Posted by: SWL | September 17, 2017

NFL 2017-18: Aaron Rodgers Makes 300th TD Pass

With no fanfare – or celebration afterward – Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers completed his 300th TD pass about six minutes before the end of tonight’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.

It only took Rodgers 144 games to hit this milestone, fewer than any QB, including the great Payton Manning.

Unfortunately, five Packers players were injured in the game and the team lost 23-34.

Game Day

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Posted by: SWL | September 16, 2017

NCAA 2017: Spectacular Ending to Florida Home-Opener!

The University of Florida Home-opener against Tennessee was pretty slow until the fourth quarter, when the Volunteers managed to mount a comeback to tie the game 20-20 with only a few minutes to go. The major high point up until then for Gator fans was the interception and TD by CJ Henderson early in the fourth.

CBS commentators questioned whether Florida – with the ball – was going to try to win, or just move into overtime. When they failed by inches to get a first down with 33 seconds on the clock, they did not call a time out, seemingly cementing OT. No time out and a lack-luster hustle back to the line of scrimmage had wasted 20 seconds.

Then with 9 seconds remaining, QB Feleipe Franks looked to be in a bit of trouble, evading 2 Tennessee defensemen. But Franks heaved a whopping 63 yard Hail Mary pass that connected with Tyrie Cleveland, who carried it into the end zone. Time had expired and the fans exploded into celebration.

Posted by: SWL | August 15, 2017

Charlottesville Fallout: Reno Student Threatened

A student at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, and was identified from a news photograph. Almost immediately he began receiving death threats. UNR received many calls demanding that the administration expel the alt-right student. University officials hit the nail on the head when they said they have no Constitutional or legal authority to expel someone for their political activity.

Many complained that President Trump did not speak against the alt-right soon enough, yet no local officials are speaking out against these threats from the alt-left to this student’s rights to life, free association and free speech.

If the left truly believes in tolerance, diversity and free speech, they must allow this misguided young man and others who have messages the left disagrees with to speak those messages without interference.

Just because a person disagrees with the “message” they think a memorial or statue represents, does not give them any right to destroy said memorial or statue. But that’s what protesters did Monday in Durham, NC, claiming their destruction of a statue depicting a Confederate soldier was in response to a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, VA last weekend. This is not the way to bring about a change in attitudes you disagree with.

There is video of this incident. I hope the police review it and arrest anyone they can identify. That is not a political commentary on the views of the protesters. Law and order must prevail, and arresting law-breakers seems about the only way to reestablish order. It will cost the city of Durham to clean up the mess left by the protesters, so I hope the vandals will have to make restitution too.

Violence just gets people angry and leads to more violence. When Dr. Martin Luther King and his followers were “fighting” for civil rights for black Americans, they used peaceful protests. They didn’t retaliate when people used violence against them. Eventually their view prevailed. Those protesting today against what they perceive as racism should take a lesson from Dr. King.

I am no fan of President Trump. He certainly handled the violence in Charlottesville poorly. But ultimately, it does not matter what he says.

I am concerned that the media (and others) are so preoccupied with him. I am also concerned by the biased coverage: violence was waged by both sides of the protest. The only report I saw that covered counter-protester violence was a television news story with a photo of a black man carrying some item on fire, pointed at a white person. You also cannot blame the entire “alt-right” movement for the actions of one person who decided to act violently.

A lot of things – while not directly to blame – made it easier for the deaths in Charlottesville to occur:
* The white nationalists organized the rally because of the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. Leave these confederate statues alone! If we sanitize our history, it will be more difficult to prevent similar conflicts in the future. Also, the “alt-right” has a Constitutional right to hold a rally. If the city had denied a permit, as some have suggested, what’s to keep government from denying free speech to someone on the left in the future? Government is not allowed to choose what speech/views to protect/promote.
* Charlottesville police should have been better prepared, given the violent protests in many cities over the past year.
* The man accused of running his car into the counter-protesters has a history of complaints filed by his mother, who said he threatened her. Should one or more persons in the course of his life have pushed for a mental health evaluation?
* If the counter-protesters had quietly allowed the white nationalist rally to go on, the angry mood might have been diffused. But my guess is that emotion/anger propelled the counter-protesters too. But two sides screaming at each other never produces change. The Bible says “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” (Psalm 15:1)

This white nationalist “take our country back” rhetoric is ridiculous. People of all colors have contributed to the growth and success of the US. And color is just pigment; we all have hearts, brains and blood under the skin.

