collegepark30349 comments

Posted in: What's your stance on abortion? See in context

Legal - safe - rare. This always seemed the best way to me. If both sides would put their energy into reducing unwanted pregnancies and increasing support instead of attacking each other, then I think things would be better for everyone. I can't agree with some of the right's contentions such as it should be completely illegal and those who do it should be punished. I also can't agree with some of the left's contentions such as taking minors across state lines for abortions without parental consent and making the day after pill over the counter.

I also can't agree with the what has been published of the ruling so far. The Fourth Amendment protects against unreasonable search and seizure of property and person. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term and deliver the baby, making it illegal not to do so, seems, to me, to be an unreasonable seizure of her person by the government.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Posted in: Nissan ending production of Datsun brand vehicles See in context

My first car in 1991 was a fourth or fifth-hand 1982 Datsun B210. Had 200,000 miles on it before it gave up the ghost on me in college. Very simple engine and car that was great for learn basic maintenance (have to have a look for my Chilton Manual). Drove it from Atlanta to New Orleans, Daytona, Myrtle Beach, etc. without a hitch. Brother had a Datsun pickup that made it close to 300K before it fell apart. Simple, cheap, but reliable as hell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: William Hurt, star of 'Broadcast News,' 'Body Heat,' dies at 71 See in context

If you have a chance, try to catch "Smoke" - a gem of a movie. There is wonderful scene where Harvey Keitel's character is showing William Hurt's character his photo collection and Hurt find his dead wife in of them - truly affecting piece of acting (Forrest Whitaker's speech about his lost arm is great too).

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan aims to block sex offenders from jobs in schools, child care See in context

This is so odd. When I first started teaching in the public school system out of uni in 1997 in Georgia, I had to have a complete police background check, state wide, before they let me even see the contract to sign. Anything other than minor traffic violations and I wouldn't get the job. How can there not be a conditon like this with a national police system like Japan has?

While many parents have welcomed the initiative, some experts are concerned that such a system may hinder the rehabilitation of those who have served their sentences.

This is even odder. Completion of a sentence does not equal rehabilitated. Recidivism is high for sex offenders.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Posted in: Many people can recall a school teacher who had a major influence on their lives. Was there such a teacher in your life and how did he or she influence you? See in context

My high school French teacher because she was honest and real and treated me like a young adult who was learning instead of a teenager who didn't know anything. Still in touch with her 30 years later.

My AP English teacher for all of the wrong reasons like YeahRight and Monty pointed out. As they say, nobody is completely useless, they can always serve as a bad example.

Ego Sum, great story.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Posted in: U.S. sprinter Richardson slams Valieva ruling See in context

I would say apples and oranges, but I don't think that is a strong enough analogy for this. Richardson was suspended by the United States Anti-Doping Agency and the US Olympic committee. In other words, the US governing bodies were following the World Anti-Doping Agency rules even at the expense of their own Olympic team (she won the US qualifications and would have been the gold medal favorite). Pretty admirable of the US governing bodies to hold to the rules, I'd say. It never even got to the IOC. Valieva tested positive and was cleared by Court of Arbitration for Sport (with maybe some, cough, cough, input from Putin and Russia) and the International Skating Union appears to be going along with it. The IOC, in a rare, rare moment of common sense, is actually against the ruling. Different governing and ruling bodies, different decisions. So, no, Richardson has no grounds to argue.

Also, Richardson did not "test positive for marijuana." Her test results showed a high level of THC, which can come from smoking marijuana but can also come from ingesting (pills, oils...). THC is a banned substance. Period. THC is a stimulant that can be used for pain management, reduce anxiety and boost energy. If she had high CBD levels (the depressant, "stoner" part of marijuana), then she might be able to argue, but with THC there are too many red flags.

The thing that worries me here is that this ruling basically give a carte blanche for all competitors 16 and under to cheat, or even worse, their coaches, trainers, etc. to exploit them even more.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Posted in: How widespread do you think doping is in pro sports? Are there any sports that you think are clean? See in context

Unfortunately, too widespread. I can remember guys trying to get an edge even when I was in high school - wrestlers taking a handful of NoDoz before a match, cross-country runners using asthma inhalers to breathe better... For pros, too much money is on the line. Doping, however, should not just refer to PEDs. There is also "technology doping" that is getting pretty bad and is making a lot of sports unfair or haves vs. have-nots. The swimsuits about a decade ago is the best example. In the past summer Olympics I read articles about how runners now have metal plates in their shoes that act as springs, wrestling singlets are made out of material that is harder to grip (doesn't absorb sweat from the opponet's hands), swimmers sleeping in oxygen deprivation tanks to increase stamina...it is really getting out of hand. Sports that are clean PED wise might not be clean technology wise.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Tom Brady retires after 22 seasons, 7 Super Bowl titles See in context

Really enjoyed watching him play and it'll be weird not seeing or hearing his name in the weekly highlights. By all accounts a great teammate (win = "we did a great job" - loss = "I could have done better") and a hard, hard worker (first guy at practice, last guy to leave, never out of shape, memorized the play book - characteristics all the true greats in team sports share).

