Category Archives: Opinion

“March Madness” strikes again

It is that time of the year again. It is a month-long event of monstrous proportions. This is one of the few times of the year where the majority of the population turns their televisions to one event. 68 teams, across six different venues and three different time zones, all locked in an epic struggle against one another for glory on the biggest stage in college basketball. I am, of course, referring to March Madness. Even before the selections were announced on Sunday, people across Adrian were scrambling to get into pools for their brackets, some relying on expert’s picks and predictions, some relying on their gut or picking their favorite team that made the tournament. I believe that the Michigan State Spartans stand the best chance to win the title this year.

I know that people will ask why not Louisville, last year’s victor over Michigan. I say Louisville will not repeat because it is not likely that, with the relatively leveled playing field of the tournament, the Cardinals can bust through and win their second straight title. Since 1990, only two teams have ever repeated as champions. Duke did it in 1991 and 1992, and the Gators themselves did it in 2006 and 2007. The odds for the tournament are not in the Cardinals favor, so I give them a very low chance of repeating.

If you are wondering about the Wichita State Shockers, well I’m getting to them. I say they will be a letdown in this tournament, because I have them getting eliminated in the round of 32 by Kentucky. Before you ask, yes, I do know what they pulled off last year, the Cinderella run all the way to the Final Four before being knocked off by Louisville. This time, however, all the big name teams know just what the Shockers are capable of, and will be better prepared to fend off the Wichita State onslaught.

Some may say that I am being harsh, especially those that know that my bracket was torn to shreds by the Shockers run, but last year, once I was out, I actually was rooting them on, so there are no hard feelings. At the most, I see Wichita making it to the Elite Eight before the Duke Blue Devils eliminate them. I say that isn’t likely, due to the fact that, in my bracket, they have to get past Kentucky and Louisville in successive rounds, and that, I think, is just too much to overcome.

Now, finally for my national championship pick. I believe that the Michigan State Spartans stand the best chance to win the title this year. The reason is very simple; most of the nation has counted out the Spartans, due to what appears to be a down year for them. But that is only in appearance. MSU enters the tournament as a #4 seed, which is still excellent. Also, for close to the first time all year, the Spartans have their entire starting five healthy and ready to go. With Coach Izzo at the helm of a fully healthy Spartan lineup, I have State rolling past Delaware, inching out wins over Cincinnati and Virginia, and probably being forced to overtime against Villanova before moving on. From there, they pull off a comeback over the number one team in the nation, the Florida Gators, and defeat the Arizona Wildcats in the National Championship. It was close, but I am predicting a 75-69 victory, giving Coach Izzo his second championship in his tenure at Michigan State.

Time will tell if my picks are right or way off base. All I know is that the emotions of everyone here at Adrian are going to be riding on the talent and lucky of these 68 teams, and, win or lose, I cannot wait to see the results.

MI “Rape Insurance Bill” passes

In December 2013, Michigan’s Legislature approved a bill that prohibits insurers from paying for abortions unless a separate rider is purchased along with insurance. On Thursday, March 13, 2014 this bill went into effect. According to mlive.com, this is a “citizen-initiated” law that is backed by Right to Life of Michigan.  However, this bill never touched Governor Rick Snyder’s desk and never appeared on the statewide ballot for voters in Michigan to vote on.

Last year there was a hearing on this bill in Lansing, opponents of this bill were given time to speak, including Senate Minority Gretchen Whitmer who shared that she was raped 20 years ago and was happy that it did not result in a pregnancy. Even though there were many who spoke in the opposition of this bill, the Republican lead Legislature was still able to pass the bill.

This bill does not allow exceptions for coverage on abortions unless there will be imminent death of the mother. Riders must be purchased on top of insurance coverage in order to prepare for the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy resulting in abortion, deeming it the “rape insurance” bill.
According to msnbc.com, the bill states the following: “Michigan residents who buy private health coverage in the private marketplace after Thursday will not have access to abortion coverage, even if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.”

