English Language in the United States: Official not Only


Many people misconstrue the idea of an official language in the United States.  They think that having one would take away from the cultural diversity and what makes America so special.  Others may not even know that the United States doesn’t have English as its official language.

 

In fact, 51 countries around the world list English as an official language.  

Picture 6

So, why doesn’t the United States?  Doesn’t a large majority of the population speak English?

I will answer these questions, as well as offer my plan of action in regards to making English the official language of our beautiful country.

 

Advertisements

Ahhh… My Day Off


Crazy… I actually don’t wake up to a sophisticated alarm embedded in the headboard of my bed.  Not because there isn’t one there, but because today is Sunday, my day off from work when I can finally play a round of golf.  I shouldn’t really call playing professional basketball ‘work’, though.  I play for the Mobile Frackers, a new NBA franchise that was started in 2018 by a group of oil barons.  Since all vehicles, planes, and boats became solar-powered (due to a breakthrough in research by Sonny Jacobson, a Bucknell grad), the need for oil is significantly lower than it was 10 years ago.  I guess the oil barons made a smart move by getting out of the oil industry and investing in hoops.

Anyways… I get out of bed and go downstairs to see my personal chef, Cheyenne Peppers, making me breakfast.  “I’ve made your favorite!” she exclaims.  “Chilaquiles?” I ask with a smile on my face.  “You’re the best!”  I hastily sit down at the kitchen counter, grab my fork, and dig in.  “These are terrible,” I tell her.  “You’re fired.”  Of course I’m only kidding; Cheyenne and I are great friends.  She is the girlfriend of my manager, Petey Manavich.  They both live with me in my condo in Mobile, AL, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.

MOBILE FRACKERS

MOBILE FRACKERS

As I eat my delicious Mexican dish, I pull up my computer on the kitchen counter.  First I check my U, the app I developed several years ago that has revolutionized how people across the WORLD manage their lives.  U is not a social media platform.  (I would tell you more about it, but this is something I’m actually working on.)  Finishing my last bite, I yell out to Petey, “you ready to get your ass kicked today?”

Petey and I hop in my solar-powered Range Hover.  We joke about how funny it was when I had that piece of shit ’02 Acura RSX two-door.

2002-2004 Acura RSX photographed in College Pa...

I really hated driving this car 10 years ago.

Pulling up to the valet parking at Moose Country Club, I am greeted by Parker, one of our younger employees.  “Good morning Mr. Muscala,” he says.  “Please…call me Mic,” I tell him.  I got a lot of crap for changing the spelling of my name a couple years ago, but it has helped my rap career immensely.  Despite my appearance, I have garnered a decent amount of respect in the rap industry with my two albums “Six Foot Eleven” and “Mic Jawz: Great White”.

After shooting a disappointing 78, I tell my caddy Jeff Greens to schedule me for another tee time next Sunday.  My golf game has really improved, but only being able to play once a week makes it difficult.  As Petey drives us back to the condo, we put on some instrumentals and start freestyling.  I’ve been so lucky to have him as my manager — we’ve been friends ever since 2nd grade.

Cheyenne has dinner ready for us when we get back.  Steaks from the grill and corn on the cob, lathered with butter and salt.  Sunday is when I pay less attention to the healthiness of the foods I eat – it keeps me sane throughout the grueling week of workouts as I prepare for the upcoming season with the Frackers.  I check my U one more time before bed and set my alarm that is, in fact, embedded into my headboard.  730 AM it reads.  Time for another week to get better.  As a 31 year-old professional basketball player in the final year of his contract, I need a big year if I want to remain in the NBA and get another contract as a free agent when the year is over.

Then again, when I first signed with my agent over 10 years ago, he mentioned it wouldn’t be terrible if I went to Spain to play ball for the final couple years of my career.  Guess we’ll just have to find out.  ¡Buenas noches!

 

Blog Council 11 – The Yearbook


Yearbooks were probably a bigger deal in high school than they are for us now as college students.  Nevertheless, we’re all (hopefully) graduating in about a month, so we chose the ‘Most Likely to…’ theme for this week’s Blog Council report!

