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Professional football and academia go hand-in-hand. A university, although often seen as a pillar of educational fortitude, is, like professional football, a business mostly concerned with winning money and the reputation game. If a student learns something in college, that is nice, but a university is a franchise with a bottom line. Take Big Ten schools, who are so product-oriented they aren't even composed of 10 schools. There are 12. Among them Indiana University -- home of a legendary basketball program, the Kelley School of Business, a bicycle tournament, a sorority rush so competitive 60 Minutes did an article on it and a cute limestone library that is home to Jack Kerouac's original On The Road scroll. Indiana is a lovely franchise, just like the Indianapolis Colts.

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Fri Jan 03, 2014 at 05:25 PM PST

A Clue on Chris Kluwe

by Timothy Braun

I appreciate Chris Kluwe, the former punter of the Minnesota Vikings who unceremoniously called out a Maryland politician with his Deadspin article "They Won't Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster." His writing is stylish and charming, and Kluwe has drawn a great deal of attention to a subject far too neglected by this country. His appearance on The Colbert Report in support of his book, “Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies” sure has candor, and was great fun to read. However, I take issue with his latest Deadspin piece, “I Was An NFL Player Until I Was Fired By Two Cowards And A Bigot.”

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This bill magically shows up for the conservative right wing of Texas just as their base feels under attack, and losing influence. A bill like this for the Texas GOP is not unlike the way people flock to gold during an economic crisis.

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Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 09:40 AM PDT

I Am Tony Soprano

by Timothy Braun

My first memory of Tony Soprano was of him wading in the waters of his home swimming pool, attempting to help ducks.  He was grasping for something more harmless. Later I learned Tony had a difficult relationship with his mother and uncle, he didn’t understands his kids, his marriage had become a habit, and he didn’t seem to enjoy the company of his friends and work associates. Those kids he couldn’t connect with, that mother didn’t know how to love him, responsibilities caused him undue stress. As Soprano approached a midlife crisis, he had a panic attack, health concerns, and what appeared to me as exhaustion. He started to visit a therapist, one of the most humbling and embarrassing things for an American man to do, and admitted he was depressed. I think Tony Soprano committed acts of violence, but I don’t remember that when I think of him. I do remember he had the eyes of an abused circus elephant.

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Perhaps I've been watching too much Fox News, but I believe Dzhokhar Tsarnaev shouldn't have Miranda rights, but should have the right to buy an assault rifle with no background check at a flea market.

Have a nice day.

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The essay “To (All) the Colleges That Rejected Me”, originally published by the Wall Street Journal, by Suzy Lee Weiss, has been making the rounds on social media platforms. She’s even had an appearance on NBC’s “The Today Show”, in which she claims a 4.5 GPA, a 2120 SAT score, and a position as a US Senate Page should have helped her get into the college she wanted. Sadly, Ms. Weiss was not accepted to her first choice Ivy League schools. In her essay she claims that if she constructed a fake charity, was a minority (she is white), or had a tiger mom she would have been accepted to a school she was hoping to attend. The essay Ms. Weis wrote is tone deaf, and she has been called “privileged” and “racist” in comment boxes across the web. All of that is a shame, but Ms. Weiss, and her essay, are indicative of the most damaging challenges we face in this country.

The greatest threat to America today is not terrorism, climate change, North Korea, gun control, or even herpes. The greatest threat today is the perception of education, not the education system itself (that is another story) just, simply, the perception of education. Kindergarten through high school is most certainly a right in this country, and is approached from a factory system developed during the industrial revolution. Do something for an hour, a bell sounds, and then you go and do something for another hour until another bell sounds, and so on and so on, a conditioned response. This can be a good thing, as it is a great way to learn basic math. If my breakfast taco and coffee cost $4.95, and I give $5.00 for the goods, I would like a nickel back with as little analysis as possible. This is schooling.

However, education is subjective, experiential, messy, and odd. It is rarely 2+2=4, it is 2+?=?, and doesn’t lead to definitive result. This is why matters such as affirmative action are so important to higher education. A college education is not a right. It is a privilege. Colleges invite various students from all walks of life, backgrounds, experiences, and even test scores to create a diverse experiential environment. Colleges are not looking for each student to have a 4.5 GPA, what good would that be? Higher education is aware that a student will learn some in the classroom, but will primarily learn from collaborations and experiences with fellow classmates. Simply adding things to your resume, like fake charities, will not help, nor should it.

Ms. Weiss claims in her NBC interview that she wrote her essay as satire, like an episode of “30 Rock” but like each episode of that show there is a truth in joking. The threat that Ms. Weiss has brought to light is that education is something quantitative. I have good news for Ms. Weiss, higher education, and the world for that matters, is a fascinating and complicated place. No one cares too much about your GPA. Of course, the bad new for Ms. Weiss is that this world, and college, is a fascinating and complicated place. No one cares about your GPA. When I look at this young lady’s behavior on “The Today Show”, I wonder what her interviews at those reject colleges where like. Perhaps Ms. Weiss should take a year off school, work at Burger King, or at homeless shelter, or a community garden, watch, listen, and gain some perspective. Perhaps more high school seniors should do the same.

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Mitt Romney scares me, and I don’t mean boo.

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