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WAKE UP! Denying Climate Change After Sandy is Unethical

Policymakers can no longer mince words: Climate. Change. Hurts.


The denial of global warming is no longer acceptable. Actually, it never really was. But the most recent manifestation of human-caused climate change in the form of hurricane Sandy raises that unacceptability to a new level. Climate change denial after Sandy veers toward immorality.

Hurricane Sandy was relentless. The hurricane brought storm swells barreling through the low-lying shores of the Northeast, hitting New York and northern New Jersey especially hard. The super storm ground to a halt one of the most central business and banking districts in the United States. Almost unthinkably, the regional public transportation system—everything from Amtrak to New York’s subways—were crippled.  As of publication time, swaths of heavily urbanized land in the affected areas remain devastated and millions residents are still without power.

Soon after the storm hit, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, made a surprise announcement. Nearing election day, and presiding over a flooded city, Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. This was surprising for two reasons: first, his endorsement was something each presidential candidate had wanted for quite some time.

Second, for Bloomberg to cite climate change as a decisive factor in his decision to back Obama injected, almost by force, a new dimension into the race that until then had virtually no press.

Amazingly, in none of the three presidential debates was climate change discussed. The closest either candidate came to talking about it was when they each argued over exactly how committed they were to fostering fossil fuel extraction on home soil.

Meanwhile, as the growing severity and frequency of hurricanes is being increasingly tied to rising ocean temperatures, glaciers around the world keep receding, sea levels around the world keep rising, the ocean keeps acidifying as it absorbs more and more carbon dioxide, and the amount of land being claimed by desertification grows by the month.

An overwhelming consensus of the scientific community relates these troubling patterns to man-made global warming, according to NASA. If a prominent government research body is willing to cite studies showing that “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal,” how can lawmakers and elected officials possibly hem and haw about this? Apparently, not everyone in government turns a blind eye to climate change—only the ones who make policy decisions.

Where before writing off global warming was stupid, now it is immoral. The collective effects of two centuries of industrialization are emerging as “100-year flood[s] happen every two years now,” as Andrew Cuomo, the New York Governor, put it. This means people die, are displaced, or return to a landscape of devastation.     Though no one person or group is solely at fault, taking responsibility for this imminent crisis is the only hope for coping with global climate change, and it starts with admitting the painfully obvious: Global. Warming. Exists.

Searching for Heroes Amongst Steroids

Opening day in baseball is supposed to be a grand day for America and its national past time. The season used to symbolize rebirth, not only for the country and the game, but for the planet. The game was a cultural phenomenon in America. People would go to the game during the summer to sit out in the sun like they do at the park or the beach and watch a baseball game. Some became fans of certain teams, because it just well happened to be that a certain team was from your city and you saw them the most, so you knew the players, coaches, etc. But for the most part people were in love with the game of baseball and they understood that the guys on the field were human just like you or me.

What happened to us culturally America? Amidst opening day and its festivities this year, Barry Bonds is on trial for the steroid issues that have plagued him now since he passed Babe Ruth and Manny Ramirez abruptly retired this past week to avoid a suspension for testing positive on another drug test.

Now I won’t argue that they didn’t make a choice, whether knowingly or not, but what seems to be the biggest shame of all of this steroid issue is that some people who are consistently pressing this issue are only ruining the game for an entire generation of youths and we seem to have forgotten that this is just a game, it’s supposed to be for fun.

It seems silly for some one my age to say I remember when, but when I was a kid Derek Jeter, Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds, Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, and plenty more were the heroes and role models for the kids. We played baseball and my friends would say things like “I’m like Jim Thome,” Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez or who ever.

I think back to that now and of people from a generation or two ago who thought of Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, or Sandy Koufax as their heroes and that there are stories about Koufax taking cortisone shots, but we didn’t publicize it back then.
When you think about this issue of steroids in baseball, it seems to be a real shame that little Timmy out there who is 12 years old has no heroes anymore because we’ve vilified all of them.