MOST LIKELY TO HAVE A JOB:

All of your blog posts included specifics on how your idea would work.  You’re realistic and detail-oriented in terms of how you’re going to help the world.  Your ideas may have been related to a BIG, worldwide issue, or a smaller, less-important one.  Either way, you know what you want to accomplish.  You’re most likely to have a job after graduating college.

Ava Giuliano – A Small Way to Help

Caroline Gilbert – More is Not Always Better

Frank Berman – Would you like to Supertax that?

Gil Erlich – Embrace Bucknell’s Campus – WALK MORE

Jackson Hollowell – Cars to the left, trucks to the right

Lauren Bernard – Kill People with Kindness

Megan Maschal – How a Reduction in Food Waste Can Save the Planet

Michael Layman – The Solution

Vincent Cinotti – Recycle Batteries, Get “Charged” Less

MOST LIKELY TO BE A CONTROVERSIAL NEWS STORY:

Stephanie and Stephen…respect.  You two made your beliefs known and weren’t afraid of how awful your star rating may be on the blog.  You know the change you want to make in the world and aren’t afraid of how society might react.  You may cause a lot of controversy, but that isn’t a bad thing.  You’re causing people to think outside of their comfort zone and raising important points.

Stephanie Wyld – A Queer Query

Stephen Koullias – Building Character…With the Help of the Red, White, and Blue

MOST LIKELY TO BE ON TIME’S MOST INFLUENTIAL LIST:

You two had great ideas AND great plans on how to make them happen.  You’re not only going to have a job, but you may even start your own nonprofit/company.  You’ll be known for all your great work that helps both people and the world they live in.

Megan Maschal  – How a Reduction in Food Waste Can Save the Planet

Vincent Cinotti – Recycle Batteries, Get “Charged” Less

MOST LIKELY TO GO TO GRAD SCHOOL:

You all have great ideas/intentions, but you’re still not quite sure how you want to go about putting them into action.  You may not have a job right after college, but you’re OK with that, because you’re on the right track towards making a difference.  Going to grad school will help you sort out these ideas and better formulate your plan of action.

Alexander Alam – Let’s all just agree to get over ourselves, or “The World Doesn’t Care About You, and That’s a Good Thing”

DJ Rowe- Save Tomorrow’s Leaders

Jennifer Ciotti – It All Starts With You

Jesse Dondero – Bridge the Gap

Kaitlyn Alvino – Confined By Screens No Longer

Kelly Morque – Stop War, Play Sports

Megan Cautilli – Together Everyone Achieves More

Salvatore Vallala – Everyone in America Needs to Watch this Video

 

LET THE VOTING BEGIN…

The star-count/ratings were inconclusive, so now it’s up to you…

Caroline, Kyle, or Vinny?

One Day Flyer’s Ed. Pass = Fly!


I love flying.  I get nervous sometimes when there’s bad turbulence or a shaky landing, but overall I enjoy the experience of getting to the airport, eating at a restaurant or buying a magazine, and cramming into a seat that doesn’t fit me because all the exit row seats are taken by people shorter than 6’0″.  What I DON’T enjoy, however, is the safety speech/demonstration that occurs every time I fly.  

*DINGGGGGG*

First of all, no one pays attention to what the flight attendant is saying.  I’ve told myself in the past that I would read through the pamphlet in the exit row to actually understand what to do in case of an emergency, but it’s hard to do.  Let’s be honest…do any of us really know the protocol?  For all I know, all of you do, and I’m making a fool of myself.  But I have a hunch that not many of us do.

So why don’t we know this protocol?  Simple: there are no consequences.  You can still fly if you don’t know how to fly.  This is unlike driving, where you need to take an educational class and have time behind the wheel before you can hit the road.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  “Mike, you don’t actually FLY the plane…so why do you need to take Flyer’s Ed?  You don’t need to take Driver’s Ed when you’re just sitting in a seat as a passenger, either.”  Well, I agree.  Whole-heartedly.  You don’t really need a class on how to be a passenger on an airplane.  But if we DID have one, we could get rid of the flight attendant having to demonstrate it every single time we fly.  That would save him/her time & our sanity.

Finally, having this class would actually make people know what to do in case of an emergency.  If they took a simple day-long course and had to pass an exam later that day or the next morning in order to fly, I’m willing to bet they would pay attention!

