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Cheston McGuire's Blog in 2009
The Most Pressing Matter

Posted 12/09/2009: 

At a time when the nation is facing uncertainty over the commitment of troops in both Afghanistan and Iraq, when there is a fierce debate of nationalizing health care, and when America is facing a tremendous deficit while trying to stimulate the economy there is one issue that is going to trump them all. A Bowl Championship Series playoff.

Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, introduced and has had his bill demanding that a playoff be the conclusion to the end of the college football season passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee with only one dissenting vote. Are you joking me? Are there no more pressing matters in America right now then making sure college football has a true winner?

Granted most people seem to loath the current system of a national championship decided by computers, but shouldn't there be a better way of going about this? According to the Associated Press it seems that Barton has taken it upon himself to right this terrible wrong by saying "the BCS system is unfair and won't change unless prompted by Congress."

Already the BCS executive director Bill Hancock has come out and said the obvious. "With all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played," he said. And I couldn't agree more.

Being an avid sports enthusiast I too dislike the current system of having one game that too many teams are left out of to decide who is the best. A playoff surely is the better solution both fiscally and practically, but right now that doesn't seem to be where things are headed. If teams, or even conferences decided to boycott the BCS until the system was changed, then I would be in support of that. If there was a petition, I would sign it. Even if there were just protests I would be supportive because none of those would be a waste of taxpayer dollars. But instead Barton and his colleagues that voted to pass the measure feel otherwise, thinking that this is a priority that can be balanced.

According to the Associate Press, Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said, "We can walk and chew gum at the same time."

This isn't the first time that I have felt wronged by the government in their handling of sporting events.

Back when the steroids scandal was growing in baseball and players were being hauled in front of congress in 2005 to testify whether they had done steroids I was aghast. Really, I wondered, is this what these people are elected for? To make sure that steroids aren't in baseball?

While people were laughing at Sammy Sosa pretending to forget english or Rafael Palmeiro saying "Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don't know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never," only to test positive five months later, I was more concerned for this continual waste of time and money. I thought at the time, well maybe this is a one-time type thing that will hopefully die off so congress can concentrate on the more pressing matters at hand.

We shall see where this bill will go from the subcommittee. Hopefully nowhere. But if it does I hope that more people both within congress and the public will speak up to voice their displeasure at such a waste of time and money where so much more is going on.

The best solution? Before this gets out of hand the BCS should sit down and look at the legitimacy of a playoff that would crown a true national champion rather than a system that could leave as many as three undefeated teams at the end of the season but only declaring one of them the best.


Saturday Night Faux Pas?
Posted 12/07/2009: 

For over 30 years Saturday Night Live has entertained its viewers with satirical commentary on current events. Anything from the failure of President Barack Obama's checklist of things to do while president to the ineptitudes of President George W. Bush. Usually SNL only hears praise for such sketches, notably for Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impersonation, but this past weeks episode has caught a lot of flack. In it Keenan Thompson played Tiger Woods at a press conference with a golf club wrapped around his head. Behind him stood Blake Lively portraying Elin Nordegren. For those who don't already understand where this is going I will try to give a brief synopsis.

On the Friday after Thanksgiving in the early morning hours, Woods drove away from his home and crashed into a fire hydrant and tree, sustaining around $8,000 worth of damage to his Cadillac Escalade. When he was found he was being held by his wife after she said that she had to smash his car windows with a golf club to extract him. Immediately questions of alcohol were raised, and in the background there were murmurs of why the windows were smashed. Today, little more is known than Woods has cheated on his wife with numerous women and he was at fault in the car accident. What is speculated is that she found out and chased him out of the house with the golf club smashing his car as he drove away resulting in his accident.

Back to the SNL skit. In it Thompson and Lively make light of Tiger's domestic situation, at one point Thompson holds up a sign that reads "Help Me." This in itself would seem to be a bit out of the realm of normal humor of SNL, but still ok. But to add insult to injury, the musical guest that night was Rhianna. Rhianna herself has just recently been removed from the spotlight after he well publicized abuse case by former boyfriend Chris Brown. Together the skit and the guest have caused some problems with a lot of negative feedback. While I myself would not have done that sketch, I believe that Lorne Michaels and the rest of SNL had every right to go ahead with it. Because really, why shouldn't they? I am of the firm belief that if you don't like something then don't watch it. If you don't want your children to see or hear something, then don't let them.

