Archive for the ‘Social Commentary’ Category

50 Years…Wow!

November 26th, 1964-November 26, 2014.   Those dates are my parents’  wedding anniversary and a couple weeks ago, just a few days after Thanksgiving, our family, my brother and his family, relatives, and friends of my parents,  all gathered to help them celebrate this momentous occasion.

I told a few friends after we got back to Rolla from OH that we  not only celebrated Thanksgiving  but that we also celebrated my parents 50th Wedding Anniversary and without fail, all said the same thing: “Oh that’s so wonderful! That is really an achievement as so few marriages seem to be able to go the distance,” phrases like that.  Believe me, I am very grateful that my parents’ marriage has been able to go the distance.

Back in the 60’s, my parents were high school sweethearts.  Dad went to tiny Oakwood high school, near Paulding, OH.  All the grades, K-12, in one building.  (In fact, Oakwood Schools doesn’t even exist anymore as I believe it was eventually absorbed by Paulding’s School District.)  Mom went to Defiance High School, the bigger school, due to Defiance being the county seat and all that that means.  If a Junior Achievement assignment hadn’t been given for my mom and her club members to take turns selling cheese balls at the Chief Supermarket where my dad worked first as a bag boy then in the Produce Dept., they may not have ever met!

During the anniversary party, each guest was asked to stand and say how they knew my parents.  One anecdote that  I enjoyed was from one of my mom’s younger cousins.  He was an elementary aged boy when my parents were dating and he fondly remembered my dad being the “cool” boyfriend who on the 4th of July showed up at my grandparents’  home with tons of neat fireworks that they all got to set off later that day.  It’s kind of weird, and funny and sweet, all at the same time to hear one’s dad referred to as “cool”!!

My mom had told me the day before their party that she wanted me to say a few words.  I groaned a bit at this, but told her I would.  This led me to a search back at the hotel, on my laptop, for famous quotes about marriage.  Some quotes weren’t very optimistic.  Take this sad one attributed to President Abraham Lincoln: “Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is purgatory.”  Historians have theorized about the mercurial Mrs. Mary Todd Lincoln and her husband, Abraham.  If he really uttered this quote, I’d guess it was made after a bad argument between the two Lincolns.  Then I read a sweeter one attibuted to Winston Churchill: “My most brilliant achievement was my ability to persuade my wife to marry me.”  When one considers Churchill’s place in history, I think it makes him all the more human to state that getting a woman to fall in love with him and marry him as his best achievement.  American poet Ogden Nash wrote a clever quip about marriage and I did use that in my bit of speaking at the party: “To keep your marriage brimming, With love in the loving cup, Whenever you’re wrong, admit it; Whenever you’re right, shut up!”  To Mr. Nash’s credit, he was married to his wife until he passed away in 1971, so I think he probably heeded his pithy advice!

I couldn't locate a photo of Ogden Nash with his wife, so this will have to show his dilemma at being on the 1950s tv show Masquerade with actress, Dagmar! I think he hoped Mrs. Nash wasn't tuning in!

I couldn’t locate a photo of Ogden Nash with his wife, so this will have to show his dilemma at being on the 1950s tv show Masquerade with actress, Dagmar! I think he hoped Mrs. Nash wasn’t tuning in!

Winston Churchill and his wife, Clemmie.  They look like a fun couple!!

Winston Churchill and his wife, Clemmie. They look like a fun couple!!

The Lincolns

I lastly shared a passage from the bible, Corinthians 13, often called the love passage as it is read aloud at so many wedding ceremonies.  I didn’t quote it verbatim, but gave it my own paraphrase: “…love is patient and kind.  It doesn’t envy, boast, nor is it prideful.  It doesn’t dishonor anyone, it’s not selfish, it’s not easily angered, and it doesn’t keep track of wrongs.  Love doesn’t delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth.  It always protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres; it never fails…”  I tried to continue speaking, but too choked up to continue, so I merely gave my parents a thumbs up, ala Happy Days and Fonzi, and the audience was kind, clapping anyway.  If I hadn’t gotten choked up I would have finished my little speech, to affirm aloud to my parents how grateful my brother and I were, and still are, that they are still married to one another.  That through good times, through hard times, through sickness and health, they illustrated to us the kind of love that Paul wrote about in his Letter to the Corinthians.  I would then have ended with this: “May God continue to bless you both as you continue on your way journeying through life together.”  Happy 50th Anniversary, Mom and Dad!!  Love you so very much!!!!

