Lifesaving Safety Tips For Water Sports Enthusiasts

Tips to Insure a Safe Fun Time with Water Sports and Boats!Water sports are very popular amongst athletes and non-athletes alike especially in the hot days of summer. After all, any of the water sports is an excellent way to keep cool and look cool, stay active and tanned as well as get your exercise and its health benefits.However, water sports can be dangerous, too. Reports of drowning and other water-related accidents worry us and yet we still fail to adopt certain safety guidelines to avoid becoming the next victims. Well, if you want your family and friends to be safe at all times while engaging in water sports while having fun, it pays to take heed of the following safety tips.Be a Strong SwimmerIn any water sport, it is important to be a strong swimmer. At the very least, you will be able to swim to shore or to avoid moving objects on the water such as boats. Likewise, you must ensure that the other participants in the sports are also strong swimmers not only because it is a competition where the strongest have the highest chances of winning but also because lives are at stake here.

Wear a Life VestMany drowning deaths in the open seas have been attributed to the failure to wear life vests. Even if you consider yourself a good swimmer, life vests are de rigueur in case you lose consciousness or get tired from floating on your own. And remember that not just any toy flotation device will do for the purpose.Learn CPRDo not rely on the lifeguards and other medical personnel to come on time to save the life of a family member or a friend. YOU must learn how to administer CPR at the soonest possible time because mere seconds can mean the difference between life and death.Your local college, hospital and Red Cross branch offer CPR classes so take advantage of them.Avoid Alcohol and DrugsAlcohol and drugs will never ever mix with water sports. Both substances have adverse effects on your mind and body, not least of which is slower reaction time, lesser focus and, worst, unconsciousness.If you must take alcohol, do so after the competition is over so that you are in no danger of drowning. Well, of course, you will be in danger of alcohol-related traffic accidents so you are better off staying away from it. Stay in Designated AreasOf course, one of the thrills of extreme water sports is facing death in the eyes and living to tell the tale. However, if you want another shot at that heart-pumping move, then do try to stay within the designated area of the competition.

For individuals who are swimming in the open seas, this tip is very important especially when strong currents and waves are present.Know the Safety Rules of the SportEach sport has its own safety guidelines and equipment. It pays to become familiar with them and then take heed.

For example, if your sport says that you have wear shoes and a helmet like wake skating, then do so. Better yet, you should undergo sufficient training before hitting the competition circuit.
Indeed, water sports accidents, injuries and deaths can be significantly reduced if only we know how to engage in them as safely as possible.

The Transformation Of Political Science And The Rise In Crime Rates

The current field of political sciences is dominated by a multitude of ideas that have never in its history featured so prominently in this discipline. The general belief that it has lost its focus once and for all is from time to time counteracted by different opinions. One of those is that the world has come full circle, that mankind has experimented out all possibilities in terms of ideological thinking and that the liberal democracy as we know it has come out of the process as the prize winner both politically and economically. Some define this as the end of history. It also goes by the name of ultra modernism. Globalisation fits in perfectly and all reflects the increasing complexity that we are finding our world to involve us in and which, in order to come to terms with the bigger magnitude of the whole, we are describing in essentially vague terms.The idea that history might have died a death was first launched in the 1980s by Francis Fukayama who wrote a now famous essay entitled ‘The End of History’, in The National Interest on the subject. The idea has persisted during the subsequent historic reality-altering events leading to our understanding of the world in terms of security and globalization, even though the liberal ground is under siege from left and right wing ideologies, parts of which are finding their way into the democratic liberal discourse.However inappropriate it essentially is to define the new ‘winning ideology’ — the policical science discourse is rife with arguments in favor of departing from old fashioned foundationalism and swapping this for a-systemic ideas gathered from all other disciplines– we are at this time almost as happy with any theory that offers a firm grip on reality as the third world would be with a cure for poverty. Much though the world is changing and much though this fast change is reflected in the sciences, the a-systemic ideas making up the political sciences might not necessarily reflect what’s going on in society one hundred percent adequately.Issues like crime and other ‘anti social behavior’ are significantly underexposed in areas of political scientific studies, say researchers. Our highly developed society and increased sophistication in all the disciplines that results in political sciences being a highly esteemed area for study, delivering no doubt high caliber students to society, does not necessarily guarantee a tangible decline in crime rates. We are missing out something big time. Is this the whiplash of a-systemic thinking we all intuitively fear?If you may believe studies undertaken by political scientists, in future, we won’t have a lot of room for corruption and evil wrongdoers in our society. Leaf through an average new book on political science and find hardly a line, let alone a chapter, dedicated to the evil side of human nature. What makes us all think that synchronising everything automatically leads to a better world and therefore a less violence prone society? In the same breath, you might ask, what is the new Left, the new Right, the Libertarian and the other political mainstream thinking on issues such as the Third World? For all our great knowledge and speedy technology-supported understanding of what is going on, we are still not much better at remedying the main problems the world is faced with.

