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A Letter From the Blogger

6 Nov

Dear Readers:

Edited 11/11/12: New Sports blog available for followers over at http://cmsportsblog.wordpress.com/

I love this blog. Flat out, I love this thing, and it could easily be my life. However, I can’t find a reason or a topic to make me stay. I love politics, but I can be very divisive and tell people how I really feel about their opinions. That doesn’t make me a bad person, it’s just that I feel it’s my duty to tell you if you’re not informed already. Facts are facts, most people don’t read the news, and most people ignore politics or the world because they realize it’s a mess. And while I have no number in front of me to write, I can promise you that statement is true.

Let’s look at it this way. Go to where you work, call family members, or ask your social media network about a topic not hotly covered in the news. I’d imagine you’d get a few responses, a Tweet about it, or a Like on Facebook. But if you posted a topic largely covered by all media outlets you’ll see a largely divided, but active discussion. You’ll have the group that is loyal to Fox News, then you’ll see a small group in favor of MSNBC and other sources. Trust me, that Fox News group will always outnumber everyone else unless you are highly selective of friends or run a very liberal group.

And that’s the problem. That’s why I have trouble writing about things I want to write about. I was going to use this blog to talk about politics and create debates, but then I realized I was going to really piss people off. That made me decide to run with a sports blog. But…blah. Sports news and views are old. Everyone covers it, and it’s time-consuming.

To properly cover sports you need to keep up on all the news as well as watch all the games. Even if it’s one team specifically, you have to set aside 2-3 hours every week, every other day, or sometimes daily to properly cover them. I love talking basketball, and I decided I’d cover the Pacers since it’s my hometown team and their easier to follow than some of the teams I like a little better. But that got to the point where I was trying to work, spend time with friends and family, and fit in these games and research.That’s why I’m walking away from it. I may, from time-to-time discuss sports, IndyCar Racing, and even F1. But most likely I’ll go back to speaking topics that interest me that aren’t in these categories. I want to make this my home for politics, and the official blog of my Facebook Group The Movement and Twitter Account  @TheMovementUSA.

And yes, if you’re thinking this will be very politically motivated it will be. But, if you like my sports opinions and other tidbits I’ll bring them around once in a while. But, you can guess that my divisive political ideals are very left-leaning. I’d consider myself a strong progressive that sees problems as complex, and not simple. I see our greatest obstacle to move forward is ourselves. We are the only one’s holding ourselves back. In our own lives, and as a country.

It’s time things like Abortion, Gay Marriage, and other social issues leave the conversation. It’s time like important fiscal decisions are made, green energy is pushed onto the table, corporations are put in-check, and the American people all have the opportunity to succeed regardless of their economic background. Success is about hope. Overcoming failure is about believing you can, and making something of yourself only takes the belief that you could do anything that you want if you try just hard enough.

And trust me, I won’t always bore you with big political topics, but I’ll talk about my research, my platform, and how I believe things could be fixed. With that you’ll find sports updates to follow as well as random talking about life. I hope you enjoy it, and I hope you keep coming back. 

Many Thanks,

Colby Martin

Poor Shooting Theme in Weekend’s Pacers Games

21 Oct

Recap By: Colby A. Martin

Pacers vs Magic (Friday 10/19 @Orlando)

The Indiana Pacers won their 3rd Home game of the Preseason, but continue their losing record on the road. In Friday night’s matchup with the new identity Orlando Magic, the Pacers left Orlando with a 112-96 loss. The few highlights of the night were the production of Power Forward Tyler Hansbrough who had a game high of 23 points. The Pacers as a whole only shot %40 and had half as many assists as the Magic (30 assists). This lack of ball movement and overall production seemed to be a theme for the weekend as the poor shooting carried on to Saturday’s home game against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Grizzlies vs Pacers (Saturday 10/20 Bankers Life Fieldhouse Indianapolis, IN)

The Grizzlies, who many believe are a sleeper in the conference, came out rough and gritty at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. In the early stages of the game they looked to have the 1-up on the Pacers, as the Pacers looked tired and desperately were seeking for energy.

The first half of the game against Memphis looked sloppy, yet it was highlighted by a monster dunk by former Slam Dunk Challenge Contest Gerald Greene. This seemed to be the overall theme for the game, as the Pacers not only found that energy but dominated the paint. The Pacers significantly out rebounded the Grizzlies 52-40 helping them come away with a close 83-80 win. This makes the Pacers 3-0 when out rebounding their opponent, and 0-2 when they fail to do so.

