Take Action

Feeling down about Todd Gurley’s suspension? Want to take action that won’t land you in jail? Feeling helpless to have an impact on the situation? Fed up with the treatment of student-athletes in general?

Focus your attention on the NCAA. This organization creates the rules that govern college athlete’s behavior.

It would be easy to focus attention on the opportunist who now claims to have paid Gurley. He’s not the only problem. Looking at the bigger picture, the NCAA rules create opportunities for vultures to swoop in to exploit these young people.

Let the NCAA know how you feel. You, as the patrons of their service, have power. How do you get a multimillion dollar non-profit organization to change policy? Many, many patrons have to voice their opinions and make the organization listen. Congress and the President have no direct authority over this organization. The public as a whole can create change.

While I was unable to locate an email address, the contact information on their website includes phone numbers. Tell the NCAA what you think about destroying a player’s chances at a Heisman Trophy over $400. Tell them what you think about a corporation profiting off the hard work and talent of collegiate athletes without compensating those individuals for it at a fair market rate. How do we know the market? Look at the fees paid by television for the rights. Look at the salaries.

Unknown If you believe it’s time for the NCAA to change the illogical policy preventing college athletes from receiving compensation for hard work, direct your attention to the organization that makes the rules, the organization that creates policies that cause college athletic departments to protect the team over the individual, the draconian organization that strikes fear into the hearts of college sports fans. Do you want to fight the arbitrary suspension of student athletes at the most inopportune time? Go to the organization called the NCAA.

Contacting The NCAA

National Office

The National Collegiate Athletic Association
700 W. Washington Street
P.O. Box 6222
Indianapolis, Indiana 46206-6222
Phone: 317/917-6222
Fax: 317/917-6888

Eligibility Center

For students and parents with eligibility questions:

NCAA Eligibility Center
877/262-1492 (toll free)

NCAA President Mark Emmert reportedly earned $1.7 million during 2012-2013. Todd Gurley at this point is alleged to have taken $400. (That’s not been proven but for comparison sake.)

Call on your friends-even the fans of rival teams. Gurley is just latest to fall victim to this injustice. All of college sports fans should be invested in the proposition that athletes should be fairly compensated. Make the call. Write a letter. Track down an email. Stop complaining and start doing!


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Asking the Better Question

In the last few months, I’ve lost 14 pounds. Many people have asked how. The how is easy to answer.

There’s an app. Keeps track of my calories, when I enter them. Gives me credit for the exercise I do. The how is what everyone tells you reduce calories, eat better, move more.

For me there are better questions, how did you sustain weight loss? What keeps you motivated?

For years, I’ve pushed hard, exercised to excess, tried vegetarian, then I would get a sinus infection or a cold or something would interfere and get me off track.

What’s the difference today, this time?

The bigger picture is different.

I discovered something, I can be happy. I’ve been happy. Happy is movement. Happy is enjoying the moment. Truly being present.

Happy might be transitory. For me, there will be days that I eat more calories than I’m allotted. Days when I don’t want to exercise.

For almost three months now I’ve managed the good days and the bad days. The feeling of exhaustion when I’ve driven too much or too far. The days when I’m emotionally drained from work.

I remember that I can be happy. Not for someone else. Not based on some else’s presence or absence.

I can feel happy and content.

I acknowledge that other people’s choices are not my own. My job is stressful. My brain can shift from being present for other people’s problems to being present for my life. A life outside of clients’ problems. A life that is my own.

The answer to the question: “how have I lost weight?” is this. I discovered that I feel better. And a means to get there. I accept that I can change. I make a decision every day to take steps toward happy.

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Yes, Really, Ice Shutdown Georgia. Why?

To my friends who don’t understand Georgia and ice shutdowns, here’s an explanation. For the decades that I remember, weather forecasters, who I refer to as weather psychics, flip out, or as some might say, “nut up,” when there is any possibility that water might fall from the sky while the air temperature is below freezing. The sensational manner in which the media present these possibilities (apocalyptic graphics and music) has created in essence the effect of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” (see Aesop).

In practical terms this is what happens. Sunday and Monday temperatures were in the 60s. Forecasts for Tuesday, reported a high of just above freezing. Yesterday, I walked to the courthouse, five blocks from my office around noon in Athens. Light snow fell and didn’t make it to the ground but the temperature was above freezing. In the next two hours, the snow became heavy hitting the street and melting. This water didn’t evaporate. As the temperature dropped, the watern to freeze. Two hours later, snow piled up in trees and on cars. As the temperature dropped, the water began to freeze, create a layer of ice which covered with snow became deceptively pretty. Even experienced Northerners who can drive through snow have trouble with hidden ice.

Businesses, which are skeptical of weather forecasts, and schools, which already closed one day due to bitter cold, have difficulty justifying closing, losing business or school days with the potential for embarrassment when, as often happens, there’s no snow.

Yesterday, the delay in decision making created what one can only hope is significant embarrassment for government and business. We’ll have to see what our fair governor has to say. What is for sure? National coverage, horrible traffic photos, people sleeping cars, being taken in by strangers, big box stores providing shelter-none of that looks promising to businesses planning to relocate. Children stuck at schools without their parents, parents unable to even locate children because schools don’t know where the children are.

Yes, there are many stories of wonderful people taking care of their neighbors and strangers and that is heartwarming. Those doing the cost/benefit analysis, however, should realize that having employees and children and pregnant women stuck on interstates and roads is bad advertising for the entire state of Georgia. The longer term impact of this snow-generated gridlock will outweigh any productivity that might have been squeezed out of people in the hour or two when they should have been headed home.

