Monday, May 28, 2012

An Apology for Memorial Day

As we remember those who gave their lives for the country, it's important to remember it's essential to question the politicians who want to send our men and women off to war. Had the press done its job and questioned the Bush Administration instead of playing cheerleader, there would have been no Iraq War. There was no imminent threat. There were no weapons of mass destruction, and there was huge hint regarding that when the weapons inspectors kept finding nothing at location after location. But with a few exceptions, the press played cheerleader. The NY Times played megaphone for Cheney's leaks. And so off to war we went, and now we remember those who died as well as thousands who have been injured for life. On Memorial Day, ABC, NBC, and CBS owe the country an apology. So does the NY Times.

Journalism demands verification.  So should the march to war.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Parental Advice: Remember to Text While You Drive

Can you imagine parents saying to their child, "remember to text while you're driving."   But with what we now know about the medical consequences of concussions inflicted on a developing brain, that advice is akin to saying, "be sure to play football."

How many local sports reporters are asking PTA leaders and parents in general whether they are concerned about the risks of children playing high school football?   How many local sports reporters are examining how coaches are being trained to minimize the risk of concussions?   How many local sports reporters are checking each and every high school to see how the school is tracking concussions?  How many local sports reporters are examining this serious public health issue?

Research at Purdue shows even when there are no concussions, players perform more poorly on basic memory tests as the season progresses.   Why would a parent want his/her child to play a sport with such a documented record of causing brain damage?

I admit, I have been a football fan, and when my son was in high school I certainly would have let him play (I'm glad now that he didn't).  But with what we now know about the risk of concussions from football, there's no way I would allow him to play.   That would be like saying, "don't wear your seatbelt, be sure to text while you drive, and remember to start smoking."

High school superintendents and college presidents remain nearly totally silent on this issue, so have the majority of local sports reporters (cheerleaders).  My prediction is that mothers will not.  Educational leaders may not care about the damage caused by brain concussions; mothers do.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Graduation Reminder for Universities

Jon Ericson, retired founder of the Drake Group and former provost of Drake University, has a superb reminder for faculties at Division I universities that think education is more important on campus than football or basketball.
And if you're concerned about education, the full-scholarship scoreboard should concern you.