Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dellavedova Diving for a Lose Ball Against the Atlanta Hawks

            Up until the start of this spring's NBA playoffs, Matthew Dellavedova has been practically unknown. Playing just above 17 minutes per game, Dellavedova was not much of a contributing factor during the Cleveland Cavaliers' regular season. However, things have changed. With the absence of star point guard Kyrie Irving, Dellavedova has come into his own.
            The backup point guard has used his grit, hustle, and sheer toughness to help propel the Cavaliers all the way to this years NBA finals. However, he has been scrutinized for his rough style of play. Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks recently said that his teammates had identified Dellavedova as a player with a "track record". In Cleveland's second round series, he was involved in an altercation with Taj Gibson of the Chicago Bulls that resulted in Gibson being ejected. In the Conference Finals, Dellavedova rolled into the legs of Kyle Korver, ending his season with a severe ankle injury.
          Randy Bennet, Dellavedova's former college coach recently said that "He's catching heat from playing hard", and that Dellavedova "can't back off that. It's his game". It seems that numerous people have been frustrated with his chippy play style throughout the playoffs, yet Dellavedova continues to win and carry his team with his attitude and hard work. 
          It seems to me that he should not be scrutinized for his style of play. His actions that have drawn attention are from a result of hard work and gritty play style, not bad intention. Most people don't know that Dellavedova was "shut down from working out because he would try to go three times a day". From my point of view, Dellavedova is an extremely hard worker that has earned his success.
         Do you think Matthew Dellavedova is being wrongfully scrutinized or do people have a reason to be upset with his play style?

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Corrupt System

            As we have commonly discussed in class this year, the United States' is failing in creating an efficient and constructive criminal justice system. We are consistently spending far too much money in order to simply keep people in prisons. Recently, an extreme case in a Cook County prison gave me even more perspective on the issue.
           Lamont Cathey, a 17-year-old from West Englewood had plans to play college basketball until he was arrested a year ago for stealing money from a pizzeria safe. After months in prison, the young man "began to swallow anything he could get his hands on in his cell -- screws, needles, a thumbtack, a 4-inch piece of metal, even strips of leather from restraints". He has caused so much damage to his body that, according to jail officials, "at least $1 million has been spent so far on his medical care". Additionally, the jail he is stationed at has been forced to locate a 24 hour security guard to stand outside Lamont's cell to prevent him from hurting himself.
          This to me, stands as a perfect example of why our prison system is so corrupt. We are spending millions of dollars for ridiculous reasons. A young man who committed a small crime, and was unable to pay a $5,000 cash bond, has caused more than $1 million to be spent on his time in jail. The question is: what can we do to change our prison system?
          In my opinion, our jails need to provide more mental healthcare inside jails. The jail Lamont Cathey is in now is referred to as "The jail that is a dumping ground for the mentally ill", additionally, the jail "identifies nearly one-fourth of its 8,000 inmates as mentally ill". To me, these numbers seem outrageously high. If our jail system can provide more healthcare for mentally ill inmates, our population of people in jail will go down.
         What do you think is the answer to our corrupt jail system?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Misconception of Land Rover

The New Land Rover Discovery Sport

            In the picture above, I see a car tearing through mountainous terrain, capable of maneuvering through any obstacle in its path. Yet, most of us will never see any Land Rover car moving through any type of terrain pictured above. In the North Shore, Land Rover seems to almost dominate the market share of cars. I rarely can finish a trip of driving in our area without spotting one of these luxurious machines. 
            Yet, the most treacherous terrain that a Land Rover will have to travel through in the North Shore is usually, at most, a large puddle. Surprisingly, Land Rover keeps developing their cars towards being more capable of handling terrain alike the one pictured above. In the all new Discovery Sport model, the car is equipped with "8.3 inches of ground clearance", "watertight doors", and can sit in "a river nearly two feet deep"
           My question is why do people continue to buy these cars at high volumes in the North Shore despite no need for handling tough terrain. The answer to this question is because of the type of class these cars have come to be associated with. People buy Land Rovers in the North Shore because they want to feel comfortable in a luxurious, heavy, gas-guzzling car, while still portraying a high class look.
           That is why the trend of Land Rovers in our area has grown so much. It is a form of "lateral classism" as we discussed in class this week. People all over the North Shore see each other driving around Land Rovers, and instantly want to have one themselves. They do this because they want to be aligned with people in their area. There is a constant fear in the North Shore of being behind your competition.
         Do you think this is a reasonable answer to why Land Rovers have become so popular in the North Shore? Why or why not?