Criminology is part of the exercise of deconstructing the past, deconstructing other disciplines and constructing new ideas from a mixture of all of them which keeps social scientists busy these days. Yet it’s not enough apparently to translate into better thinking on the way safety and society can be organised.Whether a certain approach to crime really is to blame for its rise is debatable. What is certain is that modern societies have become safer and more comfortable in many areas but that crime has risen in equal proportion. “When it comes to crime, or more broadly stated ‘antisocial’ behaviour, society has actually become less safe. Crime constitutes an insecurity risk which is difficult to control. Many citizens and organizations will at some stage fall victim – usually completely unexpected -to behaviour which can harm them, physically or financially”, according to a recent research report by the Foresight Institute of the Netherlands, a semi official consultancy. It is one of the few studies in this field.The increasingly Old World definition of the nation state was primarily driven by the desire to resist this sort of danger, the researchers say. They continue that the way we deal with crime has evolved too. It is at this point that state organization is likely to really begin to crumble. A prime, if not the prime raison d’etre for governments is keeping a population relatively safe and free from crime. The more governments are perceived to be failing in providing the desired high level of societal safety, the less justification there is for governments and their imposing taxes on a country’s population.Changes in the way crime is perceived include treatment of the issue in more scientific disciplines than ever. Yet some, including Fukayama, argue that the social sciences lack a distinct central view on human nature, which stems back from the post Kant era. The only reason that I feel you can raise the human nature argument again is that over the last 30 years in the life sciences there has been a lot of empirical work that has made the concept respectable to scientists. Yet social scientists and certainly people in cultural studies have yet to get that message, says Fukayama. They are very resistant to the notion of human nature.The issue is grappled with mostly by people who try to integrate crime studies into a whole range of disciplines. “Crime has lost its exclusiveness, the approach to crime and crime prevention is no longer exclusively the responsibility of the police and the judicial authorities”, say the Foresight institution researchers. This coincided with a tangible change in society too. In the early 1980s, there was a sea change in the approach to crime and crime prevention. Inspired by understandable self-interest, individual citizens, organizations in the community and local authorities started to feel that they bore a responsibility for crime prevention. Nevertheless, the results are not particularly overwhelming and the researchers at Foresight say that for the situation by the year 2010, some areas of research are still vastly underrepresented.One real life example of high profile people sharing this concern is the situation on the Guernsey islands off the coast of the UK. You’d say this small island offers a perfect case to study the governability of a country with a limited population, to try and test the limits of a system to the full. Politicians might well be aware of this. At least, they appear to have a clear idea and are aware of the unique nature of their society and of the effects of the rules they invent. The measurability of crime renders the subject a good target for analysis, sophisticated ideas of governance and societal structures. The self consciousness leads to frequent interesting debates by politicians on this island. Recently, a senior politician attributed the perceived rise in crime and anti-social behavior the effect of “woolly liberal” thinking. He said the increased emphasis on human rights in particular is to blame for the rise in crime.The politician said that his government’s human rights act had led to offenders becoming “untouchable” by the authorities. Warning of the dangers of liberal thinking, he pointed out that there’s no common sense in Guernsey’s human rights laws which others believe ensure rights and responsibilities of citizens are balanced out rather evenly. He said the woolly thinking underlying the human rights ideas on the island led to alcoholism among the younger population for one.This is one of the issues where the argument that improved technology in the hands of police and law enforcers is going to do the trick, won’t do completely. Developments in modern technology and improved understanding of changes in social control are central to ideas about stamping out crime. The foresight researchers recommend that there should be a radical reorganisation of how financial resources are made available to this effect, if crime prevention is to bear any fruit.Research efforts need to be stepped up dramatically if modern society is to develop adequate knowledge in any form or shape. They believe that the demand for scientific knowledge by the institutions, municipalities, government departments and private sector agencies might seem to be a professionalization of the area, but that in fact it does often not mean anything, especially not in the long run.Fundamental scientific research into issues which are already playing a part at this time needs to be stepped up, the institute believes, in order to keep up with the criminal sector. They predict that by 2010, crime will have changed radically as a result of technological and economic developments and changes in social control and cohesion. There is a great need for fundamental research, for interdisciplinary knowledge and knowledge about long-term, ongoing issues such as criminal careers, say the researchers. In the next ten years there will also be a need for more theoretical research focusing on normative and empirical issues.