Did the President Really Disrespect Stay-At-Home-Moms?

On October 31, 2014, President Obama spoke at Rhode Island College, in Providence, RI.  He was speaking on the topic of Women and the US Economy.  As I was perusing facebook later that same day, several well-meaning friends had put up links from news outlets about the President’s speech.  Most of the news outlets were all touting the same comment, that the President had shown disrespect to stay-at-home moms(sahms).  I was taken aback by this bit of news.  I am and have been a sahm for 23 years now.  I was taken aback because I thought to myself, would the President really say something so disrespectful to a group of women, that has grown to 29% of all women with children 18 and under(Pew Report)?

President Obama speaking at Rhode Island College, Providence, RI on October 31, 2014.

President Obama speaking at Rhode Island College, Providence, RI on October 31, 2014.

I am a conservative voter, thinker, and I follow politics.  I read various news sources each day, watch the news, and while not agreeing with much of President Obama’s political ideologies and policies, I had my doubts that he had really disrespected sahms.   I decided to do a bit of investigative research on what he actually said in his speech on October 31st.

What I found out was that the President was talking about the fact that Rhode Island has a paid family leave as a state law and he wished more states had such a law; 2 other states besides RI have such a law on their books.  The President cited examples of women who can’t take much time off from their jobs for a proper maternity leave, or take time off if they need to care for a seriously ill loved one.  He cited examples of women who do take that  time away to provide care for loved ones, and when they take that leave, they  risk losing their pay or their positions  in their careers.  He went on to state that sometimes families can’t find affordable and/or quality childcare or preschools, so a parent gives up their career to be with the kids when they’re small, and that that can negatively affect a family’s economic level.  He didn’t slam sahms from what I deciphered from his speech.   Here are the remarks he made if you want to read it for yourself.

As to his view of having paid leave for all who need to take leave from a career or job for personal reasons, I have to ask, who will pay for this leave in dollars and cents?  Where will the company find the money to do this?  If a state makes it mandatory, does this apply to all places of employment or just to large companies with deep pockets?  Will this apply to those working minimum wage jobs?  I can’t foresee that many businesses who have minimum wage employees can afford to provide  a paid leave for those employees.  Also, what is an affordable daycare?  What comprises a good daycare and who monitors that?  Let’s mandate  free, quality  Preschools?  To get the free preschools,  that would force the local public schools to add them to their school districts, but then again, that will cost rises in school tax levies which would then be  put onto the school districts’  taxpayers, so saying it’s free isn’t really the truth.  The President may wish the federal government can step in and create full-paid leave for those who have to leave a job for a while and/or fabulous daycares and preschools that are economically priced and convenient to where a family lives, but there is a whole host of unintended consequences that would result from such sweeping legislation.

When my husband and I began our family 23 years ago, we knew that I wanted to stop my teaching career to be a sahm.  I have never regretted my decision to put my career on hold.  As our youngest will turn 12 in 2015, I am gearing up for a return to teaching, whether as a full time teacher in the classroom or as a full-time sub, I have some flexibility in what I choose to do.

Life is hard and it’s not fair.  Life doesn’t always flow like a Happily-Ever-After fairytale ending.  Loved ones get terribly sick and need care.   Babies are born and need care.   Sometimes those life events throw huge monkey wrenches into our lives and the routine of living has to be put on hold for a while or for an entire season of life and those events have to be dealt with, they have to be endured.  When the event is over or has moved to a new stage, then that career and the old ways of living may be returned to.

I suggest, Mr. President, that you leave it up to the individuals and their families how best to deal with those monkey wrenches.

