Category Archives: News

New NFL Rule Proves More Problematic Than Helpful

-Aubrey Wieber

Anyone who loosely follows sports probably heard about the now infamous Thanksgiving day play where Houston Texans running back Justin Forsett scored an 81-yard touchdown even though both his elbow and knee touched the turf seven yards past the line of scrimmage.

The seven refs on the field apparently didn’t see his knee touch the ground and never whistled the play dead, so Forsett jumped up and kept going while the Detroit Lions defense stood around assuming the play had ended.

This shouldn’t be an issue because in the off-season the NFL changed instant replay rules so that every scoring play and turnover would be automatically reviewed by the officials before play is resumed.

However, Lions coach Jim Schwartz got caught up in emotion and did what would have been the right thing to do last season and threw his challenge flag.

Another new rule this year is that if a coach tries to challenge a play that is already going to be reviewed, they lose the privilege of having it reviewed and are penalized 15 yards. This led to the touchdown being given to Forsett, which ended up being the longest rushing play in Texans franchise history.

Afterward, Schwartz and the officiating crew caught blame from fans, writers, and analysts. After all, Forsett was tackled and the play was over. The Texans got seven points that they didn’t earn, and the Lions lost 34-31 in overtime. Without that touchdown, the Lions would have won in regulation and the win would have been their first on Thanksgiving since 2003.

Schwartz got caught up in the moment and made a bad decision, but he, like everyone else watching the play, did not know the rule.

At least one out of the seven officials watching the play should have seen either the knee or elbow of Forsett down.

But the real blame is on the NFL. I understand the 15 yard penalty handed out when a coach undermines the replay rule already in place, but giving out an unearned and game-changing 81-yard touchdown is the most egregious call I have seen this year, including the Fail Mary, when a Seattle receiver got away with a pass interference penalty and was awarded a touchdown for a ball that Green Bay safety M.D. Jennings had caught. The call was so awful that it ended the lockout between the NFL and the officials.

What this all boils down to is the NFL placing more emphasis on their own pride than the integrity of the game. They knew that the play shouldn’t result in a touchdown, but they gave it out anyway.

At what point does logic take over? Who is happy with this result? Texan fans? Maybe, but it’s hard to be excited about a record-breaking run that shouldn’t have counted in the first place. The fact is the NFL handled this wrong. And it’s not the first time that the Lions have been on the wrong side of a controversial call. In that call, it was again the letter of the law that was followed while reviewing the play instead of logic.

Examples of this behavior expand beyond single plays. The league has said for years that they are changing the game so that it will be safer yet they insist on making teams play on three to four days rest in Thursday night games aired on the NFL Network rather than the six to seven days rest they would have when playing in a traditionally scheduled Sunday or Monday night game. The only reason the NFL insists on these games is to give relevance to their own network. Generally the match ups are poor and the players are visibly tired. They also, amid all of the injuries inflicted annually, continue to push for an 18-game season.

In September, ex-NFL great Steve Young took a shot at the league during an interview with usatoday.com’s Simon Samano.

“[…] Everything about the NFL now is inelastic for demand. There’s nothing (the league) can do to hurt the demand for the game. So, the bottom line is they don’t care.”

The league has been pissing down the fans’ backs and telling them it’s raining for far too long. The worst part about it is that they can. The NFL is wildly popular and no matter what they do, including locking out the players and then the officials in back-to-back years, ratings will be through the roof.

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Image from http://thesportsquotient.com

Software Genius John McAfee Wanted For Murder

 

-Aubrey Wieber

John McAfee, once renounced for his brilliant innovation that created the idea of anti-virus software, has now become a cliché.

McAfee saw the industry for personal computers take off overnight and realized that the probability for virtual rogue behavior was high. He hired a team of coders to create anti-virus software that he then put on his website for people to download at no cost. He charged a licensing fee to corporations, which in a few years made him millions.

Jeff Wise, journalist for Gizmodo.com, has been profiling McAfee for years and has watched McAfee transform from a tech genius to an overly eccentric 67-year-old shut-in living on in Belize.

This type of story seems strangely familiar—thrill-seeking white guy gets rich, falls in love with the party lifestyle to the extent that reality passes him by, and eventually moves to Latin America in search of people who find him impressive.

But as time went on, McAfee’s eccentricities became more extreme. In April, Belize Special Forces raided his house where they found large amounts of cash, weapons, and expensive chemistry equipment.

Everything turned out to be legal and McAfee was released from custody.

Monday, Gizmodo reported that McAfee became the prime suspect for the murder of Gregory Faull, another American living in Belize. Recently, tension between the two had grown to the point where Faull filed a complaint against McAfee with the mayors’ office last Wednesday.

