Apr
25
2011

Obama: How Things have Changed!

By Richard Okelberry, April 25th, 2011 - I recently came across this montage clip of then presidential candidate Obama talking about the War in Iraq.  This compilation was put together by the Obama campaign to illustrate how he was against the war from the beginning in an attempt to win over the anti-war/anti-Bush crowd.  Of course this video screams out in irony when his words are compared to his position regarding our involvement in the current Libyan civil war.  Also, consider that Obama speaks here about bringing the troops home from Iraq immediately. 

“America, it is time to start bringing our troops home! It’s time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreements that lies at the heart of someone else’s civil war. That’s why I have a plan that will bring our combat troops home by March of 2008!” – Obama, 2007 

Since March of 2008 over 200 U.S. troops have died in Iraq and the once vocal “peace protestors” have fallen eerily silent.

The only question now is; how long will it take the 2012 Obama Campaign organizers to realize that they still have this video up on Youtube and yank it down before others begin to make the same comparison?

One final quote from President Obama,

“The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.  As commander-in-chief, the president does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the president would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the legislative branch.” Obama - Boston Globe, 2007

Congress has still not authorized the use of military force in Libya and not once has President Obama publically argued that Libya presented a direct and immediate threat to the United States.

As far as having a broad Coalition for Libya, consider that President Bush brought together 30 countries against Iraq while a mere 16 joined Obama in Libya!

Jan
29
2011

Atheism: A Product of Faith.

by Richard Okelberry, January 29th, 2011 - Most recently I began researching some of the teachings being published by the organization, American Atheists.  Like many I was drawn to this organizations web site (www.atheist.org) following their recent anti-Christmas billboard campaign where they advertised, “You know it’s a Myth.  This Season Celebrate REASON!”

I personally found it very strange that in our modern society which has come to teach tolerance for various beliefs that anyone would try to seek mainstream acceptance in society by attacking the beliefs of others. 

American Anti-theists dot Com

It is painfully evident by many of the statements on the American Atheists website that the organization’s primary mission is not to simply promote secularism but is more focused on promoting an Anti-theist agenda of social division through the use of demonizing rhetoric.  While the authors of the site will regularly remark that they are promoting tolerance, the tone of their arguments seem to confirm that they are completely uninterested in civil discourse and have instead chosen a strategy of promoting out right bigotry against religion.

“Some of us are bogging down in a debate over whether the promotion of secular humanism should involve “bashing” religion, or whether we should only focus on presenting humanism in a positive light. The answer is that both are necessary components of the secular humanist message, depending on the individual circumstances of each encounter, each audience, and each forum…

…We thus need to end the pointless debate about whether to “bash” or not “bash” religion in the process of promoting secular humanism. The opponents of religious dogma should be able to attack and ridicule religious beliefs the same as opponents of any other belief system can attack and ridicule that belief system.” {emphasis added} – To Bash or Not to Bash, American Atheist  

Notice the intense focus on ATTACKING and RIDICULING religion while justifying their actions by blaming the religions they oppose of using the same tactic. 

It also should be noted here that there is a certain level of hypocrisy and irony in the previous statement.  After all, it is the American Atheists that have called on the public to, “Celebrate Reason.”  Of course when you say that your beliefs are derived from Reason and Logic, then you should also be well aware that the use of “ridicule” in a debate has only one purpose; to generate an Ad Hominine (personal) attack against your opponent.  An Ad Hominine attack is considered fallacious because it attempts to discredit the arguments of an opponent not by presenting strong competing arguments based in Reason or Logic but by avoiding the topic and using personal ridicule instead.  An Ad Hominine attack is diagramed like this; 

  1. A states argument X is True
  2. B ridicules A
  3. therefore, X must be False.

Logic dictates that just because B ridicules A, it does not mean that X is necessarily false.  X may very well still be true even if B ridicules A.  This is an attempt to persuade a jury to their cause by asking them to ignore logic all together and instead make an emotion decision about argument X based entirely on personal opinions about the character of A.  This certainly is a very strange tactic for an organization to use that is asking us to “Celebrating Reason.”   

Ultimately, it would be more logical to change the name of this organization from American Atheists to American Anti-theists as their anti-religion campaign which serves as the core of this organization is certainly not shared universally by all atheists.

Production of Hate

After reading some of the opinions offered by this organization, it has become very apparent, as I’ve stated, that this is not merely a group of likeminded individuals focused on promoting a common belief system, but an agitated group of Anti-theists dedicated to nothing less than the total destruction of all religion.    Anti-theists are individuals who are not content in their own belief in an absence of god, but are motivated by various reasons to prove their belief through the systematic dismantling of the religious beliefs of others.  To this end, the American Atheist’s web site is completely loaded with various writings that attempt to demonize religion and the belief in a god as a whole with a primary focus on attacking Christianity.  It is these writings that give us the greatest insight about the primary motivations of this organization.

Nothing illustrates this more than these aggressive statements from their web site,

“Religion causes people to break the laws of ethics and morality in the name of a god…

…Religion dulls the mind and weakens the senses.

