Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Common Sense And The Rules Of Golf

Golf: A Game For Life
Gene Westmoreland writes about more than just the rules of golf in A Game For Life, his collection of essays about a subject he knows better than just about anybody.  The book, proceeds of which will be donated to the MGA Foundation, gives us not only insights in the sometimes bewildering rules of the game but also into what makes it one of the best ways to enhance your life.

That may sound like heady stuff, but Westmoreland is anything but a stuffy philosopher. His writing is easy, his approach to the subject is thorough without being pedantic, and his outlook on the game is not so much reverntial as appreciative. He makes a great case for playing by the rules but doesn't hesitate to loosen them up a bit to make the game more fun for duffers just out to enjoy a walk in the sunshine. I've played a round or two with the man, and can attest that his attitude toward the game made every one of them a pleasure.

That attitude carries over into Westmoreland's explanation of the rules of golf, most of which are not only spelled out in clear English but illustrated with incidents many of us have seen either in person or while watching the pros on TV. He does this particularly well in situations that can be rather confusing, like encountering loose obstacles in a hazard. Can you move them? No. Are you penalized if you move, say, a twig in a bunker during your swing? Again, the answer is no. Westmoreland points out, though, that your "swing" doesn't include your backswing! So, if you touch that twig during your takeaway, you've added two strokes to your score. He illustrates the concept by recalling the penalty Brian Davis called on himself during a playoff with Jim Furyk at Harbour Town:
"The TV announcers correctly quoted Rule 13-4, but misunderstood the definition of a stroke, for while it is okay to touch a loose impediment during the stroke, Brian touched it on his backswing."
Nearly every rule examined in A Game For Life has a real-life example that makes it easier to understand and Westmoreland's career in the game has given him thousands of such examples from which to choose. He has been an active member of USGA Championship Committees, serving as co-chairman of the 2004 U.S. Amateur and the 2006 U.S. Open. His service as the Metropolitan Golf Association's Tournament Director for many years (among other accomplishments) led the MGA to christen the trophy for its premiere event, the Met Open, the Westmoreland Cup. In A Game For Life, Gene Westmoreland speaks with both common sense and authority.

Among many other books, Dave Donelson is the author of Weird Golf: 18 tales of fantastic, horrific, scientifically impossible, and morally reprehensible golf

Monday, December 10, 2012

Congo Rally For Peace

Guest post from Congolese activist and champion of human rights, Joseph Mbangu

The Congolese community of Washington DC, Maryland and Virginia will hold a rally for Peace in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in front of the White House (Lafayette Park) on December 12, 2012 from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. They will be joined in this effort by all American Friends of the Congo to oppose the plan of balkanization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The rally will call for immediate sanctions against the governments of Rwanda and Uganda for backing a group of terrorists known as the March 23 Movement (M23). The Rwandan and Ugandan support has been documented by members of the US Congress; the November 11, 2012 UN group of experts report; and, the September 11th Human Rights Watch report.

The Congolese community believes that the governments of Rwanda and Uganda must be held accountable for their support of a terrorist group that is killing, raping, abducting, conscripting child soldiers and pillaging the DR Congo and its resources. We consider that the United States, as the primary torchbearer among nations which support justice and human rights, must unambiguously condemn the governments of Rwanda and Uganda and withdraw any military support that these governments might use to send troops, weapons, and equipment in support of the actions of the terrorist group M23. These activities are in complete violation of the existing UN arms embargo in the region as documented by the previously mentioned UN Group of Experts report.

Even before the most recent attacks by M23 in North Kivu province and the city of Goma, in a letter sent to President Kagame of Rwanda dated August 3rd, 2012, a bipartisan group of Congressmen expressed its deep concern about the Rwanda’s role in the latest surge of violence in the eastern DR Congo and Rwanda’s support for M23 in that area. In a clear statement, they called upon Rwanda to cease and desist its actions in these terms:
The pretense that Rwanda is not facilitating rebels in eastern Congo must end, all support for armed groups must stop immediately, and a productive path forward must be taken…. The sovereignty of the Democratic Republic of the Congo must be respected and supported…. Illegal economic activity—including smuggling—in the DRC that violates Congolese law and international agreements must end.
In addition, the same group of legislators pointedly suggested, “No constructive dialogue can take place between the Rwandan and Congolese governments as long as [Rwanda’s] support continues for proxy militias.”

In this regard, the Congolese Community strongly opposes and considers as null and void the November 24, 2012 Kampala agreements, which are nothing more than a farce aimed at accelerating the balkanization of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

For the past two decades, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has paid a huge price in terms of human sacrifice. Approximately eight million Congolese have died so far from the ongoing proxy wars of invasion and occupation. Given the evidence at hand, we urge President Obama and the US Congress to take a firm stance against the Rwandan and Ugandan policies of continued support of warlords and destabilization in the DRC. The M23, through its actions, fits the description of a terrorist movement and can only be treated as such. Henceforth, we urge the United States of America to cut its ties with both the Rwandan and Ugandan governments, to definitely promote peace and justice in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and to work towards building a mutually beneficial partnership between the Congolese people and the American people.

Rally Schedule
  • 11:00 am to 11:25 am Participants arrival at LaFayette Park, East Quadrant
  • 11: 30 am Welcome remarks/update situation in the DR. Congo
  • 11:45 am to 2:00 pm Peaceful demonstration with drums
  • 2:05 pm Speech
  • 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm Peaceful demonstration with drums
  • 3:35 pm to 3:50 pm Reading of Memorandum
  • 3:55 pm End of Rally
Matthias Cinyabuguma, PhD (M) 410-440-8846
Joseph Mbangu, LL. M (M) 347-558-2610 @Chedelum

Dave Donelson, author of Heart of Diamonds a about in the