Sunday, August 21, 2011

Abortion

An argument as old as the day the concept was uttered, or even older. Many people will have a different stance on the issue, such as whether or not abortion is murder, none of which can be discredited. These various views are due to the perception of when life begins. Is it at conception? Is it a few weeks in? Is it when the child is born? These 3 questions are grey areas as there is no definitely yes or no answer, it is totally dependant on who is being asked.

For those who believe life begins at conception does this mean that those people who have tried in vitro fertilisation are murderers? After all, in vitro fertilisation uses fertilised human eggs and often many of these eggs are not implanted and thrown away, does this count as murder? For those who believe it's a few weeks in, for many abortions the embryos are terminated in the first trimester. During the first trimester the embryo cannot survive outside the womb therefore it should not be considered a separate entity to its mother.

As a whole, in life, a number of choices present themselves and as individuals we have the right to choose. As a result of this not only can the mother/couple in question make a choice to keep or abort a child but doctors can choose whether or not to perform the service. In recent times the number of places that will perform abortions has reduced in number as some people find themselves not agreeing with abortion. This is totally just in the fact that no one should be forced to do something they don't agree with, but at the same time, don't doctors and others in the healthcare profession take an oath to help every patient they see, and treat each patient with the same care? If a cancer patient wanted a tumour to be removed and it could be done successfully, would a doctor refuse them that right? Most would probably encourage this. Many people requesting an abortion may feel that their embryo is like a tumour - sucking the life out of them and thriving.

On the other hand others may argue that the doctor has the right to advocate for the embryo and that the doctor has to do what's best for both the individuals. Once again, rules and regulation have been brought in to determine when it's too late for a foetus to be aborted, but is their determination too early or too late? By looking at the development of an embryo it is astonishing to see how far they come in such little time. By 6 weeks an embryo has developed eye spots, a heart bulge, a jaw, and arm and leg buds. By 8 weeks eyelids, hands, knee joints and a brain have started to form. By 10 weeks fingers, shoulders and ear lobes have developed. The progression of development just gets more real as the weeks go on. Is it really logical to say life begins when a baby is born or is it earlier than that?

All in all, choice is an important aspect of abortion. The choice for the patient and the choice for the doctor. A doctor who doesn't believe in abortion but believes in the woman's right to choose will be in a dilemma as to which side they should take. Personally I believe choice is important, after all we make choices all the time, most of which we aren't scrutinised for, therefore I believe in abortion. I also feel that those people who say they are against it but it depends on circumstance (such as those who would allow it/go through it if someone/they were raped) are hypocrites.

One Of My Many Apologies

Why is it that when you know you have to do something you try to avoid it as much as possible? I have an apology to make because I know I've avoided blogging lengthy posts, and even blogging my tracks of the month, but it's because I'm feeling under pressure.

I need to improve my writing for a test I have coming up. It's the sort of test where they'll assess and scrutinise everything, and I mean e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, order of paragraphs, whether paragraphs are hooked, the list just goes on and on! It's a test of your thinking, general writing ability and how logical your thought process is - in 30 minutes.

Unfortunately for me, my trail of thought is exactly that. A long trail that meanders and weaves round and round. I'm not very direct and I like to beat around the bush as they say. Hence why I need to improve how I write and what I write. Surely blogging more is the simple, most interesting solution... Apparently not. I've been scared to even look at the blog and read Sean's posts. I sit and I think.. hmm why can't I write like that in 20 minutes like he does?!

Don't get me wrong, he's been very encouraging, but I just can't seem to get my head around any sort of topic to blog about enthusiastically, and I suppose I shouldn't get used to blogging about things I like because I might be given a topic I don't like, or even know nothing about, how will I fare then?! Oh.. the nerves just keep getting worse and worse, my tummy is doing somersaults!

Mind you, I've quite enjoyed writing this ramble so maybe I will write about something I can really sink my teeth into. Thank you kindly, you've been most helpful. I hope you'll read something from me soon - mainly because I hope to have written something for you to read soon!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The United States Economic Woes - A Simple Fix?

Do you know why the United States’ credit rating dropped after finally reaching an “agreement” on August 2, 2011? Never mind the fact that the agreement was not even finalized when it was agreed upon, therefore just prolonging the debates over whether to add this fee or that to the bill. Never mind the fact that it took months upon months to get done and was a competition rather than a joint-effort to fix (which Obama has so snuggly clung onto in order to make you forget the truths about the situation). The reason the United States’ credit rating was downgraded was solely because the bill is a restructuring of something that is already in crisis… and not an overhaul or fix in any way. All that was done was they raised the amount of money in which they’re allowed to be in debt, and forced their way into more spending to print more money to cover those trillions in debt.