Although the bill states that one can purchase this abortion coverage add on to health insurance, the state of Michigan not only put a deadline on purchasing these riders, but the coverage is not available in the state to purchase. The bill fails to state that abortion coverage is not in fact available in the state of Michigan. It does not seem fair that a majority, male run government can make health decisions that only affect females.
The Republican Party and Right to Life of Michigan used loopholes in our government to further their agendas, instead of giving the voters in the state of Michigan their right to voting fairly on the issue.

On top of taking away rights for women, the bill was misleading in stating that women could purchase riders on their insurance when in fact those riders are not available in Michigan. Women who are raped or became pregnant due to an incest situation are not even allowed to have abortion coverage, even though those women didn’t have a choice in becoming pregnant. Not only does this bill go against women’s rights, it also didn’t pass in a fair way with holding this topic on statewide ballots or even allow the public the chance to provide alternative solutions or alterations to this bill.
This bill goes against all progress for women’s rights, in Michigan. It not only makes Michigan an undesirable place for women but the manner in which this bill was passed speaks to an unfair legislative system.

Michigan’s female population percentage is 50.9%. Where was the consideration for that majority when legislators decided to pass this bill?

Power struggle involving Russia and United States hurts the Ukraine

Conflict in the Ukraine has been on the rise for a while now. It began after Vladimir Putin became Russia’s president in 2000. Russia’s economy was boosted because of a surge in global energy prices, which prompted Russia to try and slow down Ukraine’s move toward relations with Europe and focus them back to Russia. In 2004 the Orange Revolution occurred which was an uprising in Ukraine against Russia, which prompted the start of the Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych. Although the Ukraine still had an unstable economy, President Yanukovych promised the people a better future. Unfortunately ties with Russia were not completely broken as the Ukraine relied on cheap energy from Russia, as did the rest of Europe. Problems arose even more when President Yanukovych abandoned a trade deal with Europe in November.

Recently Ukrainians forced President Yanukovych out of the country, causing even more of an uproar. The majority of Ukraine, especially the western part of the county, is made up of Ukrainians with a small portion in the east, mainly Crimea, is made up of Russians. The European Union has threatened sanctions against the Ukraine government and President Obama has expressed diplomatic concerns over the issue, but neither is willing to completely fight over Ukraine. Although only a small part of Ukraine is Russian and has Russian ties, that small part has a large pull over Ukraine as a whole, especially over their economy.

This past Thursday, President Obama had a phone conference with Vladimir Putin urging him to pull Russian military out of Crimea and back onto existing bases in Ukraine, according to USA Today. President Obama also proposed international monitors be placed in Ukraine to protect the rights of the people and to stand behind Ukraine holding new government elections in May. According to the USA Today, Vladimir Putin responded by saying that United States and Russian relations shouldn’t suffer because of conflict in Ukraine.

There seems to be a power struggle between President Obama and President Putin over this issue. So far nothing has been resolved, simply empty threats on both sides, long phone calls with no actual plans being made to resolve the issue and arguing differences on how international relations should be handled. It seems that Obama and Putin are too busy having arguments on whose views are correct and who should have control over the conflict in Ukraine as opposed to actually making a plan to help the Ukraine, help protect their people’s rights and help Ukraine set up new elections for their country. Regardless of whom the Ukrainian population is made up of, they still have the right to control their own country and hold their own elections without influences of relations with the rest of the world.

Should scalping be legalized in MI?

We’ve all seen them. And by them I mean scalpers, who park themselves outside of any major event, either buying tickets for cheap prices or selling tickets at ridiculous prices. Not many of us realize that this is illegal, because of the amount of ticket traffic that goes through them. However, that may soon change in Michigan. The Republican-led state House of Representatives for our fair state has approved a bill that would repeal the often-ignored and rarely enforced ban on scalping. If the multitude of entertainment franchises cannot persuade the state Senate to block it, scalping will become legal.

