Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Stricter Penalties Needed for Accidents, Incidents Caused by Cell Phones

An Olathe woman was injured in a car accident last night, apparently distracted by her cell phone. Police say around 9:40 p.m. last night, the woman struck a barrier on the ramp between Interstate 435 West and Interstate 35 North. She was not wearing a seatbelt.

This incident highlights why many states are outlawing texting while driving, and pushing to ban the use of cell phones in automobiles all together. Drivers are simply too distracted while using cell phones on the road, and the results are often dangerous for both themselves and other drivers.

With accidents becoming more and more common due to mobile phones, all states should pass legislature to ban texting while driving, and enforce stricter penalties for passengers who violate traffic laws or get into accidents while talking on their phone. With many hands-free options and the option to text at a red light or stop, drivers need to be smarter on the road, or incur stricter penalties.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth of July Celebrations Scaled Back Due to Weather, Economy

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For the second consecutive year, the Kansas City area was forced to scale back fireworks displays due to recession. The Prairie Village and Bonner Springs shows were cancelled, while other large-scale events such as the Shawnee Mission Park show were scaled back due to budget reasons.

The cut in celebrations did not happen in Kansas City alone. Several other cities across the US were forced to do the same, leading to fewer fireworks and events throughout the country.

The celebrations that did happen in the Kansas City area were hit hard by rain and inclement weather. Some shows went on as scheduled while other events were canceled due to the weather. Despite cancelled shows and poor weather, several celebrations were still able to give Kansas City residents a proper Fourth of July celebration.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Most Controversial Call From World Cup Stems From Correct Ruling

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In a world cup filled with missed calls that have decided the outcome of games, a correct call may generate the most controversy and attention from fans and FIFA. Uruguay forward Luis Suarez’s blatant handball to stop a late ball was correctly seen and called by the officials, yet it helped Uruguay advance to the semifinals over Africa’s last hope, Ghana.

Late in the second half with the game tied at one, Ghana mounted one last strike to take the lead. After the ball bounced around deep in the box, a Ghana player finally got a shot towards goal – which was batted out of the air by Suarez. The striker was correctly given a red card and Ghana was awarded a penalty kick, and the game should have been over. Only Ghana missed the penalty kick, and Uruguay went on to win the game in the shootout, 4-2.

After the game, talking heads and fans alike have debated the final sequence of the game. If a ball is going into the goal and a player illegally touches it, should the goal be awarded anyways? Many analysts feel that forcing the team to take a nerve-wrenching penalty shot is too tough a situation for what should have been a goal. Defenders of the rule argue that being handed a red card for the foul – and missing the next game – is severe enough a penalty and part of the risk involved for batting the ball out illegally.

While there are legitimate arguments from both sides in regards to the rule, the likelihood of FIFA changing the rule is slim. This is the same organization that refuses to implement video replays into its games despite obvious blown calls from the referees throughout the tournament. Interestingly, the controversy this time isn’t from a missed call but from a correct decision from the referee. For once, FIFA and the rest of the world need to examine not the man making the ruling but the rule itsef.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wimbledon Offers Top Competition Without the Officiating Controversy

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With the United States eliminated from the World Cup and baseball’s postseason months away, sports enthusiasts can turn to Wimbledon to help fill the void between the end of basketball season and the start of football. The tournament is historically filled with drama and high-profile matchups, and this year’s edition is no different.

Rafael Nadal once again upended Andy Murray, who has been on a quest to be the first British Champion at Wimbledon in 74 years. Similar to their meeting two years ago, Nadal dismantled the young Scot in strait sets to earn a place in the final. After their soccer team’s quick exit in the round of 16, the entire United Kingdom, including the queen, has waited to see if Murray can break through.

Nadal’s opponent in the final will be 12th seeded Tomas Berdych, who will be a large underdog against the world number one. Berdych reached the finals by upsetting Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, and the Czech player will have to muster out one final upset to win his first grand slam title.

With the frustration over officiating and blown calls in the world cup, Wimbledon offers top international competition without the human error and controversy. Hopefully the world cup will embrace goal-line technology, similar to what Tennis does with line calls, to avoid further blown calls.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kansas Smoking Ban Goes Into Effect, Met with Opposition

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Effective this morning, the Kansas smoking ban has officially gone into effect. The state now prohibits smoking in bars, restaurants and workplaces, joining 30 other states that enforce a similar policy.

When news of the ban originally broke, several businesses decided to take the ruling to court. A Shawnee County District Court ruled yesterday that the ban would be enforced, however over 30 private clubs may permit smoking. This replaces the old policy that had a ban in place in Kansas, however bars and restaurants could opt out by paying an annual $250 fee.

There appear to be more legal challenges on the horizon from a variety of bars, restaurants and casinos that feel the law will greatly restrict business and could be unconstitutional. It will be interesting to see how many of these businesses win a permit to allow smoking such as the private clubs that benefited from the Shawnee County Court’s ruling.


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