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Tag Archives: American

People of the United States and likely elsewhere across the world put shame upon the People’s Republic of China when it was discovered the young girl who appeared to be singing for the opening ceremony had only been lip syncing. The girl who was actually singing had been deemed not beautiful enough to represent the country. One became a heroine, the other became a “role model” for proper Chinese conduct. A similar shame should be relinquished to the United States. Students in China may sometimes blindly praise Mao Zedong (River Town by Peter Hessler), but in the U.S. students are taught to blindly believe in the goodness of past presidents. George Washington went from “chopping down a cherry tree” to perfect leader. There are other examples of false perceptions in the U.S. as well. Martin Luther King Jr. is appraised qualities of sainthood by the education system. Indeed his feats were great, but he also struggled at times too. In fact, the NAACP felt so strongly about perceptions that it determined who the heroine of the Civil Rights movement would be. Before Rosa Parks took a stand (or more literally, a seat) against racism, another woman took a similar action. The NAACP considered a legal challenge, but one problem arose: the woman was unmarried and pregnant (Soul of a Citizen by Paul Rogat Loeb).

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Shawne Merriman will go through with season ending surgery after trying to play through a knee injury. What did he expect? Doctors repeatedly told him that not only was his season at risk, but his career was put at risk by attempting to play with such an injury. Then he comes out, plays, and says he didn’t feel right. Did he expect to be Super Man? Not playing is certain to make him unhappy, but dealing with the injury is the best option he has. The San Diego Chargers will survive without him in a conference that is becoming less and less of a powerhouse. The teams should remain competitive for the division with the Denver Broncos, and at least achieve a wild card spot. And in the playoffs anything can happen…

The best quarterbacks always seem to fit a certain mold. They aren’t the most athletic, or the strongest out there, but they know how to play. The quarterback position is dominated by ‘white’ players, while more traditionally athletic positions are dominated by ‘black’ players. These other positions require less know how, and more pure talent. All of the best players at almost every position except QB, OL, K, and P, are down the line ‘black.’ But ‘black’ players often struggle at the quarterback position in the NFL. Most of the ‘black’ quarterbacks try to force athleticism to be more important at this position than know-how. The list is failed, or failing, athletic ‘black’ quarterbacks is mounting. The number one case is Michael Vick, who in my opinion, couldn’t throw a lick compared to the other starting quarterbacks in the league.  Being able to run so well is good, but in the NFL at the QB position the ability to perform in the pocket will always be more important unless there are drastic rule changes. The best ‘black’ quarterback I have seen, by far, is Donovan McNabb.  When he first came into the league he was the stereotypical running ‘black’ quarterback, but he learned and developed into a very good QB. When speaking about the best all-time black QB, Warren Moon, Randall Cunningham, and Doug Williams must be put into the equation. Of these, and of all ‘black’ quarterbacks, only Doug Williams has a Super Bowl ring as a starter. He wasn’t the most talented quarterback, but he played the position well. There are today a number of ‘black’ quarterbacks who have an opportunity to break the mold: JaMarcus Russell, David Garrard, Vince Young and Tavaris Jackson among others. But they have to learn not to rely on athleticism, and to use their skill as a passer, manager of the game, and leader.

As a volunteer at a hospital’s pediatric emergency room, I read books to children and gave some books away to the younger children as a part of a program. I basically had the responsibility to enter the rooms on my own when doctors and nurses were not perfoming their duties. One evening, I came into a room to give a boy a book. Two men were in the room as well, one I assume was the boy’s father. Each of them were deaf. Thankfully I took an American Sign Language course in high school, although the importance of those lessons didn’t sink in until now. I probably looked completely shocked while I shaped my hand and arms to ask “he want b-o-o-k?” I knew the sign for want, but not book so I spelled that out. The guy gave me a thumbs up. I hope that meant good job, or at the very least ok he can have a book. Unfortunately I didn’t have the same success when confronted with Spanish. I would advise anyone working in a hospital to learn as much about communication as possible.

Citing fiction is merely a round-a-bout process of citing non-fiction. That is, the reference to another person’s thoughts, which are real whether fact or opinion. It is certainly a mistake to believe fiction can give us statistics, but to assume information based on the fictional works of a number of authors is not really different from assuming something based on a yes/no poll. In fact, the former may be more useful in a number of situations since yes/no polls offer no explanations, no additional input, and no interpretation on part of the sample. Reality is much more complex than a simple yes or no, and fiction is deeply embedded in reality.

