Sunday, December 19, 2010

God Hates Sin, Not the Sinner

This is a recent video where Michael Pearl, a Christian leader of the No Greater Joy Ministry, is answering a question posed by a subscriber to his video series, about what the bible says about homosexuality and how we, as Christians, are supposed to treat them, or any other sinner.

Now most people would consider this message a message of hate, or homophobic.  Clearly it is not.  As Mr. Pearl states, the Bible calls us to respond to those who choose to live this way with respect and compassion and convey to them, in a loving way, that the way they are living is sinful.

This is the way God wants Christians to treat anyone who is guilty of sin, and is not repentant of it.  To Mr. Pearl's point, we should judge people as we would want to be judged.  Specifically, if I am living in a way that is contrary to how God wants me to be living I would hope that a fellow Christian would confront me, in love, and call me to repent.  Sometimes it takes a view from outside of ones self to see something that may be destructive.  And it can take a tremendous amount of courage for a brother or sister in Christ to confront a fellow believer.  It takes even more courage to confront a non-Christian, especially considering the possible backlash that may ensue.


To another point that I may expound on later.  Just because someone expresses a viewpoint that is contrary to an accepted social norm, it does not mean that person hates a person, or a group of people.  They are merely expressing another point of view.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Wisdom Can Come From Changes In Perspective

A number of years ago after having seen The Shawshank Redemption my brother-in-law asked me what my favorite part of the movie was.  Not thinking too much into it I said it was the scene where Andy Dufresne (played by the great Tim Robbins) was sitting on top of a sewer pipe holding a rock and timing his strikes with that of the lightning and thunder strikes. 

My brother-in-law obviously had been looking a little bit deeper into the movie, his favorite part of the movie was the scene when the prison warden had ordered that Andy's cell been "tossed."  Which basically means that the prison guards can throw anything they want, including, or especially, anything they find that is breakable.  At the end of this scene, after the warden had picked up Andy's Bible, he handed it back to Andy through the bars of his cell and said, "Salvation lies within."

What is important about this scene is that the Warden's arguably hypocritical statement was somewhat ironic in that even though one can find salvation by studying The Bible, if the Warden had actually opened this one in particular he would have found Andy's modus operendi of escape.  For hidden within it was his rock hammer.  The tool that he used, painstakingly for years, to facilitate his escape.

The change in perspective that I gained in this conversation allowed me to view movies, and read books, differently, which opened my eyes to plenty of other aspects of them that I had been missing.  Or as an old high school teacher of mine pointed out when I was struggling to grasp the concept of "higher level meanings;"  as Sarah was told by the worm, in the movie Labyrinth, "you ain't looking at it right."

Later on I gained some additional knowledge in watching movies and reading books from someone else who showed me some "patterns" or "rules" writers use when putting together a story.  Basically, if a writer sticks the set of rules they set out with then the story should be well put together and entertaining.  But is when they start breaking these rules that cause the story to become ridiculously stupid (I am looking at you The Lake House).  There are times when it is ok to break your own rules when writing a story, as long as you do it successfully, and it fits well with the plot of the story.


Something else I discovered about Perspective, or more importantly, Perception, is in complete contradiction to what many people understand about it.  About a year ago while I was at a previous job I was getting ready to go through what is called a 360 degree review.  Basically what happens is a bunch of people who work with you, over you, or who are in significant contact with you, are given a survey to fill out to give their opinion of you.  What the coordinator said to me about this process was, "Perception is reality."  This basically means that what you perceive to be real, is real.  At the time they said it something didn't quite jive well with me about the concept.  Later I realized that this line of thinking was inherently flawed.  Though I do understand that there are people who live by this credo.  These are the people who are considered narrow-minded and can be easily duped by scams.

A more accurate statement would be, "Perception is part of reality."  By this I mean that what you perceive is not reality, but can affect it.  Reality is made up of many different things, mostly it is made up of actual events, but it is also made up of how people react to those events.  And that is where perspective, or perception, comes in.  What a person perceives happened, can be markedly different from what actually happened.  This is where conflict comes from, and ultimately leads to other events that lead to other conflicts.