Obama (I will not refer to him as President because even if that’s the position he holds, the job he does is not that of President of the United States of America) also denounced the credit company Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the US, claiming, “America is still an AAA credit country and the rating means nothing.” Lord Almighty I wish I had the right and the nerve to walk into a credit company, demand a card, and use that card on anything I want and say it is fine, because the credit rating “means nothing”.

Not only does it not “mean nothing”, it means everything. It’s a direct reflection of how terribly the United States handled not only this situation, but also the entire economy and the situations of every citizen for the past [specifically] 3 years. Unemployment rates are still absurdly horrific, and the tax system is still in dire straits. So how do we fix the economy? Believe it or not… problems this huge are fixed in the most simple of manners.

Create jobs! Or better yet, force employers to create jobs. It’s hilarious to me that business owners refuse to hire people solely because nobody can afford to buy their product. Well, the reason people can’t afford to buy products is because people aren’t making money… they’re unemployed. Look no further than new-regime China, which has created jobs, and pays employees fairly. Not only do owners spend more money on paying their employees top dollar, but owners receive greater revenue because other companies hire and pay correctly, giving people enough money to throw back into the economy on the products companies have to sell in order to make money. Sure, in the short-term, immediately after hiring people, owners will see a large percentage of their companies value and wealth decline (not as though it isn’t already with nobody purchasing the product they’re still spending to produce), but in the long-term, when people are spending because they can, businesses will flourish, and owners will acquire more fortune. So step 1, a simple step, is to force companies to hire employees and pay them more along the lines of their global counterparts.

Step 2? Yet another simple step… but it can only be achieved through having first focused on Step 1. Instigate and encourage spending. When people finally have money to spend, they’ll first be worried thinking they need to save up in case something like this happens again (and saving personally WILL help the economy by ensuring there are funds still in personal reserve). The need to push people to spend on products will ultimately keep currency in rotation in the economy. Currency… current… to flow… get it now? China and India have dominated financial markets and economic crisis periods because they hire, they create jobs, they pay people top dollar, and people are constantly feeding money back into business so owners can afford to write checks, purchase material, and carry on in that same circle. America used to do this, but somewhere along the way, all focus has been lost.

Step 3, which I feel is one of the most important steps, is to create a more precise and effective taxing situation. We need more balance in the percentage of what is spent on taxes by the rich and the not rich. Being richer shouldn’t entitle you to more tax breaks. The average American (everyone outside of the 10% that makes up the rich/wealthy) spends a greater percentage on taxes than the top 10% do in proportion. All that does is take money away from the average American that they could ultimately be spending on products to help the entire economy grow.

Step 4, which could exist with Step 1 but I’ve decided to separate it due to the nature of how large it is and how important the US citizens be able to fund it into existence, is to begin distributing and exporting products and goods. For too long now, Japan, China, India, the UK have taken Americans into their own market and used them to develop products which have sold en masse. It’s time for America to enter a new Industrial Revolution. While systems fail and we experience something on the scale of the Gulf Oil Spill (BP), it’s still imperative that the United States embrace offshore drilling in an effort to help save the oil industry… and produce a good which the rest of the world is in critical need. Becoming a player in the oil market (a market the United States has long kept themselves from competing) would not only help the United States’ economy and the world’s need for oil, but it would save the environment of nations which do produce oil while you can still not destroy our environment by first hiring people to learn why other nations have been unsuccessful in saving theirs at the price of drilling for oil. Offshore drilling can be dangerous, but jobs can be created to find people who can ensure safer protocol and procedures that BP did not focus on with their offshore pumps. And while we’re on the topic of foreign policy – stop forgiving debts which could ultimately help you chip away at the trillions we owe in debt!

There you go: 4 simple steps on how to fix the economy, to create jobs and market. Oh, and the bonus? Education suddenly flourishes as the need to create future employees suddenly and rapidly grows. Amazing how something so simple could fix problems so large, huh?

