Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Backup Refs Cost Packers a Game

          The backup refs officially cost a team a game.  There have been many bad calls this year yet September 24 was definitely the worst call.  On the final play of the game between the Packers and Seahawks, the Seahawks quarterback threw a hail may pass into the end zone to try and win the game.  A field goal wouldn’t have won the game.  A Packer defender came down with it then a Seahawk receiver wrapped his hands on the ball.  It looked like an interception until the replacement officials rushed over two seconds later and ruled it a touchdown.  The play went under further review and couldn’t be overturned because there was not indisputable evidence.
         Even the Seahawk fans agree that the ball was really intercepted.  The backup refs had officially cost the Packers a game.  This bad call could have serious playoff implications and has led to riots in Green Bay.  Owners of other teams are also growing weary of the backup officials and hope that the NFL commissioner can reach a deal before the backup refs do anymore damage.  The replacement officials have not been properly prepared to referee a NFL game.  They have been thrown into refereeing because of a dispute on salary between the commissioner and the referees.  It is not their fault.  They were put into a bad situation.  Is this the tipping point between the referees and the commissioner that will finally bring the real refs back?  How much longer with the backups be allowed to ref games that people bet and invest money into?  Not much longer… I hope.  


Block Grants: A Double Edged Sword

          Hi Bloggers! A grant is federal money used to support a governmental service or bureaucracy.  There are two common types of grants: Block Grants and Categorical Grants.  Many of the grants given to the states used to be Categorical Grants.  These are grants with specific guidelines on what the money should be used for.  The states didn’t like these grants because they couldn’t move money within the program to where they needed it.  Categorical Grants gave the U.S. Federal Government a lot of power and say of how to spend the money.  States argued that the Federal Government was wasting money and should change the rules for spending.  This movement brought more power to the states, but consequently received the financial burden that came with more power.
          This movement for more control on how money was spent led to a different grant.  Block Grants are grants from the federal government that have very few limitations.  These allowed states to spend the money how they wished within the subject of what the money was for.  For example, Block Grants gave the states 30 million dollars for health.  Categorical Grants gave the state one million dollars for flu shots.  The states much rather preferred to determine how much they would spend on flu shots and other small things with their federal money.  Block Grants are used in today’s government with very important entitlements such as Medicare, Medicate, Welfare, and Unemployment.  States enjoyed the power to direct where the federal money was going.
          The states didn’t foreshadow the problems for them with Block Grants.  Many people who were angry with the wasteful government spending turned their anger to the states because they had the control of where the money went.  Every cut and addition they made to the grant brought more scrutiny from the people.  The Federal Government was happy that they could just point the finger at the states and tell people that they make the decisions about where the money goes.  The Federal Government also passed the financial burden onto the states.  Rising costs to support the bureaucracies and projects was now on the states to pay for.  If they didn’t want to pay for it, they would just cut the services to save money.
          Which system is better?  With Categorical Grants, the states we reimbursed for the rising costs.  They didn’t have to spend time on where the money was going to because the Federal Government had already decided it.  Block Grants allowed for more efficient spending but put future costs on the states.  If you were the president, which type of grant would you impose?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Unfair Realities of the SAT and ACT

         Why is there so much emphasis put on the SAT and ACT when they don’t reflect what they say they do?  The College Board says that these tests predict how well someone will do in college yet there are many people who do well on this exam and flunk out.  There are also many who do average and do very well in school.  If I were the colleges, I would put less emphasis on the standardized tests and more emphasis on high school achievements, class load, and GPA.
 The average score on the SAT is 1550.  The average score on the ACT is a 21.  These averages are for those students who are college bound.  The maximum score on these test are 2400 for the SAT and 36 for the ACT.  It is ridiculous how much the average is away from the maximum score.  The test does not have a high validity. John Kerry and George Bush both are very intelligent people who scored average on the SAT.  There are many students who do extremely well in college and become wildly successful and do average on the SAT and ACT.  So what are these tests really showing?  These tests are how well someone can take the SAT and ACT.  That is it.  They do not measure your intelligence, knowledge, organization, or any other important skill for college.  They simply ask structured interpretive questions and give a score.
If the SAT and ACT don’t predict how well someone will do in college, why do colleges rely so heavily on them?  This one is an unfortunate truth.  State and schools grade kids differently and use different grading scales.  A college can’t compare two kids GPA because the GPA scale is not all the same.  Sally from Alabama could have received a 4.0 from her school and scored a 1000 on the SAT.  Meanwhile, John from New York received a 3.5 GPA and scored a 2100 on the SAT.  The only common ground they have to measure people around the country is the SAT and ACT.
One reason the colleges should put less emphasis on the SAT and ACT is laziness.  A person can score very high on the SAT or the ACT and flunk out of college.  They often do not get their work done and the studying for classes.  This doesn’t work in college because the material becomes more complex.  Those on the other hand to say if very hard and get their work done at the opportunity to do well in college.  Their scores on the SAT and ACT will not be as high as the lazy, but intelligent people.  Regardless, the lazy person with a high SAT or ACT score will receive a scholarship before the hardworking student.
Scholarships should not be determined by a score on a test.  It should be over your course load, activities, clubs, sports, and leadership skills.  Unfortunately at this time there is no test to measure these skills.  Colleges are forced to use downstairs based on standardized tests.  It is an unfair reality that punishes the few that work hard but cannot perform well on these test.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Increase Your Snoozing Time

