Tuesday, June 08, 2010

We Are to Blame for the Oil Spill in the Gulf

To be clear, the oil disaster in the Gulf is clearly a tragedy. There is no way anything good can come from this and I have a hard time looking at the images of the Gulf and listening to people talking about the long term damage it will cause. Part of me wants to just bury my head in some oil free sand and hope it just goes away; but we all know it won't.

It is, however, about time that we, as a nation, face facts. While the accident that caused this tragedy is the responsibility of BP, the fact we are still dependent on oil in the first place is our fault. There can be no denying we are ultimately to blame for the disaster in the Gulf and it is about time we stood up and held ourselves accountable.

Regardless of your opinions regarding President Obama, one of the most refreshing things about him is his ability to step up to America and take the blame for things. Not just this tragedy, but in general he is the first one to raise his hand and say "my fault". Could you imagine George Bush ever taking the blame for anything? I have a hard time remembering any American President ever saying "my fault" about anything. We seem to forget they are human like us and they make mistakes too.

So I challenge every American out there, to stop pointing fingers at everyone else and look out in your driveway or garage and look at the vehicles you have sitting out there. This tragedy is our fault.

For years we have been happy paying the low gas prices as OPEC has slowly raised the prices. Recently, they raised the price of a barrel of oil that caused our gasoline to go to almost $4.00 per gallon before we started to cry foul. What did we do then? We responded by conserving fuel and automakers responded by creating more fuel efficient cars. Big trucks clogged car lots all across the country and for the first time in recent memory, oil consumption went down. What did OPEC do then? They lowered the price of a barrel of oil until things balanced out at the pumps to a price we still think is high but we are tolerating. By doing this, they are removing the incentive we had as a nation to free ourselves from our dependence on foreign oil as we are now sitting back, still driving our cars and still buying foreign oil.

This tragedy is our fault, America. We should be free of our dependence on foreign oil by now. We are a great, vibrant, talented nation and we could have solved this problem years ago but there is one thing we lack as a people; foresight. We are either afraid to face the future or don't care about the future because we are living now. Our legacy to our children and grandchildren will be one of greed. People will look back at this period of time and see a selfish people who did not care about the people of the future. They will look at the failures of Wall Street and of our record breaking deficit spending and wonder why we were so obsessed with greed?

It is time, as a nation, to start thinking. To start doing. To STOP pointing fingers at the "other party" or at big oil or at anyone else we want to blame for our problems and to look in the mirror at ourselves and our actions. Stop fighting with each other about who's right or who's wrong and start fixing the problems of our country.

To our politicians, I say this... do you really think one party holds all the answers? Do you really think one President can fix everything? Stop worrying about being re-elected and start facing the reality that we have a lot of things broken and one side alone will not be able to solve all of our problems. We need to work together. We need to be one country. We need to be one people.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Is the US Infiltrating Iran?

Granted, I really have no idea if the claims regarding Iran and the US infiltrating are real or not but it scares the hell out of me. If Iran is doing the same thing to us in Iraq and they are undermining our progress then it only makes sense, but if Bush is somehow trying to prep us for a war with Iran before he leaves office, then it is high time Congress steps in a puts a stop to this immediately.

It’s too bad impeachment is off the table at this late date.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

An open letter to Senators Obama and McCain

I am a 42 year old male who is completely fed up with today’s partisan politics and I am concerned that neither one of you is going to be able to bring change to this process. Perhaps I have been jaded after years of watching the same promises come and go like the wind, but I have serious reservations believing either one of you can make any changes to our political climate. If I may, I would like to point out the challenges contributing to this problem; these are things that need to be seriously addressed if we are ever going to make real changes in America.

The media, specifically biased talk show hosts, contributes to the Us vs. Them mentality that has permeated the country with it’s partisan stench. As much as I would like to point fingers at some of these people and blame them for all of our problems, the fact remains that party leadership is the genesis of these media cretins. If you listen to these so called leaders, you will hear the Republicans vehemently defending their decisions or ideas while the Democrats are on the other side doing the same thing. Both parties cannot be right yet each would have you believe they are right and the other is wrong. This is true about every single topic and you never hear them admit to making a mistake or being wrong. I ask you; how can this be possible? How can either one of these parties feel they are exclusively right about everything? The answer is, they cannot.