I’m sure there would be a huge public outcry saying that this is unnecessary.  But just envision this.  You have a 6am flight back to Harrisburg, heading back to Bucknell after Spring Break.  You’re tired from the sun, you’re hungover, and you don’t even want to think about school.  Wouldn’t it be nice to hop on that plane, and have them just turn the lights off right away, without a peep from a flight attendant, so you could sleep and get the flight over with?  I’d sure like that.  🙂

ahhhhhhhhhh

Paying NCAA Student-Athletes: A Simple Answer Amidst Complicated Rules


          The NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) helps student-athletes across America compete in sports while earning four-year college degrees.  It unifies more than 450,000 young men and women whom are dispersed throughout more than 1,200 institutions, divided into 3 different divisions.[1]  Through the use of athletic scholarships, academic standards, drug testing, and many other components, the NCAA keeps a level playing field for competition.  When rules are broken, penalties are incurred.  When titles are won, rewards are received.  Since its formation in 1910, the NCAA has been an important and respected association across the country.  The one component of the NCAA that needs to be changed, however, is paying its student-athletes.  I will argue why they deserve to be paid, how to go about paying them, and the ethical philosophies that support it.

     Each year, a 68-team NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins in mid-March and culminates with the Final Four in one of the country’s biggest cities, leaving heartbreak and Cinderella stories at each of its smaller, regional sites along the way.  I was fortunate to experience the madness of this year’s Final Four in Atlanta firsthand, and if there’s one thing I learned from my experience, it’s that the NCAA makes a lot of money.  The ticket I received for the games was in Section 349 (as you can see below, in orange) of the Georgia Dome, and its face value was $95.  One of the people with me sold his unused ticket after the first game for $100.  Walking away, a man in a Michigan jacket sighed as he said, “I would have given you $200 for that!” A few hundred steps later, we both sold our ticket stubs for $20.  But the money doesn’t stop at ticket sales.  Two years ago, the NCAA agreed to a 13-year, $10.8 billion deal with CBS/Turner Sports for coverage of the NCAA Tournament.[2]  March Madness lives up to its name.

My view

My view

rainuh

^ I was right here

     So, where does all this money go?  Administrators, staff, event coordinators and the like all get paid.  Perhaps the biggest sources of payment, however, are the coaches.  University of Louisville’s Head Coach Rick Pitino’s bonus for winning the National Championship is $425,000; that’s roughly 70 percent of what Louisville’s university President James Ramsey is getting this year.[3]  Not to mention Pitino’s measly base salary of $5.7 million on top of that bonus.  Mark Yost, author of Var$ity Green, a behind the scenes look at culture and corruption in college athletics, further describes the massive amounts of money some college coaches are earning.  “Duke’s Coach K has a fifteen-year, $6 million sponsorship contract with Nike, (74)” he writes.  These types of deals aren’t uncommon in the big-time coaching world, either.  On average, only about 25 percent of their full compensation comes in the form of a salary.  “The rest comes from television and apparel contracts, endorsements, and other side deals,” says Yost. (115)

     How can one justify paying these coaches such large amounts of money and not the players?  The one place the money does not go, after all, is to the student-athletes that played a large part in creating it.  The easy explanation as to why this doesn’t happen would be because it’s not fair.  As ESPN writer and TV personality Michael Wilbon describes, “because so many athletic departments run at a deficit, it’s difficult to make the case that schools should pay regular salaries to athletes.”  With that being said, Wilbon doesn’t believe in paying college athletes evenly.  “I’m interested in seeing the people who produce the revenue share a teeny, tiny slice of it,” he says.  In most cases, this would include players on men’s basketball and football teams.  However, if other teams such as UCONN women’s basketball or Bucknell lacrosse are profitable, they deserve to be paid.  The teams that aren’t profitable don’t.  “You know what that’s called?” Wilbon asks.  “Capitalism.  Not everything is equal, not everything is fair.”

     Yost describes in his book, “The whole operation…[is] designed to hide the real business that the NCAA and their participating schools are engaged in: extortion” (159-160).  The simple truth is that these student-athletes provide their minds and bodies for the generation of billions of dollars.  “According to the most recent studies,” Yost points out, “the MRP (Marginal Revenue Product) of a draft-quality player ranges from about $263,000 for women’s basketball to $495,000 for college football and $1.4 million for men’s college basketball” (166).  Basically, that’s how much money a school makes off of these young men and women.  And they don’t get paid anything in return.