Sidenote - This is a foreshadow to a project I will be working on with a friend in the near future. We will compound and expound these topics and more, but I've been bothered by these topics long enough now that I had to present them to you. I'm also hoping you all leave comments in order to help me determine if there are flaws in my logic on these issues. Again, this is a simple breakdown, so of course the fine print on how to achieve these things isn't all laid out, but these things ARE actually simple enough if you just consider for a moment that they don't HAVE to be complex issues to resolve.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Thoughts on Washington Redskins – Preseason Week 1

First of all, I wasn’t planning on doing this. Secondly, it IS just preseason, so any hype and hope and heaped praise I latch onto these topics, you’ve got to remember it is just preseason. I’m excited to have football back, and I’m excited with the change in culture in Washington, so I’m excited about how guys perform right now, no matter if they’re facing first or second team guys.

My initial thought after the game: damn that looked like an actual team out there. I didn’t see much of anyone exposing their own weaknesses and leaving teammates hanging out to dry (except from the safety position, which I’ll get to later). I was astonished at how well both lines clicked… especially the defensive line (they worked tremendously with the linebackers). And it’s nice seeing a QB come into the same system with some familiar faces and work the field the way the coordinator likes seeing it done.

QB – Grossman played his ass off… whether it was 1st team without Polamalu, or second team with nobody familiar (keep in mind that which you’re not familiar with is often your greatest enemy). Grossman was accurate, and though he didn’t put up TD’s every redzone trip, he did find a way to not make critical mistakes trying to force the ball into the endzone (bar the dropped INT at the 3 before the TD pass to Moss).  Segway: That TD play was absolutely everything you want out of a quarterback… it gets him in trouble, but Grossman’s gunslinger mentality can be extremely beneficial in situations like that. Defenders are taught to abandon the pass on low snaps because QB’s tend to bring their eyes down and won’t make plays. Grossman not only kept his eyes up off of the bad snap, but he was aware enough to find his second target in his progression for a TD. If Grossman has that, along with the rest of his 1st half performance, for even 10 games this season… we’re in a phenomenal position to win some games. Clemens didn’t stand out much to me at all, but I can say I was pleased with how quickly he’s picked up some of the offense in such a short period of time, and drops aren’t his fault.

HB – Hightower is everything I advertised on Twitter after the acquisition. He’s deceptively quick and shifty, but he runs with force and power on top of that speed. His pass-blocking and receiving are an attribute as well… he can definitely be the guy on 3rd down. If Torain makes this team and comes back healthy and building on last season… they’re a nearly identical style of running, so you don’t miss a beat. Royster performed well in pass-pro, and he made some very good runs at times, though he seemed less willing to be a one-cut back, but in the first preseason game, I think he was just having fun back on the field. The limited action from Helu showed some good decision-making on his cuts, and he finished runs strong as well. Overall, I like what we have at the position… a lot of youth, a lot of power, versatile weapons, and deceptive speed.

FB – Darrell Young was the one-man show at FB with Sellers looking more and more like he either doesn’t make the team or transitions into a 4th TE. Young was very solid blocking, and he showed a very good display of talent on his catch-and-run.

WR – Moss looked better than he did last year, and was noticeably quicker and faster… he showed an uncanny ability to find holes in the zone where he could turn after the catch and look to pick up extra yards. He definitely made the game easier on Grossman. Gaffney is a very likeable player who makes the reception… he’s got very sure hands. Armstrong did some good things with his opportunities, as well as Terrence Austin. Niles Paul had a spectacular catch, and Stallworth showed great speed and got good separation. Hankerson looked as though he was more focused on perfecting his routes rather than focusing on the ball. He spent too much time thinking and too little time playing. He drops passes, but he can correct that by simply focusing on making catches and letting the routes be second nature. Does look scared over the middle, however… and it’s an area where you know if Kelly could get on the field and be healthy, he could prove his value. Hankerson’s got plenty of time to grow though. Exceptional corps.

TE – Fred Davis is a fascinating talent. I was a bit disappointed he wasn’t utilized more last season, but this offseason he showed up in great shape, lost weight, and looks to have added some speed to his arsenal, which was already a strength. He was good blocking, but not great… and his routes were crisp and helped ease the defense’s zones to allow the WR’s to find space. Paulsen had some good catches as well and I think he’s a strong player at making this team… and I would NOT be surprised if Cooley doesn’t become a bargaining chip in trade talks in the coming weeks (sorry guys, I’d miss him too, but business is business).

