming a norm and needs to be dealt with before it becomes more serious and some innocent people get killed.

My first reaction to these stories is why? Why are these students engaged in this type of behavior? Of course alcohol plays a big role, but do we suddenly have a new group of young  people who have absolutely no respect for authorities or personal property? Is this what the world is coming to? If these young people are the leaders of tomorrow, then our world is in a very sad state, believe me!! Any person who feels the need to go out and damage property deserves to sit in jail and think about what they just did.

Another sad thing about these riots is that these hooligans give their school a totally bad reputation and name. “Oh, you go to such and such university” The one with the wild and crazy rioting students, right”? I am sure administrators cannot not be happy about their school’s reputation when a riot takes place on their campus. The negative press is sure to cost the school money and possible future students who may be interested in attending. It is very unfortunate because these thugs only represent a minority of the students. Most students are very well-behaved and respect authorities and personal property. 

The fact that expulsion is even being debated is laughable; that should be the least of the penalties served up to the rioters. They should not only be kicked out of school, but thrown in jail as well. I like what one of the local television stations did with some of the rioters. They posted their mug shots on television so their friends, family and relatives could see what kind of fools they are. I would go a step further and publish their names and photos in the local newspaper.

Someday, these crazy students will look back and regret what they did. They will have a police record to explain to a potential employer when they start searching for a job after college. The sad truth is that many are probably otherwise bright people who could really help a company. I doubt any employer would take a chance with someone who gets arrested for damaging personal property. These kids need to realize that the next time they feel entitled to go out and destroy property. Unfortunately, we live in a different world now and I doubt these kind of actions will stop anytime soon.

A practical solution to income inequality

Not long ago, I read an interesting article in our local newspaper about the growing trend of income inequality in our country and how the recession has hurt the middle class. Underneath this article and at the bottom of the page, was another great article about a gentlemen, who lost his job during the recession, went back to school to get his degree and now is making twice as much as did in his former job. A remarkable story if you ask me!

Income inequality is a topic that liberals just love to jump on as much as they can. Many have fancy charts and graphs that illustrate their points about the growing gap between the haves and have-nots. It is the fault of those evil corporations and Republicans; they are the ones responsible for the growing gap according to their way of thinking. When quizzed about how they would solve this problem, liberals like to bring up the topic of minimum wage as if fixing that will suddenly solve this problem. I find it very interesting to note that during their guy’s current administration, President Barack Obama, income inequality has increased. Hmmm!! Regardless, income inequality is a complicated matter which seems to have no end in sight.

My thoughts on this topic are totally opposite than most liberals. Why should we punish someone who is successful? I have absolutely no problem with someone who works hard, takes many risks and reaches the top of the mountain in wealth. Some people are just more motivated and talented than others and that gap of people is very huge in this country. A person should be allowed to reap what they sow in life. A person who sits around at home living off the government dole has absolutely no right to complain about some rich guy making too much money. After all, that rich guy’s taxes are funding their lazy lifestyle at home. We have the lowest working participation rate in nearly 30 years in this country, so it appears to me that way too many people are living off the government and that is just not right or sustainable. We will never close the income gap with that many people out of work.

I strongly believe that the best way to solve this problem is to get more high skilled workers in this country. As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the guy who went back to school and got his degree, picked up a valuable skill which enables him to nearly double his previous salary. Many companies do have good high paying jobs available but have a hard time filling  them because there are not enough high skilled workers to choose from. We have many low-skilled workers in this country but not enough highly skilled ones. There are and will be great opportunities in the future for those individuals who are willing to go to school and learn a new skill. I sometimes wish I was 18 again so I could go back to school and learn about information technology.

The cost of going to post secondary schools has become a problem as well. What can be done so more people have the opportunity to go to college without living a lifetime in debt? That is an issue that really needs to be addressed. College needs to be affordable, especially to those with low-income. Many technical schools offer 2 year programs which are a great alternative to going to college.

The argument that employers need to be forced to pay employees more is a totally weak one. If you are a good skilled worker and can help out a company in a unique way, you will earn what you are worth. A company is not going to pay big bucks to someone who has a skill level that millions of other people can do. A practical solution to income inequality here is to get more people trained and working at highly skilled jobs. Flipping burgers at McDonald’s is not a way to make a living as well as many other low skilled jobs. Those workers are a dime a dozen; they can be easily replaced. On the other hand, someone who is responsible for a network of millions should be paid a very high wage. They have a unique skill THAT IS IN DEMAND!! They worked hard to learn a trade and should be compensated accordingly. If more people take the initiative like the guy in my opening paragraph did, we would lesser the gap on income inequality.

A few random thoughts on the NCCA hoops tourney

It seemed liked a long time ago, but just 3 weeks ago, 68 teams were selected to participate in arguably the biggest sporting event in this country besides the Super Bowl. Now, just 4 teams are left. The tournament so far has been nothing short of spectacular; several of the games have gone down to the wire and just one top seeded team remains alive. Most people had Florida going to the final four and many had Wisconsin, but UConn and Kentucky? If you picked all 4 of these teams to reach the final four, I take my hat off to you. I need your luck the next time I go buy a powerball ticket. You will be sitting pretty good in your office pool with just a few of those teams remaining. I have watched a lot of the action and have come up with a few observations about the tournament.

1. Best game- 2 games really stand out in my mind; the Wichita State, Kentucky game was unforgettable, but my favorite was the Michigan, Kentucky game last Sunday. Both teams went back and forth with the lead and in the end, it took a great shot by Kentucky player to win the game. It was a shame that either team had to lose. One of the best college basketball games of not only the tournament, but of the whole season as well.

2. Most memorable moment- Near the end of the Kansas, Dayton game, it appeared that Kansas was going to lose and get bounced out of the tournament. The television camera panned in on some of the Kansas fans and their expressions said it all. Many had long and sad faces, but the one shot that really caught my attention was the close up of a young Kansas fan, perhaps only 8 years old. The tears were flowing down his cheeks. It was really amazing to see such passion from such a young fan! That shot really illustrates the passion that fans have for their teams in this tournament. There is nothing worse than losing a tournament game when your team is heavily favorite. It will be a long off-season for those Kansas fans and especially that young boy.

3. Great television coverage- It was just a few years that only one network carried any of the games. That changed with multiple networks now carrying the games. If some game is a blowout, you can always change channels and be entertained by another game. The variety was outstanding. Whoever came up with this idea needs to be commended! A tournament this big deserves to have better television coverage and that definitely happened this year. The studio analysts were pretty good as well, providing you can put up with Charles Barkley for a few minutes!

4. Bracket Buster award-  I give this award to 2 teams, Dayton and UConn. The moans and groans that you may have heard last Sunday was when UConn upset Michigan St. to go to the final four. About half of all people with a bracket including this blogger, had Michigan St. advancing to the final four. I even had Michigan St. winning the whole tournament! My bracket is crumpled up in some waste basket ready to be burned!

5. Freshmen Myth-  There is always this myth about not picking a team with a bunch of freshman to advance very far. I think Kentucky has pretty much shattered that myth. Freshmen are no longer freshman at the end of the year. Kentucky really grew up this year and look at where they are now! Any team regardless of age can go a long way if they have the right mix of talent and coaching.

I fully expect Florida and Kentucky to end up meeting in the finals on Monday night, but any of the teams could easily walk away with the trophy on Monday night. The parity in college basketball is at an all time high and that is why this tournament has been such a special one. I look for more exciting games and moments to come in this final four. Good luck to all the teams and their fans. I would love to be in your shoes.