I would suggest different speeches, instead of focusing on women and the economy, how about ways to make the economy better for all working Americans?  Since this speech was made in late October, my cynical self thinks  it was scheduled  to aim a speech at women, in a hope to boost the vote for Democrats in the mid-term elections that were approaching, since the Republicans are supposedly “at war” with women.  Rhode Island, situated on the East coast, isn’t a hotbed of conservative voters, either, so that was  a safer  place to make a speech to appeal to liberal sensibilities.

If you want to help the economy for women, Mr. President,  lower the tax rates, change the way that the federal tax code  penalizes married women vs women co-habitating with a man.  How about  finding  ways to have  colleges  stop hiking up their tuition rates that force some college students to head into onerous debt just in order  to earn their degrees?

No, I don’t see the President’s speech as a disrespectful rant at stay-at-home-moms.  I see the speech bringing up some valid concerns that all Americans will eventually face, from time to time and I see it as difficulties Americans can deal with on their own without more intrusive laws from a federal government that just wants to “help” people.  I’ll end with a famous quote and warning from the late economist Milton Friedman: “Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program.”  Also, this quote by Mr. Friedman, which I think proponents of government intervention for every problem under the sun should memorize: ” One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.”

Health Insurance: Past and Present Day

I like to watch an old television show, The Fugitive, via Youtube.   The television show ran on ABC from 1963-1967.  The show’s  plot was really a borrowing  from the  classic novel, Les Miserables, by French writer Victor Hugo.  The plot:  a man convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, having escaped from a trip to the death house, trying to find the man he suspects really murdered his wife, all the while dodging in and out of the shadows to avoid the relentless police lieutenant pursuing him to bring him back to face his punishment.   I’ve been enjoying the well-written show, with interesting storylines, plus seeing the work of some  famous actors and actresses of today who guest starred, when they were young, starving artists, so to speak.

The Fugitive

A recent episode  got me to pondering about health care and health insurance in the US.    The show’s protagonist, Dr. Richard Kimble(David Janssen) was  working for a wealthy family, under an alias; as their estate’s new gardener/caretaker.  The family’s son, age 9, was walking on top of a high garden wall, despite being told not to walk on it, and he fell to the sidewalk, hurting his arm.  Kimble  knew  the boy needed medical help.  He convinced the boy’s mother, and they  drove  the boy  to the family’s doctor.  I sat incredulously watching as Kimble carried  the boy with  the boy’s mother right behind him into the clinic.  They  walked  to the  receptionist’s desk and told her  that the child had injured his arm and  needed an x-ray.  Then they   just kept on walking  back to the examining rooms where the doctor was!  Not one peep from the receptionist about insurance, no forms to fill out, nothing!  The added kicker, for me, was  when the doctor announced that after the x-rays were negative for a broken bone, he felt the child needed some extra care at the hospital for the injured arm and he said he’d drive the child there himself!!!  No ambulance called for transport, the doctor did the driving!

When did housecalls go the way of the dinosaur and why?

When did housecalls go the way of the dinosaur and why?

When was the last time your doctor offered to drive you to the hospital?  When have you ever been able to walk right in to the doctor’s office, be seen immediately, and not have to produce insurance information, pay a co-pay upfront, and not have forms to fill out or update?   This depiction of healthcare in the U.S. from The Fugitive, circa 1963, led me to wonder when did health insurance arrive in the US, and what has it’s impact been on those who provide health care services?

From what I’ve read, health insurance as we know it, didn’t really exist in the same format when it began in 1850.  Prior to 1850, people who needed a doctor’s services paid the costs out of their own pockets.  In Massachussetts, the Franklin Health Assurance Company, which began operating  in 1850, offered  Accident insurance to employees who worked for the railroads and steamboats.  The idea caught on and by 1866, there were 60 different organizations offering Accident insurance in the US.   Jumping forward to 1911, the first employer-sponsored disability policy was issued, but only for covering lost wages due to sickness causing an employee being unable to work.  This plan didn’t cover medical costs.

