Derek Jeter is a role model for all pro athletes

With recent stories of numerous off the field problems involving professional athletes, isn’t it ironic that one of the classiest pro athletes ever will be retiring today? Much has been written and spoken during the past week about Derek Jeter and his legacy. I don’t necessarily consider him to be the greatest player to ever put on a jersey; a hall of famer, yes, but there has certainly been players who have had higher career batting averages, hit more home runs or stolen more bases. But when you combine what Jeter did during his 20 years of playing on the field along with his off the field record, very few players can match him. In fact, if you look up the word captain and professional in the dictionary, a picture of Jeter should appear. He defines what a real captain and professional athlete should be all about.

Nearly every high-profile professional athlete in this country gets involved in some sort of scandal or controversy at some point in their career. In this day and age of social media, the internet and TMZ, one off the field slip up can ruin a guy’s career. Amazingly Jeter played in one of the largest tabloid markets in the country, New York City, yet during his 20 year career, how many scandals was he tied to? I never heard of any. Imagine a young, high profiled, handsome athlete playing in New York City and not being involved with any off the field controversies? Surely the blood thirsty New York media had to be trying day and night to dig up some dirt on Jeter! Perhaps there was a time when he failed to lift up the toilet seat ? Or maybe he jay walked on a New York street? For an athlete like Jeter to have played in New York for that long and not be involved in any off the field scandals is a great testament to who he was. I highly doubt he was a total saint, but he did not go out in public and make a fool of himself like many athletes do. I always admired his attitude towards his off the field activity. He behaved like a professional should after leaving the stadium. No bar fights, domestic issues or police arrests for Jeter. He carried that captain and professional label off the field as well.

His play on the field speaks for itself. An over .300 career batting average, various globe glove awards and many world championships. He might have been one of the savviest and smartest to have ever played his position. Much has been talked about his brilliant play in the Oakland series to stop an Oakland rally and help the Yankees win the series. Little plays like that were a norm in Jeter’s career. I will always remember Jeter for some of those fantastic back-handed plays at short-stop where he jumps in the air and still has enough mustard on throw to get the runner out. Very few who have ever played the game can make those type of plays. You also very seldom heard him whining about his statistics. He was all about winning from the minute he entered the stadium. Many pro sports superstars these days only care about themselves and what they can do to win a batting title or lead the league in home runs. Jeter was only concerned about winning world championships.

A professional athlete in any sport should play close attention to the career and legacy of Derek Jeter. A professional athlete has many responsibilities to not only himself, but to their organization, the fans and most of important, the game itself. Athletes like Jeter are one of a kind. Their conduct both on and off the field is a blueprint on how to act properly as a professional athlete. In this day and age of self-serving me first athletes, Jeter was certainly a breath of fresh air for this sports fan. I join millions of sports fans around the world in wishing the Yankee’s captain the best of luck in any future plans. Pro sports needs more Derek Jeters.

The ideal political ad

With the midterm elections slightly less than 6 weeks away, one cannot escape the barrage of political ads that will take place until election day, November 4th. If you like to watch television, particularly the morning and evening news, there is simply no escaping those non-stop and often corny/cheesy ads that try to get the voters attention. You know the ones where a certain candidate is labeled evil and anti-middle class because he or she happened to give a millionaire a tax break. Or perhaps an incumbent candidate is labeled a heavy tax and spend guy who cannot get enough of those needless pet projects. There is virtually no limits to what degree candidates will go to gain votes. Unfortunately, many of those ads are filled with crap and heavy in lies and half-truths. A person really should take those ads with a grain of salt and dig into candidates records and views on various issues. If an accusation or negative ad seems to be too unrealistic, it probably is!!

As a concerned citizen and voter, those ads mean very little to me. I already know a good deal about most of the candidates, and there is very little revealed that will surprise me or change my mind. In fact, I am willing to bet that many folks probably fall into the same category. More times than not, people vote for a candidate based on their party or in my case, I do not vote for a candidate of a particular party. I would even be willing to vote for an independent candidate if I was not satisfied with the choices. The ads pretty much target either those who are undecided, a small percentage, or those independent voters who probably make up about a 1/3 of all voters. So how can a person who is running for office get the attention and votes from this group using media such as television?