The only way to rise above causing, and possibly being affected by, these conflicts is to understand that your perception may not be the same as someone else's, and that it is possible that one or more of the parties involved may not completely understand what was really the cause.

There are plenty of examples of this throughout history, but the truly wise understand that what they perceive is not necessarily the whole picture.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Co-Ed Softball Rules Are Almost Too Efficient to be Fun

Recently I joined my church's co-ed softball league after not having played in over 15 years.  Not expecting the rules to have changed any over the years I thought I would be able to pick right up where I left off.  Boy was I wrong.  There were so many changes I spent half of the first game getting accustomed to most of them.

Back when I played the last time, which was in Wisconsin, the basic rules included:
  • You get 2 strikes and 3 balls;
  • There was no "mercy rule";
  • You played either 9 or 10 players, depending on whether or not you wanted a deep shortstop;
  • The strike zone consisted of solely the carpet behind the plate, everything else was a ball;
  • When running to first you are required to step on the orange bag (basically first base had two bags)

Other than that everything was pretty standard.

Some of the changes I discovered were:
  • The strikes and balls part is pretty much the same, they just have a different take on it, thus you began each at bat with 1 ball and 1 strike;
  • There is now some rather convoluted mercy rules that basically prevent the game from being a complete blowout;
  • You play 10 players;
  • The strike zone now includes the plate and the carpet behind it;
  • First base still has the double bag and you are required to run and step on the orange one;
  • There are now two additional things to worry about when rounding third for home:  First, there is a line perpendicular to the base line about two-thirds of the way toward home plate.  The purpose of this is if the person intending to make a play home does not have possession of the ball by the time the runner has crossed that line they must get out of the way.  Second, regardless of what is happening at home plate, the runner must run wide to the right and if they cross a line that is running straight off of the first base line to the backstop, prior to the catcher having possession of the ball they are safe.  If they step on home plate they are out.
  • The game, regardless of what is going on, has a time limit.  So if you have not completed the normal 7 innings in the time allotted the game is over anyway and the team with the most runs wins.
  • If a batter is walked without any strikes counted against him he can take two bases if the moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter is aligned with Mars.  Just kidding, the rule actually states that if you are walked without any strikes against you you get to take two bases if there is no one on first or second, and if there is a woman in the line-up behind you.
Now I understand some of the rules were implemented for safety reasons.  After all if you have a sprightly woman at home plate waiting for the ball to be thrown to her, you don't want some 250lb behemoth bowling into her to ensure he gets the run.  And I get that we want to make sure that the game does not last forever, but do we really need all this rules allowing extra bases on walks, increasing the strike zone, and the two different rules for making sure you don't run into anyone at home?  These last two just seem redundant.  I mean if the runner is going to be required to run to the right of home plate and cross the provided line why bother having the other line farther up the third base line?

These could just be differences between league rules developed independently in California than what is being used in Wisconsin.  Of course Wisconsinites aren't afraid of a few minor injuries, and we don't mind taking a little extra time to play a sport if we are having fun and want to actually finish the game.

Ah well, I have embarked on this little journey and will see it through.  Hopefully our team will be able to build on our last win and become a contender for the tournament at the end of the season.

Wish us luck!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Inspiration Can Come From the Most Unlikely of Places

One of the things I find ridiculous is when a dictionary, whether online or in an actual book, use the very word they are defining in the definition.  For example, recently I came across an AP news story about how the CEO of BP was being raked over the coals because of how his company is handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The term the author of the article used was "pilloried."  Obviously this is a word that is not used very often.  And I have to admit, before seeing it in this article I have never heard it before.  So, in order to understand what they were saying I turned to this fancy thing called "the internet" to find out what this word means.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Americans as a Whole Couldn't Care Less About the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is getting under way in South Africa this week and the general reaction from American's is: meh.  Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of people who follow this world wide tournament in this country, but those people are usually those who have most likely come over recently from one of the many nations where this is huge.  The rest of us pretty much could care less.  The reason?  We want to see some action! (i.e., broken bones, blood, etc...)

