And the (Sports) Oscar goes to…

first_imgSo Sunday was the Oscars. I’m not much of a movie buff myself — I finished dead last in the Herald’s Oscar pool, correctly guessing only two of six winners — but it was on in the office so I watched it. It was actually quite educational for me, too. I learned from City Editor Courtney Johnson that it is absolutely unacceptable to wear a leopard print dress to an awards show, “Little Miss Sunshine” is not, in fact, a Beach Boys song, and I have absolutely nothing in common with the people who pick these movies except for the fact we are both breathing.Me, I could care less about the stinkin’ Oscars. The fact that neither “Ricky Bobby” nor “Beerfest” received so much as a nomination is proof the whole thing is a sham. How whoever wrote “Beerfest” didn’t win one for that scene where Landfill comes back to life is beyond me. When you think back years from now on the movies of 2006, what will you remember that year for — the patriotic epic which gave us the “They’re not that drunk” chant and a glorified, super-secret beer drinking contest dominated by the good ‘ole United States (no real surprise there, what don’t we dominate the rest of the world in?) or some movie by a foreign dude named Alejandro Gonzalez? Not to mention “Borat.” You’re telling me there were five other movies, let alone five other documentaries, better than “Borat?” I’m not buying it for one second. I never saw “Volver” or “The Queen,” and I don’t feel like I’ve really missed all that much. What’s that? I’m not cultured? So be it. Who cares about sound mixing or art direction anyway?So, without further ado, I present to you the 2007 Sports Oscars. No montages (basically because we couldn’t secure funding) and guaranteed no political statements. Winners need not thank the Academy or be present to win. Best Supporting ActorWinner: Cincinnati District AttorneyAlso Considered: Tim Tebow, Devin Hester, Yadier MolinaThere were plenty of instances during this past season where the Bengals could have swerved off course. With nine arrests on the season, the Cincy DA could have easily locked up a terrible season for the Bungles. Instead, he took one for the team and looked the other way, allowing the players to avoid missing any games per the law. The team repaid him by picking up fewer wins (eight) than arrests. That’s unselfishness. I mean, it’s not like the crimes were anything major, like drunken driving or carrying unregistered handguns in a nightclub. Oh, they were? Never mind, then. Is Mr. Tebow here? Best ScreenplayWinner: George MasonAlso Considered: Michigan-Ohio State (1 vs. 2 game), New Orleans Saints, Boise State The NCAA tournament is known for its Cinderella stories. So what made George Mason’s improbable tournament run the Best Screenplay of 2006? This Cinderella didn’t stop dancing in the Sweet-16, the tournament’s midnight. After making it past a first-round game against Michigan State without suspended guard Tony Skinn, the Patriots continued right on winning, defeating four of the previous seven national champions in Michigan State, North Carolina, Wichita State and Connecticut on their way to the Final Four. In doing so, their tournament games became must-watch events and left people saying “screw you” to their brackets and rooting for Cinderella to keep bustin’ some moves. Best DirectorWinner: Jim LarranagaAlso Considered: Tony Dungy, Avery JohnsonCoaches, whether it’s fair or not, are evaluated by how their teams do in postseason play. Knowing this, one could understand if a coach excused some questionable behavior in the interest of helping his team’s chances of postseason success. Larranaga took the high road, though, personally suspending Skinn for one game after Skinn took a cheap shot below the belt to a Hofstra player in the CAA conference tournament. The Patriots overcame the suspension and made their magical run, and in doing so, Larranaga proved winning can be done the right way.Worst ActorWinner (or Loser, if you want): Rex GrossmanAlso Considered: noneAlright, I won’t even try to pretend this isn’t just a gratuitous anti-Bears shot. Let’s just move on…Lifetime AchievementWinner: Bobby KnightDick Vitale won’t stop blabbing about how Indiana should rename Assembly Hall in honor of Knight. Maybe this will appease him. In all seriousness though, Knight deserves this (as if this award means anything to anyone). He passed Dean Smith for the most wins all-time in college basketball and has been probably the most influential coach of the last 30 years — Knight’s motion offense served as a template for Bo Ryan’s swing — despite all the controversy that seems to follow him. Best DuoWinner: Rick Majerus and foodAlso Considered: Shaq and Dwyane Wade, Tim Hardaway and John AmaechiChemistry is important in any working relationship, and the best duos get along off the playing field as well. Controversy struck the early favorites — Hardaway and Amaechi — when Hardaway said he hated Amaechi like he hated broccoli or a chef at a restaurant. That swung momentum toward an outraged Majerus and distressed food. Really, it is only (tightly) fitting that Majerus and food win this award, as the hefty color commentator often makes longing references to food during his telecasts and the two are quite literally joined at the hip.Best ActorWinner: LaDainian TomlinsonAlso