Now little Timmy says, “I want to be just like Manny”, but the media and these selfish writers and people tell him, “He cheats the game and he’s a bad person.” So what is he supposed to think, either “I hate this game and everybody who plays because they all cheat,” or “If I want to be as good as Albert Pujols or Big Papi, maybe I need an edge.”

Maybe rather than blaming the players we should look at what we’ve turned our national pastime into.
I know the press is supposed to inform the public of the truth, but do supreme courts, presidents, and the public really need to frustrate them selves over this when war, budget crisis, and union strikes are going on?

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

Violence Has Taken Rivalries Too Far

Rivalries are an integral part of sports, without them sports just couldn’t function. Fans need a villain to root against whether that villain is just an opposition of that particular game or a rival that your team has historically clashed with.  They make sports worth watching, besides athletic ability people want to watch teams beat up on each other. Rivalries like the Yankees-Redsox and Dodgers-Giants attract a lot of national attention for a reason; there is added intrigue for these games. Those games mean more to fans than just a win or loss. Bragging rights are on the line and for fans that is often more important than how a team performs during the season. Even if the Giants don’t make the playoffs, fans will get some satisfaction if they finish better than the Dodgers.

But fans often forget that rivalries are best served for the actual games not for fights in stands or in parking lots. Unfortunately fans taking rivalries too far happens more often than not. The latest example happened on MLB’s opening weekend when two Dodger fans attacked and critically injured Bryan Stow, a Giants fan, in the parking lot of Chavez Ravine. Stow has spent a week in the hospital in critical condition, just because he was sporting black and orange at a Dodgers game. Fans have a right to get cheer their team on passionately and even banter with a rival fan but there is no excuse for the type violence Stow endured.

The Dodgers and Giants obviously have a heated rivalry that extends back to the days when both teams played in New York. If you ever go to a Giants-Dodgers game you can feel the hatred.  But for some reason violence is prevalent among the fan basis anytime the teams play. All it takes is some heckling and a few beers for violence to start. Just a few years ago a Giants fan was murdered outside Dodger Stadium following a game. That’s right, murdered. There should never be a point during a sports game when a fan thinks, let’s murder an opposing fan or let’s beat the crap out of this guy. It’s inexcusable and sick really. Sports aren’t life or death, although as fans we like to think of it that way. At the end of the day baseball is nothing more than a game, period. Someone’s life should never be taken away, especially because of baseball rivalry.

Dodger fans have really disgraced themselves with these actions, now they have the rep, as violent thugs that just want to start fights. Dodger fans shouldn’t be grouped together and labeled in such a way but unfortunately they will because a select group of fans doesn’t know how to act like normal fans. What ever happened to peacefully going to a game to eat a hotdog and watch your favorite team compete?

As a lifelong Dodger fan I’m disappointed in my fellow Dodger supporters, at least the ones that would think of acting out violently. Giants fans have even more of a reason to hate us, and who can blame them. At least the Dodger organization and the LAPD have took actions by offering a $50,000 reward for information about the suspect while they investigate the incident. Dodger Stadium has also beefed up its security and has vowed to have a large LAPD presence at the stadium and in the parking lot. But is this enough to end the violence? Ultimately it’s up to the fans to act responsibly.
It’s time to put an end to this violence. This rivalry has already been taken too far and it needs to stop before something terrible happens to another fan.  All this violence takes the fun out of rooting against a rival. Why would you want to go to a game and worry about getting beaten up from an opposing fan? Sports aren’t the time for fighting. Fans need to put their anger aside when opposing fans start “talking trash”, let the scoreboard and your mouth do the talking not your fists.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

Golf at Its Finest at This Year’s Masters

No venue in sports better personifies tradition, perseverance, agony and ecstasy better than Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National is home to The Masters, golf’s most challenging course and bearer of the games most coveted prize, the elusive green jacket, and with it, a place in golf’s history. It has the ability to turn a young Coast Guard vet into one of the greatest golfers to grace the game (and have a drink named in his honor). It also has the ability to make the games greatest falter and fade, with numerous Par 5 holes built into a marathon four-day event. There is no doubt that the Masters is the gold standard for golf excellence and this years event was dazzling.