In the 1920s, some hospitals began to offer pre-paid  services to their patients.  That led to the creation of the Blue Cross companies in the 1930s.    Teachers in Dallas, TX successfully created the first employer-sponsored health care plan which only covered the member teachers’ medical expenses and only at one specific hospital.

medical prac. cartoon

Jumping to the 1940s and WWII, the government had put into place price and wage controls: workers were fewer, demand for products was high, and this caused a very tight labor market.  To appease the workers with no wage increases happening, many manufacturers began offering benefits-health care, especially, since the War Labor Board had decided that benefits to employees wouldn’t contribute to a wage increase.   President Truman wanted to pass public health insurance, a program that would be open to all who wanted to participate in it, but participation would be optional, not mandated or forced.  His plan was shot down by the Chamber of Commerce, the American Hospital Association, and the American Medical Association.  Labor Unions had liked Truman’s plan but decided to put all of their might behind employer-offered health insurance and by 1958, 75% of Americans had some form of health insurance.

In 1965, President Johnson signed into law Medicare and Medicaid, government run health insurance for the elderly and the poor and in 2010 the Affordable Care Act(Obamacare) was signed into law.

2010-President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act bill into law.

2010-President Obama signing the Affordable Care Act bill into law.

1965-President Johnson signing the Medicare bill into law as President Truman looks on.

1965-President Johnson signing the Medicare bill into law as President Truman looks on.

So that’s the history of health insurance in the US, but has it always been a boon for the health care providers?   I was at a Candidate’s Forum Monday night, in Rolla, to listen to the various Judges present themselves to we, the voters, for the upcoming election.  I also heard the two candidates speak, who are running for the Clerk of Courts office.  One of those candidates is a doctor and something she said I thought was very true, and very telling. She said that as much as she has loved being a doctor, she went into medicine to serve others, to help others, and increasingly in the medical profession, she has seen that old saying come true, He who pays the Piper calls the tune.  In her meaning, since the Federal Government is increasingly paying the doctors, the hospitals, and in turn through the hospitals, the nurses and other employees, the Federal Government can increasingly dictate to all in the medical field how everything should be run, and should be done.

Health care in the US still is fraught with problems and perhaps, sometime in the future, common sense methods can be used to take away or create better solutions to  some of those problems.  Gone are the days of health care as it was   depicted in that 1963 The Fugitive episode, but ease in obtaining affordable health  insurance,  ease in seeing a doctor that one has  chosen, is that too  much to ask for  and hope for?

Information for this blog was found through  the following:

“How did America end up with this health care system?”, Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 27, 2014.

Wikipedia

 

What the Referee’s Wife Saw and Heard

My husband is a high school  football referee.  The  high school football season in Missouri  is winding down and play-off games begin in earnest this coming Friday, which will ultimately lead to the  teams that  will play in the state championships held in the Edward Jones Dome in  St. Louis in late November.   referee whistle

Usually, I attend the home football games for Rolla High’s Bulldogs  as child #4 marches in the band(they’re an awesome band, by the way) and child #5 sings in the choir which traditionally sings the National Anthem before the home football games begin.  Husband   travels on his Fridays, in the  late afternoons,  to towns I’ve never heard of in order to referee  high school football games.   He does get paid for performing  referee duties, which is a nice perk of the hobby.  He is also evaluated during a game by an assessor who will meet with him after a game to point out what he did well and what areas he needs to work on.  Did you know that, about referee assessors?  Now you do!

Referees standing at attention during the National Anthem.

Referees standing at attention during the National Anthem.

This past Friday, Rolla’s game was out of town so I decided to go with my husband to Hermann, Missouri to watch him in action.  He was to referee the game between the Hermann Bearcats(what is a bearcat anyhow?  I don’t think one really exists in Nature!) and the Union Wildcats.    Hermann is a quaint town, sitting high up on the banks of the Missouri River.  It was founded in the 1830s  by the Deutsch Ansiedlungs-Gesellschaft zu Pennsylvania (that mouthful translates to German Settlement Society of Pennsylvania!) Germans coming to Hermann had a goal to build a German community with agriculture, industry, and commerce being the three economic areas to keep the new community thriving.  On a mini-tour of Hermann a couple years ago with my parents and oldest daughter, we learned that the German immigrants took note of the hills and the  rocky soils and found it similar to the soils in Germany where vineyards thrive and so, with ingenuity and hard work, the new immigrants planted vineyards for their own families and the Missouri wine industry’s seeds were born.  For more about Hermann and visiting this unique town, click on this link.

