Credit: Huffington Post

Yesterday a 10-page letter was sent to schools and colleges in the United States, because the Department of Education is wanting to show schools are trying to prevent harrassment.

The letter covers sexual, racial and other forms of harrassment officials said. It also includes examples of issues that could arise and how to react. After a few cases of student suicides due to bullying in school, the letter was quickly sent. The federal government warned in the letter for educators on guidelines to address the problem when it occurs.

Last month, Tyler Clementi, former student at Rutgers University, jumped off the George Washington Bridge in an obvious attempt of suicide, after his roommate streamed a video of his encounter with another man in his room.

Certain forms of student bullying might violate federal anti-discrimination law, and the department is clarifying the legal responsibilities of schools and universities. If student administration is inappropriately dealing with harrassment, they could be subject to lose some federal funding as a high punishment.

“In extreme cases, schools could be stripped of their federal education monies if they don’t comply with all of our civil rights laws,” Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, Arne Duncan, secretary of education and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, said.

President Obama has declared a higher observation of the issue stating that the U.S. must not believe it is normal in growing up. Obama and his administration began an awareness and launched a campaign against bullying. The government has announced that the White House will host a conference next year on how to prevent harrassment and bullying.

Laura Murphy, the director of the ACLU’s Washington legislative office, has asked for Congress to “pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act, a bill pending in the House and Senate that the ACLU said would guarantee that homosexual and transgender students are explicitly protected from harassment and discrimination under federal law.”

The department’s research wing collected data last year that concluded one-third of all students between 12 and 18 felt they were being bullied or harrassed in school.

Inside the letter it speaks of, “Harassing conduct may take many forms, including verbal acts and name-calling; graphic and written statements, which may include use of cellphones or the Internet; or other conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating. “Harassment does not have to include intent to harm, be directed at a specific target, or involve repeated incidents. Harassment creates a hostile environment when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent so as to interfere with or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or opportunities offered by a school.”

Over the years, students, teachers and peers have noticed a rise in student bullying and harrassment. The department is taking the neccessary steps to allow the public schools, colleges and universities to follow a specific guideline on how to prevent or notice when harrassment is taking place. The letter could also help the future in the work force as well.

Harrassment violates the civil rights laws are by:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Disability

Kahne’s overdue beginning

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Uncategorized

Credit: Yahoo! Sports

Kasey Kahne will no longer sport the flashy, unfitting Budweiser Ford Fusion for the remainder of the 2010 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and will move to another non-permanent home at Red Bull Racing.

Yesterday ended a seven year relationship with his original No. 9 racecar where he shared 11 wins in 247 starts. Richard Petty Motorsports released Kahne, after leaving Charlotte Motor Speedway with harsh comments about his team. RPM will allow Aric Almirola to race the Budweiser Fusion this weekend at Martinsville Speedway.

Finally, Kahne is able to join a team giving him his full sponsorship money to his racecar. Joining Red Bull Racing this weekend, he will finish the remaining 2010 season and the full 2011 season with Red Bull. He will race the No. 83 this weekend. Reed Sorenson was rumored to be driving the car this weekend, but Red Bull officially announced Kahne for the rest of the year.

NASCAR’s silly season has been a fun, interesting and confusing year surrounding Kahne. With Brian Vickers, original driver of the No. 83 car, having to take a leave of absence because of blot clots it left Red Bull quickly searching for a new driver for the rest of the year and possibly next year.

Kahne signed a contract with Hendrick Motorsports to drive for Hendrick in 2012. Hendrick promised to find Kahne a ride for 2011 and quickly found Red Bull Racing to be the fit.

Kahne will join a team that finds drivers who are good-looking, marketable and who fit their mentality as a Red Bull driver. Looking at who drove for Red Bull before Kahne joined it is obvious he is a perfect fit: A.J. Allmendinger, Brian Vickers, Scott Speed, Casey Mears, Reed Sorenson and Mattias Ekstrom.

Now that Kahne is out of the silly season talks, it leaves RPM with a fully funded racecar without a full-time driver. Marcos Ambrose will likely leave JTG Daugherty Racing to finish the season in the No. 9 with RPM where he will run the full season in 2011. Leaving the No. 47 unoccupied, it will open the door for Bobby Labonte to pilot his future full-time ride for 2011.