But to keep our country free, we must defend the right of these people to speak their thoughts. Christians often use the phrase: “Hate the sin, not the sinner”. In this case, a good paraphrase would be “Hate the message, not the messenger”. If we hate racists, neo-Nazis, etc., we are no better than they are. And if we react with violence against them, it’s no different than the violence they sometimes commit. Hatred of any kind is wrong, hurting the object of hatred is even worse.

The anti-Trumpers need to lighten up on the “outrage”. Some things are worth protesting; some outrage is just “trumped” up.

Case in point: the anti-Semitism charges after President Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day statement sympathizing with “all who suffered”. Multiple people/groups are claiming that this is insensitive to the Jewish people, that the Holocaust was all about the Jews. Facts don’t support the accusation. Trump’s son-in-law is Jewish, and Trump respects him so highly that he made Jared Kushner a senior White House advisor. Trump has also already been dubbed the most Israel-friendly president, something complained about by many of the same people now calling Trump an anti-Semite.

One could say the President’s statement was poorly worded. But you could also say he was being inclusive – and historically accurate. Yes, Jews were the group rounded up in the largest numbers by the Nazis. But Hitler had enough hate to go around to others too. The following facts come from this link:
* Five million of the total 11 million victims were not Jewish. (above link, fact #6)
* About 220,000-500,000 Gypsies (Romanies) were Holocaust victims. (fact #16)
* The disabled, Hitler’s political and religious opponents, Romanies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and homosexuals were targeted by the Nazi regime. (fact #18)
* The first concentration camp was built at Dachau. It first housed Hitler’s political enemies, including politically active Catholics. (fact #30)
* The first Nazi victims killed by gas were 1100 Polish mental patients in Poznan, Poland. (fact #50)
[This article had 91 “facts”. I chose to stop reading after 50 because the information is so disturbing. Feel free to read the other 41.]

An explanation of the outrage over Trump’s relatively benign statement is that the term Holocaust evolved to refer primarily to Jewish victims of Hitler’s regime, as mentioned at JewishVirtualLibrary.org. Further discussion of this can be found in this scholarly paper.

Remembering the slaughter of at least six million Jewish people in the Holocaust is an important lesson against genocide. So is remembering the Gypsies killed by Hitler and the approximately five million Ukrainians murdered by both the Nazis and the Russians during World War II. The Jewish, Christian and Jehovah’s Witness victims of the Nazis remind us of the danger of religious intolerance. The experimentation on and killing of the mentally ill, experiments on twins and sterilization of black children by the Nazis is a call to protect the most vulnerable among us.

Posted by: SWL | January 20, 2017

Pardon for Manning Shameful End to Obama’s Term

Earlier this week, now-former President Obama shortened the 35-year prison sentence Pvt. Bradley/Chelsea Manning received for leaking classified documents to Wiki-Leaks. Because of the pardon, Manning will serve only six years for the traitorous act.

This was not the same thing as Obama reducing hundreds of drug related sentences imposed when laws were more strict. Manning violated Army regulations. He was not even a whistle-blower pointing out government abuses. He facilitated the release of information on Afghans working with the U.S. to fight the Taliban. The Taliban went on a killing spree soon after Wiki-Leaks made the information public. Most experts believe they used the leaked information to target those they saw as enemies.

The Obama administration was extremely vocal about how awful it was for the Russian government to have allegedly hacked the accounts of Democrat Party officials and given the information to Wiki-Leaks. Russia had to be punished with sanctions. But Manning’s leaks likely led to the deaths of many Afghans helping us, and he/she gets a slap on the wrist?

Obama should be ashamed of this action. But, of course, he isn’t. More than anything else he did while in office, this showed his contempt for the American system of laws and justice. Despite Obama’s recent claim that he could have beaten Donald Trump if allowed to run for a third term (Emperor Obama?), the end of his experiment as an American dictator is the best thing to happen in American politics in a decade.

Sun-DevilZane Gonzales, kicker for my alma mater Arizona State, broke the NCAA career field goal record Saturday night in Sun Devil Stadium. Early in the game against the UCLA Bruins, Gonzales tied the record. It seemed likely he would set the new record, as the first half of the game was all about field goals on both sides.

The second half saw more TDs, but Gonzales got his chance and booted a nice 46 yarder cleanly through the uprights.

