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Gender: Male
Hometown: VA
Home country: USA
Current location: VA
Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 36,535

Journal Archives

Trof, you have to blame my grandmother

Although my grandmother's family is spread out all over AL and the south in general, they are mostly overwhelmingly Auburn fans (my grandmother as you know was born in Brewton and lived almost all of her life in Tuskegee, where my mom and her brothers were born and raised)...Ironically, even though we've had close family friends on the Auburn coaching staff in past years, to my knowledge not one relative has ever played football for them -- But we have had one play for Alabama...Go figure...

My grandmother was a diehard Auburn fan UNTIL Saban got hired...As far as she's concerned, Saban built rockets in Huntsville, stared down George Wallace in 1963, started Mardi Gras in Mobile, and built the Hyundai plant...Every time she's watching football we have this exchange:

Grandmother: "Did you know Saban gave $100,000 to the City of Tuscaloosa for aid after that storm went through?"

Me: "But Saban makes a jillion dollars per season! He makes more than the governor and legislature combined! That's like you or me donating $20!"

Grandmother: "I don't care -- We both know he didn't HAVE to give ANYTHING!"

(My grandmother then starts to list all the wonderful things Saban's wife has done for the community, but by then I've tuned her out)

Suffice it to say, my grandmother is the jinx...Anyone who cheers on Auburn for decades and then decides to cross over is hauling a truckload of bad sports karma...

Reversing Broward County's School-to-Prison Pipeline

When, after a nationwide search, he was hired two years ago to serve as superintendent of Florida’s Broward County Public Schools, Robert Runcie began brainstorming ways to close the racial achievement gap. At the time, black students in the sixth-largest district in the country had a graduation rate of only 61 percent compared to 81 percent for white students. To find out why, Runcie, who once headed a management-consulting firm, went to the data.

“One of the first things I saw was a huge differential in minority students, black male students in particular, in terms of suspensions and arrests,” he says. Black students made up two-thirds of all suspensions during the 2011-2012 school year despite comprising only 40 percent of the student body. And while there were 15,000 serious incidents like assaults and drug possession reported that year, 85 percent of all 82,000 suspensions were for minor incidents—use of profanity, disruptions of class—and 71 percent of all 1,000-plus arrests were for misdemeanors. The last statistic, says Runcie, “was a huge red flag.”

Like most large school districts in the United States, discipline policies in Broward reflected the idea that the best way to maintain an orderly classroom is to get rid of disruptive students, an approach known as zero tolerance. Zero tolerance policies help explain why 81 percent of all suspensions in New York City Schools in the 2012-20 13 school year were for minor infractions and 70 percent of all arrests were for misdemeanors; why 67 percent of all school-based arrests in Florida in 2011-2012 were for misdemeanors; and why 97 percent of half a million suspensions and expulsions recorded in an eight-year Texas study published in 2011 were not required under state law. A 2008 survey from the American Psychological Association titled “Are Zero Tolerance Policies Effective in Schools?” found that “recent research indicates a negative relationship between the use of school suspension and expulsion and school-wide academic achievement.” While factors outside of school, like family income, matter most for academic success, “there’s a direct correspondence between the achievement gap and discipline,” says Pedro Noguera, a professor of education at New York University. According to a nationwide study from UCLA 24 percent of black secondary-school students were suspended at least once during the 2009-2010 school year versus 7 percent of white students. That same year, the graduation rate for black students was 66 percent compared to 83 percent for white students.

Broward announced broad changes designed to mitigate the use of harsh punishments for minor misbehavior at the beginning of this school year. While other districts have amended their discipline codes, prohibited arrests in some circumstances, and developed alternatives to suspension, Broward was able to do all these things at once with the cooperation of a group that included a member of the local NAACP, a school board member, a public defender, a local sheriff, a state prosecutor, and several others. In early November, The Miami Herald reported that suspensions were already down 40 percent and arrests were down 66 percent. Yet these changes required years of advocacy. The hard scrabble road to Broward’s success also helps explain why zero tolerance policies have persisted.


Final Member Of Kennedy PT-109 Rescue Team Dies At 87

The last surviving member of the crew that rescued John F. Kennedy from an island in the Pacific Ocean during World War II has died.

Guy Gardo said Jack Gardo died in his sleep at his Greenville, S.C., home Wednesday. He was 87. The younger Gardo said his father had suffered from dementia for the past six years.

Jack Gardo's PT-157 was sent to rescue the survivors of PT-109 after the patrol torpedo boat was rammed in the middle of the night by the Japanese destroyer Amagiri off the Solomon Islands on Aug. 2, 1943.

Two crew members were killed; Kennedy, who assumed command of the boat in April of that year, led the survivors to nearby islands until they could be rescued.

Gardo had said he and his crew learned where the survivors were after a native islander arrived with a coconut on which Kennedy had scrawled their location.

Guy Gardo said his father joined the U.S. Navy at age 16 after he forged his father's signature.

"You couldn't ask for a better father than him," Guy Gardo said. "He treated us like gold. I'm going to miss him."


Lawmakers, activists seek reduced sentence for teen (6 LIFE sentences)

Calling the punishment excessive and unconscionable, state lawmakers and civil rights activists are demanding a new, reduced sentence for a Norfolk teen who was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to more than six life terms.