Hermann, MO nestled by the MIssouri River

Hermann, MO nestled by the MIssouri River

Vineyards in Hermann, MO

Vineyards in Hermann, MO

Hermann MO

.Hermann’s high school is much smaller than Rolla’s. I didn’t realize that until the announcer asked the Senior football players, cheerleaders, band, cross country team members, and softball players to come to the field, and their parents were asked to go to the track.  There were probably 25 Seniors to be honored-a much smaller amount than Rolla had on their Seniors Recognition Night.  Despite being a smaller high school, they had the requisite artificial turf field that seems all the “rage” in high school football, a nice seating area for home and away fans, and a nice concessions kitchen and restrooms facility.  The scoreboard was more high tech than Rolla’s; it was digital and it  put the players’  faces, uniform numbers and  playing  positions up on the screen  when they made a play.   When Hermann scored or got an advantage in the game, their was a “bearcat roar” emanating from that scoreboard!  I think it’d be cool if Rolla got a digital scoreboard, with a bulldog roar in it’s sound system.  I don’t know what a digital  scoreboard costs, but alert the Booster Club!  If the Hermann Bearcats can have one, why not the Rolla Bulldogs??

Hermann Bearcats

As I watched the Seniors step out, one by one to be honored, I noticed that one of the senior cheerleaders walked stiffly to her parents, her arms held bent at a crooked angle, but a broad smile on her face.  Her proud parents hugged her tightly as she reached their arms, and she gladly presented her mom with a small bouquet of roses.  I knew from the girl’s stiff bodily movements that she had Cerebral Palsy.  After the Seniors were honored and the cheerleaders gathered, I noticed that another one of the cheerleaders had Down Syndrome.  I paid attention to this cheerleading squad and those two girls, despite their  disabilities, did well.  They kept up with their squad doing the cheers, they fully participated in all the cheers, even the fancier ones performed at the half-time show.  They were both  lifted up high by their fellow cheerleaders, when the squad formed two towers, lifting each girl up to the top, supporting them with their arms as each girl stood up, smiled, and waved their arms high.  That formation  brought much applause from the audience.  Kudos to the Hermann Cheerleading Squad and its advisor(s) for letting these two young ladies be a part of the squad.  In a society that fixates on the physically beautiful, or handsome, or athletic prowess, it was refreshing and joyful to see these two girls give their all to cheerleading and to be allowed that chance to be a part of a group.  Later on in the game, a group of students in the bleachers decided to do a large group selfie picture and they made sure that those  two girls were in the picture with them.

It's Good!

It’s Good!

Hermann played a valiant game but lost to Union by a close score, 35-32.  As I sat on the Hermann side in my non-Hermann colors(I wore a dark green jacket, which didn’t blend in with Hermann’s royal blue and white  clad fans)I got to hear some annoying shout outs to the referees.  “Put your glasses on!”  “Are you blind?”  There were numerous outcries about supposed facemasks, blocking in the back, passes that were really caught and not dropped.   Those plays happened on the opposite side of the field from the side that the Hermann fans were sitting on, but of course, the very vocal fans saw it all clearly and were convinced that  the refs were blind!  One gentleman, in particular, kept yelling and yelling and yelling his advice.  He’d yell it to the coach, to the refs, and to one player in particular, Cody.  I didn’t know who Cody was.  Maybe the yeller’s son or nephew or stepson or neighbor or godson?   I do know, after telling my husband about the yelled comments during the game, not one of those utterances were heard.  Not by the referees, not by the coaches, and not by the players.  For all you parents out there, sitting in the bleachers watching your kids play football,  your screams and yells aren’t heard!!!  Your yells and screams will not miraculously make a team gel and win the game!  Yell out the chants with the cheerleaders and with the band as they play the school’s fight song, but for those of us sitting in front of you, and for the good of the team you are cheering, stop yelling!  They can’t hear you!!!  Rest your vocal cords, please!