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Future of More Foreign Automobile Dominance

The New Audi Q7

            General Motors promotional film envisions the future: Drivers enter the highway, put their cars on “autopilot” and sit back as the vehicle takes over and heads for the horizon. The film’s date? 1956.  These are the words Aaron M. Kessler in his recent New York Time article regarding the future of hands-free driving. Kessler Begins his article by referring to a General Motors commercial in 1956 that talks about the future of hands-free driving.
           In 1956, American automobiles had around 90% of the market share for automobiles in the U.S. Since, things have changed and we have seen a grown dominance of foreign cars inside the our country. It seems ironic to me that Kessler begins his story with an example of American car dominance, yet goes on to talk about the advancement of foreign automobile technology. 
           After writing my junior theme paper however, this can only be logical. It has been a constant theme for years now. The complacency of U.S. automobile manufacturers to add newer technology into their car has been haunting them for years. His opening quote even shows that the U.S. auto manufacturers had the initial idea of hands-free driving, yet have not taken the time to add the technology into their cars.
          Instead, manufacturers like Audi, Volvo, and Mercedes have jumped on the opportunity to implement this new technology into their cars. Kessler even backed up my this claim by saying, "the Volvo could keep going hands-free for miles at speeds up to 30 miles per hour on a properly marked road". 
           It seems to be a continuous trend of U.S. automobile manufacturers being complacent to add newer technology into their cars. Do you agree that this has been a key factor that has prevented them from returning to the dominance we saw in the 1950s?

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Destined for Improvement

The new Ford F-150 went down in sales this quarter.

           Again, we are hearing about a fall in American automobile sales. This past quarter, Ford experienced lower net incomes due to lower sales of their notorious F-150 pickup truck and an increasingly stronger American dollar. 
          During the first quarter, "Revenue fell by 5 percent, or $2 billion, to $33.9 billion". Prior to the first quarter, Ford had a forecast of sales revenue being at $34.3 billion. Ford also experienced a drop in their shares, each dropping 5 cents to $15.86. In the broader picture, sales were down in North America, an extremely important sales region. It is vital for their success because, in particular, the U.S. provides support to Ford. When a company is booming in the U.S., the people are sure to support them, however, they have not achieved booming success yet.         
           It seems to me that a common trend has started when sales have gone down for Ford. Each time they do go down, In a recent article, Ford responded to the recent decline by continuing to project a "full-year pretax profit of $8.5 billion to $9.5 billion". To me, this seems as a way for Ford to cope with their failure. Each time they have to comment on their failure of sales and decline, they counter-attack the statement by saying that the future will hold better sales and less decline. And each time, the process repeats.
          Do you think this is an accurate way of looking at Ford's repeated similar comments on decline?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sportier Cars=Better Fuel Economy?

The New BMW 328i, recently downgraded from a 6 cylinder engine to a turbocharged 4 cylinder

           When most people think of turbocharged engines, they think of fast sports cars like Porsches, Lamborghinis, Ferraris. However, recently turbocharging technology has shown potential to increase efficiency in not just speed and sheer power, but fuel efficiency. According to a recent New York Times article, less than 7 percent of new cars and trucks in America were sold with turbochargers in 2011. However, fast forward four years to 2015, and that percentage has tripled to 21 percent. 
           The beauty in the turbocharger is that it almost acts as a recycling machine in cars. It is constantly reusing the hot exhaust gas that is usually wasted while your car is running and compresses that air back into the engine's cylinders. This in tern helps your car use less fuel.
           The encouraging part of the new turbocharging technology is that American car companies are on board. In years past, American car companies have been complacent to adapt to the new technology in the automobile industry. However, Ford has attacked the new technology and implemented it into several of their new models including the new turbo charged 4 cylinder Ford Fusion set at a very affordable MSRP of $26,000. 
            Is it encouraging to you that American auto brands are finally coming around to implementing to technology in their cars, as foreign competitors have been doing for years now? 

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Auto Sales Drop... Good Thing?

General Motors Headquarters in Detroit

            "We're not on a huge growth curve anymore, but we're not contracting either" These were the words of Mark L. Reuss, the head of product development at General Motors after addressing the public regarding the slow in auto sales for the month of March. However, despite the drop in sales, there is reason to be optimistic. 
          According to a recent New York Times article, the sales volume for the month of March is still considered to be healthy and on an upward trend. This being said due to companies still making money due to the transaction prices consistently going up. According to Michelle Krebs, a car research analyst from AutoTrader.com, car sales are "not going to be as much about volume, the battlefield will shift more toward market share".
          This is extremely important for American car companies. Since 1955, we have seen the market share for U.S. auto companies drop 45%. However, the recent upward trend that General Motors has shown is encouraging. The company has established themselves as "the nation's largest automaker", and is continuing to come out with a variety of different cars. 
          The most encouraging part of the recent upward trend of General Motors is the resiliency that the company has showed. Despite car sales being down in the automobile market in March, Mark L. Reuss stated, "No matter where the industry is, we have to continue bringing out new models out". The importance of this is unmistakable. As long as U.S. car companies show the type of determination General Motors has been displaying, the market share of American automobiles is sure to rise.