          Hi Bloggers! Remember that day you only slept four hours because you were studying for a test and the next day you weren’t tired?   Then for the rest of the week, you wake up drowsy and tired until you slept in on the weekend.  There is a lot of psychological science behind the phrase “catching up on your sleep.”  When you don’t sleep enough, you can’t focus clearly and have trouble with spatial thinking.  If you don’t catch up on your sleep, you can continue this problem for two weeks!
So what is so important about a sleep?  Sleep allows your muscles and brain to relax.  It also is a time for REM sleep.  REM stands for rapid eye movement.  Most people know that this is where dreams are made.    During your first 5 hours of sleep, you have very little REM sleep.  After the five hour mark, you increasingly get more and more REM sleep per hour.  If you do not get enough REM sleep, you acquire a sleep dept.  Sleep debts can last up to two weeks until your body resets the clock and erases you sleep debt.
What are the effects of sleep loss?  Lack of sleep can often lead to memory loss, decrease mood, decreased effectiveness of your immune system, and an increased risk of getting into a fatal accident.  Those all sound so wonderful!  It is true though that sleep is critical for your body to function and when you deprive it of sleep, the consequences start to add up.
         The most overlooked side-effect from sleep loss?  Weight gain!  In a recent study, people who do not get their recommended sleep have a 200% higher risk for being obese.  This astonishing statistic has been proven with multiple experiments.  People, who do not get enough sleep, often compensate by over eating in order to stay awake.  Eating temporarily wakes you up due to a rush of glucose (sugar) to your blood stream.  This glucose is quickly transformed into fat and stops the overabundance of sugar in your blood stream.  The lack of sleep also affects your hormones.  The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is the hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.  Simple as that, if you don’t sleep enough, you eat more which results in weight gain.
There are a lot of negative side-effects to not sleeping enough.  On the flip side, those negative side-effects turn positive when you do receive enough sleep.  If you are having a hard time remembering things, concentrating, and feel down, increase your sleep by one hour and see the results.  It’s worth a try :)  Make sure you allow your body a full two weeks to adjust to your new sleep habits before you judge whether it works for you because your sleep debt has to reset.  Happy Snoozing !


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Behavioral Expectations or Common Sense?

         There is laughter in the hallway at these new rules for school dances as many students consider them to be common sense.  However, there are many cases where these rules would have been broken if in effect last year.  Some students just take it too far and shouldn’t have the privilege to go to the dances.  When the rules are broken this year by the one percent, Kennedy will have to enforce more strict rules for the whole school in order to protect themselves from verbal parent litigation.  Here are the rules in case you didn’t read them.

1.  It is expected that all students will wear clothing appropriate for a school event.
           Ok, duh!! Wear clothes that are appropriate for a school event.  This is a school dance, not a strip club.  The school pays for it, hosts it, and cleans up after.  If you are going to dress up like a stripper, you won’t be allowed in.   It is a formal dance so dress accordingly. 

2. It is expected that clothing will be worn as intended at all times.  Boys are expected to keep their shirts on.  Girls are expected to keep their dresses and skirts at the intended length.  Pulling skirts/dresses up is unacceptable.
            This rule is simple as well.  This is not a strip club so don’t strip.  We don’t need to see students half naked.  If you wouldn’t walk around like that in front of all your classmates and teachers in school, then don’t do it at the dance!  There is no reason for you to take your clothes off during this dance.