Referees writing in their record notebooks

Referees writing in their record notebooks

Lastly, for those who enjoy bashing the referees at a sporting event, would you be willing to train, take tests, and travel around your state to officiate at sporting events?  Would you be willing to spend money on uniforms and whistles, shoes, hats, and the extra gas for your car?  Would you be willing to walk a mile in a referee’s shoes?  If not, then be glad that their are individuals willing to officiate, willing to work not only high school sporting events but the youth sporting events, too.  Willing to give up time with their families to ensure that a fair as possible sporting event will be held at an area high school or youth sporting field.   If you aren’t willing to be a referee, then keep your criticisms to yourself.  Thank you!

The Hiding Place Banned??

Our local high school sends home a daily email( an email Monday-Friday) which contains the daily announcements from the schools my three teens attend.  Last week, the high school’s library listed  one book each day that had been banned somewhere in the US  to make the students and their families aware of National   Banned Books Week.  One book that the library failed to mention because it just happened, ironically during National Banned Books Week,  was the banning of  The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom.

The Hiding Place

If you’re not familiar with The Hiding Place, it’s the true story of the ten Boom family who lived in Haarlem, a city in The Netherlands.  Corrie’s father, Caspar, ran the family’s watch making and repair business and daughter Corrie was also a watch maker and repairer.  Another daughter, Betsie, took care of the house and did the cooking.  When the Nazi’s marched into The Netherlands in 1940, the ten Booms, who were Dutch Reformed Christians, were horrified at the  news they were hearing about the treatment of Jewish people in their country.  The ten Booms decided that they had to help the Jewish people in their country and so created a “hiding place” in their home where Jewish people could hide before trying to leave the country and escape the wrath of the Nazis.  The Nazis did eventually find out what the ten Boom’s had been doing and they were arrested and placed in various concentration camps before finally arriving at Ravensbruck, one of several notorious concentration camps in Germany.

Throughout Corrie and her sister’s ordeal in the camps, they showed love to their fellow prisoners, read to them from their bible that they managed to smuggle into the prisons with them and it miraculously was never discovered by their guards, and through her sister’s example, Corrie eventually learned to forgive her captors when the war was over.   The book was also made into a movie that starred the late actress Julie Harris as Betsie.

The Superintendent of Springs Charter Schools, in Temecula, CA, Dr. Kathleen Hermsmeyer, insisted that the school district, “does not allow sectarian materials on our state-authorized lending shelves.”    That statement got me to wondering.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was a minister and in several of his famous speeches he mentioned God.  Have his speeches been pulled off of the school’s lending shelves yet?  Those speeches that mention God seem pretty sectarian to me.   What about the Declaration of Independence or The US Constitution?  Those documents mention God, are they still on the shelves at the school’s libraries?

images

Corrie ten Boom passed away in 1983.  Before her death, she was honored by the Yad Vashem memorial in Jerusalem, as a member of “The Righteous Among Nations”.  At a ceremony to honor Corrie and her family’s efforts in helping the Jewish people in The Netherlands during WWII, she planted a tree in honor of her sister, Betsie, who died at Ravensbruck.  If a Jewish organization like Yad Vashem could honor a christian for doing something so kind, helpful, selfless, and honorable for persecuted Jews during WWII, surely a school district in CA could wake up from it’s political correct slumber and put The Hiding Place back on it’s lending shelves.

Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener, who has read The Hiding Place twice gave his opinion on the book being banned, “…in today’s modern culture, selfishness prevails.  Youth show no respect for the elderly.   The ten Boom’s family’s moral conduct is the antidote to the corrupted people in today’s society.”   I hope the Springs Charter Schools in Temecula, CA will restore the banned books, especially The Hiding Place.

KV quote

Credit for information for this blog: The American Conservative: “Corrie ten Boom Deported Again”,  Rod Dreher, Sept. 25th, 2014.

IJReview: “Nazi Death Camp Survivor Responds To California School’s Ban On Popular Holocaust  Book”, Justen Charters, Sept. 29th, 2014.

 

Son’s Introduction to Idiocy 101 at College

Our oldest son decided to serve our country in the Fall of 2009.  After his high school graduation, he was whisked away in early August with other young people who had decided to join the USMC.  After his successful 4 years in the military were finished, he enrolled in college via the Post 911 GI Bill and is now a freshman at Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio.