Freedom of speech is a lovely thing and for some reason, there are very few people that seem to truly have it. I forget who said it, but one media pundit once said that the only people that can truly say whatever it is they want without any real fear of repercussions are Matt Stone and Trey Parker (creators of Southpark), Howard Stern, Bill O'Reilly, and Shaquille O'Neal. This I believe is true. Matt and Trey are infamous for far more risqué pieces such as an episode titled "It Hits the Fan" where a certain word rhyming with fit is said 162 times. Or another episode where a recently deceased Steve Irwin is shown with a sting ray protruding from his chest. These such examples drew the ire of many but not nearly as much as SNL has for their social commentary. To me it's a problem because it sets certain people on a higher level of speech than others. And even if you truly believe only a few have earned that right, why not SNL? They have been on the air since 1975 entraining millions of viewers. If every now and then they get a little close to pushing the envelope, so be it. The culture right now has become a little too politically correct and if it takes some shows like Southpark or Saturday Night Live to ratchet things back a little then I say good.

To see the SNL video in question, click here.


A semi-fast fall
Posted 11/18/2009: 

Today I read about former State Sen. Jeff Smith, D-St. Louis, being sentenced for his involvement in a cover-up over fliers. It was reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Smith was sentenced to one year and one day for lying to investigators over fliers he had sent out anonymously attacking his Republican opponent U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan in Smith's Congressional run in 2004. I found this to be a shame because of how dumb a crime it was. While I am new to the scene in Jefferson City I have still seen and heard enough to find out that Smith was an up and coming politician that probably would end up on bigger stage later in his career. Instead, because of his lie over such a unfortunate act, he is going to be in jail. Although it took five years to conclude this case, it's now over and so it seems is Smith.


Creating New Verbs
Posted 10/21/2009:  In this day and age it seems like with every new kind of tool that is used on the internet a new verb comes from it. At first it started with Google. When you wanted to find something someone would undoubtedly say, "Google that." Now it has expanded to seemingly ridiculous proportions. Lately, when I meet someone, instead of exchanging any kind of information I hear "Facebook me." Definiton, go onto Facebook.com and search for me and then add me as a friend. The one that has really gotten to me lately deals with something I have already said I do not enjoy, Twitter. The actual definition of "tweeting" makes sense, but more and more I find that people are saying "I twittered that earlier." Where will this all end? Instead of reading sports news, will it be "I ESPNed this morning and found that Player X was traded to Team Y." Hopefully the line will be drawn before these new words spiral out of control.
Tweet
Posted 10/14/2009:  Ordinarily I do not use twitter. Yes I am on the site. Yes I check it on occasion and read what some of my favorite athletes or writers are up to. But so far I have tweeted 0 times. But with the addition of the MDN twitter account I have begun to reconsider. As much as I want to fight it, news is being found and told on Twitter. So as much as I do not want to becoming a Twitterer (this word also bothers me, but that's for another day) I must concede. Hopefully by utilizing a tool like this I can find new sources and information and become more connected as a journalist. So, if you would like, follow me @ChestonMcGuire and stay tuned for my very first tweet.
Enterprise Journalism
Posted 10/07/2009:  In what has now been my sixth week at Missouri Digital News I have covered a wide array of topics. From the State Auditors Report to Red Light Camera's, I feel that I have learned a lot. Within these topics I have also done spot journalism and enterprise. I think that there are advantages to both, but overall I enjoy enterprise more. I like coming up with a story idea, researching it and finding as many sources as possible to get it done. For example, with the Red Light Camera story, I called many different cities trying to find out which companies they used. From there I called and interviewed those companies. At that point I still wasn't done. I then called the Columbia City Council among other city agencies and finally I had enough to write. The end result was a good story, or at least I would like to think it was, that covered all the different angles involved in such a hot topic. Now I just have to find more topics like this to work on for the rest of the semester.
One Shot
Posted 09/28/2009: 

Reporting for Missouri Digital News in the fall semester meant that there would only day where the House and Senate would be in session. Eager for the opportunity I arrived early that day and when I went to the Senate Chamber for the Veto Override Session with my paper, pen and recorder. After 30 minutes the session came to a recess for lunch because there were no challenges to Governor Jay Nixon's vetoes. I was slightly disappointed at this because I had always wanted to see the Senate in action, instead all that happened were speeches by senators commemorating those who had died since their last session and the introduction of the man most likely to fill Senator Jeff Smith's, D-St. Louis City, seat. While nothing that happened was newsworthy, I still enjoyed the session because it was interesting to see the rules and regulations that are followed in the Senate Chamber such as how senators are not called by name when they are addressed and the process of passing a motion. Hopefully, if I am given a chance I would like to come back and see the senate in session in the spring.


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