     Non-athlete college students aren’t restricted from earning money by an organization like the NCAA.  “If a music student goes out in the summer and earns 50 grand, who objects?” Wilbon asks.  “The student-musician is no less a college student because he struck a lucrative deal.”  As long as these deals are done with proper morals and intentions – which I will discuss later – what separates them?  Both required hard work and deserved to be rewarded.  However, the NCAA strictly prohibits student-athletes from being paid.  Below is an excerpt from its Summary of Regulations for Division I:

You are not eligible for participation in a sport if you have ever:

(1)       Taken pay, or the promise of pay, for competing in that sport.

            [Bylaw 12.1.2]

(4)    Used your athletics skill for pay in any form in that sport.

            [Bylaws 12.1.2 and 12.1.2.4]

These rules need to be changed; here is how it can be done.

     Roughly two years ago, the NCAA and its new president, Mark Emmert, agreed on a new rule which allowed Division I schools to pay their student-athletes $2,000 stipends.  The purpose of these stipends were to increase the value of the scholarships, which some studies estimate falls on average about $3,500 short of the full cost of attending college annually.[4]  Essentially, the stipend was a form of payment to the players, but Emmert viewed it differently.  “If we move toward a pay-for-play model — if we were to convert our student athletes to employees of the university — that would be the death of college athletics,” he said.  Below I will propose how to make paying NCAA student-athletes work, hopefully without killing college athletics.

NCAA President Mark Emmert

     Firstly, the NCAA will have to stand firm when schools with little to no money complain that they can’t pay their players.  Those newly approved $2,000 stipends lasted less than a month back in late 2011, when more than 125 college athletic directors protested because they simply couldn’t afford them.  Weeks later, the NCAA decided to suspend the stipends all together, which only made the matter worse because some high school players had already signed papers to receive the money.  As Michael Wilbon mentioned earlier, the process won’t be fair for everyone.

     Secondly, players must be allowed to sell whatever they have earned while playing.  The NCAA currently forbids this type of action, and several cases of players selling jerseys in exchange for tattoos, for example, have resulted in multi-game suspensions.  Not only have they rightfully earned the right to sell these things that were given to them, but the selling process will also be a learning experience.  “If somebody is willing to give A.J. Green $750 or $1,000 or even $2,500 for his Georgia Bulldogs jersey, fine, good,” Wilbon argues.  “If one of his teammates, a tackle, can fetch only $50 for his jersey, then it’ll be a good marketing lesson for both of them.”

     Finally, players must only be paid for the work they put in at their respective sport.  Paying student-athletes money to sit around and skip practice is wrong.  In fact, once schools begin to pay players, I believe they will hold them to a higher standard than ever before.  Emmert, the President of the NCAA, argues that paying student-athletes will corrupt college sports.  “Why would you even want them to be students?” he asks.  “Why would you care about their graduation rates?”  I compare the situation to an NBA team that fines one of its players for missing practice.  Although the player missing that practice may hurt the team in the long run, a $25,000 fine means a less expense on that player’s salary in the short run.  Basically what I’m trying to say is that the NBA team would waste no time fining the player.  I believe that as a result, schools will hold their student-athletes to even higher standards because they are essentially taking money from the school.

     There are obviously many other components that would need to be added to my simplistic plan to make it work.  I do think, though, that through these three main components, a framework could begin to develop.  There would be nothing wrong with a high school recruit basing his/her college decision on which school paid them the most money.  It’s no different than basing your decision on which school has the nicer arena or business school.

     From a popular ethical philosopher’s point of view, paying revenue-generating student-athletes would be right and just because it means they did something worth being paid.  Robert Nozick, author of Anarchy, State and Utopia, conveniently uses Wilt Chamberlain as an example to explain his theory.  He describes a scenario in which, due to a clause in Chamberlain’s contract, fans that attend his games each drop a quarter in a jar on top of the normal cost of admission.  These fans enjoy watching his games and are happy to pay.  Nozick then asks, if Chamberlain receives $250,000 from one million fans putting a quarter into his jar over the course of the season, is this distribution just?  “Each of these persons chose to give the twenty-five cents of their money to Chamberlain,” he states (207). It’s no different for college student-athletes: if people pay to watch them play, they deserve some of the money.