Kahne will finally receive his opportunity he has been looking for since his 2006 season where he racked up six wins and finished a career high 8th in the standings. Red Bull Racing will give him the opportunity for one year to have another chance at the Chase for the Cup and his first NASCAR championship. The No. 83 team made the Chase in 2009, but had a disappointing effort in the final ten races after a rally to clinch a birth.

Kahne is now able to start over with a reliable team who is dedicated to winning. He has one year to show he is championship caliber before moving the dominant team over the past decade: Hendrick Motorsports.

Key Facts for 2011:

  • Kasey Kahne will drive for Red Bull Racing. Car number is to be announced.
  • Kahne will drive for Hendrick Motorsports in 2012.
  • Marcos Ambrose will drive for RPM in the No. 9 in 2011.
  • Bobby Labonte will drive for JTG Daugherty Racing in 2011 in the No. 47.

By Lacy Fuller
Of the Ball State Daily News

Critically acclaimed and winner of several film awards, the Ball State produced independent movie, “My Name is Jerry,” is being released on DVD today.

The movie is one of few independent films that have been released and distributed nationally.

It’s an honor to just have been selected for distribution, Rodger Smith, producer of “My Name is Jerry” and director of the Institution for Digital Education and Entertainment at Ball State, said.

“To be selected for distribution means that “My Name is Jerry” was in the top 5 percent of last year’s films,” he said.

The production of the film gives students a chance to do some hands-on work and not just sit in a classroom and be lectured.

“The production of the film is a demonstration of what this university is all about: Immersive learning,” he said. “Ball State is committed to immersive learning.”

“This really puts our program on the map,” project manager for “My Name is Jerry,” Emma Smith said.

Smith is part of an immersive learning class that is executing a marketing plan for the film.

“I signed for this advertising course,” she said. “I just figured it would be a read-the-textbook-and-get-lectured course, but when I got to my first class I found out otherwise.”

Smith said her class was split into two groups. While one does marketing for Chevrolet, her group is marketing “My Name is Jerry.”

The marketing team for the movie has held several activities to promote the DVD release. They handed out stickers and pamphlets during the Homecoming game a couple of weeks ago.

“We are also holding a drawing for the members of the film’s fan pages on Facebook and Twitter. The winner will win a gift card to Best Buy,” Smith said.

Morgan Mead, director and original script writer for the film, started writing “My Name is Jerry” five years ago with Doug Jones in mind as the main character.
“I took the script to Ball State and it took me about three years to convince the university to help fund this film,” Mead said.

Typically, it takes from the time of writing a script to the DVD release date three to four years.

“It didn’t take too long to release ‘My Name is Jerry,'” Smith said. “We really wanted to approach the film professionally. Just editing the film took nine months. Every movie is its own industry. It works from the ground up.”

“My Name is Jerry” has been recognized and won several awards at national and international film festivals; some include:

  • Route 66 Film Festival — Best Feature Comedy 2009
  • Accepted in the Tacoma Film Festival
  • Accepted in the Grand Rapids Film Festival

It is no longer a race

Posted: October 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

NASCAR inducted five more names into the Hall of Fame Wednesday who included: Ned Jarrett, Lee Petty, David Pearson, Bud Moore and Bobby Allison.

So why is Darrell Waltrip having a “pity party”? He lost a popular vote.

Can anyone tell me who was inducted into the first class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame?Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Bill France Sr., Junior Johnson and Bill France Jr. are the glory five who will never be forgotten.

Who will remember the second class inducted, 12th, 22nd or 32nd?

Waltrip deserves to be in the Hall of Fame by his career statistics. He’s been an ambassador for the sport in more ways than being just a successful driver. But he does not deserve to be in the second class despite his three championships and 84 race wins.

He devotes his time after retirement as a television analyst for FOX’s portion of the NASCAR schedule and also is an analyst on SPEED’s coverage as well. He is not in the booth because of his nickname “Jaws,” given because he often expresses his opinion, but because of the one man who started it all: Ned Jarrett

Jarrett retired from driving a racecar in his prime at the age of 34. He already racked up 50 wins and two championships, but began a career of a different sort.

He jumped into Nationwide coverage through radio, and eventually television, and showed that he was more to the sport than just a driver. Jarrett opened up a new world for knowledgable drivers and crew chiefs around the sport by sharing his experience and wisdom to the fans who were listening and watching.