Gonzales had broken the PAC-12 record the previous week at USC. But I’m sure this was extra sweet being on his home field and with his team winning 23-20 over the Bruins.

Posted by: SWL | September 21, 2016

Clinton Campaign Spent $50 Million in August

Hillary Clinton’s campaign spent $50 million in August. Most of us just gloss over that number because it is so foreign to us. But think about it . . . a five followed by seven zeros . . .

Most retirement experts recommend that a person have a million dollars invested for retirement. In one month Clinton blew through savings that would sustain 50 people for 20-30 years. (And many seniors will not have anywhere near that amount saved.)

Clinton speaks often about caring for children. If elected president, she would have to fight with Congress to get any legislation passed raising spending on children’s programs. She probably could have done more good just donating $50 million to a children’s charity, or the state foster care system in her adopted state of New York.

The money spent in presidential and congressional races is a shameful waste. (That does not mean I would favor government funding campaigns and banning private donations. That would be a waste of citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars. And, like most government programs, would surely be full of waste and fraud.) We need to make the campaign season shorter by law to start, and limit all lobbyist donations while a candidate is in office. Campaign financing reform would be more complicated; some suggestions in the past have trampled on individual citizens’ ability to contribute – a form of free speech. But something needs to be done to funnel these funds to areas our society needs more.

Posted by: SWL | August 29, 2016

Kaepernick Has Right to Sit During US Anthem

I’ve been a fan of Colin Kaepernick since he quarterbacked the team at the University of Nevada in nearby Reno. I do not agree with his decision to sit during the “Star-Spangled Banner” but I support his right to do so. It’s also likely that I won’t wear my Forty-Niners/Kaepernick jersey this season, but more from fear of backlash from fans that are angry with him, than any protest of my own against him.

Kaep has legitimate concerns about our country, but I think he is wrong to say that the problems permeate the entire nation. There are many locations where people of different races get along well. There will always be trouble in spots – not just with racism, but with wealth inequality (which is not limited to a racial divide), religion and social issues. Kaepernick said he’s waiting for things to get better; he may be sitting his entire life.

I also question whether he really understands everything he speaks about. He was adopted by white parents, living in their world. He could afford the college education that propelled him into a million-dollar sports job.

I’ve heard some criticism that he hasn’t spoken before about social issues, so this is a stunt. Phooey! For everyone that works for justice, there has to be a first step. Maybe this is Kaep’s. Another criticism is that he doesn’t do volunteer work in the inner city. But Kaep has worked for a number of years with children with heart problems at Camp Taylor in California. He doesn’t have to march with Black Lives Matter to be a caring, giving guy.

I think people ought to lighten up. I have not heard this much uproar when NFL players have been accused of murder or domestic abuse. I am a patriot, an anthem singer, a Pledge of Allegiance reciter. But I am far more concerned about human lives, keeping kids safe, helping those in poverty, etc. People are always more important than symbols.

Posted by: SWL | August 29, 2016

Trump Exploits Any Tragedy

Today, Hillary Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, announced she is leaving her husband, former NY politician Anthony Weiner. Apparently Weiner has been caught – again! – sexting with some young woman. Can we just have some sympathy for a woman whose life has to be exposed publicly and leave her in peace? It’s difficult enough to go through a divorce when you are relatively anonymous.

But presidential candidate Donald Trump had to compound Abedin’s misery by Tweeting about the situation. What I found most disturbing was that Trump said there was grave risk that Weiner had access to classified US information. Trump linked that to Clinton’s judgement, but it really is an insult to Abedin. Many people in government service have access to state secrets, but do not blab them to a spouse or lover. If there is no hint of proof that Abedin did this, Trump should keep silent. The man has no tact!

Posted by: SWL | July 11, 2016

Kellogg’s Makes Sugary Cereal Even Sweeter

The Kellogg’s company claims many of their treats and cereals are healthy choices: Special K cereals and snacks, and Nutri-grain bars’ 8 grams of whole grain, for example. When they add chocolate to Special K and the bars have 12-15 grams of sugar per bar, I might dispute their claim. But let’s ignore that for now.

Far more irresponsible (insane?) is their new Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows. Yes, they took an already sweetened cereal and added an item that is almost completely sugar or corn syrup. What are they thinking???!!!