There are probably several reasons why these ideas and attitudes have occurred. These would include outside influences like money, special interests, and the desire for power, but perhaps it is time we look at our two party system. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to have as many ideas and positions available for us to examine? I ask you; why is there always an agenda? And shouldn’t that agenda be to do what is best for the country and not what is best for the party? Who really cares if the Republicans come up with an idea to deal with the economy or if the Democrats come up with an answer for our energy crisis? Does it really matter who comes up with the ideas as long as it is the best thing for the country? Shouldn’t that question be on the minds of all of our lawmakers when they raise their hands to vote? Alas, no. Most are thinking of their party (or other) obligations rather than what is best for the country. If you think I am wrong about this, then I ask you why are we in such a mess if all decisions are being made in the best interest of the country?

I would also like to suggest that it is time to consider term limits and get rid of our career politicians. It seems to me that two terms is long enough to make some changes and do some good for the country rather than staying in office their entire lives. Granted there are lawmakers who have been in office for many years who have contributed to important decisions, but do you think these people can still relate to the every day family? Additionally, if people knew they were only going to be in office for a limited time, I would argue most would try and be as productive as possible in the time they have and not worry about other obligations.

I would challenge each of you to seriously embrace change and while my last comment may seem extremely risky, it takes a brave people to change and this suggestion is going to require brave leadership to affect this change. I would ask that you be willing admit you are wrong when you make a mistake. The stance that the President of the United States must never be wrong is a thing of the past. In today’s world of global communications and media scrutiny, there are going to be times when your mistakes are caught and rather than avoid them, let’s deal with them head on. I understand national security concerns, but I am talking about day to day topics like the economy, taxes, health care. Let’s admit our mistakes and find a way to fix them. Let’s pause before we use these mistakes to punish our leaders to say that we were right and they were wrong. Let’s be the adults we all say we are and deal with the problem. People make mistakes and the last time I checked, the President is a person too.

It should not be Us vs. Them it should just be US.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Obama asks Supporters to Help Hillary

Admittedly, I am a Hillary Clinton supporter and while I appreciate what Obama is doing here, I have to wonder what the motivation is here. Why even do this? I know Hilary loaned her campaign millions of dollars but so what? No one forced her to do this?

I just have to ask myself, as the two of them are going out on the campaign trail this week, why? What kind of backroom deal have they worked out that is prompting him to do this for her?

Obama talks about not taking money from special interest groups but if they have worked out some kind of a deal where Hillary gets a place in his administration, why is this different that taking money from special interests? I think the President of the United States should take the office uncompromised and owing no one; otherwise what is the point? How can the integrity of the office be intact if the President owes people favors before he is even sitting in the Oval Office?

Hopefully I am wrong. Hopefully there is no deal, but if there is, then how many more ‘favors’ has Obama already promised?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do 90% of Americans Really Belive in God?

I read this article and just sat there in stunned silence. I couldn’t help but wonder what was the point or motivation behind this article? And who is the Pew Forum on Religion?

On their About the Forum section of their site (http://www.pewforum.org/), they state “The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, launched in 2001, seeks to promote a deeper understanding of issues at the intersection of religion and public affairs”. This statement confirmed my suspicions; it is another website trying to push religious agendas into politics.

While I am not going to get into a history lesson here, I would like to point out that while there has always been a debate surrounding religion and politics, the addition of religion to the Republican platform is a relatively new addition and has not always been part of their ideas. The bottom line is that our founding fathers pulled religion out of the equation for a reason; government must be representative of the people. I am going to say this again because I think it is important. Government must be representative of the people. Would a Christian influenced government be representative of the people? No. It would not.

Let’s assume this poll of 36K people (the number polled by Pew) is a good sample size and representative of the US population, and let’s also assume that 90% of the population believes in God. That does not mean that everyone is Christian. This poll does not talk about the fact that Christianity is just barely the majority religion in the US. Only 52% of the religious population is Christian, and that is not 52% of the population but only of the people who say they are affiliated with a religion and this number is dropping year after year.

When you think about these things, the motivation behind their survey becomes clear. They are trying to push their agenda and convince everyone that the vast majority of the population is religious and therefore religion has a place in politics. That’s not really what their survey says, but that is what they would like you to believe. I will say again, a government in bed with any religion would not be a government that was representative of it’s people.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Who to Vote for...