…Religion spreads like disease through societies, rarely coexisting with pre-existing mythologies, rather preferring to conquer or be conquered.  Religion is anything but tolerant…

…American Atheists is not afraid to point out that which is true: religion is ridiculous. Mythology and religion are synonymous, and none is better than another. Religion is malicious, malevolent, and unworthy of respect.”  – Religion, American Atheist

It is obvious from these statements that this organization has moved well beyond offering an opposing view point or belief and is lacing its arguments with a level of hatred that is rarely seen in modern society except from the most fundamentalist of groups.  It is clear that the American Atheists have crafted themselves in the likeness of a long line of bigoted organizations that propose to advance their agenda through the dissemination of Hate. 

Rather than seeking to create a society free from such hate and division through a mission of acceptance and understanding, the American Atheists seem instead to find an advantage in sowing the seeds of division through distrust.  Just as Hitler found it beneficial for the advancement of his cause to demonize the Jews by blaming them for the lion’s share of social/economic problems in Germany, this group is promoting itself by laying the blame for all the ills of societies around the world squarely at the feet of religion by declaring that, “In the history of the world, nothing has been the catalyst of more grief, hatred, war, and crime than religion.”  This is a powerful statement that is presented without a single shred of evidence in support of their argument.

Intuition and Faith

Of course there is a bitter irony in the fact that Atheism at its core is truly no different than any other religion. 

While an Atheist might argue that their beliefs are not similar to those of religion because they do not believe in a traditional god or creator, the reality is that “religion” as a whole is more properly defined by the existence of Faith.  You see, Faith is the belief in something that cannot be proven.  It is Faith that ultimately forms the primary foundation of all religion, not the belief in a god or creator as an atheist might suggest.  The belief in god or a creator is simply one product of Faith.  While the American Atheists may deny the existence of Faith in their own belief system, simply denying something does not make it true as anyone who is as dedicated to logic and “Reason” as the American Atheists profess to be, should know. 

Ultimately, “Faith” as we know it is a product of Intuition which forms the very foundation of logic and reason.  This is because there is so much of the world that we do not understand or can never prove, but are forced by reason to accept.  As such, we must all eventually use Intuition to take certain “leaps of faith” in forming our world view.

Belief without Proof.

To give an example of how Intuition is a key component of our human nature, imagine for a moment this simple scenario. 

A person takes a ball and tosses it into the air.  Relative to our perspective, the ball goes up a few feet, stops and then falls back down to earth.  Now the question is; did the ball ever actually stop moving in mid-air before it fell back to earth?  Using Intuition, the obvious answer is, YES!  We tell ourselves that if the ball was moving up, then changed course under the pull of gravity and began moving down, “logic” dictates that it must have at some point stopped moving completely.  Few would disagree with this conclusion.  Of course, actually proving that the ball stopped in mid-air creates a curious dilemma.

You see, there is one major component to this quarry that must be taken into account; Time.  Unfortunately for us, Time is an abstraction that cannot be pinned down by simple physical measurement.  We can never actually capture and observe the exact moment when the ball stops completely in its vertical rise because we can continue to subdivide a given measure of time in half infinitely.  Even if we had a movie camera capable of infinitely increasing the rate at which it takes pictures of the event, we would never be able to capture the exact point at which the ball is suspended in midair because there would always be an ever smaller slice of time preceding the “stop” that we could observe.

Because we cannot prove through Observation (a key component of the scientific method) that the ball ever actually stops, we are left to use our Intuition in making a final logical analysis of the event.  Ultimately, without any actual proof, we all rely on our Faith (ability to believe without proof) to form our belief about the event.  Without such faith through intuition, science as we know it would grind to a halt and be forever mired in the abstract details of the universe.

The reality is; both the belief in a god and the belief in a universe devoid of design use the exact same Intuitive Process.  While both may come to different opinions regarding the nature of the universe, both must eventually ground their positions in Faith, not in Empirical Evidence.  While one person may profess that there is a god, given a specific amount of “evidence” (no matter how weak that evidence may be) and another may argue that there isn’t a god, given his/her observations, both are relying completely on their own personal Intuition or Faith in stating their positions.  The question will only ever be as it has always been with religion throughout history; can we disagree with each other in a respectful or civil manner?  

Summation

As I read through much of the information provided at the American Atheist website, the authors there seem quit content to forego any reasonable or respectful form of disagreement in favor of the same tribalistic assaults on those that do not share their view of the world as we have come to expect from a long list of bigoted groups.  As a society that seeks to improve civility in the world we should all reject and lend little support for this organization.  In addition we must continue to expose their distortion of facts about various faiths along with their desire to rid the world of religion.  Of course we must do this in a manner that favors civil discourse. 

We must know and accept that this is not the first organization throughout history to use these tactics.  Furthermore we must keep ever present in our minds the serious dangers to society that such hate filed rhetoric posses.  History is landmarked with the terrible costs that populations have endured when such hate filled rhetoric is allowed to take hold.

(NOTE:  In coming posts I will address specific instances where the American Atheists seem quite willing to abandon Reason and Logic in favor of some kind of Atheistic Dogma.  Additionally, I will show how they regularly misuse, misrepresent and outright lie about the teachings and history of various religions to promote this dogma.)