The idea of citing fiction often can easily be criticized as too abstract. One can only try to understand what an author was truly thinking or what a passage  truly meant. Yet, one reason for citing a literary work of fiction or non-fiction is to back up a statment or presented argument. Words and numbers have a strong history of being pulled out of context or twisted. Other proof, aside from the hard facts, other proof must be coupled to make the strongest argument possible. in this way, fiction can be just as effective. And depending on the audience maybe more so, considering the impact of the fictional styles on human emotion as compared to the raw language often used with words of fact.

The day before his dream became reality, Lt. Caleb Campbell was told to put it in the back of his mind for at least two years. The Army took a step back on a policy that had allowed Campbell to be drafted into the NFL by the Detroit Lions. He and the team was informed the day before the start of training camp. The purpose of allowing graduates of a military academy to pursue professional sports is publicity, but apparently the Army sought even more publicity. It is very likely the Army knew the position on policy even before Campbell was drafted, and had they informed him and the NFL then, there would have been no publicity on the issue. Instead, they wait until the whole nation knows about Campbell to revoke his chance to play in the NFL immediately. Yes, he acquired a duty to his nation by going to a military academy, but that does not mean he should be used as a mere tool. If the Army wanted him to perform his military duties rather than serve as a means to publicity, it was their responsibility to make the decision in a timely fashion.

On the same issue, but not as important; will the Detroit Lions receive any reimbursement. They drafted Campbell under the assumption he would be able to play. By the time Campbell’s service is complete, they will have no right to him as a player. Drafted him was a risk, but they had all been informed, at the time, that he would be able to play.

July 23 and 24 CNN will be showing its special about “black america.” I am tempted to watch, and may very well do so, but I get the feeling I would be disappointed by the way went about displaying a group of people. The main question I have is if they are going to focus on the negative or the positive. For example, it is true that young black men are often undevoted to their families, but when I volunteered in a hospital pediatric emergency room, I remember seeing numerous black fathers who were completely dedicated to their children. Another concern I have about the show is that it appears to lump all black people together. Amongst the black community there is immense diversity and individualism as amongst any culture. The timing of the show is very good with the recent uprising of racism, but will the show be powerful enough to make people think? Will the show be from a viewpoint that does not destroy established community, but brings multiple communities of people together? Maybe my expectations are too large or maybe I have a misconception of what the show is actually about, but with the publicity they are giving the special…I hope that it is truly deserving of the spotlight.

An especially special friend of mine spoke with me about the uselessness of primary care physicians. And almost had me, but something came to mind when I read an article in the July 2, 2008 edition of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) by Dr. Michael Stillman. My friend presented me with the idea that general care physicians are not always very knowledgable about ailments or certain health problems that specialists would know. I had a personal experience that comes under this category. However, when the patient of a primary care physician is ill or injured, the primary care physician will know the patient well. One of the most important aspects of health care that is commonly overlooked is knowing the patient. Often such luxury is not possible with the busy schedule of doctors, or the lack of need to see certain doctors. Nonetheless, it can influence care dramatically. Dr. Stillman gave an example in his article where the medications of a patient had been changed to a more expensive regimen without his knowledge. The prescribing doctor would not have know that the patient could never afford those medications, but Dr. Stillman knew and prescribed the original, less-costly, and equally effective regimen.  A number of other issues come up as well when identifying the importance of primary care physicians. When making an important medical decision, trust between a patient and the doctor becomes essential. Patients, even if are under the care of a specialist may want to consult a phyiscian with whom they are familiar before making an important decision. Primary Care doctors may not necessarily save lifes, but they can certian help people maintain the highest quality of life possible. So with the greatest level of respect possible, I disagree with my friend [I will convince her I am right, and if she happens to read this before I try the art of persuasion…] (citation: JAMA July 2, 2008 p.21-22).

The American Academy of Pediatrics has suggested children as young as eight receive statin drugs to battle future heart problems. However, there are a number of problems with this idea. There is no study showing the effects of such long-term use of the drugs; there is controversy over the effects of statins and memory; and the main problem for these children is lifestyle but avoiding that by giving them drugs simply hides the problem. New evidence shows that heart damage begins early in life, but I believe there are better ways of controlling the problem (citation: CBSNews/NYTimes).