Sunday morning, Faull was found dead. Here is the police report:

MURDER
On Sunday the 11th November, 2012 at 8:00am acting upon information received, San Pedro Police visited 5 ¾ miles North of San Pedro Town where they saw 52 year old U.S National Mr. GREGORY VIANT FAULL, of the said address, lying face up in a pool of blood with an apparent gunshot wound on the upper rear part of his head apparently dead. Initial investigation revealed that on the said date at 7:20am LUARA TUN, 39years, Belizean Housekeeper of Boca Del Rio Area, San Pedro Town went to the house of Mr. Faull to do her daily chores when she saw him laying inside of the hall motionless, Faull was last seen alive around 10:00pm on 10.11.12 and he lived alone. No signs of forced entry was seen, A (1) laptop computer brand and serial number unknown and (1) I-Phone was discovered missing. The body was found in the hall of the upper flat of the house. A single luger brand 9 mm expended shells was found at the first stairs leading up to the upper flat of the building. The body of Faull was taken to KHMH Morgue where it awaits a Post Mortem Examination. Police have not established a motive so far but are following several leads.

According to Gizmodo, through out the past year McAfee has taken to Bluelight, a drug-based forum, to talk about his new fascination MDPV or “bathsalts,” a new drug that has dramatic psychiatric effects on users, sometimes rendering them insane, according to US News.

On these threads, McAfee recounts his MDPV-fueled escapades, even describing how he has found rectal consumption of the drug to heighten the effects.

McAfee is said to have fled his home in an attempt to elude the police after the murder in question.

Update: This morning, John McAfee called Wired editor Joshua Davis while hiding from the Belize police force. McAfee has a long relationship with Wired going back to his correspondence with Jeff Wise, who is now working for Gizmodo.com. McAfee rants to Davis, often showing signs of delusion and paranoia mixed in with a rational thought process. Gizmodo has the whole conversation.

Image from http://http://www.sanpedrosun.com.

UO Welcomes Sister Helen Prejean

-Marissa Tomko

Sister Helen Prejean, a Catholic nun from Louisiana, is best known for her advocacy against the death penalty. On October 25, Sister Helen gave a lecture at the University of Oregon entitled “Envisioning a Compassionate America” that was based on her experiences serving as a spiritual advisor for six different inmates on death row. These experiences have led her to write two books, Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents, the first of which was made into an Oscar award-winning film in 1995. While it is her views and her success in the media that have made her such a well-known figure, it is her sense of humor and undying compassion that makes her journey one worth talking about.

As a child, Sister Helen never questioned the white privilege in her town. She never knew of inner-city problems or was given any inkling that prejudice was wrong. Even her religion did not help her question the issue of segregation. This realization was a big part of Sister Helen’s journey, and for her, the journey is all about living life—really living life. And what does she have to say about life?

“Life is all about waking up.”

She attributes this philosophy to Buddha, the main figure of the Buddhist religion. Her integration of different religious ideals makes Sister Helen truly remarkable. She recognizes that in the justice system, specifically in the issue of the death penalty, there are offenders and there are victims. Sister Helen knows that the roles they play are vastly different, but she fights for the belief that killing somebody does not make up for the death of somebody else. While she fights to abolish the death penalty, she notes that it is a hard battle because she knows that it would be crazy not to be outraged by murder. She knows that families of murder victims feel anger, and she knows that they need closure for the death of their loved ones, but she does not believe killing is the way to do that.

“All the deepest things in life are mutual [and] communication between people is a precious thing,” she says.

These words spoken by Sister Helen at her lecture are words that she applies to her approach not only to the death penalty, but to life in general. She is able to relate to every human being she comes in contact with, no matter who they are, by recognizing that at the heart of every conflict and every victory, people are all people.

Image from WikiComons by Don LaVange

A Rent-A-Pooch Success

 -Jamie Hershman

Thursday could not have been a happier day here at the UO. The sun was shining, the weekend excitement was in the air, and, to top it off, there were plenty of puppies hanging out on the Memorial Lawn in front of the Knight Library. University of Oregon’s PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) teamed up with the Greenhill Humane Society yesterday to raise money for the shelter. Greenhill brought over puppies from their shelter and rented them out to students. To play with a dog for fifteen minutes, it was five dollars, and ten dollars for thirty minutes. It was a small price to pay for those who really miss their pets from home.