3.  It is expected that all student will dance appropriately.  Simulation sex acts, dancing with hands on the ground, etc. are inappropriate. 

             This is the last and most abused rule.  Many students dance with their hands on the ground.  This is an inappropriate way of grinding and should be stopped to preserve the dance.  You think that people wouldn’t simulate sex acts, but you’d be surprised.  There is a small percent of the population of our school that goes to these dances and misbehaves.  Their actions jeopardize our dance and threaten grinding for the rest of us.  If you are one of those people, realize the consequences for your actions.  It doesn’t just affect you, it affects us all.


Weisman for Heisman?


              Hi Bloggers!  During the second quarter, both Damon Bullock and Greg Garmon were injured.  Kirk Ferentz decided to put in the walk on fullback, Mark Weisman.  I think it is a little too soon to start the Heisman talk for Mark Weisman.  He recorded 113 yards and three touchdowns.  He averaged 4.7 yards a carry and injured three defenders from his runs.  Mark Weisman could have had four touchdowns, but came up short on 3rd and 4th down.  A full back from Buffalo Grove, Illinois, Mark Weisman is a walk on who still isn’t on scholarship.  He definitely earned that scholarship during the game yesterday.  As of today, he is listed as the starter for the Iowa vs. Central Michigan game.  This game is the only snoozer on Iowa’s schedule so Mark Weisman might not get as many carries as he did against University of Northern Iowa.  They will try and rest him for the Big Ten opener vs. Minnesota.
                Was Mark Weisman’s outstanding game vs. University of Northern Iowa a fluke?  The simple answer is no.  When you look at the tape from the game, you see smart cuts, power, and ball security.  Weisman, known as the Juggernaut by his teammates, is one of the most powerful players on the Iowa team.  His power was definitely shown during the game as he consistently broke tackles and drove through U.N.I. players.  Weisman doesn’t have the running back speed that most people look for in a running back for one reason, HE IS A FULL BACK!  He will do just what is needed, drive up three to five yards for a first down.  That is all Iowa wants, a powerful back to convert on third and short as well as open up the passing game. 
                What does the rest of the season look like for the Juggernaut?  This is a question that no one can answer.  How fast will Greg Garmon and Damon Bullock recover?  Will Canzeri be able to come back or will they keep him on redshirt.  Nobody knows the future for the Juggernaut except the big boy himself.  Weisman for Heisman?  Let’s see how the next few games go before everyone gets their banners out.       

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Iowa Struggles in the Passing Game Could Cost Them

            Getting passed the passing game is going to be the real key for the Iowa Hawkeyes this Saturday in their game against University of Northern Iowa.  Through two games, they have managed to score only one Touchdown.  The quarterback, James Vandenberg has only averaged 182 yards a game with two interceptions.  The receivers have combined for a total of 10 drops.  Iowa has been to the red-zone 6 times and has yet to come out with a Touchdown.  There is no real explanation for the Iowa Hawkeyes bad passing game. They return two outstanding receivers as well as a 2nd year starter in James Vandenberg who led the league as a pocket passer.  All the statistics had the Hawkeye's passing game up in the top of the league. Instead, they sit at 98th in the country and 114th in scoring.  There are only 5 teams in the country who have scored less point than we have and all of them are 0-2.  We should be lucky we are not 0-2.  One thing is for sure, if Iowa doesn't acquire an offensive passing game, Iowa will have a losing record and miss out on a bowl game for the first time since 2007.