Dec
23
2010

Merry Christmas

Dec
5
2010

Big 12ers May Never Understand Husker Fans

By Richard Okelberry, December 4th 2010 – If you’ve ever attended a football game at Nebraska’s Memorial Stadium over the years, no doubt you have experienced what many have called the “Greatest Fans” in college football.  Visitors to Memorial Stadium, from fans to sportscasters have long marveled at the way Nebraska fans conduct themselves during a game. It is not uncommon to hear tails of Nebraska Fans applauding the efforts of an opposing team and even cheering when an opposing player makes an amazing play.  Still, as visitors often marvel at how accommodating Husker fans can be, few seem to go beyond marveling and actually ask themselves; why are Husker fans are so different? 

So why is the experience in Memorial Stadium so different from so many other venues in College Football?  What is it about Husker fans that would make them act this way?

To understand the why, you must first understand the how.  You must understand how from the moment a child in Nebraska reaches an age where their parents begin taking them to Nebraska games, they are being taught some powerful moral lessons.  These Lil’ Reds quickly learn that while Husker fans certainly love to win, it is far more important to most Husker fans that the game is played with the highest level of integrity.  Fairness and Sportsmanship are of greater consideration than simple victory.  Even the children in Nebraska understand at an early age that it is far better to lose a game because of cheating or poor officiating than to win one in disgrace. 

Because of this, Nebraska fans are often their own greatest critics with fans regularly willing to criticize the program when it fails to live up to this ideal.

In addition to having a strong moral compass, Nebraska fans in general are dedicated students of the game.  As such, with the progression of the 2010 season, something odd became apparent to many Husker fans.  While Husker fans are very used to having bad calls go against them, this year seemed different.  It had become painfully obvious to many that the entire concept of fair play and sportsmanship that builds the very foundation of the game for Husker fans had all but evaporated. 

As Nebraska fans began to recognize that both a strong statistical bias by at least one particular officiating crew did exist, many began to float theories about how Nebraska’s pending departure from the Big 12 might be a possible source of the bias.  Of course Nebraska’s critics instantly jumped on these theories and began declaring in the media that Husker fans, as one sports columnist in Oklahoma put it, had “lost their collective mind.”  While much of the media in the Big 12 and even some in the national sports media seemed content to defame Nebraska fans as a bunch of Kooks and Crazies, to date none have been able to adiquately discredit the concrete reasons why some Nebraska fans find it possible that, just maybe, the Big 12 Conference had become corrupt.

As the controversy grew, Nebraska fans also discovered that Big 12 Commissioner, Dan Beebe was both completely unwilling to address this issue of biased officiating while he simultaneously ignored his duty to enforce both Big 12 and NCAA rules against Nebraska opponants.  This only fueled speculations of corruption.  At one point the Commissioner not only ignored a specific Big 12 rule that required him to review two flagrant fouls committed by opposing players but he even went so far as to publically dismiss one of those obviously flagrant fouls, the now famous  Jerod-Eddie Cotton Picking moment, by insisting that Jerod-Eddie was just “going for the football.”  This coupled with the fact that the Commissioner seemed to act swiftly earlier in the season to suspend Nebraska’s Eric Martin for a high hit against an OSU player, secured in the minds of many Nebraskans that the Commissioner could not be relied on to secure a fair playing field for the Huskers.  

Far from Kooks and Crazies, Nebraska fans are simply dedicated servants of the game.  As this 2010 season draws to a close, fans in the Big 12 may want to consider that they are loosing more than just a cash cow as Nebraska migrates to the Big 10.  They are loosing more than just a fan base that has always been hospitable and dedicated to the religious study of college football.  With the departure of Nebraska, Big 12 fans everywhere are also apparently loosing what can only be described as the Big 12’s moral compass.  If the Big 12 is to ever regain its integrity, somewhere, somehow, some other fans besides those in Nebraska are going to have to set aside their tribalism, stop beating their chests and take a long hard look at how the Big 12 Conference is being run.  They are going to have to seriously consider the value of exposing those that would set aside the stated goal of the Big 12 Conference to uphold the principals of “trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship.”

If you are reading this and you still do not understand WHY Nebraska fans continue to make such a fuss about something that no longer has much relevance or bearing on the rest of the season, then you should accept that you will likely never truly understand WHY Nebraska fans have been so hospitable and so accommodating over these many years in the Big 8 and Big 12.  You will never truly understand why a Nebraska fan will boo a bad call that goes against an opponent or why Husker Nation will applaud a victorious opponent as they leave Tom Osborne field.  You are likely incapable of understanding the WHY, because to understand why Nebraska fans are reacting to this controversy so strongly you must carry within you the same intense dedication to justice and fair play that is an integral part of who they are. 

Ultimately, you either have it; or you don’t!

UPDATE:  The Big 12 Championship this year between Nebraska and Oklahoma showed that perhaps not all hope is lost for the Big 12.  It was a fairly officiated game where the players from both teams as well as the fans conducted themselves with honor and integrity; showing the nation that true sportsmanship can prevail.  Congratulations Sooners, on a well deserved win!  Good luck in the Fiesta Bowl!  You will have plenty of Husker fans cheering for their old rival!

Dec
1
2010

Big 12 Commissioner Assaulted by Husker Fan!