OL – Jammal Brown was a beast. Last year, it was known he wasn’t 100%, but we needed a guy and he played anyways… add that to the fact he switched to RT after spending years at LT and having to refocus his form… this year he came back saying he’s bought in to Shanahan, and he looked as comfortable and dominant as ever last night. Trent looked very good as well… those OLB’s destroy higher regarded tackles, and Trent held his own on the edge. He also showed a few great blocks downfield for Hightower on the stretches, and even got down past Moss on a 7-yard hook before Moss turned to run after the catch to level the initial defender. Chester’s speed was amazing on the stretches… when he got a chance to pull, he was out in front of the back and leading the way, but he was good in pass pro 1 on 1 standing strong. The line as a whole played well… limited knockdowns and pressures, and didn’t allow a sack. Very few plays for a loss as well, and that’s saying something against the Steelers.

DL – There were very few combinations that they put in that didn’t look like a good unit. Carriker struggled a bit here and there, but did well at times. Jenkins played high a lot, but he still found a way to hold up blocks and create lanes (especially the Barnes sack). Bowen was dominant as well, at all three positions.

LB – I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think Kerrigan may be one of the better pass-rushers in the league… he dominated tackles, and on a couple of inside blitzes, he manhandled the Guard. He did make some rookie mistakes, and took bad angles on a couple plays, giving the back a hole, and we didn’t see much out of him in coverage, but his ability to bull rush and use some finesse technique on the pass rush really intrigued me. London Fletcher is London Fletcher. Rocky McIntosh is a lock at ILB again… I truly believe he’s the most underrated Redskin, and I’m glad he’s still here on the team. He played smart and physical, showed up with a great boost to get in position to break up a pass on the sideline which, a step slower, he’d have missed… and he was extremely physical in the trenches.

CB – Hall got beat a few times, he looked like he made some bad decisions pre-snap and focused back on the QB when the receiver was making a double move. Wilson was on his guy most of the night but allowed a few catches, but he was solid in making tackles. Barnes was very good on the blitz from nickel (which, like Charles Woodson) could be his calling card to making him a star defender.

S – Landry and Atogwe were both out, so Horton and Doughty started. Both are physical tacklers, but not great in deep coverage. Hall got beat when he thought he had help over the top, and it hurt when Horton was beat at the same exact time. Doughty got beat as well, but he was, as always, precise in his responsibility vs. the run. Horton on the other hand took a few bad angles vs. the run as well (Redman’s TD for example).

K – Shayne Graham was horrible… in competition… and he overcompensated on a 29-yarder and kicked it wide left from the right hash, and on a 45-yarder kicking it wide right from the left hash. He clearly couldn’t handle the pressure in that situation. Gano was as solid as can be on FG’s… kicking three 40+ yarders. He also put every kickoff through the back of the endzone (which shouldn’t be a difficult task under the new, stupid rules). Shayne Graham has since been released.

P – Rocca was solid, and did a great job holding on FG’s. Not much more needs to be said.

KR – Aldridge muffed 3 returns… Banks on the other hand handled them well… his 20-yard punt return was spectacular as he cut all the way across field (with a great block from Young) and started up the sideline. His kick-return… he took the ball from 7-yards deep and took off with ease finding space he wouldn’t have found without his incredible speed. Something I noticed about Banks on that return is his willingness to try and run through tackles… and he’s still tiny, but looks a little bulkier than last year, but his quickness, speed, and his acceleration from a near standstill on his cut-back to full speed… Banks HAS to make this team because he has that special factor and ability to set you up with incredible field position. You don’t trade that potential away.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Soundtrack To My Month Of August - Track 1

I really do love this boys voice, I've already posted the A-Team, now I'm going to post the song I was talking about in that post since he's finally done the video for it. The video is awesome as it's simply of a man signing the song lyrics.

I give you, Ed Sheeran - You Need Me, I Don't Need You, enjoy!




There's many version of this song, this was the first one I ever heard, which is a beautiful acoustic version:




Then yesterday I heard this remix version with Wretch 32 and Devlin:




I hope you like them as much as I do!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Few Notes From The Washington Redskins Offseason

When the Redskins take to the field for preseason and the regular season this year, they will unquestionably look a lot different from years past. Sure, there will still be the familiar faces of London Fletcher, LaRon Landry, DeAngelo Hall, Brian Orakpo, Santana Moss, and Chris Cooley… but the traces of the Cerrato regime are quickly disappearing… having only the best and most productive of his decisions remaining here in Washington.