I have to believe that the race for the Democratic nominee is over and Obama has won. It’s not official yet as Sen. Clinton has not officially folded up her tent, but it’s as good as done.

I am not sure how to feel about all of this; I have never been a fan of having career politicians elected into the Whitehouse, but at the same time, I still do not really know what Obama is going to be capable of accomplishing. For me, the number one priority is the economy. We have to start paying down our debt and stop borrowing money from other countries. This should be our number one priority. Can Obama do this? We know McCain will continue the same fiscally irresponsible policies as Bush so why would anyone vote for him?

Once again, I go back to an earlier blog entry; is this the best we can do? Are these the best possible candidates out there? If the US was a business, we would have declared bankruptcy and closed up shop long ago. If I ran my families budget like the US does, they would bring back debtor’s prison just for me. It’s crazy and yet we all just let it fly.

I doubt I will vote for Obama or McCain. I will use my no-vote as my only way to protest and to declare “no confidence” in either candidate. Okay, so it won’t do any good, and is probably the wrong thing to do, but at least no one will be able to blame me for voting for the wrong candidate.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Florida Baseball Fans are all About the Bandwagon

I just heard that my beloved Cincinnati Reds are leaving their long time spring training facility of Sarasota, FL and heading to Arizona. To all Floridians, “you are the worst baseball fans in the country”.

Seriously, let’s look at what has happened in Florida just over the last few two years. The Dodgers left their long time facility in Vero Beach, the Indians are moving from Winter Haven in 2009, and the Reds are leaving in 2010. After that move, Florida will have to share the honors of Spring Training HQ with Arizona as both states will have 15 teams. Why? Well money of course. The Sarasota faithful have graciously voted not to improve the training and facilities and have lost the opportunity to keep the Reds.

This is from http://www.cincinnati.reds.mlb.com/ site:
With the exception of a three-year period during World War II, the Reds have trained in Florida since 1923. The club has called Sarasota its spring home since 1998, but that lease expires in October. It carries three one-year options that can extend the stay.

Sarasota was always the preferred choice for the Reds, and Allen (Reds COO) spent about six years trying to get a deal done. But the club was repeatedly rebuffed during efforts to replace or renovate Ed Smith Stadium. A public referendum for funding renovations was not passed by voters in November. Alternative funding attempts through the Sarasota County Commission was delayed on multiple occasions.

Mark Sheldon/MLB.com

This is just one more example of the short-sightedness of Floridians. They have gotten so used to not having state income tax and have relied on tourism dollars to support the state’s budget that they feel like they should not have to pay anything extra for anything; especially for something as trivial as baseball.

It is not, of course, just the money. For example, Orlando had a Minor League team for year who’s final name was the Rays. They were originally housed in Tinker Field right next to the Citrus Bowl (both of which are veritable dumps). Tinker was so bad and the citizens so reluctant to spend money, that they eventually struck up a deal with Disney to use the beautiful Champions Stadium. The problem, of course, is that it was just too far away from downtown to draw too much attention and it did not seem like an Orlando team. Let’s face, the last place most Orlando area people want to go to is Disney.

Needless to say, the Rays ended up abandoning Orlando, and Florida all together, and moved to Montgomery, AL, changed their name to The Biscuits, and have enjoyed sold out seasons ever since.

Okay, so I know what you are going to say, “What else is there to do in Montgomery”, but what other sports teams are there in Orlando to watch? The Magic, yes, but it took years of begging from the Magic organization as well as some threats from the NCAA telling Orlando they were going to pull the bowl games unless they made some improvements, that we finally got enough votes together to approve serious renovations to the Citrus Bowl and a whole new arena for the Magic.

The problem is, there are so many people from so many different places living in Florida that there just is no passion for Florida teams. They bring their affiliations and love for these teams with them and they have no desire to support anything locally. Look at the Marlins in Miami. They have won two World Series in the last 10 years and they can’t sell out a game. As far as Florida is concerned, football is the only game worth having. Baseball just does not matter.

The thing that really cheeses me off about this is that Boston is now talking to Sarasota about moving there now that the Reds are moving. Nice. The cynic in me can’t help but wonder if this was the case all along. Get rid of the lowly Reds and perhaps we can get a better team in here. Well if that is the case Sarasota, if you thought the Reds were asking for a lot, prepare to bend over when the Red Sox come to town. Of course, all the Boston fans who have relocated to Florida will vote in this measure.