The wildly diverging ideas about human beings in the social sciences is exacerbated with a dramatically lowered emphasis on any blatant negative aspects of society in postmodern political science due to the death of positivist thinking. You could argue that this is at the heart of the problem of surging crime despite increased wealth of societies.The political sciences appear most promising in their capacity for addressing the anomalies. It is the best discipline to do so, because it does not plan at neutrality. And, what’s more, the political scientist´s loyalties and engagements will not necessarily be predictable and stable over time. If it doesn’t yield immediate tangible results, it at least is a start. And it makes for less dry reading of the articles and books describing what’s perceived as the state of play in these sciences. You’d imagine that anyone coming up with a theory involving the axiom that history has ended, would be prone to fantasy.And that’s somewhat true; academic attention for total fantastic ideas as a means to understand or create is on the rise. It’s much under attack from critics who say this is a foolish activity, especially when keeping in mind the idea that when you walk the streets of your town you can be subjected to a criminal attack at any given moment. Sceptics will imply that much of the storytelling anyway misses out large parts of reality, especially the less attractive features. Which is, however, not to say that blind spots are not being reduced.But somehow, the rationale itself is changing for the criticism of the ways modern science works. The criticism for instance on the way politicians work, who seem keener to know about the cultural trends, popular culture, the media and power than in the labyrinthine workings of party and parliamentary democracy is that they are not sticking to their own field. Yet the new approaches favored in the political sciences leave more leeway for alternative ways that allow for a greater number of methods to assess reality than many predecessors ever dreamt of.In stead of a total abandonment of all serious work, modern political science presents us with a mixture of both regurgitated theories of old time philosophers and original, rather broad based ideas. And in new, often surprising, ways.Sceptical post modernists will contend that as there is no correct method for political research and researching the political, that it might be wise to adopt an anti-rules method, while the affirmatives may adopt something that can be termed ‘anything goes’. But perhaps several methodologies are best blended together to come to a robust approach to researching a problem. Much hinges too on one’s perspective on history.