For a person challenging an incumbent, attack ads can be very useful in exposing the faults of the person in office. The incumbent has a record which can be picked apart and any challenger would be foolish not to attack that record. However, how would you as a challenger do things different? It is one thing to rip apart a candidate for his record, but what plan do you have that would separate yourself from the incumbent. For instance, if I was running against someone who is a big supporter of Obamacare, I would certainly go after that candidate for his support of that awful piece of legislation. But I would certainly want to have a clear-cut plan that would replace it and most important of all, ARTICULATE THAT PLAN TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC!! Given the short time that is allowed for a commercial, that plan has to be short and simple. Attacking a person is one thing, but when I see a candidate constantly attacking an opponent without mentioning any plan he or she may have makes for a very shallow ad.

An incumbent really has to focus in on his or her record and explain how their policies have really helped everyday ordinary people. I know some candidates who go around and brag about how they have helped poor people get health coverage, but how have you helped the majority of people? Are many folks paying higher premiums and deductibles because of your support for that bill? Another example is these incumbents who brag about job creation under their watch. Creating a bunch of low wage part-time jobs is not something that I would want to hang my hat on. I would feel much better about my policies if I helped open up an energy plant and thus many people got high paying jobs.

A huge bonus for any candidate is giving people the impression that you can work across party lines to get something accomplished. A candidate who does this is bound to be very effective. I saw a couple of ads from an incumbent senator who explained how he reached across party lines to get a piece of legislation passed. Although I would never vote for him, I truly respect him for coming up with a great ad that is sure to help him garner many votes.

A good ad will also focus strongly on a very key issue with many people and that is the economy. If I ran an ad, I would really stress how my policies could help many middle class families and put more money into their pockets. Sure there are other issues that are important such as foreign policy and immigration, but as one famous political person once said, “It is all about the economy, stupid”. Yes it is!! People pay attention and become engaged in politics when their pocket books are affected.

November 4th seems like a long ways away and those endless ads are sure to cause a number of people to throw stuff at their televisions! If a candidate or party is willing to spend thousands of dollars on a short 30 second ad or longer, why not try to make it effective? Sadly, many candidates seem to think that we are a bunch of stupid people at home who do not know any better. A good well produced ad talking positively about YOU!! can go a long ways in getting elected.

Thoughts on the Adrian Peterson child abuse case

First it was a video showing NFL running back Ray Rice throwing a punch at his fiancé, which would make boxing champ Floyd Mayweather proud. Now the latest scandal in the National Football League involves another running back and arguably the best one in the league, Adrian Peterson. Leaked photos of his 4-year-old son were made public late last week and showed many bruises and marks from an apparent disciplinary action directed to the boy from Peterson, who whipped his son with a broken off stick from a tree. The photos and case have certainly got the attention of many folks and brings up the topic of how far is too far in disciplining a child. Did Peterson go to far in how he handled his son? Many folks have strong opinions on both sides and what should next happed to the football player who I will refer to as AP. Interestingly enough and in a bit of an ironic and sad twist, one of Peterson’s sons died from abuse by the boyfriend of one of his ex’s last year.

If you look at the photos of the boy that surfaced, they are rather disturbing. By the way, the person or parties who leaked these photos should be charged. There is absolutely no reason for those photos to go public, none whatsoever!! The fact that his son had several bruises and marks on his body shows that Peterson no doubt took things too far. I hear people talk about how that is a normal way of disciplining a child in the south, really? AP admitted to whipping his son and explained that he used to get the same type of treatment as a young boy. From what people have been saying, this type of corporal punishment is more common than we think. I realize this may have worked very well on some children, but is this really a smart and effective way of punishing a young child? Isn’t there a much safer and better way of getting your point across to a misbehaving child? I do not have any children myself so I am by far not an expert on this topic, but I would never whip my child, never!! In a bit of rage, I may hit the child so hard that he or she suffers a permanent injury. Not only does a person run the risk of severely injuring a child, there are long-term ramifications of that type of punishment. The child may grow up thinking it is okay to hit their children or worse yet, their spouse. What about sending a kid to his or her room for a nice long timeout? Or taking away certain television or game privileges? I am all for disciplining kids; in fact I think there is too little discipline taking place in today’s world, however, one has to ask whether the discipline will carry any potential long-term effects. Using physical force on a child, while certainly may be an effective short-term way of getting your point across may produce some problems later on in a child’s life.