A young man from Northern Ireland, who, for three days, sat atop the big board, dominated this year’s event and Rory McIlroy teed off Sunday one round away from winning the Masters. Nevertheless, by the time he sank his final put, he, after being so dominant, had fallen to 14th and Augusta National showed how challenging it is to win a Masters on it’s grass and don the green jacket. During the final round Charl Schwartzel, a South African, made a furious run on the last four holes, collecting four birdies to put him on the podium, draped in green with numerous other golf legends for the first time in his young and promising career.

Tiger Woods courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Tiger Woods’ vintage comeback as one the exciting points at this year’s Masters. (Courtesy of Wikipedia commons)

Augusta National brings out the best in both golfing ability and grounds keeping. The players who make the cut at Augusta are among the best in the world and many find making the cut to be a win in and of itself. Tiger Woods, considered by many when in his prime to have been one of the best the game had ever seen, has won at Augusta four times, still two short of the great Jack Nicklaus, showing that this course in Georgia ain’t no Peach. Adding to the intrigue of the contest is the layout and grooming of Augusta. Often seen as a collection of perfectly manicured paradises, Augusta is laden with sand traps, water hazards and enough tall grass to shoot the raptor scene from Jurassic Park. This attention to detail and the strategic inclusion of man made obstacles makes Augusta the ultimate test for golf’s’ elite and good fun for the viewers.

As with all sports, golf has its share of salty veterans proving they still have it, fallen idols who want another chance and young guns bucking to be accepted into the games illustrious green jack club. This year, the defending champion, Phil “Lefty” Mickelson had a tough fourth round, gathering two double bogeys and a bogey to keep him from repeating. Golf’s’ good boy gone bad, Tiger Woods, played with his hair on fire in the second round, shooting a 66 on the day. Sadly, Woods bogeyed four times on the back nine Sunday to keep him from winning his first masters since 2005. Still, Woods shot a 67 Sunday, earning him a 4th place finish and a bit more respect in the clubhouse and on SportsCenter.

The spark plug of this year’s Masters, Rory McIlroy, out played everyone from day one at Augusta. In his first three days, McIlroy shot 65, 69 and 70, enabling him to go into Sunday in 1st place. Despite playing for par and putting his way into some birdies the first three days, the luck of the (Northern) Irish ran out Sunday and McIlroy shot an 80, sinking him into 15th place. Still, better than last years Masters where he placed 30th.

Augusta National Golf Course is the golden mean in golf and already golf fans are wondering if Lefty will win again at Augusta, if Tiger can tie Nicklaus, or, perhaps, if McIlroy will come back next spring, determined to prove that he has more than just three days of good golf in him and that he deserves to be mentioned within the ranks of Palmer, Player, Nicklaus, Faldo and Woods as a Masters Champion.

All that is for certain is that, on his first PGA Tour, Charl Schwartzel conquered Augusta and claimed golf’s’ Holy Grail for himself.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Natalie Cappetta

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

Rule Changes Make NFL “Softer”

Is it me or is the NFL getting softer and softer? This game used to be about warriors and soldiers that give big hits and take them also. Today when you watch a game, they have illegal contacts and unnecessary roughness calls, that are supposed to be for player safety, but really just make the game a higher scoring, less hard hitting defense type of shoot out game.

The NFL is trying to put in another player safety type of rule for the future of the NFL (that is if they get over their players’ union negotiations) that will restrict a defensive player from hitting a receiver with a head on collision (meaning with the helmet or shoulder pads) after the receivers feet are on the ground according to an article on the NFL Players Unions website.