November 30th, 2010 – Lincoln NE  – After sighting security concerns last week as the reason why Big 12 Commissioner, Dan Beebe decided to hold off delivering the Big 12 North Trophy to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, it appears the Commissioner’s fears were founded.  During an unpublicized trip to Lincoln, the Commissioner was assaulted by an “angry Husker fan” as he walked back to hotel room following a meeting with Chancellor Perlman and AD, Tom Osborne. 

Commissioner Beebe said that, “the attack came from nowhere, I didn’t see it coming.”  Beebe described his attacker as a white male in his mid thirties wearing a Nebraska hooded sweatshirt.  “He knocked me to the ground then began hitting me in the groin and grabbing my inner thigh.  As I tried to escape the man jumped up, grabbed my head and began twisting it while yelling ‘how do you like it?’”  While Commissioner Beebe only suffered minor injuries the doctors at LGH Medical center told him that, “he was very lucky” and that “his injuries could have been much worse.” 

The Commissioner’s injuries certainly could have been much worse if it had not been for the quick reaction of two businessmen from Texas who happened to be coming out of the hotel were the Commissioner was staying.  Commissioner Beebe said that he was very grateful that these two men grabbed the assailant, wrestled him to the ground and called for police. 

Commissioner Beebe said that after the police arrived, “things really got crazy.”  He described how rather than arresting attacking Husker fan, the police proceeded to release the man and instead charged the two good Samaritans from Texas with assault.  “I asked them why they let the guy go,” said Beebe, “and the officer told me “I asked the Husker Fan about it, and he said there was some extracurricular activity on, so I explained to him that ‘That’s not what we’re about, here at Nebraska’ and he agreed,”  As Commissioner protested his release he claims he was told, “”He’s really remorseful about it, and I said I don’t want to see it again. The results and the consequences of that are between me and him. It’s been addressed.” 

While the names of the two Texan’s charged in the incident have yet to be released, they are expected to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon.  When asked about the irony of this event Commissioner Beebe responded by asking, “Irony?  What irony?”

 

by Richard Okelberry, December 1st, 2010 - By now I hope that most of you reading this understand that this is a satirical (fictional) news report.  No the Big 12 Commissioner was not attacked and no the police did not let the guilty party go in favor of arresting two innocent good Samaritans, Texans.  I imagine though that at least a few readers were taken in for at least a moment.  I also imagine that at least some of those Big 12 fans who have been recently trying to categorize Nebraska fans as a bunch of “crazies” found themselves for just a moment overcome by the same feelings that such overt injustice has caused in so many Nebraskans.  While our individual affections for a specific team or university may cause us to react to calls of injustice with more or less fervor depending on our bias, it is important for us all to step back and recognize when true travesties of justice have occurred. 

To be clear, none of us should ever advocate taking any retaliatory action against the Big 12 Commissioner in the form of neither threats of violence nor actual violence!  Doing so goes against the very principals that so many Nebraskans are standing up for in these dark times.

Still, we must recognize the reality that Dan Beebe has failed in his primary role as Big 12 Commissioner.  That role is to ensure fair and equal enforcement of Big 12 / NCAA rules.  At this point, the only way that the Big 12 can regain its reputation as a conference dedicate to the highest levels of “Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct” is for the Commissioner to step down or be removed by the Board of Directors.  Of course this is unlikely to happen unless fans across the Big 12 (not just in Nebraska) are willing to stand up and demand it from their Presidents/Chancellors that make up the Big 12 Board or Directors.

Principles of Sportsmanship and Standards for Conduct. The essential elements of character-building and ethics in sports are embodied in the concept of sportsmanship and six core principles: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and good citizenship. The member institutions of the Big 12 Conference place great importance on the principles of sportsmanship and the ideal of pursuing victory with honor in intercollegiate athletics. Participation in athletics, including as a spectator, is a privilege and not a right.” – Big 12 Rules (12.1)

Nov
30
2010

UPDATE: Big 12 Commissioner Clears Jerod-Eddie.

By Richard Okelberry, November 30th 2010 - While most of the national sports media has been focusing on the controversies surrounding Cam Newton and the ever constant shadow of another BCS system breakdown, another controversy has been brewing through-out the sports blogosphere.  This controversy involves one of the most powerful men in College Football, Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe.

If you have not been following this controversy, it began halfway through the season when Nebraska played Oklahoma State.  During the game Eric Martin of Nebraska led with the top of his helmet (Note: this is how the Big 12 Commissioner discribed the infraction) when making an open field hit on Andrew Hudson of OSU. 

“Mr. Martin committed a flagrant act of targeting an opponent with the crown of his helmet in violation of NCAA Football Rules,” Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said in a news release. “This dangerous hit is one that we in the football community are trying to remove from the game.” – Husker Extra

The Big 12 Commissioner was then required to review the video of the hit under NCAA rules and properly suspended Eric Martin in the following Nebraska game for committing a Flagrant Foul. 

When the larger controversy surrounding the Big 12 Commissioner really started gaining momentum was following the Nebraska vs. Iowa State contest two weeks later. 