The one thing I read today that truly stunned me: he is both the youngest quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl + SB MVP and the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl + SB MVP, with 5 more between. Talk about sustained greatness.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Posted in: Despite reports, Tom Brady hasn't made up mind about retiring See in context

If this is true, it is a bummer of a day for football fans. You can't say, "I like football, but I don't like Tom Brady."

Not only is it the end of a career, it marks the end of an era. With Brady, Roethlisberger, Brees, and possibly Rodgers retiring soon, an era of quarterbacking is over and a new one is taking hold. Gone are the days of guys like this standing at the line and reading the defense and then dissecting it in a matter of seconds while staying in the pocket, making plays with their minds over their bodies. Mental agility and processing over physical performance. Now, guys like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson use their physical ability to cause defenses to breakdown - moving a lot more and getting defenders out of place, or buying time until the receivers get something to develop. They are just as much a threat to take off running as they are to toss it 25 yards across their bodies while running to the sideline. While I hate to see the previous era go, the new one is pretty exciting too.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Posted in: Brady, Bucs out as Rams advance; Chiefs down Bills See in context

Agreed, Godan. All four games decided on walk-offs. Great stuff.

Kinda hoping for a 49er-Bengals Super Bowl, with the Bengals winning this time to erase my double dose of childhood trauma (Anthony Munoz fan) and wipe my brother's smirk off his face (Ronnie Lot fan).

NFL has got to change the overtime format, though.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Posted in: What are some cities you enjoy visiting but you would never want to live in any of them? See in context

As much as I love going back to my hometown of Atlanta for visits, I would never want to live there again, or the entire state of Georgia again, really. Sad, I know, but the place is just an absolute mess.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Posted in: Remakes are a staple in Hollywood. Which of your all-time favorite movies would you absolutely not like to see remade? See in context

The keep threatening to remake The Wild Bunch and I'd hate to see that. It would just become a big, dumb action film instead of a haunting elegy about men no longer being in their time. Also, Road House and Big Trouble in Little China. You can't get lightning in a bottle twice.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: In your experience, how hard or easy is it to get a driver's license in Japan? What were the written and driving tests like? See in context

I converted from a US license in Okayama. The most annoying part was all the paperwork. I remember having to get a copy of my driving record from the US - including the date I took my initial driving test at 16 - and then having to get it translated at a local JAF branch. The funniest part was when they asked what kind of car I took the driving test in. I answered, "My mother's." But they actually wanted to make and model, so I made one up on the spot (did make it a Japanese car, though. 1990 Nissan Sentra, I think).

The English translation of the written test was so bad that I actually asked for the Japanese version. Since it was a conversion, the test was only 10 Ture-False questions and very easy to pass (You must stop at a red light. T or F). After this, I had to wait two weeks to take the driving test.

I passed the driving test on the first go and am honestly surprised that most people don't. At the time I took it, I could buy a map of the driving course at the license center to study and test takers were allowed to walk the course the morning of the test. For some reason, I was the only one doing it and I knew all the little traps before even getting in the car. Also, you can practice driving in a private car on regular roads after you pass the written test. You just have to have a licensed Japanese driver in the car with you and you have to put a sign on the front and back of the car (handwritten is OK). If forgot the exact wording and size of the sign, but if you ask I am sure they will tell you. I asked at the 岡山西警察署 and they were quite helpful.

