Why America Needs To Implement The Draft

May 4, 2016

After watching a two-hour American Masters special last night on the life and struggles of Janis Joplin, PBS television’s Frontline investigative news program aired a one-hour program concerning America’s ongoing wars in Benghazi, Libya and in Yemen. Listening to Frontline while working on the six hundred and fifty-six photographs that I shot of two flowers I bought earlier in the day, one could not help but believe we will be involved in numerous wars throughout the entire Middle East for many decades to come. American imperialism is alive and well and running wildly amok.

Because American television has basically stopped reporting on all these wars, and especially because only one percent of Americans actually serve in our military, for the most part, the vast majority of Americans go about their daily lives as if nothing is going on. Who could also forget that President George W. Bush infamously urged all Americans to just go shopping to support his administration’s unwarranted and unfunded invasion of both Afghanistan and Iraq? It is for these reasons that America desperately needs to implement the draft of both men and women.

For if more mothers saw the threat that their sons and daughters might very well come home seriously wounded or in a box (apologies to Country Joe McDonald), all these wars would soon end. Or better yet, never start.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

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Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Football Players

December 26, 2015

On Christmas day, Sony Pictures released the movie “Concussion,” starring Will Smith and Alec Baldwin. Based on the 2009 GQ expose “Game Brain” by Jeanne Marie Laskas, the movie deals with not only the serious impact that concussions have on football players but also the scandalous claim that the National Football League has been doing everything possible to cover up the health issue for years.

Just days before the annual Thanksgiving marathon of three pro-football games televised from noon to midnight, former New York Giants star Frank Gifford’s family announced that he too, suffered from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) before he passed away on August 9th of this year. CTE is a progressive degenerative disease that is found in individuals who have a history of repetitive brain trauma. Yet, not once during the twelve hours of football games played on three different networks, did I hear any of the game announcers or studio analysts speak of Mr. Gifford’s injuries.

Having spent Thanksgiving with family, it is possible that one of the announcers did address this issue and I missed it, however, for the seriousness of the issue, a lengthy discussion during each game would have been hard to miss. Moreover, not once since then have I heard anyone involved in the televising of NFL games discuss the problem. With the movie raising the issue that the NFL has been covering up the issue for years, it does not take a conspiracy buff to deduce that the league has instructed everyone involved not to address the issue.

During the past five years, the PBS television network has aired two really good documentaries regarding the seriousness of injuries received by young men while playing what has become America’s new national pastime. During the first documentary, one person interviewed, and forgive me for not being able to recall what their occupation was, but they opined that when young children play organized football, when their helmets collide, which happens on every single play not only during games but also during every single practice, that their brains are being shaken around, similar to that of shaking a bowl of Jell-O. This is shocking. While watching these two documentaries, my thought was every parent who has children playing organized football should view these programs.

When growing up, I played football all the time. However, the only time I wore a uniform was my sophomore year in high school when I played on the reserves football team. Now days, children begin playing organized football at a very young age. Concussions are a very serious issue among football players; however, I was alarmed when the gentleman referred to children’s brains being shaken like a bowl of Jell-O.

My son played a couple of years of organized football when he was in middle school. Knowing what I now know, I like to think that peer pressure among my son’s friends would not have swayed my thoughts toward letting him play a sport he too, like me loved and that I would have had the cojones to just say no.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Have The Cleveland Browns Ever Won An NFL Championship?

September 12, 2015

As the NFL kicked off its 96th season Thursday night with a game between the New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers, it is rather absurd that the league will also celebrate its 50th Super Bowl at the end of the year. Did the league not have a championship game during its first fifty seasons?

Well, of course they did. It was only called the NFL Championship, which is exactly what the Super Bowl represents. And, as a matter of fact, the Cleveland Browns have won four championships. Yet, they never receive the proper credit, because they all occurred prior to the championship game being called the Super Bowl.

During the Browns first decade in the league, after winning all four All-America Football Conference championships, the team played in the championship game seven times, winning three, including a championship their first year in the league. Not only did the Browns dominate the All-America Football Conference during their first four years of existence, they continued their dominant play during their first decade in the NFL. The team won its last championship after the 1964 season.

Yet, not one football talking head on television mentions these historical feats, only that the Browns are one of only four teams that have never played in a Super Bowl. Granted, those championships were a long, long time ago, but I am old enough to remember the last one.

Steven H. Spring

An Open Letter To President Obama

As an habitual writer of letters, it does not take much prodding for me to do so.  After seeing a new commercial pleading for donations to help provide adequate medical treatment for America’s wounded service men and women, I just had to write President Obama (and send copies to my three Congressmen, one of which is the Speaker of the House of Representatives) to express my outrage regarding this travesty.

