Lengthy campaigns, political advertising and head injuries

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According to the Chicago Tribune, the campaign for prime minister of the United Kingdom lasted one month “and virtually nothing was spent by either campaign, compared with U.S. standards.

“The natonal election in the U.K. should be a wake-up call to Americans.

“Campaign spending in this country is out of control.

“In the 2008 presidential race, the candidates spent a total of $1.7 billion, double what was spent in the 2004 race. In the U.K. election, a spending cap of 20 million pounds, about $33 million, was imposed on each of the major parties. Of course, campaigns are less expensive partly because of a ban on paid radio and TV advertising or any ads on matters of ‘political or industrial controversy.’”

I’m not sure what it means when they say “campaigns are less expensive partly because of a ban on paid radio and TV advertising or any ads on matters of ‘political or industrial controversy.’” I’ll check that out.

Otherwise it sounds to me like the Brits are smarter than we are in terms of conducting political campaigns.

Seemingly our campaigns go on forever, and the spending is out of control.

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An article in The New York Times (Oct. 24) reports that a retired neurosurgeon, Dr. Paul Butler, who is a member of the school board in Dover, New Hampshire, has warned his fellow school board members that if city officials do not end the football program at Dover High “the lawyers will do it for us.”

According to the Times, Dr. Butler said he was just trying to frame the question of the future of football in the most practical of terms, drawing upon the implications of the class-action lawsuit filed in June against the NFL on behalf of more than 2,000 former NFL players alleging that the league did not adequately warn them on the evidence about the dangers of repeated head trauma and concussions.

My observation is that the suit against the NFL is reflected in games this season in which players must stay out for one play if they feel woozy after a hard hit, and they are not allowed to take off their helmets on the field.

The news media response to Butler’s warning was immediate.

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High school and college students will tell you that students can get hurt in practically all sports — soccer, basketball, volley ball, baseball or whatever. A lot of baseball players suffered head injuries before helmets were required.

My personal opinion is that intramural football is one of the roughest sports because students do not wear helmets or pads.

Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at morgarg7@aol.com

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