State Sen. David Marsden, a Northern Virginia Democrat who has worked in juvenile justice since 1970, described Travion Blount's punishment as one of the most egregious he's seen. Marsden said he plans to craft a bill that would allow judges to amend sentences for certain juvenile offenders after they have served at least 20 years in prison. State lawmakers would debate the bill early next year.

State Sen. Kenneth Alexander, a Norfolk Democrat, said lawmakers in the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus also will consider drafting changes to the state's juvenile justice guidelines this month. "It's a flawed public policy," he said.

Blount's case was profiled in The Virginian-Pilot last month. Blount was 15 on Sept. 23, 2006, when he joined two gang members, both 18, in an armed robbery of a house party where there were 12 victims. No shots were fired, and he injured no one. Two co-defendants pleaded guilty and received 10- and 13-year punishments. Blount was convicted at trial of 49 felonies and sentenced to six life terms plus 118 years.


Original Series: http://hamptonroads.com/blount

For Christmas I want this building and everything in it...


Never-before-seen color footage of 1965 baseball

I had always wondered if any video had been saved from Jim Maloney's 10-inning no-hitter for the Reds over the Cubs on August 19, 1965 at Wrigley Field. (The image attached to this post on the front page is the 1965 scorecard cover.)

It's not the entire game; it picks up in the top of the eighth inning, with Lloyd Pettit calling the action. Pettit often called the eighth, giving Jack Brickhouse a break. Brickhouse returns for the ninth and 10th innings. It's complete with commercials, including one in which Pettit and Brickhouse play bartenders. (Seriously. You've got to see it. It's the very first commercial, after the top of the eighth.)

It was very, very rare to have anything videotaped in color in 1965; this is likely the earliest surviving color videotape of a baseball game, and is likely among the oldest surviving color videotapes of any television.



ESPN writer takes all-expenses-paid trip to Qatar, loves Qatar...

All those problems you thought Qatar's World Cup faced—indentured servitude, bribery allegations, unplayable heat, nonexistent infrastructure—it turns out they can all be made to go away with a stay in a nice hotel and a photo op with Alan Shearer...

Phil Ball, a writer for ESPNFC, just got back from four delightful days in Doha, and he's a convert. The "witch hunt" against the nation's World Cup bid, he says, comes from an "anti-Qatar brigade" of journalists who haven't been there. Not like Phil! Phil's seen the real Qatar. On "an all-expenses paid trip." Expenses paid by whom? Phil doesn't say. But he attended the Aspire4Sport Conference, and the conference's principal sponsor is the Qatar 2022 World Cup Committee.


ESPN scrubbed the original story, but it is archived here:

Nude Dancing At Clubs Not In Line With “Pure Michigan” Theme Says Michigan Senator

LANSING (WWJ) – Michigan Senator Rick Jones is introducing legislation that would bar nude dancing at alcohol-serving bars and clubs. This follows a naked performance by dancers at a Lansing gay bar.

Jones says having places that have nude dancing is against the whole “Pure Michigan” theme.

“We spend millions of dollars saying this is pure Michigan – where you should bring your family for vacation. Not Michigan with nudie bars,” said Jones.

“I don’t want these popping up on every corner,” said Jones. “I think it could happen to every city if we don’t put a stop to it.”

“There’s a bar in Lansing that found a little loophole in the law and started it,” he said. ” So I’m working with the attorney general to craft legislation that is constitutional to take care of this problem. Now I don’t believe that the founding fathers – when they were talking about freedom of speech meant nude dancing in bars.”

Last year a Federal judge ruled that Michigan’s liquor control laws related to nudity were unconstitutional because it violated First Amendment rights.


Nope; not the Onion

Eight Things I Miss About the Cold War

At a book festival in Los Angeles recently, some writers (myself included) were making the usual arguments about the problems with American politics in the 1950s—until one panelist shocked the audience by declaring, “God, I miss the Cold War.” His grandmother, he said, had come to California from Oklahoma with a grade-school education, but found a job in an aerospace factory in L.A. during World War II, joined the union, got healthcare and retirement benefits, and prospered in the Cold War years. She ended up owning a house in the suburbs and sending her kids to UCLA.

Several older people in the audience leaped to their feet shouting, “What about McCarthyism?” “The bomb?” “Vietnam?” “Nixon?”

All good points, of course. After all, during the Cold War the U.S. did threaten to destroy the world with nuclear weapons, supported brutal dictators globally because they were anti-communist, and was responsible for the deaths of several million people in Korea and Vietnam, all in the name of defending freedom. And yet it’s not hard to join that writer in feeling a certain nostalgia for the Cold War era. It couldn’t be a sadder thing to admit, given what happened in those years, but—given what’s happened in these years—who can doubt that the America of the 1950s and 1960s was, in some ways, simply a better place than the one we live in now? Here are eight things (from a prospectively longer list) we had then and don’t have now.

1. The president didn’t claim the right to kill American citizens without “the due process of law.”

2. We didn’t have a secret “terrorism-industrial complex.”

3. Organized labor was accepted as part of the social landscape....

MORE: http://www.thenation.com/article/172214/eight-things-i-miss-about-cold-war

Football AS Football (NFL team logos re-done as soccer badges)


I want to make love to that Jets logo, along with the Dolphins, Lions, Bucs and 49ers...

The rest of my top 10 would be: Seahawks, Rams, Jags, Vikings, Bills
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