Last night’s CNN debate reminded me more of a school yard argument than of an actual political debate. I have said before that I don’t enjoy political talk, so I will keep this short and be sure to stay away from declaring any of my personal political views. My issue with the debate that took place last night was not the candidates, but the extreme lack of professionalism by the moderator. I have seen debates in which candidates attacked each other, but this is the first debate in which I have seen a moderator calling up the barbs aimed at each candidate in an effort to instigate arguments. There were a couple of times in this debate that it seemed like the candidates would come to blows, and while that would have made for some intriguing television, that is not the proper way to vet a possible presidential candidate. I understand that CNN is currently in a ratings battle, but I think they should stick to reporting news, and keep the sensationalization of the presidential debates to the tabloids. I would love to see the future president stick to the issues, but unfortunately it seems that childish arguments are the only way the media knows how to raise ratings. The President of the United States, is a highly revered and prestigious position, in the months leading up to the next election, I would love to see more serious conversation about where the candidate wants to take the country and less name calling.
Yesterday’s games have ended, and sadly my Albany Great Danes were eliminated, they had a great season, and tried their best but the size of Oklahoma’s front court was too much for them. I will be making my predictions for the next 2 days worth of games right now so I can move on to other topics the rest of the week.
UAB over UCLA
Kentucky over Cincinnati
Ohio State over Arizona
Georgia State over Xavier
Villanova over NC State
Georgetown over Utah
UNC over Arkansas
Notre Dame over Butler
Saturday should be a fun day of basketball. I placed Georgia State as a winner in a shocker, since this team is already looking like this year’s “cinderella.” Georgia State is the little school, seeded as a big underdog, with the coach who celebrates like they won the championship after each win. Coach Ron Hunter has already torn his Achilles during one celebration, and fallen off his chair during another, I would live to see his enthusiasm and love for the game throughout the tournament.
Sunday’s matchups seem a bit tamer that today’s games, as Friday’s winners were the expected teams for the most part. Here are my picks:
Duke over San Diego State
Virginia over Michigan State
Kansas over Wichita State
Dayton over Oklahoma
Gonzaga over Iowa
Oregon over Wisconsin
Maryland over West Virginia
Louisville over Northern Iowa
I chose a few upsets for Sunday, the biggest being Dayton over Oklahoma, the lower seeded teams will have to play extremely well if they want to compete with the favorites, as the top ranked teams playing on Sunday seemed to blow out their opponents in the last round. San Diego State has a chance to beat Duke of they can start strong and keep up with Duke’s shooters. Duke is a very good team, but in past years they have shown that they can inexplicably falter in pressure situations. I know they have new players and a new team, but there is just something about playing for Duke that has these young talented player resting on their laurels, and getting caught off guard.
Over the past couple of weeks there has been several terrible stories related to fraternities and their members in the news. These reports involved some disturbing topics such as racism, drug sales, and even rape. Many people may look at these stories and wonder “what happened to ‘Greek life?’” but I must say, based on my college experience, that these things are not new, and frankly I would be shocked if the Universities and Fraternities involved where actually oblivious to these behaviors. I have never been in a frat, but I have been recruited countless times, and I have many friends who were heavy in “Greek life,” one of the things that is clear about fraternities today, is that they are little more than high powered street gangs. Fraternities feed on and foster an environment of misogyny, the alcohol fueled actions of frat brothers are only amplified by the peer pressure to which they so readily adhere. I remember several frat brawls taking place during my time in college, and all of them involved alumni in some way. Whatever these students are taught during their time in a frat is heavily imbedded into who they are, and it continues to be spread to new members of the groups. All fraternities are not bad, some decent chapters are now tainted by the actions of some of their distant frat brothers, but a few bad apples do spoil the appearance of the bunch. The problems that occur with fraternities cannot be easily fixed if at all, unfortunately the only way to fix fraternities is to find the ones who are breaking rules and shut them down. “Frat boys” have never been the most upstanding individuals, but their transgressions were almost always kept secret, in the internet age nothing is secret, so frats need to settle down and clean up their actions or prepare for the consequences.