Leading the Pacers in Saturday win was Paul George who scored 14 points, 7 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks. Roy Hibbert showed up big and came away with a double-double (14 points- 10 Rebounds). The Pacers saw 4 players in double figures (Hibbert 14, George 14, Green 18 and Mahinmi 13). Mahinmi looked solid in his minutes as he came away with 9 boards to go with his 13 points.

Leading the Grizzlies in points was Indianapolis native Zach Randolph who scored 15 points in the loss. Marc Gasol was

It should be noted that in the 2 games this season the Pacers shot below 40%. In those games, the Pacers are .500. In games above 40% shooting, the Pacers are 2-1.

The Pacers (3-2) are in action again on Tuesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis (3-3) plays again on Wednesday with the Magic coming to town.

What the Heck is This? (Vol. 1)

7 Oct

By: Colby Martin

Welcome to “What the Heck is This?’ where we cover random topics around the world, the web, and in a community near you.  Today I cover a little known House Bill recently proposed in the big city of Washington D.C. This bill isn’t for local government, but is a national bill for the country. This Bill is H.R. (House Resolution) 6566: Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act.

What is this bill you might ask? From the looks of it, it is a bill to tell FEMA to prepare for an extremely large amount of deaths at once. Or, as the bill says, in the event of natural disaster, terrorist attack, or man-made disaster.

Hold on, did I read that last part right?  

“Man-Made Disasters”? What does this mean? Is our national government planning for a man-made disaster that they don’t consider a terrorist attack? Also, why is this added to the Patriot Act of 2002? This Act has caused nothing but issues of national security and invasion of individual privacy through methods of phone and wire tapping, access to all internet conversations (either through email, instant message, or voip). and most recently has been an ongoing argument between progressives and conservatives.

So why add this resolution to this? Do they think all we’ve done in the past 10 years has done nothing to halt or slow down terrorist attack, or do they plan on something far more extreme? Regardless, this Bill is scary to some degree, and while I hope the text isn’t the indication of anything to come, it is easy for a lot of people to consider this.

Also, since I know this article will be on your watch list, I hope you enjoy reading it. I saw a list awhile back that the CIA listed as words that put people on the internet watch list. That list of words was interesting, and I’m certain my name pops up in their feed often as my friends an I like to discuss the world and current events. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I do think something’s going on in Washington. A lot of anger is coming from there, and it’s creating a lot of anger around the country. This election will set the tone for the next 4-8 years. Romney wins, people are going to be suffering if they aren’t already successful. If Obama wins, it’s going to be 4 more years of dirty anger that will only cause even more anger.

The full text of H.R. 6566 is listed below:

HR 6566 IH

112th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 6566

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide guidance and coordination for mass fatality planning, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

September 28, 2012

Ms. RICHARDSON introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, and in addition to the Committee on Homeland Security, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To amend the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide guidance and coordination for mass fatality planning, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ‘Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

Congress finds the following:

(1) Emergency preparedness often plans for how to prepare and provide for survivors of a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster, but fails to plan for how to prepare for and respond to mass fatalities that result from such an incident.

(2) Funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries could be overwhelmed should mass fatalities arise from a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.

(3) Different religions have different customs surrounding death; for example, the Jewish and Muslim religions call for burial of the deceased not later than 48 hours after death.

SEC. 3. PREPAREDNESS FOR MASS FATALITIES RESULTING FROM A NATURAL DISASTER, ACT OF TERRORISM, OR OTHER MAN-MADE DISASTER.

Section 504 of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 (6 U.S.C. 314) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:

‘(c) Preparedness for Mass Fatalities- In carrying out this section, the Administrator shall provide guidance to and coordinate with appropriate individuals, including representatives from different communities, private sector businesses, non-profit organizations, and religious organizations, to prepare for and respond to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster that results in mass fatalities.’.

Could Increases in Safety Measures Make Us Risk Takers?