Considered: Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Dwyane Wade, Steve NashShaun Alexander set the bar for touchdowns in a single season two years ago. LDT saw the bar, looked at Alexander and said, “You call that a record?” Tomlinson broke the record in week 14 and spent the final three games of the season adding to it. When it came time for the league MVP to be announced, there was really no suspense. Tomlinson won with 88 percent of the vote. Besides that, Tomlinson also earned the 2006 Walter Payton Man of the Year award for his contributions to his community off the field.And finally…Best PictureWinner: UCLA vs. Gonzaga (Sweet 16)Also Considered: Heat vs. Mavericks (NBA Finals game 3), Connecticut vs. George Mason (Elite 8), Oklahoma vs. Boise State (Fiesta Bowl) and Cardinals vs. Mets (NLCS game 7)Sure it might not have been a championship game, but “The Morrison Game” was still an absolute classic. Behind the nation’s leading scorer, Adam Morrison, Gonzaga built a big lead in the first half and led by double digits for most of the game. UCLA mounted a comeback late and took the lead on a steal and layup inside of 10 seconds left. The lasting image of this game is of Morrison sprawled out at mid-court sobbing in defeat. Big bonus points to this game for Gus Johnson’s announcing.Ben is a sophomore majoring in political science. Feel like he made an egregious omission? Agree that “Borat” got screwed? E-mail him at bvoelkel@badgerherald.comlast_img read more

Census 2020 is Almost Here: It Could be the Most Empowering…

first_imgWASHINGTON, D.C. – The 2020 census is this year’s most empowering and democratic event for the United States.As ordered by the U.S. Constitution, the census counts EVERYONE living in the country, no matter who they are: the undocumented, the transient, people living in remote areas or off the grid, foreign students and embassy personnel. The only people here who “don’t count” for the census are tourists and short-time business visitors).The year 2020 also includes presidential elections that will set the country’s future course. But whereas not everyone can vote, everyone can and should participate in the census. It determines everything from political representation to access to basic services like education and health care and highways that work for all.Recent estimates peg the amount of federal spending that is directed by census data at more than $1.4 trillion annually.“The census is critical for practical reasons,” said Lizette Escobedo, census director for the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). “But it is also a process that gives every single Latino in the country, no matter what generation they are or their immigration status, an opportunity to say: We are present, we are here, we aren´t going anywhere and we are part of the fabric of this country.”In other words, the census is empowerment. And not just for Latinos, but for all communities that want to be represented in government, programs, expenditures, redistricting and even civil rights.“The census is the foundation of our form of representative government,” said Arturo Vargas, executive director of NALEO. “Given that the House of Representatives is apportioned based on the population of each state, our ability to have representatives in Congress depends on all of us being counted.”When people see it that way, they realize that the census is as important as the election – maybe more important — because it affects at least the next 10 years, until the next one is taken — and determines almost every aspect of our daily lives. A presidency can end after four years.In order for everyone to understand the census, we’ve assembled a list of quick facts we all need to know about this momentous event. All the information was taken from official census materials, interviews with top census experts and webinars led by them.Seven questions, every 10 yearsWhat is the census? The census is a self-portrait of the nation. The U. S. Constitution requires that the federal government COUNT EVERYONE LIVING IN THE COUNTRY EVERY 10 YEARS.Participating in the census amounts to answering seven questions — plus two qualifying ones — for a total of nine questions, said Peter Griffith, senior partnership specialist for the Los Angeles region of the U.S. Census Bureau.That´s it. The rewards for that are significant in resources, services and political rights.Who is counted?Everyone means EVERYONE: people of all races and ethnic groups, citizens and NON-citizens, all adults and all children, regardless of age.  There are very few exceptions to this.The key to this is that every person should be counted, not “estimated statistically” or “counted via records,” added Terri Ann Lowenthal, one of the nation’s foremost experts on everything census.Every person who lives in United States territory on April 1 needs to be counted. Short-time visitors aren´t counted but longer-term visitors, such as foreign students and temporary workers, are. The Census Bureau webpage offers a detailed list of who should be counted, and where.That day is known as CENSUS DAY. But the action starts long before that.To be counted, every HOUSEHOLD first has to respond to those nine questions.But what is a household?The U.S. Census counts people by their “household,” which includes every person or persons living in a “single living quarter.” Every household will get a “unique