Felon Voting

            Hi Bloggers! As November nears and the political race intensifies, I would like to look at an often overlook issue: felon voting.  Whether a felon can vote or not depends on the laws that the state sets.  These laws vary widely on how felons lose their voting rights and how states restore them. This becomes a problem when you enter a federal election where some felons can vote and some can't.  The rules vary by state and can be completely irrational.
                In Mississippi, 22 categories of felon crime result in the loss of voting rights, also known as disenfranchisement.  Timber larceny is one that is on the list.  Manslaughter is not on the list.  Felons who steel wood can't vote in a federal election while those who commit manslaughter are able to vote.  In order to receive your voting rights back, you must apply and the application must be 2/3 approved by both houses and signed by the governor.  This is a ridiculous application that can take over a decade to approve and grant people their rights back.  Many felons look to put their past behind them when they come out of prison.  Voting rights is one way that they can feel like part of the society again.  We are just stripping away their ability to re-join society. 
                There are many states where felons are very easily able to vote.  This can create another problem.  Those you are repeat offenders might vote for someone who would legalize a substance  or de-criminalize to gain their vote.  These are all considerations that should be taken into account.  I strongly believe that this power of choosing what felons can vote and what felons can't should be taken from the states and given to the federal government.  This would allow for a unitary law and prevent discrimination of felons in certain states. 
                Making the process difficult and prevent over 2 million Americans out of prison from voting is ridiculous. If I had to write the law, I would grant all felons who are out of prison, the right to vote.  Probation doesn’t count as being out of prison.  Once you are free from the system, you should gain your right as a citizen to vote.  If however, you are charged with a second felony, when you get out, you must file an application to gain your voting rights back.  This punishes those who are repeat offenders of the system and makes it harder for them to have a political influence in our government.  That would be my broad outline for the law.    Everyone, who isn’t a repeat offender, should have a voice in the government if they have paid their time and debt to society.
                How would you address the issue of felon voting?  Would you keep the power with the states or give it to the federal government?


Monday, September 10, 2012


                Hi Bloggers! Today I would like to discuss how framing a question can produce and answer.  Whether you are talking to a friend or asking a random person to take a survey, framing can be used to shape their answer.  In Psychology, framing is defined of how individuals rely on their schemas and stereotypes to understand and respond to events.  In other words, people build a series of mental filters through biological and cultural influences.  Framing plays a huge role on every part of your life and dictates decisions you do or do not make.

                Consider the following two questions. “Would you like to go out to dinner with me?” “What time and I picking you up for dinner?”  The first question is submissive and provides an easy way for the person being asked to answer either way.  Question two puts a slant on the question and makes the person more likely to go to dinner with you.  This is a classic example of framing.     
                Framing is seen in everyday life?  For starters look at your government.  They ask you questions as Americans with a planned answer of what you’re going to say.  Take a look at the recent political conventions.  Many times in Obama’s speech, he said it is your choice on what plan you want for our country.  He is giving you a choice but he isn’t at the same time.  He went on to discuss all of the positives of his side while pointing out the negatives on Romney’s side.  So when he asks you what choice would you choose for America, he is framing the question.  In Romney’s speech, he asked if you were better off today then you were 4 years ago.  This is a totally framed question.  If you look at what he said before the question.  He had trashed the last 4 years of what Obama did.  When he asks this question, he is going to get a slanted answer.  This is just one example of framing.

                How can you use framing to help you?  There are many ways for you to take advantage of questions and slant them.  It all depends on what you want.  Let’s say that you are trying to sell for your fundraiser.  There are a couple ways of asking them to buy.  The first way is the classic way: “Are you interested in buying anything?”  This way is very passive.  It allows for an easy no without any guilt or bad feelings.  The second way would be a framed question such as: “Would you please help our choir department (or other fundraising program)?”  This is very direct and uses the word help.  This puts a guilt factor on the people buying and makes them more likely to buy something from your fundraiser.  You turned a no into a yes with the wording of the question.

                Whether you are using framing for personal gain or just starting to notice in in society, understand that it plays a huge role in your life.  The framing of a question or the preface to a question often determines the answer.  The next time you want a raise in allowance or a date to homecoming, try framing it.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Iowa vs Iowa State game review

Hi Bloggers! There were a lot of mistakes that cost Iowa the football game today.  Everyone will blame this one on James Vandenberg but I caution you to do so.  I think the fault lies with the offensive line and the wide receivers.  The offensive line could not open up holes for the running back.  We had first and goal on the 3 yard line and had to settle for a field goal.  This can’t happen if you want to win football games.  You can only win if you score touchdowns.  It is up to the offensive line to provide a push so the running back can sneak into the end zone.  The receivers are to blame for one simple reason, dropped passes.  If your receiving core has more than one dropped pass, there is something wrong.  There were just too many mental mistakes here that cost Iowa first downs, touchdowns, and ultimately the game.  It is sad if your star catcher of the game is the running back.  The only upside to this game is our defense holding Iowa State on so many drives.  Before you make the “I hate James Vandenberg” flags, understand he didn’t have any help today.  This might be a very long season for the Iowa Hawkeyes.