There has been much discussion about what should happen to Peterson now that he is being indicted for child abuse. The team that he plays on and my favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, decided to sit him out for a game, then they reinstated him only to change their minds again and made him take a leave of absence. After he was reinstated a few days ago, there was a lot of outrage about him coming back and playing. Many sponsors decided to cut ties with the Vikings and Peterson. Funny how that works in pro sports. It is a cardinal sin to upset your sponsors and your fan base. The Vikings claim that the sponsor’s decisions had nothing to do with forcing Peterson out of the lineup. That is a bunch of baloney!! I am sure they started to get a little worried when the team’s accountants started to make a few phone calls the team’s owners. Thoughts of losing a ton of money is not something an owner of a pro sports team wants to hear!! Having Peterson play was a liability to the bottom line and could have potentially been a huge PR blunder to the team and the league. I fully applaud the Vikings for coming to their senses on that issue.

It will be interesting to how the league deals with this case. It is almost a no-brainer that Peterson will be suspended for several games. Based on what has happened in the past, this is almost a given. I have a hard time believing this case will go to trial. Some sort of plea bargain is almost certain to happen. There are certain people out there who wants AP thrown in jail and kicked out of the league forever. That is totally ridiculous!! Doing so would open up a huge can of worms on the proper way of disciplining children. Where would you draw the line on what is legal and what is not in giving out corporal punishment? In my opinion, Peterson could help out his case a lot if he held a press conference and apologized for actions. Contrary to what people may think, AP is actually a very decent guy. He gives a lot to children’s charities around this area. It is unfortunate that people will always judge Peterson based on one incident. AP certainly deserves a second chance and I hope he can play again for the Vikings.

These last few weeks have been a rather trying period for the NFL. Maybe something positive can result from this case and attention that it has brought to America. Child abuse is a major problem in this country which is often overlooked by many people. Perhaps there is an overly abusive parent out there who is looking at this case and thinking twice about striking a young, defenseless child. Who knows, the attention this case has gathered may do wonders in reaching out to child abuse victims and some children’s lives. There is always a silver lining in every crisis and this case may finally be the wakeup call towards problems of child abuse and discipline in our country.

There is no easy solution to defeat ISIS

The president stood before the nation on Wednesday night and gave a speech about his strategy for defeating ISIS. In the aftermath of the speech, there has been a lot of discussion and much criticism about that strategy as expected. I find the part about training and equipping Syrian rebels to do the dirty work on the ground to be rather troubling. Did we not do that in Iraq and look what happened? How do we know that these guys will turn their backs on us along with our weapons? Regardless, coming up with an answer to this growing problem in our world is not easy and this issue will certainly be a hot one in the 2016 elections campaign. Contrary to what Secretary of State John Kerry says, we are at war with global terrorists like ISIS and a short-term and long-term strategy must be developed.

Since this is a global problem that affects many countries, a coalition of many countries must be formed. This problem with global terrorism affects many countries in Europe just as much as it affects us here in the United States. The fact that we only have 9-10 right now in rather troubling. We need to get at least 40-50 to effectively do the job. Even a country like Russia is affected by these group of terrorist thugs. They need to have a little skin in the game as well. Imagine if an overwhelming number of countries in the world decided to form a coalition to stop this problem? If Mr. Kerry could do that, he would definitely get my vote for being person of the year! The United States could lead this coalition with our weapons and technology. Of course, this is somewhat of some sort of pipe dream that will never happen. Other countries seem to think that it is not their problem until ISIS shows up at their doorstep.

I know airstrikes will be very effective in some ways, but what if this group decides to hide and regroup at a later date, similar to what the Taliban did in Afghanistan? Unfortunately, I believe we do need to use some of our ground troops to finish the job. As I mentioned in the opening, I have real doubts about how effective these Syrian rebels will be. Exactly how motivated are they to help us? What if early on, they end up running away much the Iraqi soldiers did who we supposedly trained? If that part of the strategy fails, then what?

