Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thoughts on NFL Rookies

Rookies in the National Football League have it made. Think about yourself for a moment, when you started your first job did you get to walk in and negotiate your starting salary? And then, when your employer didn't meet your demands, did you get to get up from the table and refuse to work until they met your demands or presented an acceptable alternative? Did you get to do all of this before you had even proven anything to your employer?

No? Of course not! See, in the real world when people start off their careers they get offered a job that has a set salary. Of course they do have the right to refuse that salary, but they will most likely lose any chance of ever working for that employer again. Take it or leave it.

Assuming you take the job, you then work your way up by proving your abilities. In the NFL though it is different. Sure, as a college player you prove your skills and as a result you get drafted by an NFL franchise. If you are one of the best, you get drafted early, and you get offered a very large sum of money. (More than most of us will ever make.) Some take that offer, but more make counter-offers and some even refuse it entirely by holding out.

Here is the problem though. Yes, you proved your worth in college, but the NFL isn't college, it is much faster, much harder hitting, and more complicated. We hear that all the time on ESPN and NFL network, rookies are amazed at how much different the pro game is compared to the college game. This is proven time and time again by the big first rounder who proceeds to bust completely and finds himself out of football in just a couple short years. The majority of players don't start right out of college either and it is fair to say that most take a bit of time to acclimate themselves to the NFL and actually start performing for their employers.

So, why should a rookie, who hasn't proven he is capable of performing at the pro level, who likely won't start and contribute much his first year, and who will probably take a few years to get going, get paid top dollar and even have the right to hold out if he doesn't think he is being offered enough? It is truly ridiculous.

This is a phrase we have heard a lot recently, "It is a privilege to play in the NFL, not a right." This was used to describe the situations a few NFL players have found themselves in after run ins with the law and violations of league policies. Michael Vick, Donte Stallworth, Plaxico Burress, and Marshawn Lynch are just a few examples. These guys have done wrong and will serve their sentences (federal, state, or just league) and then be allowed to play again. In Vick's case, once the league has determined he is indeed sorry and is indeed changing, he will be fully reinstated. Until then, he hasn't proven he is worthy of playing.

So how is a rookie any different? Ok, maybe they haven't committed terrible crimes and been suspended from the league, but they are making big bucks when their talents (or lack of) have yet to be shown on the field. Vick can play, we all know that. As can any of the other guys mentioned above. They have proven their worth, and if they make amends, they'll make the money the market deems their services are worth.

To wrap up this thought, the Pelican would like to make a modest proposal. Instead of giving rookies the opportunity to call the shots even before they take the field, all rookies should be given a set salary. Of course the salary will vary based on where you were selected in the draft. A 1st rounder clearly out-performed a 5th rounder in college and deserves to start higher, just like a Cornell graduate will start out making more than a community college grad. Continuing to allow rookies to come in and demand millions of dollars before they even suit up is madness and when they hold out they only hurt the very teams that drafted them because they believed they could help their organization.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ponderings of the Pelican 7/18 - 7/20

These are the things The Pelican is pondering:

1. If Obamacare (healthcare reform) passes, we are going to be in deep trouble.
2. Europe is becoming more "American" and America is becoming more "European".
3. Why do I need a birth certificate for a marriage license, but Obama hasn't needed one to be President?

The Pelican Ponders Birth Certificates

Here is an issue that won't die, nor should it. President, or is it "President", Obama, has yet to produce his birth certificate thus proving he was indeed born a U.S. citizen on American soil. There's a whole host of different stories regarding the true origins of Mr. Obama. Supposedly he was born in Hawaii, others contend that he was actually born in Kenya (where he still has family).

Yawn, yawn, yawn...Why does this matter? Well it matters because the President of the United States of America is required to be a natural born American citizen. For some reason though, Mr. Obama has done everything but make public the only proof needed, his birth certificate. He has instead gone to lengths to protect that document as well as his college transcripts. Anyone who thinks this is a non-issue obviously pays no respect to the Constitution and as such wouldn't be at all concerned if our current Commander in Chief was actually illegitametly in office.

Those who do see this failure to produce the necessary documentation as troubling most likely respect the rule of law and don't appreciate a man making a mockery of our system. I would like to give Mr. Obama the benefit of the doubt and assume that he wouldn't stoop that low...but is this something that should really be assumed? I don't think so.

Nor do many others. There are some in the military who have refused to return to duty stating that they will not serve under Mr. Obama because he is not fit to be Commander in Chief because he has not laid to rest the questions of his birth. Alan Keyes, who is currently a conservative independent is working on a petition to get the President to reveal his birth records.