During this contest, A.J. Klein of Iowa State was clearly seen on video grabbing the helmet and facemask of Rex Burkhead and twisting his head in an obvious attempt to cause Burkhead a serious physical injury.  In fact, Burkhead told the media that he did sustain a minor injury from the event.  While the refs missed the call during the game and instead penalized a Nebraska player that came to Burkhead’s rescue, most Nebraskans fully believed that the incident would be taken up by the Big 12 Commissioner and a suspension similar to Eric Martin’s would be handed down. Of course a week passed and no suspension came.  

Two weeks following the Iowa State game another similar event was caught on video when Nebraska played Texas A&M.  During a fumble recovery in the 1st quarter, A&M player Tony Jerod-Eddie was clearly seen on video grabbing the inner thigh of Nebraska player Ben Cotton in a manner consistent with an attempt to damage the sciatic nerve of Ben Cotton.  Again, Nebraska fans expected the Big 12 Commissioner to enforce NCAA regulations regarding Uncalled, Flagrant Fouls; but no suspension ever came.

Finally on November 26, Brian Rosenthal of Husker Extra (The Lincoln Journal Star, ) asked Commissioner Beebe about the Jerod-Eddie incident in an interview. 

Mr. Rosenthal described the event to the commissioner as a player from A&M “jabbing the testicles” of a Nebraska player.  He also asked if, “the play was reviewable, if any punishment was ever considered and whether the Big 12 condones such actions.”  Beebe’s first response was,

“Well, first of all, I think if you look at it carefully, it wouldn’t be what you characterized.” – Big 12 Commissioner BeeBe

This first statement is very telling because it indicates that the Commissioner had not just seen the video but that he had looked at it “carefully.”  This is important because it means that the Commissioner cannot now claim that he hasn’t seen the video the way that A&M Coach Sherman.  Mr. Rosenthal then goes on to ask the Commissioner how he would describe the incident and Beebe responded,

“Well, if you think it was that (jabbing at testicles), we’ll just have to disagree. I don’t think it was in that manner. And didn’t the Nebraska player say he was just trying to get to the ball?” – Big 12 Commissioner BeeBe

Here, the Big 12 Commissioner seems to be referring to Ben Cotton’s description of events from a media conference as an accurate explanation of what happened.  Of course anyone who actually watched the interview where Ben Cotton made the statement about Jerod-Eddie “trying to find his way to the football” knows that Cotton was making a joke.  Even the media that was present understood instantly that Ben Cotton was being satirical as they all broke out in laughter.

What is most disturbing about the Big 12 Commissioner trying to use the statements of Ben Cotton in this press conference to clear Jerod-Eddie of all wrongdoing is the fact that the Big 12 Commissioner knows full well that Ben Cotton is under a Big 12 Gag Order that prohibits him from publically criticizing another player or the officials.  Ultimately, even if Ben Cotton thought that Jerod Eddies actions were intolerable and that they were worthy of suspension, he was prohibited from say so and the Commissioner knew this.

BIG 12 Rules (GAG ORDER)

12.3.2 Comments about Officiating. Coaches, student-athletes, and members of the athletics department staff are prohibited from making any public comment regarding the game officials or the officiating at any contest. The public airing of officiating matters, whether directly or indirectly, during or after a game, verbally or by use of video, on or off the record, is prohibited.

12.3.3 Comments about Other Members. Coaches, student-athletes, and members of the athletics department staff are prohibited from making public comments that are negative about other member institutions, including, but not limited to, negative comments about the personnel, student-athletes, support groups and general matters related to the university, its location, etc.

While it is unclear why Dan Beebe would try to use Cotton’s “Gag Order” statement to clear Jerod-Eddie in this matter, we can speculate that perhaps the Commissioner is beginning to realize that he originally failed to perform his duties as Big 12 Commissioner in addressing this issue and is now trying to indicate that it was not reviewed because there simply was no foul to review.  Of course if there was no foul at all then why did Coach Sherman of A&M feel compelled to “punish” Jerod-Eddie for his actions?

Under Big 12 rules, the Commissioner was REQUIRED to review the videos in both the A.J. Klein and Jerod-Eddie cases.  This was not an “option” that he could perform at his leisure.  The Big 12 rules under Section 12 “SPORTSMANSHIP AND ETHICAL CONDUCT” states in section 12.3 and 12.3.1,

12.3 Violations. Violations of this rule REQUIRING ACTIONS BY THE COMMISSIONER are:

12.3.1    Verbal or Physical Abuse. Prior to, during and after a contest, coaches, student athletes, and members of the athletics department staff and spirit squads are prohibited from committing verbal or PHYSICAL ABUSIVE ACTS TOWARD game officials or an OPPONENT”S TEAM MEMBERS, coaching staff, institutional personnel or fans. [emphasis added]

If attempting to twist another player’s neck/head or trying to cause serious damage to another player’s sciatic nerve doesn’t constitute “Physical Abuse” then I would like to hear from the Commissioner an explanation of what does.

As the Big 12 Commissioner is now trying to say that Jerod-Eddie’s physical assault on Ben Cotton was not an example of any foul at all, it has become obvious that either corruption or ineptitude in the Big 12 has come to dominate the Conference at the very highest level.  If Dan Beebe is not willing to enforce NCAA and Big 12 rules then the member institutions should act immediately to remove him from his position! 