And as Peter Neil pointed out above, the unwritten rules. A few others - I wore a suit and tie, shaved, and made a big show of turning off my phone and putting it in my bag before I started the engine. Of the three people that passed the day I did, all of us were wearing business attire. The people in shorts, t-shirts, ball caps...all failed (not saying it is right or wrong, just saying "an ounce of appearance is worth a pound of performance"). If you look like a safe diver, they will assume you are. Also, if you can't do everything yourself in Japanese, you probably won't pass. People that came with a "helper," usually a foreign dude with his Japanese girlfriend, failed. The cops there are most likely thinking, "Is this person going to be a problem for me if I have to pull them over or respond to an accident?" I remember one lady was dressed like a hostess and said it was her sixth time taking the test. When she failed, she slammed her hands on the counter and stormed off, probably ensuring she will fail the next time as well.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Posted in: Have you noticed any examples of "shrinkflation" in Japan -- when a product or portion size in a restaurant gets smaller but the price stays the same? See in context

The one that ticked me off was when the sales tax went from 5% to 8% a few years back. At the time, stores had to display the prices "tax included." So, for example, my coffee was 840 yen a bag - 800 for the coffee and 40 for the tax. When the tax went up, some of the stores I shop at kept the old tax included price tags, but added the new 8% on to it. What used to be 840 yen tax included became 840 yen plus 8% tax. Basically a 5% profit markup for the company, or a 13% tax. I stopped going to some stores for doing that.

Another thing is when the packages / amount shrink and the company tries to pass it off as something new. My sports drink has a "new easy to grip bottle" and the yogurt has "new eco-friendly package made with less material" - fancy ways to say "smaller for the same price." I see your BS.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Japan mulls fully automated driving service in limited areas See in context

How typically governmental. They'll create all these new rules and regulations for automated driving and vehicles, but still won't allow Uber or Lyft, which would be basically the same service but with a person driving. I'm sure the purpose of this is to get elderly (dangerous) drivers off the roads, so why not Uber or Lyft? Also, I wonder how long until the taxi lobby kills this too.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Posted in: How would you define the Christmas spirit that we hear so much about this time of year? See in context

Just read:

A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens

The Gift of the Magi - O. Henry

How the Grinch Stole Christmas - Dr. Seuss

"Maybe Christmas," he thought, "Doesn't come from a store."

"Maybe Christmas ... perhaps...means a little bit more."

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Kishida sidesteps criticism of cash handout policy change See in context

Fiscally, this makes sense. Well, as much senses as these things can. I read a Japanese article that basically said for the coupon plan has so much more additional cost that the govt could basically raise the handout from 100,000 cash to 130,000 cash per person for the same price.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Posted in: Senate leader, presidential candidate Bob Dole dies at 98 See in context

May he rest in peace.

Like John McCain, I did not agree with his politics, but I never had a doubt that his actions as a politician were what he honestly thought were in the best interest of the country, and not of himself or the party. The Americans with Disabilities Act? No Republican would go for that now. His health care platform in '96 is basically the Ur text for Obamacare. We need more like him now.

Requiescat in pace.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Posted in: Survey shows 60% see drinking with colleagues as 'unnecessary' See in context

Wonder what percent said drinking because of their co-workers is necessary.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Posted in: Paternal violence against newborns shows urgent need for education See in context

There is so much to unpack in this article. One, and this a fact that many Japanese do not want to seem to admit, is that most abusers were abused (not that this is an excuse, it isn't, but it is part of the reason). The cycle of violence is generational and hard to break. Two, social services is pathetic here. We've all seen the stories of the welfare agents being turned away and not doing follow-ups. My mother was the housing commissioner for a long time. If one of her agents got refused, they were coming back with the police. Another thing is humans are physically able to reproduce long before they are mentally able. So much for the "intelligent design" theory.

But the main thing, I think, is the speed and convenience that modern technology has given us. Nobody has patience anymore, and children require patience. Almost anything can be gotten and anyone contacted instantly. People can't wait anymore. I've seen people lose it when they don't get a response on Line within 30 seconds. Over a minute is an eternity for some folks. But, hey, guess what? A baby will not stop crying in 30 second. It may take more than a minute. It may even take more than an hour. A baby does not have an off button or a manner mode. You have to wait and then maybe get 30 seconds of calm before it starts all over again. "I hit her because she would not stop crying." OK, big man. How long was she crying? I'd venture that it was 5 minutes and he could not take it. I rant, but these people disgust me. I have been blessed, BLESSED, with two children. I have two brothers, both better men than me, who for various medical reasons do not have children. Whenever someone gifted a child abuses that privilege, I have a visceral reaction.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

Posted in: What are the pros and cons of a completely cashless society? See in context

One con I can think of. I still remember the joy and excitement of opening a birthday card from my Grandma and finding a $10 bill inside. My mother still does it for my kids. It's a small thing, but cashless ruins that joy a kid can get from such a simple gesture.