A very overlooked thing concerning defeating this group is how to stop them from recruiting members from other nations. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, any American caught fighting for ISIS should immediately lose their citizenship, period! I hope other countries consider this thought as well. They are our enemies and do not deserve to be living in this country and put our citizens at risk. Another issue is winning the propaganda war with this group. It has been reported that they are heavily using the internet to recruit potential members. How do we counteract this by promising those vulnerable people that our way of life and society is so much better than theirs? I believe many moderate Islam leaders have to do a better job of speaking out against the forms of radical Islam that this group uses. I strongly believe that many Islam leaders have a huge role in stopping the spread of radical Islam, even more so than any type of weapons. We really need their help and they have to be courage to speak out against the actions of a small percentage of Muslims.

There are many new things about this world and fighting radical Islamists is definitely one of them. It used to be only a Middle Eastern problem, but it has spread just like a cancer. How we deal with it now will impact generations to come. It is refreshing to see that some of our politicians are starting to wake up and see how serious this ISIS problem could be in the near future. The fact that these radical groups could get a hold of a nuclear weapon should make anyone worried. I hope our leaders can come up with some bold and courageous steps to wipe out this world enemy and make us all safer not only now, but in the future. Unfortunately, I don’t see this problem of radical groups like ISIS going away anytime soon. If we knock out ISIS, another group will develop. It is a never-ending world problem with no definite easy solution.

Thoughts on a troubling week in the NFL

The National Football League is without question the most popular sports league in this country, not even close. The popularity of the league has really soared in the last 20 years. Many Americans work around their own personal schedules so they can catch that big game on Sunday. It is a big part of our culture. With that popularity comes a certain amount of scrutiny with not only league and player activities on the field, but off the field as well. This week’s video showing Ray Rice’s violent treatment of his girlfriend in an elevator and the indictment of Adrian Peterson on child abuse charges, is further proof that the league is becoming much bigger than just a game of football. It is becoming somewhat of a cause for social events in our country. The Rice case is a great example of the problem with domestic abuse in our country. When a high-profile NFL does it, it seems to be magnified to a greater extent. The Adrian Peterson case is sure to garner a lot of attention in the next few days. Child Abuse is a serious issue as well in this country. The Michael Sam story about becoming the first openly gay athlete ever being drafted by the NFL brings to light issues about gay rights. The Washington Redskins nickname story is about more or less about whether a sports nickname is offensive to a certain group of people. These issues have been talked about even more in the past year by the media diehards than the actual game itself. This week’s events concern certain individuals and groups of people so I would like to break it down regarding each and my thoughts.

1. Ray Rice- The video of him punching out his then fiancé cold in a casino elevator was one of the most classless things that I have ever seen. I am sure she had a lot to do with what took place and he probably just lost it right there in the elevator. Perhaps he was overly tired, full of too much alcohol or something else. But in my world, you NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, hit a woman!!! I don’t care how much she acts like some kind of maniac. That is a totally cowardly thing to do to someone who in must cases is much weaker than you are. How Rice got off and did not get prosecuted for that is beyond me! He definitely deserved some jail time for that assault.

2. Roger Goodell- This situation with Ray Rice is a big black eye for the league and he should shoulder much of the blame. Let me get this straight, an earlier video shows Rice dragging his then fiancé out of the elevator and Goodell sees fit to levy a whopping 2 game suspension on Rice. Now a video comes out of Rice punching out his girlfriend and Rice gets suspended indefinitely, why wait until now? Why was Rice not suspended indefinitely originally? I find it rather puzzling that some sleazy celebrity gossip organization, TMZ, can get ahold of the second video that surfaced this week before the NFL. I find it hard to believe that someone in the NFL did not request to see further proof and different security videos of what went on that night. Someone really botched this investigation and the commissioner certainly deserves some heat for this very lame investigation and original 2 game suspension, a 2 game suspension? really?

3. Ray Rice’s fiancé, now wife- Only in America would a woman get knocked out by her fiancé, then go on to marry him. Oh sure, perhaps they made up or something, but to me, it is rather mind-boggling to believe that a woman could still stand by her guy even after he nearly killed her, unbelievable!! It is a said truth in this country that many women go back to men who mistreat them physically and emotionally. What makes Rice’s wife so sure he will not do this again? I guess it really is between them and not us.