By not handing down the most severe penalties to these two criminal players, the Commissioner is signaling to all players and coaches that such actions are tolerated.  Nothing endangers players more than a failure to enforce the rules.  This is especially true when the specific rules being ignored have the primary purpose of protecting the health and safety of the athletes.

In a year where college football has suffered a great example of tragedy when Rutgers’ player Eric LeGrand was paralyzed during play, the safety of the players should not be resting in the hands of a man who has absolutely refused in two separate cases to enforce the rules against flagrant fouls and abusive physical acts.  From this point on, if even one player in the Big 12 is injured in a similar event while Dan Beebe holds the post of Commissioner, everyone including the family and friends of the player will know with all certainty at whom to point the finger of blame.

(Video of the two “incidents” can be found in the article: Illegal Procedure on the Big 12 )

Nov
26
2010

Illegal Procedure on the BIG 12!

by Richard Okelberry, November 26th, 2010 - Up until the actual beginning of the Texas vs. Texas A&M game on Thanksgiving, I honestly was not sure if Tony Jerod-Eddie would play in the game following his “incident.”  If you are one of the few in the country, like A&M coach Sherman, that have not gotten a good look at the YouTube video, the “incident” refers to a moment in last weeks game where Jerod-Eddie purposely tried to injure Nebraska player Ben Cotton following a recovered fumble.  A few days later, A&M Coach Sherman then absolved Jerod-Eddie of all wrong doing by telling the press that “The results and the consequences of that are between me and that player. It’s been addressed.”  Coach Sherman also lay to rest any fears that Jerod-Eddie would face a suspension for the upcoming Texas game.

The reason that I had been holding my breath waiting to see if Jerod-Eddie would actually play in the Thanksgiving match-up with Texas is because it was not Coach Sherman’s decision to make regarding whether Jerod-Eddie played or not; it was up to the Big-12 Commissioner.  You see, if Jerod-Eddie had actually played (which he did), then it meant that A&M likely violated both NCAA and Big 12 rules and might now be at risk of sanctions against the entire program.

Besides having a bunch of statements about fair play and sportsmanship, the Big 12 Charter clearly states, “The Commissioner shall have the responsibility for and is authorized to provide rulings and interpretations of the Rules (1.7.7).”  Section 7.2 of the Big 12 Rules then goes on to explain that while member institutions may conduct their own investigations into NCAA violations, they are required to file a report with both the NCAA and the Big 12 Commissioner for any “Potential Major Violations.”  In dealing with such violations section 12 of the Big 12 Rules states that Physical Abusive Acts committed against an opponent’s team member (12.3.1) REQUIRE actions by the Big 12 commissioner (12.3).”

Finally, because member institutions and the Big 12 itself must comply with NCAA rules as part of the Big 12 Charter, Rule 9 Section 6 of the NCAA rules concerning Flagrant Personal Fouls comes into play.  This section clearly states that for flagrant “Fouls Not Called” during the game the conference may impose sanctions after a subsequent review of the game.  It is because of this rule that Nebraska player Eric Martin was suspended for one game after leading with his helmet in a hit against Andrew Hudson in the OSU game.  Even though no flag was thrown immediately following the hit, a later review of the play by the Big 12 led to his suspension.

So why did Tony Jerod-Eddie not receive a similar suspension after a video review of what coach Sherman tried to dismiss as “extracurricular activities” shows an obvious Flagrant Foul against Ben Cotton of Nebraska?  Within the video it can be clearly seen that Tony Jerod-Eddie was digging his fingers in between the muscles in Cotton’s inner thigh in an attempt to damage Cotton’s vital sciatic nerve? 

While the inner workings of the Big 12 can often be a mystery and are regularly hidden from public view, we certainly can speculate about what did or didn’t happen.

Because Coach Sherman exonerated Jerod-Eddie first thing on Monday following the Saturday incident, there simply would not have been enough time for the required reports to be filed with the Big 12 and the NCAA and for the Big 12 Commissioner to have made an official ruling after reviewing the video.  As such, it is most likely A&M simply failed to adhere to Big 12 and NCAA regulations by properly reporting this incident to the Commissioner and the NCAA for review.  The A&M administration certainly cannot claim that they were unaware of the issue because a specific complaint on the event was registered with their Athletic Compliance Office the following morning.  In addition, an email was sent containing a video of the incident by me to A&M’s President. Dr. R. Bowen Loftin when requesting a statement. 

Also, considering the public outcry over this event coupled with the fact that the incident has been covered extensively throughout sports media including ESPN, it is very unlikely the Big 12 Commissioner, Dan Beebe wasn’t already aware of the incident and simply refused to impose the required suspension under Big 12 Rule 12.1. 

By allowing Tony Jerod-Eddie to play in the Texas game and for not reporting the incident to the Big 12/NCAA, Texas A&M could face some serious penalties under rule 7.4; including having their win against Texas vacated.  Also, if the NCAA makes A&M ineligible for a post season bowl game as a result of A&M’s refusal to enforce a major NCAA regulation, A&M would also lose 50% of its share in revenue from conference championship events.

Now for those of you that believe this to be nothing more than an isolated event that is being blown out of proportion, consider that this is the second time this year that a Flagrant Foul against a Nebraska player was caught on video and not addressed by the Big 12 Commissioner.  During the contest against Iowa State, A.J. Klein was seen on video trying to twist off the head of Nebraska player Rex Burkhead at the end of the play.