27 Sep

If you were to stand in the pit lane at Las Vegas Motorspeedway on October 16th, 2011 and ask Dan Wheldon if he felt safe in a car he would tell you yes. However, I’m sure he would also be aware that his life could be at risk, but it wasn’t a fear. That lack of fear allowed Dan to be one of the fastest IndyCar drivers on an oval, winning the Indianapolis 500 twice. It’s also the lack of fear and the increase in feeling safe that causes millions of Americans to drive without a seatbelt, speed, text and drive, and even take risks that they normally wouldn’t. These risks, and the increase in safety measure in everything have led us to this lack of concern.

The SUV

Remember when the Jeep was a super popular car? I do, my mom even owned one for a short time. Do you remember the big issue at the time? Rollover. Jeep’s were very prone to rolling over due to their higher center of gravity. They were top-heavy, and if you went a little to fast around a corner you were bound to tip the thing. How did we overcome this? We drove slower around corners, we were more cautious to our surroundings and tried to not put ourselves in a position to flip. 

But the car manufacturers and government wasn’t ok with just that, they began lowering the weight so that there was a better balance allowing drivers to take corners at faster speeds in an SUV. Has it led to a mass amount of rollovers? No, but it has created a generation of drivers who don’t worry about the rollover issue as much as we did a decade and a half ago. 

They’ve become so safe, in a 2011 CNN article, they said a person driving a 2009 model car was twice as likely to die in an even of a rollover than a person driving a 2009 SUV. Does this mean we drive more cautious than we used to, or does this mean people in cars drive harder? I’m not sure, but becoming more safe will likely cause us to driver harder than before. 

Sports

Sporting leagues, teams, and youth organizations around the world are always looking for ways to make a sport safer. Little League Baseball banned most of the larger negative weighted bats. They increased the size of the protection in the helmets, and began requiring all coaches to wear them on field (even though most still don’t). The NFL has increased padding, began using revolutionary helmets with military technology in them, and have been forced to make rules to protect players. That last part, that’s due to the safety. Players aren’t afraid of getting hurt so they’ll tackle head first, they’ll dive straight into someone with their heads. Bob Costas was on HBO last week talking about how playing football would be safer if they took the helmets away. 

While the number of deaths are low in these sports, the long-term health risks can be extreme. Serious injuries can occur during acceptable play. However, increased rules have led players to playing with less risk and concern for one another. Physical play has become more common in sports like soccer and basketball, sports once known for their finesse. 

Racing

Ask any race car driver, they’ll tell you that there are serious risk involved and that each of them could potentially be killed on the track. That never made them stop racing though. With the improvements in safety it made a lot of them drive even harder. Look at the INDYCAR Series. There had not been a death during a race since 1999. Sure there have been deaths in practice or in testing (Paul Dana and Tony Renna) recently. This gave many of the drivers a feeling that even if they did wreck they would be a little beat up, but they would survive. Many of them drove fast, risky, and often made moves that they shouldn’t have. 

Just Youtube an old IRL race from the early-2000’s. You’ll see flat-out racing with drivers interchanging lanes, blocking, running 3-4 wide all while being a few feet, or inches, away from one another. It was exciting TV and a great product to watch, but the risk it ran was extreme and scary, but the safety was advancing so fast that the drivers got crazier. They wanted to win, it was all about getting the big money. Introductions of the HANS device, the SAFER barrier, and increased front and side collision safety allowed drivers to push the limit even further. As the years went by with fewer deaths and accidents, we began to see drivers with less respect for one another. Winning became even more import due to the lack of sponsorship dollars. Teams were straining to find funding and began dropping like flies. If you wanted to remain in the series, you had to find a way to be faster and better than everyone else, even if that meant pushing the limit too far. 

Over the years the series began to realize it was getting more risky and the dangers were rising. Their response was to have Honda and other engine companies de-stress the engine and allow it to hit max speed at lower RPM’s. They also lowered the amount of horsepower an engine could have. Thus the speeds were lower and doing so was to increase safety  and lower the risk. All this did was create bigger packs where cars couldn’t pass each other and ran closer. Even though the races of the early to mid 2000’s were dangerous and close, the packs were often spread out and ran in 5-6 car packs. We saw in 2010 and 2011 what size packs we could run in, and they sometimes would be 8-10 car packs. 