My friend and I decided to go ahead and try out the renting process. We went in on the fifteen minutes together so we only had to pay half the price. We got paired with a cocker spaniel puppy named Tito, who was definitely one of the most sought after dogs according to one of the students running the event. He was energetic, playful, and everything a puppy should be (and possibly one of the best snugglers out there). This puppy ran my friend and me around the Memorial Lawn trying to meet every new person he encountered. He especially liked the female dogs, but we did our best to keep him on a tight leash. He was the perfect medicine for a homesick, puppy-loving college student (a.k.a. me!).

Everybody at the event was having the best time. There wasn’t one person without a huge smile on his or her face. The UO PRSSA made it very easy to participate. A simple sign-up for a time-slot with a puppy was all it took for a quick dog fix. Because of the event’s organization and the campus-wide smiles, more and more people wanted to sign up to play with one of the many pooches. Too bad this event doesn’t take place more often, because it is a great way to raise money and make many students very happy. If Rent-A-Pooch is any indication of how future events will be, then I am definitely going to be attending more UO PRSSA events in the future. Well done playing up the emotional card, because there were squealing girls and many empty pockets—signs of a successful fundraiser.

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Pumpkin Smash 2012

-Whitney Menefee

On Saturday, October 20, the University of Oregon chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha held their second annual Pumpkin Smash philanthropy event out on the EMU lawn. The event’s goal was to provide necessary canned food and donations to the local non-profit organization, FOOD for Lane County. FOOD for Lane County is a local food bank that has been serving the needy in the Eugene and Springfield area since 1984 and their goal is to eliminate hunger by providing access to food. Wes Horton, the external vice president and philanthropy chair of Lambda Chi Alpha, was the chief planner of the philanthropy and its events.

Pumpkin Smash was made up of multiple events that occurred during the week. The ten sororities that participated received points based on how well they did in these events compared to each other. The events included a Yogurt Extreme Fundraiser night, sorority pumpkin and poster-decorating competition and a week of gathering canned food.

The actual day of the Pumpkin Smash was an exciting day for all the participants because it was a field day with seven different competitions. Each participating sorority had a team of ten girls that competed in events, such as a relay race, a whipped cream eating contest, a pumpkin-carving contest, tug of war competition, pumpkin toss, wiffle ball homerun derby, and a pumpkin puzzle competition.

As a spectator, it was apparent that everyone was having fun at the philanthropy. I particularly enjoyed watching the whipped cream eating competition because it was the final event of the day and everyone was excited to hear who was going to be crowned the winner of Pumpkin Smash. Congratulations to Alpha Chi Omega who was the 2012 champions of Pumpkin Smash.

After a long week of activities, Lambda Chi Alpha was able to raise $700 through monetary donations and around 900 items of canned goods. A very successful event in my opinion!

Jason Russell Resumes Kony 2012

-Whitney Menefee

Last Sunday night, October 7th, Jason Russell, filmmaker of the Kony 2012 video, had his first interview with Oprah since his breakdown. Jason’s intention for this interview was to clarify and explain the events leading up to his public breakdown that occurred 10 days after the video had gone viral.

Most of America remembers Jason as the founder of Invisible Children and the face of Kony 2012, whose mission was to stop the atrocities of Joseph Kony, head of a Ugandan guerilla group.

Jason’s breakdown was not something that had transpired over ten days, but rather an accumulation of nine years of witnessing ongoing militant abuse of Joseph Kony, finally resulting in PTSD. When Invisible Children first published Kony 2012, their goal was for the video to receive 500,000 hits by the end of the year. What they weren’t expecting were the one million views the video received in a 24-hour period. No one was prepared for this. Jason and his partners of Invisible Children assumed it was just another film to try to reach people, but this time it hit a core.  Jason’s life instantly went from zero to 100. He was receiving 100 text messages a second, his phone wouldn’t stop ringing and his e-mail inbox never had less than 4,000 unopened messages at a time. Money was pouring into the Invisible Children account and the world was ready to take down Joseph Kony. Jason was on top of the world and the world looked to him for the answer to the problem of the Kony cruelties.

But then, the “Tsunami” hit, as Jason calls it, and once it hit, Jason continued down this path of not sleeping, his mind racing and absorbing negative feedback from the media that cuts him as a person. One minute he’s on top of the world feeling so deeply passionate about the cause; high power people, the president, Oprah, celebrities are all telling him he’s going to win awards and then a sudden shift occurs, and mixed reviews from the public start to set in. Millions of people start questioning his ethics, his integrity, and his intentions for Kony 2012. People begin to accuse Jacob of stealing their money, calling him a liar, and questioning if Joseph Kony is even still alive.