4. Adrian Peterson- This story just broke yesterday so I cannot not really comment much until more facts come out. Peterson was indicted on charges of child abuse this week for the second time. The charges were dropped the first time. Pictures of his son were shown to the media yesterday showing cuts and scratches on the young boy’s skin. This was alleged to have happened when Peterson hit him with some sort of stick. Did Peterson go too far in disciplining his son? It certainly appears so. I happen to be a big fan of Peterson and this story really troubles me. Peterson is known as a pretty decent guy, but if the facts come out that he really did harm his son and treat him harshly, he will have to pay the price. It might be a career ending thing for one of the greatest running backs ever in the NFL.

5. The media- It seems like media outlets such as ESPN cannot get enough of these scandals. What really sickens me is when media person like a Bob Costas or James Brown starts to lecture us on these social problems. When I turn on a football game, I do not need some like Brown lecturing me on domestic violence like he did the other night. I want to watch football and get information about the game coming up. What is next? Maybe Brown can tell me who to vote for in the next election! Unfortunately, some of these media blowhards use their platform to express their views outside of sports and that is a rather troubling trend.

Will these scandals run the NFL and become a permanent black eye for the game? Time will only tell. In my opinion, they will not. These issues have always and will always happen in the league. The players and people who run the league are not gods who can do no wrong. They have issues just like normal 9-5 working class stiffs do. It is unfortunate that the positive things the league does is not talk about, the many charities that they support, players who give up so much of their time and effort to help those less fortunate. The league is not perfect, but if one looks closely, it has many more positive things going for them. Sadly, we tend as a society tend to focus on all of the negative things that go on. It is far more dramatic to see some player punching out his girlfriend in an elevator than seeing a guy visit a hospital for sick children. As a fan of the league, I just want to watch football, period!! Enough of this scandal stuff.

Those scumbag American traitors

The fact that there is a radical Islamic group out there bent on destroying America ought to enrage any true American. The recent beheadings of innocent journalists who did ABSOLUTELY nothing to deserve their unfortunate fate is even more proof that this group needs to be destroyed as soon as possible. Seeing images of these beheadings and watching the victims families speak about the loss of their sons makes me even more infuriated towards this radical group of barbaric cowards! What also infuriates me to even a greater degree is the revelation that some Americans are going over to Syria to fight for ISIS. That is totally sickening!!

A couple of weeks ago, a story broke out that an American was killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. The young gentlemen was in his early 30’s and had lived in my area of the country, Minnesota, before moving to California where he converted to Islam. A few other American ISIS fighters have been linked to this area as well- a very comforting thought for many in this area!! Are we living the middle of a hotbed area for ISIS recruiting? In the coming weeks, I am sure there will be more stories of other Americans hitching up with ISIS. Some of these traitors might seem like ordinary citizens of the United States who have been raised here and attended our schools and universities.

If you ask me, I think what these scumbags are doing is the ultimate insult to our great country. We have had many young men and women over the years pay the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy many freedoms and opportunities. Many people around the world are drawn to the United States because of those freedoms and opportunities including many immigrants. Sadly we have some members of our country who feel that our freedoms are evil and we must change to some radical form of Islam. These radicals are trying to take away what so many have worked and sacrificed so hard for so many years to make our country the best in the world.

If someone feels that disgraceful about our country, then get the blank out of our country and don’t let the door hit you in the you know what!!! America has been very good to several of these turncoat jihadists and now they want to turn their backs on us. Fine, then just take your radical views and ideas to some other country. And please don’t come crying to mommy or daddy when some American bomb blows up your home or you get captured by one of our special forces. You turned your back on our country and the fact that you want to destroy and kill innocent American men, women and children makes you a dangerous person who does not deserve to see the light of day! Any American should view these individuals as their enemies who would not think twice about killing you or your family. I don’t care if you are a Republican, Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, we can all agree that these jihadists are a serious threat to this country and the fact that some are living here and being recruited by ISIS and other organizations is very alarming.