Waltrip is a smart man. He knew going into the broadcast booth would only help him get into the future Hall of Fame faster.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame is not about who gets in first. It is only about who is in. Cale Yarborough and Waltrip will be in the Hall soon enough, but the petty fight after Wednesday’s ceremony ruins others’ moment.

Listening to Dave Moody, from Sirius NASCAR Radio, he made valid points about it is not a race anymore. Drivers will be hurt if they are not included right away, but after time things change and their name will be called.

Their racing career is over, and now it is about sharing a memorable experience with the veterans of the sport.

Let them in. Take some out.

Posted: October 8, 2010 in Uncategorized

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is making changes to their racing schedule and dropping dates like flies.

Is NASCAR doing what it takes to improve the series?

Kentucky Speedway is going to be added to the 2011 schedule, forcing Atlanta Motor Speedway to lose one Cup date.

NASCAR didn’t allow Atlanta to go for broke. They gave them the Labor Day weekend race date. They had an estimated 111,300 in the crowd at this year’s race.

Talks have been going in circles about Pocono International Speedway and California Speedway losing  one Cup date as well. Tracks such as Iowa and Road America are looking to aquire a date in upcoming years. Las Vegas has also shown interest in a second Cup date, and they would like that opportunity in the Chase for the Cup. 

Kansas Speedway was given a second date following the race in in Charlotte for the Coca-Cola 600. Chicagoland Speedway was also moved to the first race of the NASCAR’s playoff system.

This is great news for Chicagoland. They are NASCAR’s second largest market, and the track fills more seats than Loudon, track that has started the Chase since the Chase was implemented.

This weekend we head back to California for its second race of the season. This race has been changed from 500 to 400 miles, making the race 50 laps shorter. The race would normally last over three hours, one of the longest races on the schedule, but this weekend it is estimated to take three hours.

It is an important race for California this weekend. They need to fill seats, for the first time in years, in order to prove that they deserve a second race on the West coast. They provide multiple groove racing; however, they do not have the fan support needed to hold more than one race a season.

It is the fourth race of the Chase, and should be an exciting 400 miles to see if Jimmie Johnson can expand his lead to chase toward history of his own.

Jamie McMurray, two-time winner this season (Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400), will start on the pole Sunday as Johnson will start 8th.

Last weekend at Dover International Speedway, Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin shared an incident on track on the first lap of Saturday’s practice session after Harvick was angered by Hamlin’s comments on Friday about Clint Bowyer’s penalty.

Hamlin made comments assessing his views of Harvick’s teammate, Bowyer, who was penalized 150 points for failing inspection after the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Harvick bumped Hamlin twice and then side-scraped him on the first lap of practice.

This incident is not the only time NASCAR has “turned its shoulder” and looked the other way. NASCAR at the beginning of the season said they were ‘taking off the gloves’ and putting the drivers in control of what happened on the track.

It did not take long for the fans to find their first example of white-knuckle racing. At the spring Atlanta race, Carl Edwards came back on track after an incident with Brad Kesolowski. He intentionally wrecked Kesolowski, making his car go air-borne into the catchfence. NASCAR did not speak about the issue that took place.

That is not the only time these two have went bumper-to-bumper. This season in the Nationwide Series at Gateway International Raceway, Kesolowski gave Edwards the traditional “bump-and-run,” but Edwards had none of it as he intentionally wrecked Kesolowski off the final turn to steal a win.

Kesolowski showed no intentions of holding back after the race.

“I think he’s trying to figure out how he can win the points when he hasn’t run very well all year,” he said. “I don’t think that was cool at all. I’m sure he’ll say how sorry he is, or how cool he thinks he is or how great of a guy he is in his own mind, but that’s not reality.”

This season drivers have taken NASCAR’s “have at it, boys” to heart. All season in the Sprint Cup Series and Nationwide Series, fans have seen hard-nosed racing, smack-talk on television, Delana Harvick’s “I wear the firesuit in this family” T-shirt and fathers saying they will take care of their sons.

NASCAR has given back something they have been losing for years: a voice by drivers. Fans are now able to hear and see the true emotions of the drivers without an edge of being penalized. Saturday’s practice session with Hamlin and Harvick continued to prove why fans are cheering in the stands.

So, have at it boys. It keeps us fans watching.