Overwhelmed by this ten-day series of events, Jason experienced a psychotic breakdown. After many weeks of recovery, Jason realized that he needed to put his ego aside and finally let other members of the Invisible Children help him. In the interview, when asked about his breakdown Jason told Oprah, “You don’t go through something this traumatic, dramatic, public and not learn a lot from it and not grow closer to your wife and your family and the people who are in your tribe. You can’t get more broken than laying in the street naked and ranting to yourself.”

Jason has no intentions of giving up on Invisible Children and plans on resuming his fight to take down Joseph Kony. He is currently working on his newest video “Move,” which focuses on participating versus watching a campaign like this.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/7103869103

Twitter Decides VP Debate Winner

-Aubrey Wieber

Joe Biden went into last night’s debate knowing he had to make up for his running mate’s faltering performance in the first 2012 Presidential Debate. Obama went into the debates with a hefty nine-point lead over Governor Romney, but with Obama’s passive performance, the race became dead even.

Just four years earlier the world saw a different Obama, one that attacked his opponent and inspired the American people. During the debate, that man was nowhere to be found. The president spent the majority of his time looking down at his podium while Romney fed on him like a wild animal.

Biden also excelled during the 2008 debates and, unlike his running mate, came out swinging. He repeatedly took shots at the hypocrisy in the Romney/Ryan campaign while still finding time to point out his opponents’ lack of use of statistics when explaining how their policies would work.

Ryan also energized his base with a decent performance; though, it was nowhere near the victory that Romney took home the week prior. Before the debate, pundits from all sides agreed that Biden would attack Ryan’s lack of proficiency on foreign policy, a subject Biden is exceptionally well-versed in. However, much to the Obama camp’s dismay, Ryan actually performed very well during the foreign policy section.

After the debate, I wanted to see the world’s reaction. Polls didn’t seem to have a clear consensus on the debate other than claiming it was strong for both camps, much better than the first round between the presidential candidates, and most on the left side felt that moderator Martha Raddatz, an ABC reporter, was a strong improvement over the previous moderator, PBS’s Jim Lehrer. I took to Twitter to see the public’s reaction.

 

 

 

Conservatives, however, felt that Raddatz was favorable to Obama’s campaign.

 

 

Overall, people had a range of reactions to the debates, but most seemed to think it was more entertaining and competitive than the first round.

 

 

 


After the debate, CNBC sent out this tweet declaring Paul Ryan as the victor:


Tallying up a winner in what appeared to be a good back-and-forth debate seems to be a near impossible task, but it’s clear that this debate was an improvement from the first, and that these debates will have a huge impact on the presidential race.

Follow Aubrey on Twitter!

Image from http://www.salon.com/

Amish Crimes Against the Amish – Beard Cutting

-Aubrey Wieber

Shunning, a practice central to the doctrine of the Amish people, has created some legal controversy recently in Cleveland, Ohio.

Last fall, a bishop of the Amish church, Sam Mullet, apparently went too far in his implementation of shunning, a practice that comes from compassion but is still considered very harsh among the Amish, and angered some of the members of his community.

Mullet was accused not only of being reckless with his power by having members of the community shunned, but he was also accused of sentencing men to sleep in chicken coops over night and forcing women into intercourse to show them how to be better wives.

Over 300 bishops met to discuss the actions of Mullet and ultimately decided to revoke his power to shun people in his settlement.

Mullet, a man who obviously places a great deal of importance on his authority, felt undermined and allegedly lashed back at the families of the bishops who removed his power.

Several of his followers broke into the houses of the Amish bishops late at night and pulled the residents out into the moonlight where they sheared the beards and hair of the individuals.

This offense is considered quite aggressive due to the religious importance the Amish believe the Bible places on hair. Because of this, the prosecution is pushing for this to be tried as a hate crime.

Neither Mullet nor his followers deny that the actions took place. In fact, after questioning, they turned over a disposable camera to the police that contained photographs of the acts taking place. They argue, however, that they have the religious freedoms to discipline the settlement when and where they see fit.

On September 30th, sixteen Amish were found guilty of hate crimes against their Amish peers who believed that their actions were brash and unjust.  With appeals, this trial is expected to carry on for at least a full year with the defense claiming that their religion gives them vindication for their acts and that the government is out of line in their attempt to be disciplinarians.

However uncommon this sort of case may be, it begs the much larger question of the definition of religious freedom.  This question harkens back to the 2009 trial against Dale and Leilani Neumann, parents of Kara Neumann, an 11-year-old girl from Weston, Wisconsin who died of diabetes. The Neumann’s religion tells them that God, and not doctors, decides the fate of mankind. Therefore, when Kara fell ill, her parents prayed instead of seeking medical help and treating Kara’s disease, ultimately leading to her death.