I know that ISIS is trying to get some of our young men and women to join their organization and cause. The most vulnerable are the poor immigrants from places in the Middle East and Africa. Don’t believe for a second all the nonsense propaganda that ISIS is coming up with. It would not surprise me if ISIS is offering cash to some people to convert and join their group. Their promise of a better way of life is just a big lie. They are just using some of our vulnerable young people to further their cause. Chances are many will have a very low chance of survival if they join one of these jihadists groups like ISIS. If you are not killed by an enemy fighter, then they will probably kill you! I wish that certain Islamic leaders would get the message and truth out to some of these young people who are thinking about joining a jihadist movement. It isn’t as glamorous as the propaganda makes it to be.

Any American caught fighting for ISIS or any other terrorist group that wants to harm America should be expelled from this country period. Their American citizenship should be taken away immediately. If they are an immigrant, they should be deported as soon as possible. Any person who wants to do harm to this country and kill innocent Americans does not deserve to be living here, plain and simple. I might take it a step further, you deserve to either be killed or have a lifetime home in some dark jail cell. Nothing is more degrading to the United States than having a citizen or groups of citizens turn their back against the people of the United States. There is no punishment or fate too harsh for these scumbags!

Hug a teacher today

There are certain professions which totally fail to garner the respect that they deserve. With school already starting in many areas of the country, I consider teaching to be one of those professions. Before I go any further, I must come forward and say that I am NOT a teacher. I just have a total amount of respect for the profession and what they have to go through. Besides teaching their particular subject, many teachers have played a key role in shaping the lives of their students.

With school pretty much underway in most parts of the country, there are thousands of teachers all over this country who show up for work and try to make someone else a more knowledgeable person. Anyone can go to school and learn a certain trade, but not everyone can pass on their knowledge to someone else. It is a skill which many people would fail miserably at. Consider a typical classroom in this country like a 10th grade geometry class. For starters, how many of the students in the classroom really want to be there in the first place? It is safe to say that probably 90 percent of the students could not give a crap about learning what you are going to teach. Imagine how difficult that must be to be lecturing and half of the students are asleep? It would really bother me if I had to teach day after day to a bunch of kids who simply did not care one bit. This takes place in many classrooms. Most kids could care less about your subject and just want the period to end as soon as possible. Learning how to make a subject more enjoyable can be a very challenging task for most teachers. How do you motivate a student to become at least somewhat interested in your subject?

I have some friends and a few family members who happen to be teachers and they always say that dealing with the parents is always one of the toughest things about teaching. It is very sad to see how uninvolved many parents are in their children’s education. I don’t have any kids, but if I did, you better believe I would be monitoring their progress or lack of it. In my opinion, parents have a very crucial role in the success of a child in school. Unfortunately, many seem to neglect that role and teachers get blamed for the lack of progress for students. That is total hogwash!! A teacher can only do so much and the parents need to be held accountable as well.

Dealing with unruly students can make a teacher’s job very unbearable as well. Some kids today have absolutely no respect for any type of authority. If I were a teacher, the last thing that I would want to worry about is disciplining some student. My job is to teach, not babysit some immature high school student!! Unfortunately, far too many teachers have to deal with undisciplined kids day after day. It would drive me totally crazy if I had that in my job. Most jobs do not have anywhere near that type of unnecessary stress to deal with. Sure there are jobs where one has to deal with some bad customers, but I will take that any day over dealing with a bunch of young knuckleheads in my classroom.

As I mentioned in my opening, teachers can have a very important role in shaping a person’s life. In fact, many people list a particular teacher as one of their most influential people. During my early years of high school, I was not always the most secure person in the world and it sometimes showed up in my schoolwork. One of my high school math teachers noticed this and had a little talk with me one day. His words of encouragement were just the shot in the arm that I needed. A few years later, I went on and got my college degree in mathematics and I owe so much to him for his inspirational words. I nearly had tears in my eyes when I ran into him again shortly after finishing college. Without his little talk, I would have never gone on and gotten a degree in math. He greatly inspired me like very few teaches have.

Our education system in this country desperately needs good teachers for all subjects. We are falling behind in test scores compared to other countries. Unfortunately, many teacher unions screw over the young bright teachers in favor of ineffective longer tenured teachers. There are probably many bright people who shy away from teaching due to this tenure and union garbage with teachers. We definitely need to reward and keep those good young teachers.

If you see a teacher today, give him or her a hug! Well maybe not that extreme, but at least give them some words of praise for the difficult job that they are constantly faced with.