OU

We skype with him pretty much every Sunday afternoon, an NFL game usually playing in the background.  So far, he’s spent most of his time studying, working part-time at the on campus Veteran’s Affairs office, and hanging out with extended relatives from his Dad’s side of the family.  This past Sunday he asked, “Oh!  Have you heard about the latest scandal at OU’s campus?”  We hadn’t heard about the latest scandal.  Suffice it to say, it was a  “Welcome to Idiocy 101″, college-style, for our son.

Two weeks ago, the president of Ohio University, Dr. Roderick McDavis , issued an ALS ice bucket challenge to the  Student Senate President, Megan Marzec.   Ms. Marzec decided to do a bucket challenge but not for ALS.  She had a video made of her pouring a “blood” bucket over herself while declaring that Ohio University should join a “Boycott Divestment and Sanctions” movement against the nation of  Israel.  Ms. Marzec actually used red-food colored water, not real blood.

In her video, she shared “student” concerns about genocide in Gaza and it’s occupation by the Israeli State.  Then she urged Dr. McDavis and Ohio University to “divest  and cut all ties” with Israeli Academic Institutions and businesses.  She said that the bucket of blood represented thousands of murdered and displaced Palestinians.

Ms. Marzec made her video on September 2nd.  The Student Senate, later that same day, sent out a Tweet via Twitter to apologize for Senate President Marzec’s video, and then another tweet  to state that their goal is to represent all students on campus and their views.   The Wednesday after this video was created and aired, 4 Jewish students decided to speak out at a Student Government meeting  and stage a filibuster,  asking  for Marzec’s resignation from the Student President position.   Marzec asked for student Rebecca Sebo, President of Bobcats for Israel(the Bobcat is the mascot of Ohio University) to stop her filibuster so other students at the meeting could speak in an orderly manner.  Sebo refused to stop and three other members of Bobcats for Israel also began to speak and join the filibuster.  Marzec then warned the 4 protesters that if they didn’t stop they’d be arrested for disrupting the meeting.  University Police were called and they gave the 4 protesters a 2 minute warning to stop their filibuster.  The 4 students refused to stop speaking and were arrested, taken to the campus police station and charged with disruption of a lawful meeting.   On September 12, Hillel International, a nationwide Jewish campus organization, has called upon Ohio University to apologize to the 4 students who were arrested: Rebecca Sebo, Max Peltz, Gabriel Sirkin, and Jonah Yulish.

OU Bobcats

My son’s take on all of this hubbub is that the students who were protesting at the Student Senate meeting shouldn’t have been arrested.  Perhaps they should have followed the protocol that is used when one wants to speak at a Student Government meeting, Roberts Rules of Order, etc.  However, stating their desire to have the Student President resign-that’s an offense where they needed to be arrested?

Ms. Marzec made a major error in her video.  She said she was sharing “student” concerns.  No, she was stating her “own” concerns, and perhaps if she’d made the video stating that it was  her own opinion,  and not say that all 17,000 students held her same views on Israel and Gaza and Palestinians, then perhaps her video blood bucket challenge wouldn’t have been so offensive.

In hindsight, if a University President, in a spirit of goodwill and bonhomie, asks one to participate in an ice water challenge to raise funds for a charity, than wouldn’t it be best for all at said University to honor the President’s request?  The consequences of honoring President McDavis’s original challenge would have been nonexistant.  Student President Marzec showed a lack of common sense in answering a simple request/challenge by turning  a fun way to help a charity into an immature rant that was gross and offensive.

How invested is Ohio University in the nation of Israel?  I don’t know and I don’t care!  If the University was misusing students’ dollars to pay for lavish vacations for professors or for President McDavis, or if there was a major cheating scandal happening at the school, or even bullying going on, or lousy cafeteria food-those are the types of items I would anticipate a Student President and Student Senate to be concerned with, not what is going on in a nation very far away from Athens, Ohio.   Idiocy 101; it happens in real life, and unfortunately, on college campuses.

 

Research for this blog provided by:  “Ohio University divided over Student Senate president’s blood bucket challenge”, by Karen Farkas, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Sept. 16th, 2014.