Politics And Politicians

I hate politics and politicians! What have they done for you lately?We need balance – not extremes. Our government is supposed to represent its citizens and “provide for the common good” – not focus on special interest groups that try to influence legislation and regulations that support their unique agenda. Libertarians have a lot of good points – such as smaller government – but not their extreme view of gun and drug “freedoms”. Progressives also have some good points – such as social “protections” – but not the extreme views on abortion and gay “rights.” Politicians often pay attention to irrelevant issues. Like when we are at war (2 or 3!) and have debt that our kids and grandkids will never be able to pay off, and 10% unemployment, etc., etc. What do they focus on? Trivial stuff – like when Congress considered banning shopping bags that are purchased to save plastic and paper bags – that were found to have some lead in them. Did anyone ever ask Congress to do something about the lead in the solder in your copper water pipes?But we have a kind of system of government that, in the long term, seems to work. Some things are bad and some are good – about the “greatest democracy in the world.” Winston Churchill once said “It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried.” The U.S. is considered by many to have an ideal model of democracy, but it is imperfect and democracy itself has its own inherent problems and limitations. Some things are necessary – like Defense, Environment, Health and Safety, Civil Rights, etc. – which we need to do right at the national level because they can’t be done effectively at the individual or state level. The U.S. federal government’s organization and processes are archaic and inefficient – but sometimes it seems to work – for example, the “Stimulus Package/Bill” in 2009 actually did help the country recover from a serious recession (despite some its shortcomings and problems). Others don’t seem to work well or belong at the national level – like the unbelievably complex, convoluted and inequitable tax code (more on that separately).There are lots of examples of stupid, unproductive, and irrelevant political actions. Here are just a few of my favorites:• Earmarks – those projects for specific congressional districts or states that are funded by tacking them onto unrelated congressional bills in exchange for votes – so called “pork barrel.” So, if you look at a major funding bill – that may be essential, such as the Defense Department budget – you will find hundreds of earmarks attached to it to fund a lot of strange, arcane, and sometimes useless projects (like the famous “bridge to nowhere” or local airports with almost no passengers, etc.). These projects may bring some federal money back to their districts, but they are in many, if not most cases, funding pet projects of political contributors. The individual requests in many cases are relatively small (at least by Washington standards) – perhaps a few $ million – but there are thousands of them every year. Collectively they can amount to hundreds of billions of dollars. And without a line item veto by Congress or the President, these projects get funded automatically when the major bill passes. How’s that for representative government spending your money?