Personally, I really find no problem with scalping, and cannot believe that this is as big of an issue as the media is portraying it to be. Scalpers provide a public service that the ticket offices cannot. They allow people who could not get tickets through conventional means (ticket offices, Ticketmaster, or StubHub), to see some of the best sporting contests and shows. So why scalping was illegal to begin with is beyond me.

This practice benefits our economy, and, because it is so prevalent around major events such as sporting events or concerts, I didn’t even know it was illegal until my father pointed it out to me as we walked into a Detroit Tigers game back in 2006. My uncle has even used one, at a Washington Capitals game three days into 2012, after my dad was sick the day of the game, and my uncle needed to get rid of the ticket to get money back to pay for my mom and myself to get dinner. I don’t know if scalping is illegal in our nation’s capital, but that day, I saw that scalpers, while some may be unscrupulous, do serve an important purpose.

I can understand the entertainment magnates’ so-called reasoning; these icons don’t want this bill to pass because they claim, according to an article in The Detroit News, that it will ultimately hurt the consumers. It shouldn’t though, because these big icons, like Michigan’s four sports teams (Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons, and Lions) and collegiate teams would not suffer enough losses from scalpers going about legal business if the bill passes to raise prices on their fans. But if the prices go up because scalping is legalized, then that is just absolutely insane and, to be frank, stupid.

Most fans would go no matter what the price, but if the prices go up because of this, then I have a statement for the sports teams and stars of this state who want the bill to fail:  I won’t buy your tickets, nor go to your games, because whatever bean-counter said that you are losing enough money from scalpers for it to become enough of a problem to raise ticket prices is a liar, and I would rather spend the evening in a room with my friends having a good time watching the game on the television and save the collective 100 dollars from buying tickets to spend on something nice for them.

Paralympian’s story doesn’t add up

Oscar Pistorius’s murder case from last February the 14th has finally made it to trial. The highly talented Paralympics sprinter is being charged with premeditated murder in the death of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in his home last year, as he thought it was an intruder. Pistorius allegedly shouted at her but she was silent so he started shooting through the locked bathroom door. A neighbor, who was the first one to the scene, claimed he found Pistorius knelt down beside the fatally wounded Steenkamp and said he shot her, as he thought it was a burglar in his home.

Since the trial has started, neighbors have stated that they heard a screaming match going on inside Pistorius’s home that night right before the shooting. According to past girlfriends Oscar carries a gun around with him all the time and has fired it on occasion.

I have a few problems with Pistorius’s story. First of all, the fact that he just fired his gun aimlessly through a bathroom door makes no sense. Also, Steenkamp wouldn’t have just come into Pistorius’s home without saying a word and then proceed to lock herself in the bathroom. Some sort of conversation would have happened, whether it was just a simple hello, which is human nature, when coming into someone else’s home.

My theory is that Pistorius and Steenkamp were fighting that night and she locked herself in the bathroom to get away from a tempered Pistorius and that is when he started firing through the bathroom door. As past girlfriends have indicated, Oscar has shot his gun, at times, when he is heated. For example, the time he shot his gun repeatedly through the sunroof of a car, one afternoon, after a cop had pulled the car over for speeding. Thatscenario proves that he obviously has a past of firing his gun when he has a bit of a temper.

Now, whether he meant to shoot Steenkamp or not, the fact of the matter is that he did. How the jury would ever believe that he thought his girlfriend was an intruder is beyond me but you never know what can happen.

This case reminds me a lot of OJ Simpsons murder trial. A well known, high profile public athlete commits a crime and gets away with it because of who they are. Pistorius should not be held to a higher standard because of his name. He should be treated just as a normal human being would be treated in a murder trial. The fact of the matter is that this young woman was killed and Pistorius was the one with the gun in his hand.

Our View: Obvious political double standard is often overlooked

By now, nearly everyone is familiar with Arizona’s Senate Bill 1062; popularly known as the “Religious Freedom Bill.”  The bill’s intent was to allow business owners to exercise their right to religious freedom.  I admit, I don’t even begin to see the point of such a law, as freedom of religious belief and expression are guaranteed by the Constitution, and there are no laws in the state of Arizona that modify citizens’ First Amendment rights.  The popular opinion on the bill, however, was that it gave business owners license to discriminate against gay customers.  The national outcry against SB 1062 was so forceful that Governor Brewer immediately vetoed it.