“Ohio University Asked To Apologize Following Arrest of Pro-Israel Students”, by Stephen Adkins, University Herald, Sept. 15th, 2014.

 

 

 

Ray Rice, the NFL, and My Opinion

My neighbor co-hosts a sports talk show on ESPN”s Mid-Missouri 107.3 FM on Mondays, from 5:00-7:00 pm, Central time.  He and his co-host began their time discussing the latest fracas to come out of the Ray Rice issue and the NFL.  My neighbor was asking for women fans of football to call in and give their opinions.  I was too busy at that moment slaving away in the kitchen making my family’s supper but decided for today’s blog, I would chime in with my two cents about this whole issue.           espn

If you recall or even if you don’t, here’s a recap of all the furor that has erupted.  February 2014, a video was released by celebrity news website TMZ, and  then the national news media, that showed Baltimore Ravens running back, Ray Rice, dragging his unconscious fiancee out of a casino’s elevator.  That video released a deluge of uproar.   Rice was suspended from playing for 2 games by  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.  Rice, and the former fiancee Janay Palmer, now his wife, entered into counseling, and Rice did court-ordered Community Service projects for the city of Baltimore.  All was quiet, Rice apologized for what he did, the team was behind him, the coach was behind him, and even at some of this summer’s public practices, many fans attended who were behind Rice and his return to the Ravens.

Janay and Ray Rice at a Press Conference following the release of the first video.

Janay and Ray Rice at a Press Conference following the release of the first video.

Baltimore Ravens

This past weekend, TMZ released a video that showed Rice punching his fiancee inside of that casino’s elevator, her being knocked off of her feet, hitting the back of her head on a handrail, and hitting the floor, unconscious.  With that now out in the public to view, the NFL Commissioner announced that Ray Rice would be on an indefinite suspension and the Baltimore Ravens cut him from the team.

I don’t support domestic violence, whether it be physical and/or  mental cruelty; men beating their wives or wives beating their husbands. (Hey-that does happen unfortunately.  Check out the 1993 made for tv movie if you don’t believe me!)  My brother was raised that you don’t hit girls.  My husband was raised with that standard, too, and we’ve raised our own 4 sons with that rule.

What Ray Rice did was wrong.  He knows that and so does his wife.  They’ve gone through counseling, and I pray that their marriage can heal despite this incident receiving new attention thanks to TMZ and their need to drag an offense out into the public spotlight.

The NFL, in the past, would issue 1 or 2 game suspensions for players who were proved to have committed domestic violence acts upon their spouses.  If the charges were reduced or dropped, then penalties were reduced or dropped, accordingly.  In August, a new policy was announced by Commissioner Goodell: a 6 game ban, unpaid, for first time offenders.  For second-time offenders, possibly a life-time ban from the NFL.

The NFL saw that first video clip.  What did they think happened in the elevator to result in an unconscious woman being dragged out of it?  One of my son’s, when we discussed it, did say that maybe she had been drunk and passed out and maybe that’s why the NFL gave only a 2 game suspension to Rice.  If she had passed out due to over drinking, surmise it to say that perhaps the video would have shown Rice tenderly carrying his fiancee out of that elevator instead of the dragging method that he used.

I think that the indefinite suspension of Rice is harsh.  If the NFL has this new 6 game ban for first time offenders, than that is the punishment that should have been meted out to Rice.  With what has been now issued to him not only punishes him for perpetuity, it also punishes his family.  Hasn’t his wife been punished enough?  Now the income for her family has been dropped to nil.

People make mistakes and Ray Rice crossed a behavioral line that was a huge mistake.  He committed a crime against a woman that   promised to join him in marriage, and has since married.  He lives with that regret daily, especially with this new video release.  I think Commissioner Goodell should announce the indefinite suspension be for 6 games, and that any team in the NFL who is struggling this early in the season should hire Rice.  Janay Palmer Rice has publicly stated that she has forgiven her husband.  Why can’t the NFL?

Research acknowledgement for today’s blog: Michael Martinez and Priscilla Riojas, CNN, Wed., 9/10/14

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