There is an epidemic of obesity among children in the US, something that has occurred in the past 10-20 years. Of course, it’s fueled as much by kid’s choices to sit in front of a computer, tablet a or phone playing games or chatting with friends as by food choices. But foods have also become sweeter in recent decades. A serving of JIF peanut butter has 3 grams of sugar – so does a serving of Campbell’s cream of broccoli soup. The more I learn about healthy eating, the more I believe that sugars are more of a problem than fats.

Hidden sugars are bad. Busy parents that think they are purchasing decent food for their families contribute to health problems without knowing it.

But Kellogg’s new Frosted Flakes with Marshmallows is not much better. Recently they’ve advertised about lowering sugar content 20-30% in some cereals, they market their so-called healthier products extensively and provide recipes made with their cereals or crackers and healthy items such as fruit. They also own MorningStar Farms vegetarian foods. So why do something as bad for consumers as adding an additional 2 grams of sugar/serving to a cereal that already has 10 grams? The marshmallows do not change the flavor profile; marshmallows taste about the same as the sugar already coating the flakes. Absolutely irresponsible!

Personally I like plain corn flakes (Kellogg’s has only 3 grams sugar/serving), crisp rice cereal and shredded wheat (0 grams sugar – unfrosted). Unfortunately kids (even my grandson who generally loves healthy foods) want a little sweetness in their cereal. But there are plenty of healthier cereal options with 6-8 grams of sugar per serving.

If you want to comment to Kellogg’s about this cereal go to their website’s contact page.

Posted by: SWL | July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

I just finished watching the local 20 minute fireworks show from my front porch. Similar fireworks displays are popping all over the US this Independence Day.

There are food and games at our park during the day, and many families stay until the fireworks are over. My spouse and I used to take our daughters when they were young and go with our grandson when he visits in the summer. But with a great view from our front yard, we often just relax and enjoy the fireworks without the crowds.

There are so many options for enjoying the celebration of our nation’s freedom.

I hope that as families have fun this July 4th, they also remember (and teach the children) the sacrifices many made to gain that freedom. For the Founding Fathers (and mothers) the fight to escape taxation without representation (and many other problems) was not fun. Everything we enjoy in the present age is available because of their efforts.

I thank God for those patriots and for those who have fought over the decades to keep our freedoms. May God continue to bless the United States!

I was saddened by today’s Supreme Court ruling that struck down Texas state provisions requiring abortion clinics to meet the same standards as other surgical centers and their doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals in case of emergencies. It was a win for abortionists like Kermit Gosnell, whose clinic was closed down because of unsanitary conditions (to put it nicely), but who made millions of dollars over the many years without inspections. Abortion is an invasive procedure, requiring sanitary conditions and instruments. Any reputable doctor should not mind surgical center standards.

Except for politics (millions in campaign contributions from Planned Parenthood to sympathetic politicians), I do not understand why abortions are treated differently from other medical procedures. Do doctors and politicians have contempt for desperate women seeking to get rid of a problem pregnancy? Do they think these mothers (yes, if they are pregnant, they are a mother) are not worthy of the same clean, well-staffed facilities as someone getting a tummy-tuck or dental work?

If there is a right to have an abortion, it should include the right to have it be safe. Those with financial interests in abortion have used the “rights” argument to obstruct common sense regulations whose implementation might take a bit of their profits. They are exploiting the vulnerability of women with unplanned pregnancies. This is not a conservative or liberal issue; it is an issue of keeping women healthy – and sometimes alive. Just ask the relatives of the women who died after visiting Gosnell’s clinic.

The US Department of Justice has decided to make individuals in the criminal justice system feel better by not using the words “felon” or “convict”. The DOJ finds these terms, used for decades, to be “disparaging”. Replacement language will include “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated”. (Read the full story here.)

DOJ needs to consider history and English before making these crazy pronouncements. “Convict” comes from “person convicted of a crime”, “felon” from “person convicted of a felony crime”. So DOJ’s new “person who committed a crime” will just get shortened back to “criminal” which I doubt fits their new sensitive perspective.

The rational for this change is to make prisoners feel they can make positive changes in their lives. I appreciate the idea of trying to get those who break the law successfully integrated back into a law-abiding lifestyle after they serve their sentences. While labels do have an effect on people, there are many other more powerful forces working against those leaving prison or jail. The new labels likely will not make a former prisoner feel better about themselves, and certainly will not make businesses cease to worry about possible complications of hiring an “individual who was incarcerated”.

I sincerely hope no taxpayer money is spent reprinting DOJ documents to change these phrases.

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