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 (, 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 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/

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.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Honda - Best Bang for the Buck

Most of the time when I travel, I am forced to rent a car as the places my company sends me are remote and rarely have adequate public transportation. As a result, I have been able to test drive a number of different cars, and as a guy who loves cars this really is not a bad thing. My theory on cars has always been“life is too short to drive the same car”.

Personally, I have had a number of different cars and several of them have been Hondas. My favorite to date was the little Honda Del Sol that was just downright fun to drive. With the addition of my daughter, however, I was encouraged to buy a larger family car so I purchased a 2005 Honda Accord with 5 speed and leather interior. This little big car has been great. The 5 speed and nice wheels help give it a sporty look and feel while the leather and the ride also make it nice and comfortable for local travel and long distance trips.

On my last two trips, I have rented VWs. One was a Beetle and the other was a Jetta. Both of them where moderate at best and they just did not compare to my Accord. Over the last few years I have rented a Chrysler SUV, Pontiac G6, Chevy Malibu, Toyota Corrolla, Nissa Maxima, Toyota Avalon, Toyota Camery, and a Chevy Impala. Of these, only one came close to comparing to my Accord; the Pontiac G6. Of course the Avalon was nice and comfortable, but it was too big and not sporty enough for me.

I am not really interested in writing a complete review here, but I will say that it will be difficult for me to purchase a car in the future that is not a Honda. I am sure there are nicer cars out there, but for the money you cannot bet a Honda. They make solid, reliable, and fun cars to drive. They may not be the most luxurious, fastest, or coolest, but they are the best car out there for the money. I may have to re-think my mantra.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's Hear it for Potty Training

Life with my three year old daughter is certainly never dull. Almost every day she seems to change and grow up right before my eyes. She is starting to have conversations with me that include part reality and part her fantasy. One of her favorite tactics is to reverse the roles and act like the adult. I know she is just emulating what she witnesses, but it is still very cute. Last night, while I was laying in her bed reading to her, she realized she was missing a couple of her favorite plushes. When I informed her they were downstairs, she got up and looked at me with as serious a look as she could muster and said, “Okay. I go down and get them. You stay here. Don’t get up. Close your eyes,” pointing her finger up right in front of her face the whole time. Of course, she went downstairs, found her toys and mommy, decided she had to go potty and completely forgot about me upstairs. On a positive note, she did go ‘po-po’.

Speaking if potty training, it’s funny the things you find yourself doing as a parent of a toddler. When your daughter poops her panties, she needs help cleaning up; suddenly I am doing things I never pictured myself doing. At the time, it does not seem to be a big deal until you finish and realize what you just did. All you can do is smile, hug your daughter, and tell her you love her.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Where oh Where has my Old Starbucks Gone?

I am about to say something that will probably throw some of my friends for a loop; I am beginning to hate Starbucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love their coffee, but the place itself is beginning to drive me nuts. It has gotten to the point that the Starbucks I have been frequenting has become busy every time I go in. While this will help make sure the place stays in business, I can’t help but get frustrated with all of the customers in front of me as they order their caramel macchiatos and half-caff lattes. What the hell is a macchiato and who puts caramel in their coffee? I just want a large, black coffee. No cream, no sugar… just bold and black, instead I have to wait in line for all of these people in front of me ordering all of these “coffees”. You are not even ordering coffee; you are ordering 500 calorie desserts.

If anyone from Starbucks is reading this, why don’t you create a regular coffee for normal people line? Yes, I know you move these other folks out of line to let them hover around the ‘barista’ counter, but it would make me happy to be able to walk in, get a coffee and walk out. After all, this blog is all about making me happy.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What do We do Now?

Being a father certainly makes me look at the choices I make from a different perspective. Things like the kinds of foods we have in the house, television I let her watch, how I plan for our financial future, as well as the actions I take are just a few examples.

As we approach this November election, I can’t help but wonder what decision I am going to make when it’s time to choose a president. This is the first year I have really felt numb when it comes to the candidates. Being from Florida, I won’t even mention my disappointment in my Republican governor scheduling the Democratic convention early and causing my vote to not count. Despite this travesty, I still don’t know who I am going to choose.

On one hand, we have a 70+ year old candidate who will probably not be able to handle 8 years in office and on the other, we have an unproven Jr. Congressman who all we really know is that he is about hope, or we have another Clinton. Think about it, if she wins, that will be at least 24 years of a Clinton or a Bush in the Whitehouse. I have to sit and wonder; is this the best we can do? Are these the best candidates we can find?

Somewhere down the line, we need to start thinking about making the position of president more attractive so we can attract the Bill Gates and Steve Jobs of the world to apply for the job. It is unreasonable to think that the United States will continue to be a world leader in everything. Even now, there are countries out there that are better than us at a multitude of things; education, R&D, manufacturing, and that’s fine, but we need someone in the office that understands competition and the need to solidify the bottom line. We need a business person in the Whitehouse who will pay down our debts and right the ship. In the meantime, however, we are subject to partisan politics.

John Adams predicted that political parties would be the undoing of the United States; I can’t help but wonder if he was right.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Raise your hand if you do not believe it ghosts.

Admittedly, my wife and I regularly watch Ghost Hunters on the SciFi channel and really like the show. Grant and Jason are entertaining and seem sincere in their intentions, but I can’t help but think there are some shenanigans taking place on the show. While I don’t really feel it is necessary to go through and dispute everything they claim, I will say that in general, if you believe in something strong enough, you can always find some evidence to prove what you believe; even if it is something as outrageous as ghosts.

My three year old daughter is the reason I bring this up. She has recently been talking about things like a man in our attic, the pirates downstairs, or monsters in general. Some of this is probably the fault of her parents as we have taken her on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Walt Disney World and we have let her watch the Monsters, Inc. movie. We also have an occasional critter (a filthy little squirrel) decide to make our attic his temporary hang-out and he makes quite a racket when he visits.

I find it interesting that she has already developed a sense of anxiousness surrounding these topics. She is a good example of how powerful a simple suggestion or experience can be if you don’t fully understand. The problem now, of course, is how do I reverse or correct her thinking? Once you have started down this path mentally, it is hard to get it back. I also worry these feelings will impact her when she gets older. While it might not be a fear of ghosts, it would be unfortunate if she was general fearful of things like new ideas or experiences.

Hopefully, these experiences will not be too big of an impact. In the meantime, I suppose all I can do is continue to reassure her there are no monsters and perhaps I will need to spend a few nights sleeping on her floor or next to the closet. If that’s all it will take, it will be worth a stiff back and little sleep.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Middle East Vatican

Great news! The US Embassy in Iraq is finally complete! Man, I thought they were never going to finish. What a place, too. It is as big as the Vatican and costs more than $730 Million. Finally, the Military will be able move out of Sadam's palace and into something more manageable.

Seriously, folks. What the heck? I mean, who moves out of a palace? Did they think it was to pretentious? I don't know what they were thinking?

This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen recently. And remember, the US borrowed money to pay for this thing. We don't have the cash to cover it so we had to borrow money! At some point, our creditors are going to cut us off and call in our markers. If this is not proof positive for implementing term limits in Congress, then I don't know what is...

Monday, April 14, 2008

Weight Loss is for Losers

After spending most of my life overweight (sometimes way over and some times just over), I have decided that I need to get control of my life again and it is going to start with my weight. I am going to what ever it takes, even if it means spending my nights watching the 40 year old Magnum PI run around Hawaii over and over again. At almost 41, I am running out of time. I don't want to be 60 and look back and think of all of the things I could have done if I was thin. So here goes nothing; I activated my account and am joining the madness. Here's to being a big loser.