 

In both the A&M and Iowa State incidences, the same officiating crew was standing in plain site of the event and instead of penalizing the culprits, penalized Nebraska for defending themselves.  Also, neither offending player was suspended by the Big 12 or by their teams as required by NCAA regulations. 

This failure to enforce Big 12 rules and NCAA regulations along with a huge disparity in the number of penalties assessed against Nebraska (32 times for 293 yards) versus their opponents (only 9 times for 103 yards) by this one particular Big 12 officiating crew has understandably fanned the flames of conspiracy among many Nebraska fans.  Many have come to believe that we are no longer watching fair contests on the field where the rules are equally applied to all sides, but instead are watching something similar to professional wrestling where it may appear exciting but everyone knows the “Fix” is in. 

From where I am sitting, it sure feels like the Big 12 Commissioner will do anything, including violating the very rules that govern the Big 12, to keep Nebraska from leaving the conference with that Big 12 trophy!  Now for those NU fans that are seeing red over this and are demanding that Nebraska do something about this, consider that administrators, coaches and players are all prohibited under sections 12.3.2 and 12.3.3 from publicly criticizing the officiating or other member institutions. 

At this point the only recourse for Nebraska fans would be to have Chancellor Perlman file an official complaint with the Big 12.  If anyone thinks that Nebraska will do that after suffering public embarrassment in the national media following Pelini’s rants during the A&M game, think again.  Doing so would only make it appear that Nebraska is still ranting on the sideline. 

Of course the fans can see what is happening and that will have to be enough for now.  For years to come, NU fans everywhere will likely feel a bit of stomach acid rise up in their throats in honorary salute of Commissioner Dan Beebe, every time they are reminded that Nebraska once played in the Big 12 Conference.

(Read more on this topic:  UPDATE:Big 12 Commissioner Clears Jerod-Eddie. )

For those who want to see how the penalty dicrepancy breaks down, read: The Big XII’s Anti-Nebraska Conspiracy

- Five of seven opponents are penalized FEWER TIMES when playing against Nebraska.
 - Six of seven opponents are penalized for LESS total yardage when playing Nebraska.
 - Six of seven opponents have a Penalty Score that is DRAGGED DOWN when including the Nebraska game.

Nov
25
2010

Texas A&M “Home of the 13th Man!”

 

Nov
22
2010

Shameful: ESPN writer David Ubben gives Tony Jerod-Eddie a pass.

by Richard Okelberry, November 22, 2010

“I know Nebraska fans are also angry about the flag Ben Cotton received, but you’re naive if you think that worse doesn’t happen under piles every Saturday. I don’t blame Cotton for retaliating, but let’s not act like he’s the first and only player to ever have an opponent’s hand in an uncomfortable place. The cameras just caught this one.” – David Ubben, ESPN.

It’s bad enough to watch a player get caught on national TV trying to purposely end the season and possibly the career of an opposing player, but it is far worse to see a member of the ESPN media adopt a “boys will be boys” attitude.  It is obvious that Jerod-Eddie was specifically trying to injure Cotton’s sciatic nerve in the video.  As a disabled veteran that has suffered damage to this nerve, I can say with all certainty that if Jerod-Eddie had been successful, Cotton could have very well spent the rest of his life tormented by the injury.

Also it is apparent that the ESPN writer David Ubben knows very little about Nebraska football and its fans.  In general Nebraska fans covet above all else fair play from not just the players of our opponents but from our players most of all.  Contrary to Ubben’s assessment, most Nebraska fans did not object to the suspension of Eric Martin for his high hit during the Oklahoma.  What we object to is the fact that Martin was called out for the hit post game and made an example of.  Since that event, hits like the one thrown by Martin have been a weekly occurrence with Martin being the ONLY player in the entire NCAA to suffer such a suspension. 

You see again, what Ubben fails to understand is that Nebraska fans are all for making the game safer.  He also is missing the fact that Nebraska fans understand that the game is not being made safer when you call out one player with a suspension then fail to equally apply the same standard to all players.  Rather than making the game safer, the integrity of the game is being eroded by selective and even non-enforcement.

Of course the true story coming out of the Nebraska vs. A&M contest will have little to do with sideline antics, tempers and poor officiating.  Most Nebraskans welcome having Osborn talking to Pelini about how to curb his temper and most Nebraskans understand that occasionally bad calls will stack up against you.  But the true story that the entire country (including ESPN) should be focusing on is how the NCAA, the Big 12 and Texas A&M will deal with the attempt by Jerod-Eddie to end the career of Ben Cotton.  While David Ubben of ESPN writes that this kind of thing happens in football, that statement in no way excuses it.  Just because something happens doesn’t mean that it is right and the best way to ensure that it continues to happen is for university officials, coaches, fans and sports writers to give it a pass and adopt a “boys will be boys” attitude. 

Collectively we should all be working to improve the sport we love, not allowing it to be degraded by those with self serving agendas.  Learn that lesson Mr. Ubben and you will come one step closer to understanding why Nebraska fans are generally considered the greatest fans in the nation.

UPDATE: Ubben gets trumped by an actual ESPN Correspondent!