For anyone still questioning if the Redskins are indeed heading on the right path, I say look at the overhaul that has taken place so far. Shanahan has implemented much of his own team in the past two seasons, having gotten rid of some old pieces and bringing in a lot of new guys. If my math is correct, the average age on the Washington Redskins right now is 26, down big time from our past. Not only that, but Shanahan drafted wisely, and acquired a lot of Free Agent talent to fill the D-Line and fit the mold of what he and Haslett want to do on defense. Offensively, some pieces were added at WR to bring in a lot of competition, and likely to give whoever the QB may be a lot of different looks to practice with and adapt.

So here, I’ll break down 10 key points (in no order) from so far this offseason and give my outlook…

Santana Moss – Moss for years has said he wanted to remain a Washington Redskin. He even took pay cuts along the way, but fans insisted that when he could test Free Agency, he would be gone. Well, Moss had his chance to test free agency, and several suitors were thought to be heavily in the mix for him, but Moss took the contract with Washington and came home. He reportedly told every team interested in his services that the Redskins came first, and he believes building, even with him a veteran 32 years old, is best suited for him now… NOT going elsewhere and yet again having to pick something else up.

Mike Shanahan – He told people for too long now that Bruce controls things and that he has final say in everything, and that Snyder is only writing the checks and being supportive. Well, people thought “that could never happen” and that Shanahan was a liar. Well, the spectacle last year with Albert should have told people that Mike wasn’t playing when it came to him saying it was his team, but even when people still had doubters, Mike and Bruce continue to reshape the roster and structure contracts where they benefit the Redskins even when the team loses their services… no more bulky guaranteed deals here… and the incentives based contracts inspire guys to play harder for their money.

Bruce Allen – As stated above… his structuring of contracts has been incredible, and his ability to work with the list of free agents Mike Shanahan gave him of interest, and win on most of them, and often find the next best guy immediately after it becomes clear they’re not in the market for the “top” guy… well, they’re doing some very good work. The key was Cullen Jenkins, who people pegged to come here. He walked out of negotiations when his agent wanted to look for more money. Well, the Redskins signed Stephen Bowen and Jenkins went and took a contract to play for a 4-3 team, for less money than he was bargaining for here in Washington. Stephen Bowen is no pushover either…

Josh Wilson – He’s no upgrade in coverage from Carlos Rogers, in my own personal opinion… but he’s definitely not much of a downgrade either. Also, his ability to take interceptions back to the house (4 of his career 9) and the fact he’s played very well in man and zone over his career so far, make him a very wise pick. He’s a local fan-favorite as well, so that doesn’t hurt at all. It’s worth noting that last season when he was starting for the Ravens, he was lined up on the same side of the field as Ed Reed… so targets were few and far apart anyways… he also finds a way to pick up fumbles…

Fred Davis – This young man got in incredible shape this offseason, and people are noting that he looks like a wide receiver this year rather than a tight end… but his blocking has improved. It’s likely he’ll line up in the slot at times to spread linebackers out to create mismatches vs. base defenses, much like Dallas Clark or Owen Daniels are used.

Malcolm Kelly – He apparently impressed yet again during (unofficial) OTA’s during the lockout much as he did in workouts last season before the team convened at Redskins Park. I thought it was very telling that Mike kept him on the team last year when he placed him on IR but got rid of Devin Thomas. And that he’s kept him through now (I think a lot of it has to do with Keenan McCardell as well. Kelly’s been a beast in camp as well, minus the injury… but coaches seem to want to give him the chance to prove himself in preseason games… and if he performs, we may see him work his way up to the 1 WR (not a true 1, just there to put Moss in the slot).

Jarvis Jenkins – I honestly haven’t seen a player, rookie or veteran, receive this much praise for their practice effort and dominance. He’s difficult to budge, absorbs blockers and creates lanes when he starts tossing linemen aside. If his offseason is telling… this kid is going to be a monster for years to come in this league.

Brian Orakpo – News has seemed quiet on his front, but drills have shown a significant boost to his techniques, and one has to think Rak isn’t showing us everything he taught himself on how to avoid those holds and get back to hitting QB’s.

Jammal Brown – I like the readdition of Brown to the O-Line. He says he received offers to go back and play on the left side of the line for several teams, but decided to come back to Washington because he has bought in to what Mike Shanahan is selling. With his hip another year recovered and rested after the lockout… Brown could be in for a big season.

Dan Snyder – I’ve got to give this guy credit for seemingly stepping away from the team operations and allowing Mike and Bruce to build this team their way. We still yearn for a Robin Hood when it comes to ticket prices, parking prices, and concessions prices… but the part that matters the most about the Washington Redskins organization… the actual football team, has found its robber of the rich and giver to the poor… of sorts… in Mike Shanahan.