17 ( +17 / -0 )

Posted in: Japanese firm uses tiny worms to detect early signs of pancreatic cancer See in context

Great news. Pancreatic cancer took my big brother from me and anything that can help others is wonderful.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: What U.S. schools can learn from other countries about civic disagreement See in context

The problem is that the sheer diversity, population size and geographical size of the US make exposure really, really difficult. How do you fit it all in? You can't, really. So, what the battle has become is that each group in the US (for example, religion: Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists, agnostics, Catholic, Protestant, First Baptist, Southern Baptist, Anabaptist, Zoroastrians, Wiccans...you get the picture) wants their views and voices "exposed" to others. A good ideal, but impossible. Then it becomes, if I can't be included, then neither should you, so I don't want to hear from you. I think that, maybe even at the expense of complete exposure, critical thinking skills and civic discourse should be taught. That way people are prepared when they are exposed to other ways of thinking in other places. As for exposure in history, as one teacher said to me, the problem with history is that there is so much of it and more being made every day. Some of it has to get cut in a 180 day school year.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Posted in: U.S. judge rules for United Airlines in employee vaccine dispute See in context

I've got to go with the courts on this one. Too much is at stake - if this OSHA mandate is found to not be enforceable, then how long until people start going after other OSHA mandates and we're set back 100 years in labor laws.

Also, religious exemption? It disgusts me how many people are claiming this. I've read from several sources that there are only three religions that have doctrinal prohibitions against vaccines: Church of Jesus Christ, Scientist (Christian Scientists), Dutch Reformed, and an obscure sect of Ultra-Orthodox Judaism in Eastern Europe. If you are not one of those three, then get off the religious exemption train and just say you don't want to do it. God hates a coward, you know.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Posted in: Hundreds of thousands of fans celebrate Braves' World Series title See in context

Good job, Braves. I remember watching the '95 parade from the fourth floor of Library South on the GSU campus.

And, Politik Kills, 29% of major leaguers are foreign born including 15 Astros and 7 Braves. So, yes, World Series is appropriate.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Posted in: Tokyo Games CEO: Official costs will be known early next year See in context

Takes that long to cook the books, I guess.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Posted in: New enrollments at 46% of private Japanese universities not filled in 2021 See in context

Something missing from this story is the govt's crackdown that started a few years back on private unis exceeding their quotas. Many private unis would routinely admit more students than they were officially permitted to. For example, a certain dept at a private uni was allowed to admit 100 students a year and would accept 115 or so. Some of this was intentional ("get 'em while you can") and some was not (you really have no idea how many students will accept their admission and how many will go to another uni, so you "best guess" how many will accept - sometimes it is over and sometimes under the official quota).

Anyway, a lot of the bigger private unis were really abusing this and accepting almost double their quota, which led to a lot of bad situations (poor student faculty ratios, overcrowding, etc), the worst of all being fewer students going to public universities, especially local (県立) ones. The govt wanted more students at these schools, so they started to withdraw funding and support for any private unis that exceeded their quotas, even by a single student. My uni started passing fewer students on the entrance exam than the actual quota: dept A's quota is 150 students, so pass only 145, that way we are sure not to go over the quota.

So, now the private universities, which were often 滑り止め for national unis, became harder to get accepted to, which led to fewer people applying (private uni A is harder to get into than local public uni A, so might as well use local public A as my 滑り止め for the national uni), which has helped lead to the current situation. The irony is, now many local public unis are exceeding their quotas with no repercussions while private unis are either losing students or having to go through a tortuous process to raise their quotas. So, mission accomplished?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Posted in: 17 U.S. cities make pitch for 2026 World Cup See in context

As a native Atlantan, from being born at Crawford Long to graduating from Georgia State, let me state that there is no worse city to host a major sporting event than Atlanta. I'm stunned at how many times they can sucker people into believing that. And there is no worse stadium owner to receive such a benefit than Arthur "tear down a historic church for my stadium's parking lot" Blank.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Posted in: Illegal amounts of overtime going on at 37% of Japanese companies in government inspections See in context

Maybe a bit off topic, but maybe not.

I had a student last year who got a job offer for after she graduated. The salary looked fair, but then she did a little more thinking. She looked at the monthly salary and the monthly required hours (regular work hours + "service" overtime hours + "miscellaneous" hours ) and divided the pay by the hours. Her hourly pay came out to be exactly minimum wage for Okayama prefecture - 700 something yen an hour! For a 正社員 position! She then informed me she was already making 980 yen an hour at her Starbucks part-time job. She, rightly, rejected the offer and entered management training at Starbucks. The overtime is just a way to rob people of labor and suppress wages.

20 ( +20 / -0 )

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