Wilt the Stilt saying, “GIVE ME YOUR QUARTERS!” And also, “I just scored 100 points.”

     At a more organizational level, Peter French, author of Ethics and College Sports, utilizes the viewpoints of several different ethical theorists to assess the meaning of “amateurism” according to the NCAA.  For instance, citing authors Robert Butcher and Angela Schneider of Doping in Sport: Global Ethical Issues, “amateurism should be thought of as a motivation and not in terms of the absence or presence of monetary element” (22).  In other words, you can still be an amateur and get paid for what you do – contrary to what the NCAA states.  This is where the philosophy gets difficult, though, because now we are analyzing the motivation that these people have within themselves.  French agrees that these matters are complicated.  “How is a coach or an athletic director or the NCAA or anyone to determine with any degree of certitude that any particular college athletes is motivated to participate in a sport for the love of the game rather than for the external goods that participation may offer him or her?” (23)

     The complicated questions that not only French asks, but also countless others involved in the NCAA, don’t need complicated answers.  I’m not arguing on behalf of student-athletes that have stolen equipment from the locker room to sell, nor am I for the ones that excel in their sport but don’t go to class.  I’m arguing for the student-athletes that work hard in the classroom and at their sport to generate revenue for their school.  The NCAA doesn’t need any more complicated rules on top of what it already has.  The answer is simple: pay them.  They deserve it.


[1] Ncaa.org. “NCAA student-athlete participation hits 450,000”

[2] Michael Wilbon, ESPN. “College athletes deserve to be paid”

[3] Curtis Eichelberger, Bloomberg News.

[4] Joe Nocera, The New York Times. “Let’s Start Paying College Athletes”

Additional Works Cited

French, Peter.   Ethics and College Sports.  Roman and Littlefield, 2004.

Nozick, Robert.  Anarchy, State and Utopia.  Basic Books, 1974.

Summary of NCAA Regulations – NCAA Division I

<http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/AMA/compliance_forms/DI/DI%20Summary%20of%20NCAA%20Regulations.pdf>

Yost, Mark.  Var$ity Green.  Stanford University Press, 2010.

Follow Me Follow Me TWEET TWEET


 

I don’t have a Facebook.  I used to, but deleted it with my Twitter over a year ago.  This past summer I started a new Twitter because I kept hearing, “it’s kind of weird that you don’t have one.”  I hated when people said this.  My response was, “do we really live in a world where NOT having a TWITTER makes you a weirdo?”  I guess I was kind of in protest.  But now I’m back.  And it’s addicting.

I made about a week ago that I could only check Twitter once per day.  That’s it.  My plan was to check it every morning when I wake up and wait 24 hours until I did the same thing the next morning.  Well…safe to say it’s hard to follow that plan.  I do check it every morning.  Like Frank mentioned in his post, it’s the first thing I do when I wake up!  The habit isn’t healthy.  So, I’m going to imagine a world without Twitter.

First, a lot of people will have nothing to do.  Literally.  The users with 100k + tweets, full of motivational quotes, selfies, and retweets will be left with a lot of time on their hands.  Second, people will have to find other things to do to kill time when they’re going #2, walking to class, or both of the above (what? just checking if you’re paying attention).  Third, a lot of celebrities/important people will lose perhaps the biggest form of communication with them.  No longer will I be able to see what Kobe has to say after games 😦 .

If Twitter was obliterated, the world wouldn’t come to an end.  Something very similar would obviously take its place.  I think it’s a very useful tool that I’ve learned to accept for just that: useful.  However, I’m trying to stop using it as a ‘habit’ like some people can relate to how they use Facebook.  There are other things I should be doing with my time.  I get too many endorphins from checking to see if my @ sign on my Twitter iPhone app has a blue circle next to it (Twitter users can relate to this).   Finally, like I mentioned earlier, the notion that everyone “should” have a Twitter is what really needs to be obliterated.  Das not koo.

BEFORE YOU GO/LEAVE A COMMENT.  Please take a chance to read my blog called ‘Consequences’:

https://bizgovsoc6.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/consequences/

Also, check out my Twitter/follow me if you want 🙂

twitter.com/mikejawz