Press Release (RP)

Sochi, Krasnodar Krai (RP) - The now-disbanded "Voting Integrity Commission" launched by the Trump administration uncovered no evidence to support claims of major voter fraud, according to an analysis of administration documents released Friday. Once translated into English, the documents revealed that the highly-touted team, led by Russian mathematician Gregor Yukuvlevich Perlman, discussed the possibilities for over an hour at each of the bimonthly meetings that ran from January through March in the picturesque resort town overlooking the Black Sea.

The conclusion that no major fraud occurred seems to have left a void of information about whether minor voter fraud occurred, what the difference between major and minor voter fraud might be and how well major and minor translate into Russian. When questioned about this discrepancy the translator had to excuse herself for personal reasons, and Perlman - whose ability to speak English tends to fluctuate - was unable to effectively communicate well enough to finish the press conference.

Washington, DC (RP) - A "Federal Commission on School Safety" has been launched by the Trump administration in response to the increasing number of tragedies involving guns, students and teachers. Department of Education Chief Betsy DeVos announced that the newly-formed commission will not look at the role of guns in school violence, disregarding the fact that so far in 2018, at the rate of one incident per week, school shootings have caused the death of at least thirty-seven students and adults, as well as at least thirty-one serious injuries.

The Education Honcho also is seeking to eliminate 29 discretionary programs and declares that "our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating and eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs that are better handled at the state or local level." In other words, 'Instead of working to make education more effective by consolidating and standardizing and regulating our nation's education at the national level, I choose to continue to cop out, put my head in the sand, be a traitor to the very concept of education and admit that dutifully doing the job I am being paid to do is way beyond me or anyone on my team.'

Menlo Park, CA (RP) - Mark Zuckerberg was admitted into Stanford Hospital today suffering from stress-induced heart palpitations after an historic and impassioned plea from President Obama has reduced traffic on facebook by more than half! In his twenty-minute address on national TV, President Obama masterfully explained how the Russians were able to affect our last election and how they might be planning to again interfere in what may be the most important election in our nation's history.

Our forty-fourth president also detailed how Zuckerberg and others have amassed fortunes by duping America and the world into being his product, for which he pays nothing, while selling them and selling to them. Obama's pleas to not log into facebook at least until after the election have hit home with a large percentage of the electorate, leaving facebook personnel reeling, as this company built on little more than air and an idea possesses nothing tangible upon which to stand.

NYC, NY (RP) - Roger Goodell delivered his "State of the League" address yesterday, emphasizing the strength and health of the NFL. The bewildered Commissioner focused on player safety, claiming "We can remove the violence from an inherently violent game without adversely affecting the product", comparing the negligibly noticeable difference between drinking a non-alcoholic beer and imbibing in your favorite draught. This, about a game in which one of the primary goals is to hurl a participant to the ground against their will.

Goodell also defended his continued attempts to place a team in London in hope of securing his legacy as the Commissioner that made football a global sport, despite the clear indications that Europe loves soccer, few NFL players want to live in England, the 'N' in 'NFL' stands for 'National' or that the sport -while still popular - is clearly in decline, making further expansion a fool's game.

Washington, DC (RP) - Protests unlike any we have seen since the days of Nixon hiding in his office and peering at America's youth through parted curtains continue in DC as thousands of demonstrators chanted "Real News. Fake President." The group repeated the mantra for close to twelve non-stop hours today before finally breaking for the evening.

An eerie feeling of a creepy Halloween tinted the day, as trump masks, memes, altered photos and a wave of orange wigs dotted and decorated the landscape. It was reported that upon viewing the uprising the president's initial response was to claim a win for himself, seeing it as a sign that America unmistakably loves him and his hair! Accordingly, plans to construct a one-panel White House Walk of Fame with a new bigger star commemorating trump's achievements during and before his time in the White House were quickly drawn and funded; construction has begun.

Concussion Bait - Change the Rule!

Let's give Barry Church and the Jaguars the benefit of the doubt. Let's take #42 at his word when during an interview on WEEI radio he said, "I just tried to dislodge the ball. He's a big dude, and I was just trying to dislodge the ball. It's the toughest play in football. If you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player, and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It's a bang-bang play, and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder."