This all culminated in the season finale at Las Vegas in 2011 when Indy 500 Champion Dan Wheldon was killed in a multi-car accident on lap 13. The race was one of the most dicey I had seen in years, and was the first time I was enjoying an oval race again. But it wasn’t safe, the cars were 2-3 feet apart in speeds in excess of 210 mph. Drivers were switching lines like it was no big deal, and cars were all flat-out. All of this took place because these were the measures in which the INDYCAR Series deemed to be the safest.

Every Day Life

Today everything is safer, they tell us what is healthy for us and what is not. Cars are equipped with state of the art safety features including side-airbags and seats that support head and neck. They have crash ratings that allow the vehicle to absorb the energy of the crash rather than your body. Those safety features have led us to fewer traffic accidents resulting in death. However, people driver harder than they did before. From my experience on the road people are more risky, they have a tendency to cut you off, speed, and often do so in a dangerous manner. In the past year I have avoided countless accidents through pure luck. Between people on their cell phone switching lanes, or people running red lights and stop signs, I have had several close calls. 

I’ve been driving for a decade now, I feel less safe driving today than I did in the past. Not because of the vehicles, but because of the increase in safety. I feel like I could drive 100 and cut corners if I wanted to because my car has a racing suspension. It’s a Mazda, it feels extremely safe in and I could get away with a lot of dumb things and be ok. 

That’s the philosophy a lot of people have. I read an interview at the end of the book SuperFreakonomics. The writers of the book host a podcast in which they had Glenn Beck on. Now I’m not a huge fan of Glenn Beck because I think he mostly blows smoke. However, in this transcript they spoke about him buying a new car. Beck said the car salesperson was telling him how safe the car was and that if he pressed a button he could take corners like a racecar driver and it had a feature that helped prevent rollovers. I don’t remember the entirety of the interview and everything he said, but the just of it was that the increase of safety gave him and a lot of other people this feeling of invincibility.  

What Can Be Done?

For a lot of us safety is the number one concern for us. We have families, or we are planning to, and we want them to be safe in a vehicle. We want our children to be safe in sports, or behind the wheel when they begin to drive. We want to keep guns and weapons out of buildings for our safety. We want everything to be safe so we don’t have to worry, but does not worrying mean we put our guard down and stop having concern for everyone else? 

Sure safety is an amazing thing and is very important, but sometimes the safest idea isn’t really the safest. Maybe the NFL should reduce the helmet safety measures a bit. A few instances of injuries that are severe will teach players to back off so that we don’t hurt ourselves. Racing series need to increase speeds while maintaining the overall car safety. If cars go faster and drivers have to drive the cars, they won’t be so close to each other.

The INDYCAR Series did a fantastic job with that this year. They stopped using dependable tires and made the downforce less of a factor. This forced drivers to drive the car, they couldn’t control it if they stayed flat-out and raced like maniacs. After the death of Wheldon, this was the only way the series could race ovals. The drivers were scared, cautious, and smart about how they raced. 

The same thing goes for everyday cars. Stop telling us how safe they are before we start driving like a bunch of racers. Make the cars safe, but don’t throw it in our face. The increase of safety often gives people the thought of invincibility.

There’s no fix to any of these issues, but if we can take anything away from this is that the increase of safety has allowed us to live more dangerously. We feel safe, we feel like we don’t need to worry that we’re protected. We’ve put our guard down. Some say that we have begun to de-evolve as a species. That’s a whole new discussion, but maybe this has something to do with it. We evolve (if you believe in evolution, I myself do) to survive and become stronger than our fellow humans. If we take that process of figuring out on our own how to survive and keep us safe, we’ll never try to overcome issues, we’ll just be glad we’re safe. 

I Don’t Reflect, I Move Forward

11 Sep

Truth is, I don’t like to look backwards. No, not because I’m an evil person with a lack of a heart, but because I’m the type of person that believes the only true way to honor the past is to make the future the best it can be.

Like many of you today, I remember what happened 11 years ago on the beautiful bright blue skied day in September. Honestly, as I look outside today the day seems pretty similar. No clouds in the sky, it’s warm, but not too hot. I woke up that morning early, the earliest I had in a while as a couple of my soccer teammates picked me up for breakfast at a local mom and pop cafe. It’s not there anymore, and as a matter of fact that was the last time I ever ate there. Not that it had anything to do with the events of that day, but because I was always too lazy to wake up that early.