Hi Bloggers! Since the Constitution was ratified in 1787, there have been multiple forms of federalism.                            
           The first form of Federalism was Dual Federalism, also known as layer cake federalism.  This was a narrow relationship between the federal and state government.  This form of federalism gets its name because the federal government was on top and the state was on bottom.  There was little interaction and almost no concurrent powers.  The federal government did not fund anything of the state and only established basic law for the states to rule by.  This ended after the end of the Civil war in 1865.
           Dual Sovereignty Federalism followed.  This was a form was produced from Civil War tensions.  The federal government and the state government were separate from each other.  The states took a lot of power and did not allow federal government to interfere.  The positives to this form of federalism are that the federal government is not as big and controlling.  The negative is that the people didn’t get benefits that are provided by the government today.
          This form of federalism ended and led to Marble Federalism with FDR’s plan called the New Deal in the 1930s.  This was a program that gave money to the poor who needed help and created the National Recovery Association to watch over recovery.  This often included using the Elastic Clause, a clause in the Constitution that allows the federal government to intervene in state government to enforce powers granted by the Constitution.  This type of federalism was invasive into the state government.  On the bright side, it did give people a lot of governmental support.  This type of federalism ended in 1964 with Regan.  He created a new form of federalism called Creative Federalism.
Creative Federalism, also known as Picket Face Federalism was a completely different approach to federalism.  The federal government gave money to the states and worked together to support benefits for the people.  It worked very well until the states took advantage of the system in 1968.  This led to our current form of federalism.
          Fiscal Federalism focused on the power returning to the states.  It uses category, block, and project grants to fund the state government in the form that the feds want.  This form of money giving allows the states to keep power while changing to fit the needs of the national government.  This system leaves both groups happy.  The Federal Government enjoys the power to enforce mandates and instill values into state governments.  The State Government enjoys the power from the national government.  The negatives of this system are seen every day.  Wasted spending to influence state governments and fix problems of the national government.  There are so many ways to enforce a federalist system.  Which way is the best in your eyes?


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Local Government

          Local government such as Mayor and City Council has the soonest and most direct impact to you as a citizen yet the voting rate for these elections are on the bottom, around 30 percent. After all, why care about the smallest form of government in our society?  The decisions they make impact residents, workers, and visitors on a daily basis.  If you want something to change in your government, the local government is the quickest and easiest way to make a change.  How many people can schedule a meeting with the President?  Less than .001 percent of people can schedule a meeting with the president.  Most citizens are able to see their mayors about issues that are relevant to the city.  They control the future with regards to the educational system.
          Why is the voting rate for local elections at the bottom of the list?  There are a multitude of reasons for this.  First, the amount of money spent on campaigning is considerably less than for offices in the senate or for president.  It is very hard for candidates to communicate their message to the masses.  Second, many people don’t vote because of they don’t feel like their vote will make a difference.  This is a prime example of a psychological phenomenon called social loafing.  Social loafing states that a person is less motivated and puts forth less effort if they are in a group.  Another reason voters don’t come to the polls is because they are content with what is happening and don’t feel the need for change.  They think that not voting will keep that sameness.  Others don’t know when or are not informed on when local voting takes place.  The final reason for people not voting in local government elections is simple; they feel that local government is irrelevant to them.  They would rather spend their time elsewhere then vote in a local government election.
          What decisions does the local government make to society?  Everything that the tax payers take for granted. Water, streets, stop lights, traffic, police, fire fighters, post offices, judicial systems, and decisions that impact any of these things.  The fact that the tax payers of the city take these for granted means the city is doing their job correctly.  Whether to shut down a street for construction work or not; Whether or not to buy out flooded buildings or just pay for the re-building.  Other decisions include selling public parks, parking meters, speed cameras, traffic lights, filling potholes, tax increases, and anything else that has to do with the city.  They play a huge role in the citizen’s lives.
          The local government plays a huge role in building the future through the public schools.  They decide funding for the local schools.  Too little and you cut the quality of the education and have teachers marching on strike.  Too much and you have tax payers in your ear about wasteful spending.  The local government has to please all the people of their city with a balance to how much money everyone gets.  Local governments also interact with schools on re-opening and closing of schools within the city.  The government is invested deeply in the school district and plays a huge role on the type of education the children receive.
           In no other government can you schedule an appointment to talk about issues that matter to you and the area that government is controlling.  You are able to express your views and can try to make a difference in what your city does to move forward.  Local government impacts you as a city tax payer every day.  We rely so heavily on the local government because it is the closest government to the people.  We need the right people in our local offices.  In order to do that, we need people to vote in their local city elections.  Your vote does make a difference so get out there and vote!