Whether the bill should have passed is neither here nor there.  In actual fact, it was so benign as to be pointless.  As a supporter of gay rights, I was completely unoffended by SB 1062.  The general public, however, disagreed.  The bill was perceived to be a hindrance to gay rights, and so the gay community and its supporters were vocally against it.  The majority of the public agreed, and the bill was vetoed because of that.  That is democracy in action, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Now there is another story that needs to be told, one that happened in the next state, and unlike the Arizona SB 1062 debacle, it got almost no press.  New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, an opponent of gay marriage was refused service by a gay hairdresser.  This isn’t particularly surprising.  The gay attitude to such beliefs is understandably not a warm and fuzzy one.  Unfortunately, this highlights something that is present in nearly every debate we hear today: a blatant double standard.  If a straight, Christian hairdresser had refused service to a gay client, there would be national uproar.  We saw it when a baker refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding.  It didn’t end well for the baker. Theoretically, refusing service to someone because of issues with belief should not be allowed.  Unfortunately, that only seems to work half the time.  If people really believed in equal opportunity, the gay hairdresser would have received the same negative media attention as the Christian bakery owner.

This is not a criticism specific to the gay community.  It has been a recurring theme throughout history that it’s perfectly OK to offend (or worse) those who oppose the popular cause of the day.  Political correctness does not eliminate offensive speech or actions; it simply concentrates them.
I believe that history will prove opponents of marriage equality wrong, just as it has proven wrong the opponents of suffrage and civil rights.

Whether they are right or wrong, however, is irrelevant.  I’m glad that gay people are fighting for their rights, but they are fighting for their own rights by ignoring, or even trampling on the rights of others.  This should really be a “live and let live” situation.  For every baker that won’t bake a cake for a gay wedding, there are ten who will.  Not to mention, the baker will be punished for his actions by the business he loses.  In the long run, a few people who peacefully oppose gay marriage will have the same effect on the gay community that marriage equality will have on the straight community: none whatsoever.

Our View: Tragedy does not define us

The Texas explosion, which happened only days after the Boston bombing tragedy, left 14 dead and several injured. Normally, this tragedy would leave our country distraught and in mourning. However, with the Boston bombing, which only occurred a few days previously, our numbed country was left in greater awe, and what seemed like a loss of words.

Although the Texas explosion does not appear intentional, it is a tragedy, nonetheless. Tragedy, a word defined as an event which causes great suffering, destruction, and distress, is a word that our country is no stranger to. Throughout the past couple of years, our country has bared witness to countless tragedies and hardships. However, this seems to only make us stronger.

On September 11, 2001 our country was violated in a way that was completely unfamiliar. Tragedy struck when the Twin Towers in New York City fell. This left our country completely distraught but it also brought our country closer together and we bonded, over this tragedy. Since then, our country has taken each tragedy with stride and, although we have been wounded, we persevere.

The Texas explosion seemed to be the icing on the cake, of an eventful and horrible week. The Boston bombing engulfed the news and enticed audiences around the nation with it’s horror. When the Texas explosion occurred, the country was already so numb that it just seemed as though the horror would never end.

It is only a little bit over one week after these tragedies, and our country has already begun to turn the next page. Although we acknowledge these horrible tragedies, we also make sure to hold our heads high and continue on. The country stopped in its tracks for a day or so, but now we have come out on the other end, and the light of our brave and resilient country shines bright.

Throughout the week, the president addressed our country, announcing his dismay and the horror he felt. But, he also reassured our country of our resilience and the we would be able to get through this. Also, we were reminded of true unity at the New York Yankees game, when they played “Sweet Caroline”, a song played at every Boston Red Sox game, in support of Boston. However, one of the most touching clips to watch, on tv, was the clips from each sporting event, when the announcement was made that the bombers had been captured. Each crowd went wild with joy and patriotic pride, some sport arenas even broke out into song.