We had a soccer game that day, much like they do tonight (I help coach my high school team). The world was progressing and beginning to grow even larger than it had been, and currently if you look at the economy it’s beginning to grow bigger than it has been for the past 8 years. We were in the first year of the Bush Administration, and we’re in the last year of the Obama Administration’s first term.

Other than those seemingly similar things, the days are very different. 11 years ago we were not afraid of the world, today millions of American’s still fear another similar attack. This is where my thinking steps in. Is it proper for us to continue to fear the past, did American’s fear the Japanese years after World War II or did we get over it. I can’t speak for that generation of Americans, but I can say we rebuilt Japan after dropping an Atom Bomb on them. You can thank us for the success of Mazda and other successful Japanese companies that were located in Hiroshima and surrounding areas. Yes, that’s right, we rebuilt that whole area and helped them regrow. I don’t see us doing that post 9/11. We aren’t the same country we were before, and that’s mainly because we are living a life of Fear.

In the years following 9/11 we were afraid of everything. The bad guys in movies went from being Russian or Serbian as they began being Muslim or Arab. Muslim American’s were targeted as traitors and spies, even within the past year politicians (Namely Michelle Bachmann) has accused certain members of Congress as being a part of the “Muslim Brotherhood”. These members were to be investigated and spied on, they were to be made out to be bad people to guarantee they wouldn’t be re-elected. The sad thing is it worked, for 11 years now we’ve been scared to death of Muslim people.

Now, that’s not true for everyone. Some of us aren’t afraid of Muslim’s or Arab’s. I for one don’t single them out and don’t believe they are anymore evil or good than any particular group of people. American’s, European’s, Muslim’s, Japanese, Chinese, Russian’s, and any other culture can be just as evil as the other. I’m not worried about any of them, if things happen it happens, there’s no need to single them out and blame them on everything.

The world’s changed a lot in 11 years. We’ve gone from a successful economic country to one struggling to survive and continually in debt to foreign countries. That’s not to say those countries are doing better than us, as most of Europe has been in an downhill spiral for awhile now. But add in the fact that we spent money on two unneeded wars and Europe helped us out, you begin to realize how our fear of another major attack put us in this issue. It’s not the only issue, but it’s been a major issue for America.

I’ve been happy that over the past 4 years we’ve begun to remove the language of fear in our government. The Obama Administration has removed the color-coded “threat level” system. They’ve put Bin Laden to rest, and they’ve stopped talking about the Taliban in every press conference. They’ve also begun to bring troops home from overseas, while still assisting those countries in rebuilding themselves. Our current political campaigns aren’t about the wars anymore, but about jobs.

There’s a lot of other things I remember about 11 years ago, I accused the Bush Administration as being involved in it while being in my High School Spanish class as the events took place. My reasoning was that the Bush Administration had openly been seeking a way to go to war with Iraq.  This was not because I was brain washed by people, but because I grew up watching George H. W. Bush try and take down Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government. I listened to Dubya say over and over that people like Saddam were evil and had to be dealt with. It was all but obvious, and unfortunately it seems like it was true. As the CIA and other government agencies have come out in years past to say they knew about the attacks and warned the Bush Administration. We went to war with Iraq, and it was the first place we went, even though most of the attackers of 9/11 were from Afghanistan or other countries.

I’m not sorry for what I’ve just said, I’m sorry that our government failed us in this instance. How do you know of such tragic event’s possibly happening and do nothing about it. I hope what we know about this is everything we can know. I don’t want to find out in 30 years that our government had a bigger hand in it, I don’t want to learn that they could have been behind all of it and been responsible for American lives. So to those out there trying to prove the government did it, either do it quickly or stop. Eventually the American people don’t need to know anymore. Eventually you need to move on like the rest of us.

It’s time for America to work together again. The plan of the attacks were to cause us to destroy ourselves. Little did they know the American spirit would be at it’s highest following the attacks. It was a good 4 to 5 years before we collapsed, and we only collapsed due to failed government leadership. We failed because of our extreme American spirit and pride. We allowed our government to have the keys to the car without checking the fluid levels. It’s time we take back the pink slip to our car, and it’s time to remember how we failed, not how the events of 9/11 ruined our country. I’m sorry for those who lost someone in the events, and I hope that you’ve been able to move forward in your life and do fantastic things in the honor of those loved ones lost.

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