Delay by employers and schools created a situation in which people ands school buses were REQUIRED to drive on icy roads. The amount of people didn’t create this situation, the decisions of those in control of employees and students did.

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The Real Problem

Several versions of the story of college students arrested buying water circulated through Facebook and the internet this week. Something about this story troubled me. Several things actually.

The primary issue stewing in the back of mind: what if they had been black men who were high school dropouts? Would they still be sitting in jail? Would the public defender have been able to obtain such a positive outcome? Would the prosecutor believe the account of seemingly innocent men purchasing water, approached by plainclothes officers in an illegal detention?

My cynical lawyer mind answers no.

The initial internal review by Virginia ABC indicates their officers did nothing wrong. Really, then why were they trying to detain citizens who purchased water? What “intelligence” or “information” led them suspect such illicit and criminal behavior? Are these officers too ignorant to know that the purchase made included water? Six officers, guns drawn for a suspected underage alcohol purchase?

In our society, we are taught to respect the police. Sometimes, their zeal to arrest even for the most minor, and arguably stupid laws, creates danger for themselves and for the public. This reliance of law enforcement creates a false sense of confidence in the word of law enforcement. In many instances this reliance is well founded. 

Some officers, however, rely on this credibility to cut corners, abuse rights because “you might beat the charge, but you can’t beat the ride.” This attitude creates criminals and criminal histories for people who behaved in a lawful manner but somehow became caught up in the net of an investigation or maybe offended law enforcement.

Should we be skeptical in the Virginia case? Clearly the prosecutor was skeptical. We should however listen carefully to everyone not just those people who look innocent from the outside. Every person is innocent until proven guilty. Not just the ones who have spotless records.

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Why not a different approach?

Just read an article on 19 year old Justin Carter. Carter is being held on a half million dollar bond for essentially making a terroristic threat over the internet. The threat, not one to be taken lightly, was purportedly made following the end of an aggressive video game playing session. This young man has been held in jail since February, 2013. He’s been the subject of beatings and abuse by other inmates.

Here’s my question: In the face of research that indicates the human brain isn’t fully formed until the age of 25 or 26, couldn’t we find some other way to deal with Mr. Carter pretrial? Perhaps some psychological evaluations and treatment. Perhaps looking at whether he fits the psychological profile of someone who would shoot up a school. Determine whether he’s a hot-headed kid who needs treatment to manage his anger or impulse control.

Could the justice system find a way to sort through the threats to society rather than locking up everyone for indeterminate periods of time?

Wouldn’t it be cheaper in the long run to help the folks who can be helped instead of paying to house them and provide medical treatment for them? The current system perpetuates a cycle for those who could be helped but cannot access treatment from incarceration.

Will a jury even find him guilty?

The system needs to change.

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Why Shakespeare? (No, it’s not an assignment. It’s fun.)

Recently, I implored (and will continue to remind) my friends to attend “Measure for Measure” as performed and interpreted by the North Fulton Drama Club. After attending last night’s performance for myself, I began to wonder what compels me to promote this show.

I discovered Shakespeare, really discovered the draw and awe of Shakespeare, while attending a performance at the Royal Shakespeare Company’s The Swan Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon in February, 2012. The ticket to the show was part of U.K. travel package organized by a now friend and formerly my high school English teacher. She selected a performance of “Measure for Measure” as well. The play leapt off the page and into my face, my consciousness in a manner which I never encountered reading Shakespeare and watching movie adaptations of Shakespeare plays.

Certainly, Karen Ferrell-White (formerly know as Karen Strickland) took great pains to describe in High School Senior English Lit what an actual experience of a live production of Shakespeare. She always said that you must see it truly understand. I enjoyed reading “MacBeth” and “Hamlet.” Viewing the film adaptation of “Much Ado About Nothing” provided me with greater understanding of the comedies. I always imagined though that the men in tights and Elizabethan collars would be off-putting

As I watched these wonderful characters in this theatre present these magnificent ideas in Elizabethan English, costumes updated to be more contemporary (not a stiff collar among them), the draw of Shakespeare crystalized. Some of the players interacted with the audience, drawing me in and holding my attention. My role was not that of a mere spectator but participant in the mysterious machinations afoot to resolve the cruel injustice seemingly about to take place.

Shakespeare’s plays then reach far beyond the words on the page. Anyone who even slightly enjoyed the ideas contained within Shakespeare should witness and participate in a live performance. During intermission of that RSC performance, I sought out Karen Ferrell-White, trip organizer. I had to tell her. I get it. It all makes sense now. I was overwhelmed.

The North Fulton Drama Club interpretation of “Measure for Measure” finds Shakespeare’s cast in Prohibition Era America. The most striking aspect of this play? Realizing the transcendent nature of the ideas and issues of Shakespeare’s time. The play explores the meting out of justice with fairness and equity, how personal impulses influence choices made by those who govern, and the struggle to find a just resolution.

Please, attend this show before the run concludes. Rarely does a group perform this particular play. Explore the important ideas, experience WHY Shakespeare continues to be a critical part of education, but most importantly, have fun.

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Interesting News of the Day

Are stock analysts better or worse than weather forecasters? This New York Times article discusses the seeming herd mentality of those advising us on what to buy and what to sell in the stock market. As I read the article, I thought of snow predictions based on “science” and the predictive models. Are stock market analysts any more accurate or reliable?

Passing notes, digitally? App for messages that have a short-life span. Interesting concept.

Organization Apps. Sure I could probably some help with organization. Here’s an article from PBS reviewing apps on organization. Just need to find the time to read it.

Food Traditions of the Chinese New Year. Today is the eve of Chinese New Year for those who celebrate. NPR educates us about the foods of the Chinese New Year tradition.

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