Player safety is a big concern considering the number of hits these players are taking, especially when we think back on the short careers of Joe Montana, Troy Aikman and nothing is more funny than Terry Bradshaw lining up behind his guard rather than center.

Because of these players’ careers and uncertain health issues that may lie in their futures (many predict that there could be a relation to Alzheimer’s and playing football), the NFL has been taking more actions on the regulations of football for the safety of the players, for example roughing the passer with a late hit or illegal contact on a receiver that is trying to make a daring catch but gets leveled by two defensive backs.

Player safety is important, but isn’t the reason we like football is for the pounding and roughness of a game that is about war on a battle field?

Isn’t the point of the game to advance you’re troop down field against the other team who is going to make you hurt every time you catch the ball or run it forward?

When asked about how they’d stop Dan Marino and his two quick wide outs Mark Clayton and Mark Duper before Super Bowl XIX with the Miami Dolphins, 49ers Free Safety Ronnie Lott said that there was no doubt that they would make catches. But that we’ll make them remember that they caught them.

It was definitely a tragedy to see the replay of the Joe Theismann incident on Monday Night Football that ended his career. But are we going to make rules against the knock out in boxing? The players know what they are getting their selves into before they step on the field (and heck that’s what they are paid so much for right?).

Sometimes the worst happens, but by making all of these rules we’re killing the greatness of this game that is about the beaten down underdog New York Giants stunting the heavily favored New England Patriots by getting to the quarter back and putting the hits on that make the receivers drop the pass a second time because of the fear and anxiety of what they know is breathing down their neck.

Editor-in-Chief: Heather Spellacy

Chief Copy-Editor: Burke McSwain

Sports Editor: Matt Steinbach

The Heyer Score: The Nostalgia of Wiffle Ball

America’s love of sports is definitely prominent in our society, but where does this love for these sports come from? Are we born with it or is it the things we did when we were kids that make us love to play or admire those professional players?

Of course when our parents introduced us to the world of sports on TV we saw men and women having fun in front of the whole world. We as kids aspired to be like them, as kids aspire to be firefighters or astronauts. But wanting to be like them cannot come from just admiration; it has to come from the love of the game. Kids can be introduced to sports on a smaller scale by being taught how to play wiffle ball in the backyard, how to play basketball on a small plastic hoop, or by playing catch with a small football with dad. These childhood games introduce the sports to kids and give them that initial feel for the game and spark their interest in wanting to play baseball, basketball, etc.

Whether these backyard-sport kid athletes go on to be the captains of their varsity teams, professional athletes, or just sports enthusiasts, those sports will always bring a wave of nostalgia over them and remind them of their time growing up.

Out of all the sports I have played and watched, I hold a special place in my heart for the game of baseball. Being all grown up I began to wonder where this fascination first surfaced. This past weekend I was reminded by an old friend who I used to play wiffle ball in my backyard with when I was three years old. Being older than me, he remembered some more details than I could, especially the part where I had so much fun with him and my brother on our old street in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Although I moved from there to a neighboring town, the game of wiffle ball still followed me. Playing with my brother and his friends and the other kids on my new street became a summer tradition complete with bases marked by trees and a beach chair marked as home plate.
Wiffle ball inspired my passion for tee-ball which then progressed into softball, but when all of that faded, wiffle ball remained and the summer tradition still stands. From the streets of South Hadley, Massachusetts to the beaches of Cape Cod, the one sport that started it all can still be played. With every swing of the weightless yellow bat I can remember how far I used to think the homerun over the old fence in my backyard was. I remember when I was finally able to keep up with the boys by getting those clutch hits into the bushes in the front yard.

Many people wonder why people place such sentimental value on sports and why sports fans get so invested in a game they were never able to play. Sometimes sports can bring you back to a time when life was not so hard and when becoming that professional athlete did not seem so out of reach.