Again, I would like to assume, but why doesn't President Obama just put the issue to rest and present his records. To get a marriage liscense I had to present my Birth Certificate, so to be President, why shouldn't he have to disclose his. Is it really that hard? Or does the man who swore to protect and uphold the Constitution really not care one bit about it?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Pelican Ponders the Mutation of Continents

It used to be, that America was America and Europe was Europe. Duh! That's pretty obvious for anyone with some level of geographic awareness. But in all seriousness, there was something distinct in the way America did things and the way Europe did things. From the moment of colonization those early settlers charted a course independent of Europe. With the American Revolution that independent course became independent government and a way of life that in some ways ignored Europe for the very sake of being American.

Fast forward into the 20th century and our emergence as a superpower, and being American was what much of the world wanted to be (except the Communists obviously). Clearly, after bailing Europe out of two devastating World Wars, being European was not something we were too enthusiastic about. The advent of the Cold War made the world pretty much one of two things, Americanized Democracy or Soviet Communism. Europe, being stuck between the two lone superpowers, the USA and the USSR took on varying degrees of both ideologies, leading to the mix of democracy and socialism that has shaped the Europe we know today.

After the fall of the Soviet Union it was just America. Some Europeans, not relying on our protection from the Red Army poised to the east of the Iron Curtain, began to promote their form of culture and socialism as superior to the "ultra-conservative" America. On this side of the pond, we looked down on Europe as the great civilization that bled itself dry fighting itself... twice, got bailed out by us...twice, and allowed socialism and godlessness to seep into and destroy all it once was. They looked down on us and we looked down on them.

They scoffed at our "reckless" policing of the globe and our needless "meddling" in the affairs of everyone. We decried their "spineless" lack of conviction and their short sighted inability to see the threats around them. We were American, and better for it, and they were European, and better (worse) for it.

Then something happened. Europe started getting smart, and America started getting dumber. Europe started getting pro-active and America started getting complacent. And thus, the Pendulum swings again.

So, America is becoming Europe. We elected a very liberal President and a majority of Democrats to Congress. They have spent, and spent, and spent and done very socialist things (The Pelican has already mentioned Obamacare). They have shied away from making strong statements about terrorism, about North Korean Nukes, and about the myriad problems in Iran.
On the other hand, Europe is becoming America. France (yes France) elected Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007, who isn't afraid to take a stand, who recognizes the threats around him, and almost makes France respectable again (I said almost, lets not get carried away yet.) Italy has also thrown out the socialists (More about Italy some other time). Even the European Union, the epitome of European socialism, held elections in the last couple of months in which conservatives made considerable gains against the socialists. Finally, in the Netherlands, Geert Wilders, a politician and filmmaker who has criticized radical Islam (and been crucified for it by many), is positioning himself to become the next Dutch Prime Minister.

So, while America, defender of freedom, beacon of hope, and preserver of western civilization seems to be forgetting what made her great, Europe might just be waking up from her Godless socialized coma to take on the issues at hand and show us for once how things should be done.

The Pelican Ponders Obamacare

I think most people can agree, our health care system has some flaws that need to be fixed. However, despite these problems, Canadians flock across the border to access our system because their system takes too long. England is no different. There are all sorts of stories about waiting weeks for heart surgery (kinda a pressing matter if you ask me) and it makes sense. Everyone has equal access to the system so it is flooded and you end up on a waiting list. A waiting list isn't really something you want to be on when your health and possibly your life are on the line.

Regardless of the stories, some of which are undoubtedly embellished a bit, universal (socialized) healthcare is expensive. US News and World Report had an article that gave to cost estimates, $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion. This is an incredible amount of money for a nation deep in debt to be spending on a system that is not guaranteed to make things better, and evidence would indicate, may make things worse!

The price tag alone should give people pause. This, combined with the stimulus packages (another topic entirely), will increase the deficit significantly and most likely raise YOUR taxes, significantly.

So what happens if this passes? (It is being contested by many Republicans as well as centrist Democrats). I can foresee 4 possible outcomes.

1. I, and millions of others who believe in the free market system that has made America the most powerful and wealthy nation in the world, are completely off base and Universal Health Care will be a profound success. (This is the most unlikely)

2. Our deficit will increase considerablly (this WILL happen) and the value of the dollar will collapse throwing the world markets into a much more catastrophic plumet than what we have already faced late last year. (We are not in a Depression, but we could be.)

3. Or, all of the spending will prompt more action (Tea anyone?) that will eventually (2010) result in the swift exit of many Democratic lawmakers during the midterm elections and possibly more drastic action. (The swinging of the pendulum).

4. People fed up with the mismanagement of government, and the incredible swelling of government (U.S.S.A?) will go beyond Tea and forcefully remove those responsible from office. (Also unlikely since our system can reverse course easily in 2010).