With the country rapidly changing with technology, religious extremists such as the Neumanns are left by the wayside. As evidenced by recent jury verdicts, tolerance for religious immunity is low, and while at one point these actions could be protected by the principle of freedom of religion, they are now being seen as negligent.

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Image from http://www.hlntv.com.

University of Oregon Students Design for Change

-Jessica Ridgway

In the fall of 2011 the University of Oregon started a Design for America studio team. Design for America ( or, DFA) is a network of student teams who collaboratively and creatively use design to create solutions to problems in their communities—in Eugene, the teams decided to focus on educational concerns for children with autism and living conditions for the homeless, in hopes that their innovative designs will become helpful additions to our community.

Other DFA studios can be found at universities like Cornell, Dartmouth, and Columbia—but the UO DFA team doesn’t compare themselves to their prestigious sister-teams.

DFA isn’t a class to these product design students, who devote most of their free time to meet together and work. They get hands-on experience with the skills they’ve learned and developed in school and apply them to real-life situations.

The UO DFA Autism team collaborated with the Bridgeway House, a local center for children with autism, to further study what unmet needs these children have and what they could design to help them. The Homelessness team interviewed some homeless at the White Bird Clinic, an agency that helps the homeless in Lane County, and found that wetness from the constant Northwest rain is the source to many problems the homeless face, like trench foot.

Two terms have passed since UO DFA started; they’ve lost some teammates and a few projects have been put away for future innovative designers. But, for the remaining two teams (the autism team and the homelessness team), the laboring research is over and the fun is about to begin—it’s prototyping time. Product design is what many of these students eat, drink, and breathe so they’ve been itching to get their designs off the drawing boards and into their hands.

Interested in joining DFA? The UO team has no plans of starting any new projects this term, but they welcome students of all majors interested in their current projects to contact them. There’s always a need for extra hands and minds! For more information and/or to keep up with the teams check out the UO DFA blog.

Junior Seau’s Death Forces Us to Look in the Mirror

-Erik Gundersen

No matter what time of the year in the sports world, it is evident in our country NFL football is king. Although exciting playoffs in both the NHL and NBA are underway, any football news takes precedent. A bombshell hit early Wednesday morning with the suspension of linebacker Jonathan Vilma for the entire 2012-2013 season.

Then, breaking news came from Oceanside, California: Junior Seau, one of the greatest defensive players to ever play football, died at the age of 43 in a suspected suicide.

Allegedly, for the second time in a little more than 14 months, an NFL player has taken his own life. Dave Duerson, who had a 10-year NFL career, took his own life last year. He shot himself in the chest after sending a text message to his family saying that he wanted his brain to be studied at the Boston University of School of Medicine. Seau, a far more recognizable figure for our generation, took his life in the same fashion: a gun shot to the chest.

This brought myself and others to start talking about these problems, mainly on Twitter. When will this, and other cases of players suffering long-term damage finally weigh on the conscious of the American people? Is the enjoyment many of us feel on Sunday’s in the fall really worth all of this?

Myles Brown of SLAM Magazine (@mdotbrown) had these remarks: “Lie to yourself, not me. Depression and suicide have been linked to several players with a history of concussions, including NCAA players,” Brown continued, “if you need to deny that to enjoy your Sundays, go for it. But I bet you’ll think twice about putting your kids in harm’s way.”

I doubt football’s popularity will decline, but there has to be a point where viewers start thinking about the players on the field as people.

Last year, former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who has suffered memory loss long after his playing days, along with six other former players filed a lawsuit against the NFL last August for “negligence and intentional misconduct in its response to the headaches, dizziness and dementia that former players have reported.”  The cases have been piling up, and although NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell has unleashed his recent crusade on the New Orleans Saints, the problem is still not solved.

I love football and as a student these last four years, it has given me some of my lasting college memories. The NFL is the most competitive league in professional sports, but now I find myself reevaluating my love for it.

At what point do we reevaluate the fact that our favorite sport is one that leaves so many that play it, as shells of their former selves?

The feel good story of the day was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers signing paralyzed player Eric LeGrand. Bucs coach Greg Schiano was LeGrand’s coach at Rutgers. I saw many of my Facebook friends repost the articles about the signing and comment about how great of a gesture it was.

It was truly a heartwarming gesture on the part of the organization, but I’m sure if you’d ask LeGrand, he’d give it all up just to walk again and live a normal life.

Maybe he will be able to walk again. But would you take a full athletic scholarship and a great public gesture in exchange for the certainty you’d walk again?

But that discussion has its place outside these six hundred or so words.