Our country has proved our strength time and time again. We will never forget any tragedy or hardship our country endures. Whether that tragedy is catastrophic, much like 9/11, or horrific and spine-tingling, like the Connecticut school shooting, or simply shocking, like the Texas explosion and Boston bombing, our country has learned to recover. We are resilient. We will come out of these tragedies as a stronger and more united nation just like we have in the past. We must remember to never forget, but to move on and live each day in honor of these tragedies and those who have been taken because of them.

Still fun to be had

The Adrian College Campus is alive with an ever-changing field of activity and, with most students only noticing or attending to what’s going on in their daily routines, can miss things and events.  It is a horrible feeling to know that you have missed ‘the party of the century’ or ‘the greatest chance of getting to know people in your future career’.

We are all bound to miss a few chances to be entertained by every Bulldog talent and skill. We are given plenty of events every month.  I’ve compiled a small list of things I’d like to attend that the Bulldog Nation is offering.

Number three would have to be seeing more art demonstrations.  The reason behind that choice is that I have been to a lot of art galleries and I do enjoy looking at art, but I would really rather see how it was made.

When I look at pictures and sculptures I always wonder what went into making it or what were they thinking when they made that piece of work. Watching nothing become something, in front of my eyes, is like watching magic happen.  There is something very inspiring when you see someone’s imagination become a reality or hear him or her say,

“That turned out better than I thought it would”.

Speaking of imagination becoming reality brings me to my number two. Which is that I would like to hear the Adrian College bands play a concert.  Being a former band member, throughout middle and high school, the sound of instruments always catches my attention.  Music, has of course, been around for many years now and we have music flowing from radios and MP3s, but nothing can truly beat a grand live performance.

I’ve seen various band members walk around the Dawson Parking lot, carrying shiny instruments and I, on occasion, hear muffled band practice and wonder what a full blown concert would sound like. What songs would they play? What instruments would be chosen for my hearing sensory delight?  These are questions that, one day, I would like answered.

Moving on in the list, yet still staying on the stage, is my number one. That would happen to be that I would like to see a play at ‘the haunted theater.  Downs is host to an array of productions. However, it is also famous for its ghostly spirits, which tie into its history, which is a reminder of how old Adrian College truly is.

I have seen a few plays. I am more of a fan of comedies, but I enjoy watching an occasional drama, as well. The plot and storylines usually are what draws me in. From them, I begin to try and fall into the world set under those lights. A great play is one where you forget that you are in the dark among a large number of strangers and laugh, because you think you’re alone.

Not to say that it is a good thing to respond out loud during a serious moment in a play. I am simply saying that a good play is one where you forget where you are, while watching.  Maybe even that a spirit could be watching the very play you happen to be watching. Maybe even in the seat next to you.

With so much going on, around Adrian College’s campus, I would hate to miss out on anything. I have participated in several events around campus, but with so much going on, there are still a few items on my bucket list.

With the year quickly coming to a close, I suppose that I will have to wait until next year to fulfill my Adrian College to-do list. I hope that you all follow my lead and someday plan to experience all Adrian College has to offer.

Adrian orchestra is young but eager

For many years, Adrian College has gone without an orchestra.  Adrian has a fine band, led by Dr. Marty Marx and a fine choir, led by Tom Hodgeman.

Just a few years ago they came up with the idea of having an orchestra and performing that orchestra to the people of Adrian.

In the fall of 2011, the college decided that having an orchestra would be a great asset to the campus of Adrian College.  The directors of the music department went out and found a very enthusiastic and loving conductor, Valerie Palmieri.  Valerie brings her skills of playing violin, conducting an orchestra, and her lovely personality to bring together a fine orchestra for the college of Adrian.

Forming an orchestra takes a few years and a lot of dedication. In order to properly form an orchestra you must bring people together who want to play.  Valerie brought in multiple community members and a few college students, who would grow to become excellent musicians in the coming years, at the beginning of 2011.