Steven H. Spring

 

August 8, 2015

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20048

Dear President Obama,

This past Sunday night, while watching a program on the making of arguably The Who’s greatest album, Quadrophenia on the Palladia television network, I saw a commercial pleading for a donation of sixty cents a day to help fund the Paralyzed Veterans Of America organization. For years now, I have opined that seeing Trace Adkins beg for donations for the Wounded Warriors Project is a disgrace for the wealthiest nation in the history of planet Earth.

America and especially Congress should be embarrassed and ashamed for not one, but now two organizations having to beg Americans for donations to help our wounded military men and women. We can go to war seemingly every other month, or at least talk of doing so, yet we cannot afford to provide adequate medical care for our wounded service members? Since President George H. W. Bush attacked Iraq in the first Gulf War in 1990 over that nation’s invasion of Kuwait, there have been only two years that we have not been engaged in some sort of war, 1997 and 2000. Osama bin Laden stated in an interview that his horrific attack of America on September 11, 2001 was in response to our nation leaving military personal in Saudi Arabia, the most holy of land to Muslims. Since this nation’s founding two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, we have been engaged in war two hundred and twenty-two years, an appalling ninety-three percent of the time.

In my writings over the past two decades regarding military issues, I always like to quote former president and five-star general Dwight Eisenhower, who in his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower stated “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Coming from a five-star general, America should have listened.

War is big business and the only way the military-industrial complex stays in business and remains profitable is by this nation engaging in war. We have become so engaged in war that Northrop Grumman, the fifth largest defense contractor in the world has taken to advertising its weapons of mass destruction on television. Who exactly are their potential customers? For all of our numerous military skirmishes, what exactly have we accomplished? As a nation, we live in constant fear of another September 11th attack; all the while, we are despised by much of the world.

It is our military endeavors that are bankrupting this nation. With an annual defense budget of nearly $900 billion, we spend nearly as much on our military as the rest of the world combined. When combined with our intelligence agencies, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year. Moreover, this amount does not include America’s newly created ultra secret intelligence budget.

Since September 11, 2001, our government has built up such a top-secret network of intelligence agencies that no one knows how much it cost, how many it employs or how many agencies it runs. The defense budget itself has nearly doubled since 2000, all the while our country is falling apart at the seams, be it our rapidly aging and decaying infrastructure system, crumbling inner cities that have become battlegrounds or a failing public school system. America is bankrupting itself and it is not from our spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is from our imperialistic attitude and our attempt to dominate the world we call Earth.

In a rather sad, ironic twist, America is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, selling nearly as many armaments as the rest of the world combined. Thus, not only are we bankrupting ourselves with our military spending, but we are also heavily arming the rest of the world. One must remember that America armed Saddam Hussein when he was at war with Iran in the 1980s and we armed Osama bin Laden when he fought the Russians in Afghanistan, also during the ‘80s. America has a very long, extensive history of arming and supporting malevolence dictators and lunatics, in the name of what is best for this country, not necessarily what is best for the rest of the world.

As a nation founded on the genocide of its indigenous people, we have long ago become the world’s biggest bully.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
C.: TalkingLoudAndSayingNothingParts3and4.WordPress.com
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

Breaking News

February 7, 2015

Last Saturday night, while plugged in with my new MXR Phase 90 phaser pedal with the #2 Virginia – #4 Duke basketball game playing on the television behind me, out of the corner of my eye big bold letters screamed Breaking News on the scrawl at the bottom of the screen. Since the game was on ESPN, this breaking news must be really important. It seemed Jerome Bettis had been elected into the Pro Football Hall Of Fame, located in Canton, Ohio. Stay tuned after the game for SportsCenter for the complete list we were told most likely every five minutes, as is the irritating routine of every television station that runs scrawl. Are you freakin’ kidding me? Breaking News? This should not be breaking news even to Pittsburgh Steelers fans.

I find it preposterous how often every television station abuses the breaking news headline. Local networks very often start their newscasts with breaking news. Isn’t this an oxymoron? MSNBC will continue reporting something as breaking news seven or eight hours after it was first reported. When exactly does a news event no longer constitute breaking news? I’m no newsman, but I would guess within an hour, maybe less.

I am a news and political junkie; however, I stopped watching local news many years ago because of their “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. I will occasionally watch it for a weather report or if the Buckeyes have a big game coming up. The following is my mocking not only of Columbus, Ohio’s WBNS-TV station, but also that of every other television network, especially those twenty-four news channels, as they are all guilty of over-hyping any and all things in their lust to attract and kept their viewers glued to the screen. This commentary was first written as a letter to the program director of WBNS-TV maybe ten years ago. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent, but were the actual names of the WBNS news department staff at that time. However, most of those listed have since retired, or have moved on to another network.

With Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare For The Common Man” blaring in the background, Dave Kaylor opens the evening newscast:

Dave Kaylor: This is WBNS 10TV’s 6:00 Eyewitness News. Hi! I’m Dave Kaylor in the 10TV Studio. The 10TV News starts now (loud music again blares)….

Angela Pace: But first Dave, our top story (loud music again)….

Andrea Cambern: Angela, we have this breaking news, Channel 10TV has just learned….

Dave Kaylor: Andrea, only on 10TV, tracking the storm is Channel 10TV Meteorologist Mike Davis, Mike.

Mike Davis: This is Mike Davis, Live Dual Doppler 10 Chief Meteorologist, in the Dual Doppler 10 Weather Center, Channel 10TV’s exclusive Live Dual Doppler 10 Radar has just….

Dave Kaylor: Mike, Channel 10TV Eyewitness News has this 10TV exclusive….

Angela Pace: Dave, we have new information on our lead story….

Andrea Cambern: This is Andrea Cambern with Health News (loud music again)….

Kim Adams: Andrea, this is Kim Adams with the Dual Doppler 10 Weather Team, Channel 10TV’s Live Dual Doppler 10 Travel Cast has just….

Angela Pace: But first Kim, we have this breaking news, Channel 10TV has just learned….

Dave Kaylor: Angela, new at 6 (incredibly, loud music once more)….

Andrea Cambern: Dave, as we first told you at noon, 5, and 5:30….

Chris Shumway: Andrea, the 10TV Live Dual Doppler Future Track has just….

Dave Kaylor: Chris, this just in….

Mike Davis: Dave, this is Mike Davis, here in Channel 10TV’s Weather Center, using exclusive Live Dual Doppler Radar, we have a Live Dual Doppler Forecast….

Angela Pace: Mike, breaking news at this hour….

Dave Kaylor: With a look at our Wake-up Forecast, here’s Channel 10TV’s Chief Meteorologist Mike Davis….

Angela Pace: Dave, WBNS Channel 10TV’s I Team has….

Andrea Cambern: Angela, making headlines tonight, only on 10TV….

Kim Adams: Andrea, Storm Tracker 10….

Dave Kaylor: Kim, with a look at what’s coming up at 11….

Angela Pace: Dave, that’s all the time we have. Goodnight from all of us here at WBNS Channel 10TV (loud music blaring one last time).

With headphones on, and the practice amp turned up, I worked up quite a sweat picking for almost 45 minutes. It was actually only 42 minutes, but who’s counting except OCD sufferers. I never did learn who all was inducted into the pro-football Hall of Fame. However, I did learn what a phaser was!!!

Steven H. Spring

That Was Some Suspension!

That sure was some suspension served by Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston during Saturday night’s prime time game against Clemson. He had more face time than Bill Cowher, who seemingly is shown every five minutes on every television channel espousing the benefits of Time Warner Cable. Much more face time than if he had actually played the game.

Granted, what he said most likely is said many times in college and pro locker rooms throughout America, if not the world. Or in garages, for that matter. However, for a Heisman Trophy winner, playing on the number one ranked team in the country, ignorance was exhibited by his audacity to think he could jump up on a table in his school’s student union and shout something obscene, no matter how popular the phrase currently is, without the whole country hearing about it.

Winston may not have played a down, yet he was everywhere Saturday night.

Steven H. Spring
Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

Allstate Good Hands Good Deed?

As collegiate football got underway this past weekend, it did not take Allstate Insurance long to update their good hands, good deed declarations during games to assert that they have now donated $3.4 million dollars (a paltry increase of two hundred thousand dollars over the past year) to fund college general scholarships during the past ten years, it is only right that I update and repost my blog criticizing the insurance conglomerate for having the audacity to boast about such a trifling dollar amount considering all the free advertising it receives each week.

Anyone who watches college football knows all to well that the Allstate Good Hands logo is placed advantageously in a great many stadiums across the country in the middle of the netting that is raised behind the goal posts on point after touchdowns and field goal attempts in order to prevent the kicked football from going into the stands. At first glance, it appears that Allstate is doing a great deed by donating money to fund college scholarships. However, when you consider all the free publicity the company receives all season long, generosity might not be the best word to describe Allstate’s publicity stunt. How many times are these logos shown during the course of each season for every college and university stadium that allows these netting logos? How many times during the year will game announcers proclaim to its viewers that Allstate has donated $3.4 million for college scholarships? Every time the logo-laden netting is raised or the announcers make the proclamation, it is the equivalent one more free commercial for the insurance conglomerate.

I know not what a thirty-second commercial airing during a typical college football game costs, let alone that of a bowl game or the national championship playoffs, however for all the free advertising that it receives every year, Allstate should be embarrassed that it has donated only $3.4 million to fund college scholarships. Allstate should have donated at least ten times that amount, if not one hundred times more than it has before it boasts of its good deed.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87