I.D. number” that identifies it, and this is tied to a mailing address or physical structure, not to an individual name or a family.A household can be made up of one person, or one family and the family friend who lives in a back room, or a group of roommates. At the time of response, all of them, including babies born by April 1, should be included as part of the same household. AGAIN: BABIES NEED TO BE COUNTED. Children age 0-4 were significantly undercounted in 2010 because, among other reasons, people mistakenly believed they didn´t have to be included.People are counted at their “usual place of residence” on Census Day, but that doesn´t necessarily mean that´s their legal, permanent residence. For example, if you’re a student living in a dorm, you need to be counted there. It´s the same with group facilities like military barracks, hospitals, jails or prisons.The census also conducts an “Enumeration of Transitory Locations” of people who don´t have a “stationary” home (RV parks, marinas, agricultural workers). These locations will be visited by census takers in March and April. This does not include tourists visiting the United States or short-time business visitors — about the only people who are not counted in the U.S. Census.Residents, not “citizens”Given the fact that the census results affect politics, there´s a hot debate in some quarters about whether the census should count just citizens or all residents. The Constitution is clear about that, Lowenthal said.“Congress has debated whether to change the basis for apportionment to ‘citizens’ or even ‘voters’ at several points in our history, including when the Constitution was drafted, but each time, lawmakers ultimately rejected a change,” she said. “The requirement says that the apportionment must be based on the ‘whole number of persons.’”In other words, no matter who you are, you NEED to be counted in the census.Why? “Because the constitution says so,” census experts say.“Please include everybody in the household in the questionnaire,” said NALEO’s  Vargas. “The Census Bureau won´t go back to check if you listed everyone, and getting everyone to count is extremely important for our communities.”Three ways of self-respondingPeople insist on calling this “the first digital census,” but, in reality, not everyone has to respond digitally. Some prefer to call it “the first high-tech census.” But to respond online is just one option. All households will have the chance to “self-respond” to the census either by internet, telephone or the “traditional” paper questionnaire that, until now, has been the most common method of collecting census data for more than a century.Starting March 12, 95% of households will get a package in the mail from the Census Bureau. Most people (80%) will get a LETTER with a unique ID inviting them to respond online; 20% of homes get a similar letter plus a paper questionnaire in the first mailing. The mailings will be sent in four waves (March 12, 13, 19 and 20).Then there will be as many as four more mailings:A reminder letterA reminder postcard to households that have not self-respondedA reminder letter plus paper questionnaire to those who have not self-responded (April 8-16)An “it´s not too late” postcard (also to non-responders)Self-respond, don´t get a knock on the doorWhen the Census Bureau does not hear from a household in the self-response phase, which starts March 12 and ends April 30, there will be a follow-up operation to try to get everyone else counted. That includes door-to-door visits, conducted from May 9 until the end of July.Some people really don´t like the idea of getting one of these visits.  In a recent chat with this reporter, Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), said that the best way to avoid the “knock” on the door is to be pro-active and “SELF-RESPOND” to the census.But is it safe and confidential?The short answer is YES. “The Census Act, Title 12, United States Code, includes the strictest confidentiality laws on the federal books, to my knowledge,” Lowenthal said at a census webinar for community organizations. “There are other privacy laws that provide an additional layer of protection.”By law, the Census Bureau may not share personally identifiable information with any other governmental agency (at any level of government), any private business, or any other party outside the Census Bureau, for any reason or purpose.The longer answer is that a lot or public interest lawyers and community leaders are ready to intervene if there´s even a hint that the current administration has violated any of these laws.“We know many people don´t trust this administration to follow the law, so MALDEF and others are part of a coalition of organizations and respected leaders who have pledged to step in ‘early and heavy’ if there´s any hint of violation of census data,” MALDEF’s Saenz said.TIMELINE (Courtesy of NALEO)January 2020: The first enumeration begins in remote areas of AlaskaMarch-April 2020: Self-response phase begins (online, mail and phone)March 29-April 4: National Week of ActionApril 1: NATIONAL CENSUS DAYApril 30: Self-respond by this date to decrease chances of enumerator visit.May-July 2020: Primary nonresponse followup operation (for households that did not self-respond)Dec. 31, 2020: The Census Bureau delivers final apportionment count to the White House.last_img read more