Hillary Clinton, the top democratic candidate for the 2016 presidential election, came under scrutiny last week for using her own private email and server while she was Secretary of State, instead of using a government issued email. Aside from her excuses for using a private email, the former Secretary of State seemed overall unapologetic about the issue. Hillary Clinton, of all people, should understand the job of and motivation of the media when it comes to politicians. As the former First Lady to a president who had a controversial stay in office, she should have known that everything she does is and will forever be under the microscope. I don’t think this will affect the presidential hopes of Mrs. Clinton but I do think she showed poor judgment in these actions, and she should have taken a more proactive role in deflecting the media toward pressing issues rather than trying to feign ignorance on this one. In a press conference she said she used her personal email for the convenience of carrying one device, now I understand that mistakes can be made when using one device for personal and business needs, but it is not really an inconvenience to simply have 2 emails on one device. I am fully in favor of individual privacy, but when it comes to the business matters of the Secretary of State, there needs to be a level of transparency. While the transparency will most certainly not pertain to the citizens of the country, the government at large should at least be able to know whom official documents are being shared with and what high ranking officials are sharing. Honestly, seeing as an election is coming up next year, there will be dozens of news reports regarding the private lives of potential candidates. Every candidate who hopes to be the next President of the United States needs to use the months leading up to the primaries to either clean out their closets, or rethink their candidacy.
What ever happened to the news? There was a time when you would tune into a local or cable network and be informed about what was going on in your world. Today the news has regressed into a cesspool of pop culture topics and irrelevant “scientific” studies. It is sad to see how much the news has changed within the last 20 years. In the past, different newscasts covered different topics, and it was basically up to the viewer to decide what they wanted to hear. Today you would be hard pressed to find more than one unique story across all local news broadcasts. Television news seems to be going the way of print news, with the advent of smartphones the news is now closer than ever. Social media platforms, along with the Internet, deliver news to consumers at break neck speeds. Since television news could not compete with first hand, up to the minute news, they have shifted to more fluff based reporting. While the news is a business, it seems the producers have lost touch with their major demographic. Television news producers need to focus on keeping their current viewer base of baby boomers and elderly folks, instead of trying to compete with the Internet. Social media should be used to connect with the Millennials they so desperately want watching, by fully involving them in the conversation. This year looks to be a transitional year for television, with many people fed up with programing and too busy to sit down for a show, the Internet is quickly becoming the only place to consume media. Rather than trying to compete with it or emulate it Television networks as a whole need to embrace the change and make the transition to net based viewership.
In yesterday’s blog I delved into issues that plagued universities of America. I went over my beliefs that colleges should tailor curriculums more towards real world expectations and less on student desires. The cost of college today is generally not as rewarding as it used to be, while the blame can easily be placed on students, I would say businesses and colleges are just as guilty. Many businesses these days seem to be apprehensive towards the idea of hiring new graduates, it seems as though every entry-level position requires 3-5 years of experience. I remember searching for work when I first graduated, I was shocked by the amount of experience some positions required, I even wondered if any recent graduate was fitting for the positions. I now know there are other paths to getting the needed experience, though loans need to be paid back and internships do not always pay. The fact that college has become somewhat of a necessity has also damaged the value of a college education. There are now hundreds, if not thousands of accredited colleges in the United States, and many of them are full of students hopeful to get a degree. I believe everyone who wants to get a college degree should be able to attain one, however everyone does not want a college education. There are many newly accredited colleges that seem to do a poor job of actually preparing students for employment. I feel as though some colleges are just in existence for the money, many of these smaller “trade schools” seem to leave their graduates stranded with little job placement, and very specific skills. Colleges and businesses need to find a way to lessen the exploitation of high school students, I hope in the near future the two entities can partner with each other to build an environment that is both lucrative for them and advantageous for the students.
The idea of going to college has lost its luster in recent years, and there are multiple factors that have made one of the “safe bets” of the 20th century seem increasingly risky. In my opinion the most blame must go to the universities. Colleges these days push a liberal arts curriculum on students and foster a “do what you want” culture, leading students to actually believe they can make it like mom and dad did, but do it their own way. The schools in turn leave their thousands of “modern procrastination” majors with little more than massive debt, a piece of paper, and a belief that they are ready for the “real world.” I understand a major is the student’s choice and that they should decide on a lucrative one, but I believe colleges need to change their approach. Schools need to give students a way to learn successful skills while still allowing ample time to feed their curiosity with diverse interest courses. My proposal would most likely extend the expected timeframe of college studies, but I feel it can be achieved without adding time to a degree by eliminating some liberal arts requirements. I don’t want to sound like I am attacking liberal arts, since I did graduate with an English major, but I would have discovered my love of literature through interest courses and found my way to this major without liberal arts requirements. Colleges need to go through a rebranding of sorts, without taking away from the pride of the university. I think universities should work on teaching student what they need to know, while staying away from the trends of online colleges. It is no small task to make colleges “work” for the students again, but it is worth it to try and rebuild America’s faith in higher education. I want to stick with this topic for another post or two since I have so much to say about it, so this will be my first multiple post topic.