• Political Priorities – The Congress and the President are often involved in the absurdities and travesties of what they view as political priorities – at our expense. For example, pursuing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage while passing a law exempting gun manufacturers and dealers from all potential liabilities – including illegal sales to criminals! That’s just screwed up!! Who thinks up this stuff – and who do they think they are representing?• Gerrymandering – Our elected Congress works very hard to get re-elected – on our dime. From Wikipedia: “Gerrymandering is a practice of political corruption that attempts to establish a political advantage for a particular party or group by manipulating geographic boundaries to create partisan, incumbent-protected, and neutral districts.” With the manipulation of election districts, it is possible for minority parties to win a majority of districts in an election – or neutralize a strong district of a majority party. This is a process that is facilitated by the mandated re-assessment of congressional representation after every 10 year census – and it can neutralize your vote! There are no uniform electoral districts. Your representatives design the election districts to protect incumbents. For example:o “In 2004, not one of California’s 173 state legislative and federal congressional seats changed party-hands.”
o “No House member from Tennessee ever lost a bid for re-election during 1980-2005.”Other developed countries have established processes for “defining constituency boundaries” by objective third-party organizations. But politics in the U.S. is not that progressive – so much for “one person, one vote.”• Subsidies – Our government, which we pay for, thanks to our politicians, provides substantial subsidies to some very profitable industries – at our expense. Here are a couple of examples:Agriculture – Agriculture is obviously very important to an economy, so what is wrong with federal programs to support it? First, a few facts (from The Cato Institute): “The U.S. Department of Agriculture distributes between $10 billion and $30 billion in cash subsidies to farmers and owners of farmland each year… More than 800,000 farmers and landowners receive subsidies, but the payments are heavily tilted toward the largest producers… Although policymakers love to discuss the plight of the small farmer, the bulk of federal farm subsidies goes to the largest farms. For example, the largest 10 percent of recipients have received 72 percent of all subsidy payments in recent years. Numerous large corporations and even some wealthy celebrities receive farm subsidies because they are the owners of farmland… In 2008, Congress overrode a presidential veto to enact farm legislation that extended existing supports and created new subsidy programs… The 2008 farm bill added a new sugar-to-ethanol program under which the government buys excess imported sugar that might put downward pressure on inflated domestic sugar prices. The program defends domestic sugar growers’ 85 percent of the U.S. sugar market, and it provides for the government to sell excess sugar, at a loss if need be, to ethanol producers… Since 2000 the USDA has paid $1.3 billion in farm subsidies to people who own land that is no longer used for farming.” Agricultural subsidies in the U.S. comprise 11% of farm production.So, why are subsidies to farmers bad? Simply, because they don’t achieve the intended results. Most of the money goes to large, profitable farms and corporations. They can upset the natural balance between supply and demand – by facilitating over-production – which can unrealistically affect the prices of food commodities and farm land. “Perhaps the biggest scandal with regard to farm subsidies is that congressional agriculture committees are loaded with members who are active farmers and farmland owners. Those members have a direct financial stake whenever Congress votes to increase subsidies, which is an obvious conflict of interest.”Other countries have experimented with eliminating agricultural subsidies – with some success. New Zealand is one example. “New Zealand’s farmers have cut costs, diversified their land use, sought nonfarm income, and developed niche markets such as kiwifruit… New Zealand farm productivity, profitability, and output have soared since the reforms.”Oil – The largest, most profitable industry in the U.S. – and worldwide – receives federal subsidies! Why?? Technically they are tax breaks, but only because of the way our Congress writes the rules and defines the terms. The subsidies/tax breaks to the U.S. oil industry amounts to about $4 billion each year. This includes a “depletion allowance” that treats oil reserves as capital equipment – in addition to very favorable terms for writing off exploration costs. But the major oil companies have been making more than 10 times that in profits each year. Do they really need incentives to explore for oil – when the world market price for oil has been in the neighborhood of 3-5 times the cost of production for decades? And what is the attitude of our politicians? – “we’re only talking about four billion dollars.”!!• Social Security – One of my pet peeves has been the most sacred of all federal government programs. For over 70 years, Social Security has been “an insurance program for everyone”. But up until 1984, government employees, including Members of Congress, did not pay into the Social Security program – when all of us “citizens” were required to by law. The Social Security program, which has been going broke for decades, was good enough for “the people”, but not for the government employees and politicians who are supposed to be serving them. So now it is an example of how a political abuse can be fixed. However, the benefits for federal employees are still very attractive – and not typical of industry jobs. In addition to now participating in Social Security, federal employees have a defined benefit pension plan (which no longer exists in most of industry today) as well as a “Thrift Savings Plan” – the equivalent of a 401K plan – with up to a 5% match. Members of Congress are eligible for full pension at age 62 after only five years of service – and they are eligible at age 50 if they’ve served 20 years. So our “public servants” have more rewarding benefits than most taxpayers receive.

And there is more – much more!!So, how can the “greatest country in the world” be so screwed up (at least at times)? I blame it on the politicians and the uninformed/uninterested electorate. Other countries must just be worse. Part of the problem is that the public is often not well informed – or just doesn’t care. How do you communicate important political issues so that the general public really understands – the complete facts and truth? Most news and views are at too high a level (e.g., small “sound bites” – or talk show opinions) so that they leave either a limited or wrong impression. For example, issues like abortion and stem cell research are highly controversial and emotional and don’t really get covered objectively.Is there a solution? It would be nice if we could focus on real/important issues and attract intelligent, sincere people into politics. What kinds of people want to run for political office? – ego-centrics, power hungry, self promotional – are these the type of people we want to represent us?? Why would you trust a politician with your life and welfare? But that is what we have – at least in many cases. And what are the financial implications? How can really good political leaders afford to be politicians? Even with the elevated salaries and benefits for politicians (at least at the Congressional level), the cost of the life style in Washington, DC is far too expensive to be covered by federal payments. So, they must either be independently wealthy – or seek an opportunity to capitalize on their political position – either during or after their term in office. What would make a constituent think that their representative is working in their best interest?
I don’t have a solution. That’s why I hate politics and politicians.All Rights Reserved © 2011 Henry P. Mitchell