Once she established roughly eighteen players, she put together dates for concerts to be played.  The growing orchestra plays every December and end of April, a Christmas concert and a spring concert.  The spring concert involves classical composers and the classical era.  Besides playing music, Valerie pushes her students to become more knowledgeable about music. For example she encourages her students to learn when a piece was written and why the composers do what they do.

Now that Adrian College has a orchestra, Valerie is inviting multiple violin, cello, base, and viola players, from all over the state, to play in the 2013 Spring concert.  Valerie hopes to impress and motivate young musicians so the Adrian College orchestra can grow and accumulate more members, for the 2013 year.

The whole idea of this was to build and build until the orchestra became a regular sized orchestra, so they can compete with other colleges in the state of Michigan.  The Adrian college orchestra will become stronger, as the years go on, and as more and more people begin to attend.

The addition of an orchestra to Adrian College, will not only increase the buzz of AC, and what we have to offer, but it will also provide, yet another activity for Adrian College students to participate in and enjoy. This orchestra has been a long time coming a work in progress, for all involved.

The Adrian College orchestra began as a simple idea and, before our eyes, it is blossoming into something amazing. This is yet another example of the magic Adrian College has and the electricity of a good idea and outstanding participation from students, community members, and staff.

Whoever wishes to play should join the orchestra today. This program can only grow from here, and I am positive that we will see great things from the Adrian College orchestra.

Band together for Boston bombing tragedy

As of Friday night, the term #Bostonstrong has been seen all over the U.S and has been the number one trend on twitter. Friday night America defended its citizens by taking another dangerous suspect off the streets, as news coverage showed applause at the scene where the final suspect had been captured by the Boston Police Department and FBI. This was the end result of a traumatizing week, and closure for the people who reside in Boston, Massachusetts.

On Monday afternoon, at approximately 2:50 pm Eastern Time, two pressure cooker bombs, reported to have been filled with metal scraps nails, and other objects, ripped through the crowd at the finish line of the world- famous Boston Marathon.  The time read four hours and nine minutes into the race, and a horrific scene black smoke and painted red sidewalks replaced the usual marathon’s scene of joy and triumph.

The detonated bombs estimated to be within 50 to 100 meters apart from each other in distance, went off seconds after one another, instantly killing three people, including an 8-year-old boy, Martin Richard, and injuring more than 170, in what a White House official said would be treated as an “act of terror.” The twin bombing not only caused fatality, and injured dozens, but it left a countless number of Boston citizens and visitors without shelter. It has also been said that about nine of the severely injured were children and a little more than half of the critically injured victims received amputations. Because of this, the Marathon Bombing was named the worst bombing on U.S. soil since security was tightened after the attacks of Sept. 11 in 2001.

The annual Boston Marathon, held since 1897, attracts an estimated half-million spectators and some 20,000 participants every year. Spectators typically line the 26.2-mile racecourse, with the heaviest crowds, near the finish line. April 15th , in Boston, is a day if celebration. This year marked the 117th annual running.

The marathon is Boston’s pride and joy. It is held on the third Monday of April, in celebration of Patriots Day the city completely shuts down, closing schools, and work. This day was supposed to be a day of happiness and enjoyment, but ended in tragedy and sorrow.

In honor of the ones who lost their lives and the dozens who were injured, the Boston Celtics home game against the Indiana Pacers, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was cancelled, as well as the Red Sox. Soon after, the Boston Athletic Association released their condolences to all who were horrifically involved.

Although America has faced yet another chaotic tragedy, I believe, this only makes us stronger, as a nation. I have stumbled across this quote, and I’m happy I have the chance to share it in hopes that it will lift your spirits. I leave you with this, “The world is not falling apart, the world isn’t a bad place. A select few people do evil things that let us believe the world is in trouble, there’s more good people than bad out there, you just hear about the bad ones because bad news is good press and the media sells it! I still believe God is moving through this world and has big plans for us.” Keep the faith.