“Jerod-Eddie should be suspended for this week’s game against Texas. Preferably the suspension would be delivered by A&M, but if the school doesn’t have the, um, stones to do it, let Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe step in.” – Pat Forde, ESPN

Jul
6
2010

Giving Up on Gas.

 by Richard Okelberry, July 6th, 2010 - Here is an excerpt from a conversation that I have been participating in response to an essay written by Gary Kunkel titled, “The Madness of King Coal.”  While there are plenty of people who are critical of our current dependence on dirty fuels like coal and petroleum, at some point we have to start talking about viable options to such fuels.  The following details one possible way of converting our system from a gasoline based transportation system to one that runs on Compressed Natural Gas and eventual Hydrogen.

Brewski,

“So what does this tell us? If you want people to carpool, use public transportation, use more efficient cars, buy solar panels, cool their AC to 78 and not 72 and all those holy grails of policy outcomes, then make not doing so really expensive…” – Brewski, OneUtah.com

You are dead on about higher prices causing major changes in the habits of consumers.  The problem is; that is the exactly the opposite direction we need to go in.  First, having the government artificially drive up the cost of living is not going to sit well with voters and it will only lead to the government using the new found revenue to expand its operations.  Remember, government rarely goes through a major downsizing, so whatever we add to the farm, we have to feed.  Second, artificially ramping up the price of fuel and electricity to spur conservation will ultimately have a huge detrimental effect on our economy. 

While Republicans and Democrats like to each blame the other side when the economy falls on its face, historically major recessions have all been tied directly to the availability of natural resources.  With the exception of the Great Depression which was tied to a super drought and dust bowl which put agricultural workers (the largest employment sector of its day) out of work, every other major recession since has been tied to an energy crisis.  While it is true that each of these periods of spiked energy costs helped to encourage conservation, it did so by creating havoc in family budgets which ultimately caused people to stop consuming which ultimately brought the economy to a halt.  We have to be very careful when we talk about crafting energy policy based too heavily on restricting energy to force less consumption.  Additionally, higher fuel prices leads to inflation since energy costs are built into most every product or service.  So consumers have less to spend and things end up costing more.  It is a vicious cycle that is difficult to get on top of.

As much as many of us conservatives would like to see a small, less intrusive government, we have to understand that energy represents a natural monopoly as do most natural resources.  As such, the government has a legitimate role in the production and distribution of energy as a mechanism of maintaining a stable economy.  In fact, it is one of the only areas where government can have a positive effect on the direction and overall growth of an economy.

Here is one plan that I believe would work for helping to maintain a healthy economy while serving the need to remove our dependence on dirty fuels.  (I wish I could say that I came up with this.  Unfortunately, I cannot remember who did because they certainly are deserving of credit.)

First, the federal government needs to begin converting its entire fleet of vehicles to natural gas.  If we begin doing this with the postal service, it will give fueling points at every post office.  This will allow the state governments to use these fueling depots to then convert all of their vehicles which will also lead to the state government building their own fuel depots.  It’s all about distribution here and by phasing in natural gas use in vehicles it will allow production and distribution of natural gas to gradually ramp up and won’t cause a run on the resource which will run its price up too quickly.  At the same time that this is going on the Fed begins giving serious incentives in the form of tax credits to those that bear some of the expense of converting their own vehicles and gives industry similar incentives to companies for expanding production of natural gas ready vehicles.

Second, because natural gas is cleaner than gasoline but not completely clean, the government then begins working towards doing the same conversion and providing the same distribution with hydrogen fueled vehicles.  Keep in mind that at every step through the process, anyone who has either a gas or hydrogen vehicle will be allowed to use any government fuel depot to fill up their car and any private distributor will have access to the distribution network.  By expanding our use of Hydrogen we will also be expanding our production of hydrogen and advancing safe storage techniques.  Once these techniques are perfected, wind and solar will both become more viable methods of producing electricity because hydrogen can be used as a storage medium for excess power that can be later reconverted at times when wind and solar are not able to meet demand.

Of course, nuclear and geothermal energy will likely need to play a primary role in our eventual conversion to hydrogen fuels, if we are going to be expected to meet the demands for hydrogen that will occur if every vehicle will eventually use it as its primary fuel source.  (We should also consider how certain areas that are rich in geothermal activity may see a sort of gold rush during this era of conversions.  Utah would be one of those states.)

This process will likely take 30 years to complete, but it is a plan that would eventually lead to a nation free from fossil fuel dependency.  We also need to consider that as America goes, so does the rest of the world.  As cheap natural gas, then hydrogen fueled vehicles cars begin to out pace traditional gasoline vehicles in production, the cost of these vehicles will drop below the price of their older siblings.  This cost shift will translate into a global shift in the primary fuel source used for transportation.

For any plan to succeed, it will have to be something that can be widely accepted by many people of varying political backgrounds.  I believe that this plan is one that both sides of the isle can get behind because it takes into account the need to reduce harmful emissions while being simultaneously concerned for economic growth.  Ultimately, we need to worry less about how many SUVs people are driving and more about how to provide those SUVs to the public that use a cleaner fuel.

For those interested in using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) or interested in getting involved in promoting CNG, here is a useful web site. CNG Now