Let's acknowledge that fellow DB Richard Sherman's evaluation is 100% right on: "The hit on Gronk is the only way Church could have done his job without just obliterating Gronk's knee. If he would have just hit him low most ppl would calm him dirty. So there is nothing he can do to make everyone happy and do his job. Unless you think he should let him catch."

And then let's look at the result of the play. The Jags get a fifteen yard penalty, and the Pats' most impactful player other than their quarterback, is out of the game. This could not be more unfair. Initially, the Jags are affected for one play while the Pats offensive arsenal is reduced for every subsequent offensive play. Additionally, at least in this case, the player that had to leave the game was a big scoring threat and key offensive leader. So the result of the play as the rules stand is that the team that committed the foul suffers only very slightly, while the offended team suffers greatly. All of this without having yet gotten to the part where a young man's short-term, and very possibly long-term health is affected and risked. While both players' quotes above may be true and right on, they do not justify giving someone a concussion.
  • If a helmet-to-helmet hit causes a player to leave the game to go into concussion protocol, the player that hit him has to leave the game for the same amount of time. That's fair.
On the dark side:
Today's NFL is not the game of football that I fell in love with in the 70s and 80s. By working to reduce the violence and brutality in what is an inherently violent and brutal sport, the NFL has altered the very essence of the game. Plays that only a very short twenty-five-or-so years ago brought cheers and glee now bring cringes and foreboding … and rightly so.

The story of Mike Webster's tragic demise, the suicides of Junior Seau and Dave Duerson, and the ever-growing number of players suffering from, and gruesome tales of the effects of CTE have affected us all.

Although the American zeitgeist has shifted to accept and embrace a more sanitized NFL, it seems as if that discarded essence of the game refuses to die, and is haunting locker rooms, coaches offices, officials' meetings and the living rooms of old-time fans, asking its troubled question: "It's still football, isn't it?"

You can hear it even when it isn't being asked!

"You can't hit 'em high, you can't him 'em low. How are we supposed to play defense?" [It's still football, isn't it?]

"C'mon Ref! How in the heck is that a foul?" [It's still football, isn't it?]

"The time has actually arrived when we should put skirts on the quarterbacks!" [It's still football, isn't it?]

How many football coaches ask themselves that question every day? How many of the veteran coaches that played in the 70s and 80s still hold that version of football in their hearts? How many of the approximately four hundred head coaches, coordinators and assistant coaches employed by NFL teams, in the middle of what might be a career-changing game that isn't going their way, facing having to again uproot his family and move to yet another new town, might suggest to a DB that it sure would be convenient for us if #85 had to leave with a concussion? Zero out of four hundred seems like long odds. To some coaches and players, it's still football, isn't it?

Hopefully, the possibly one or two coaches out of four hundred that might employ such a tactic are never in a situation in which they are empowered to do so. But the NFL needs to remove even the slightest temptation by making a simple rule change:
  • If a helmet-to-helmet hit causes a player to leave the game to go into concussion protocol, the player that hit him has to leave the game for the same amount of time.
If DBs are faced with what amounts to an ejection for a helmet-to-helmet hit, the helmet-to-helmet hits will go away. Where and how the DBs are supposed to defend is another problem, but the answer can't be helmet-to-helmet.

Lastly, and sadly, the answer is, "No, not really; it's only kinda still football." It will be interesting to see what the league looks like ten or fifteen years from now, after today's parents have disallowed their kids to play youth football, and more players choose to end both college and pro careers early. Will it still be football?

A graduate of Portland State University, Steve (Reeno) Kloser is the author of Beginning Band - A Guide to Success and Let's Make Music - Classroom Recorder Course. He is also an accomplished teacher, conductor and composer, having penned numerous pieces including La Vida and Fly With Me.

Teacher, cook, Packers fan and proud American, Reeno's usually slanted outlook often presents an unlikely perspective on issues old and new.

Reeno currently lives in Portland, OR.

Follow Reeno on Twitter

Some Will Go To College - All Will Go Through Life complete as a .pdf
School is for Winning
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Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt2
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Some Go To College - All Go Through Life pt3
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Leaders in School
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The Grass is NOT Always Greener
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Can Social Media Contribute to Mental Health Issues?
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