The idea of watching a bunch of guys run around on a huge grass field where, every once in a while, someone eventually scores a goal is not exactly entertaining.  This is really the only exciting part of the matches, and they are few and far between.  It is common for matches to be really low scoring.  We, as Americans, want to see a lot of points on the board, and will always tune in for even the remote possibility of seeing someone get taken out in a horrifically spectacular fashion.

Sure soccer has its fair share of injuries, but they are more likely to happen in sports such as American Football, Ultimate Fighting Championship, Hockey, and Basketball to name a few.  Sure there is Rugby, but this is one sport that few Americans even understand, aside from Cricket (no one understands Cricket).  It is a bit like football but without the pads.

Basically Americans require a sport where, even if they have never played it, they think they know more about it than both the players and the coaches combined.  This is also why Baseball is popular as well.  Sure Baseball is not as fast-paced as Football or Hockey, but it has enough going on, most of the time, to keep spectators interested in the outcome.

Football, has action pretty much on every play, and the potential for seeing someone get creamed, whether they are anywhere near the ball or not.  Plus there is the possibility for some really high scores.

UFC, is pretty self-explanatory.  It is even becoming more popular than boxing.  This is where grown men, who have been studying every form of fighting from Karate to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, climb into a cage and beat the snot out of each other.  Oh, and break a few bones as well.

In Hockey you wait with baited breath for a break in all the fighting to see a goal scored.

Basketball is non-stop action from the very tip-off, and the scores usually end up somewhere between 80 to over 100 points for each team.  And there is the chance to watch your favorite player flop around on the floor like a freshly caught trout, which is always fun to see.

Really, the only way they could make Soccer more watchable is by making the field smaller.  It would help speed up the action, since they would not have to run as far, and there would be a greater chance for someone to score.  Even on accident.  Regulation soccer fields at the level they play at the world cup is longer and wider than a standard football field.  The dimensions are 130 yards long and 100 yards wide.  They should reduce that by at least a third, if not a half.  Then we will see some much higher scoring matches.

After all, it is just for entertainment, right?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Politicians are Considerate, Honorable People

If you believe that statement then you haven't been following politics since the dawn of time.  Ok, maybe not the dawn of time, but at least within about 100 years since then when people started forming committees to decide whether or not it would be a good idea berries off of a particular bush.  After all they had no idea if there would be adverse effects to it, such as death.  So they would get together, force feed some of it to the village dog, then stand back and see what happens.

Monday, June 7, 2010

BP Oil Spill is Obama's "Katrina"

In poll results that should surprise virtually no one, except maybe his most staunch supporters, most Americans consider Obama's response to the BP oil spill to be worse than Bush's response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

That being said there are some things that have shaken out of this recent catastrophe, as many are calling it, that most people are seemingly oblivious to.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tiger Woods, a Byron Nelson he will never be.

Recently I have been catching up on American Chopper (the show about Orange County Choppers, which has since ended after 6 seasons) via Netflix, and I came across the episodes where they built the three identical bikes for the Byron Nelson Golf Classic.  Every year I try to catch at least the last two rounds of this tournament that is tied to his foundation (which, by the way, is their only fund raiser the entire year) that benefits students at the Byron Nelson High School in Trophy Club, Texas.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Never Answer the Phone if the Number is "Unavailable"

Or one that you don't recognize for that matter.

Today I was sitting at work and I get a call on my cell phone from an "unavailable" number.  Normally I ignore them, but something just made me curious.  So I decided to answer it, and was ultimately confirmed in my suspicion that I never should have bothered.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Tide is Turning

At least it appears that way so far.  With the first round of mid-term primary elections having occurred this past Tuesday in various states we are already seeing that many Congressional seats, both Senate and House, will have some serious Republican contenders.  This is due in large part to support from Tea Party groups, which I have expressed to have not much faith in.  Though, we have seen at least one candidate come out of a Tea Party group and won the Republican primary in Kentucky.  For those that are unfamiliar with him, his name is Rand Paul.  This is the son of Ron Paul, the famous Republican Congressman from Texas that ran for President in 1988 as a Libertarian, then again in 2008 as a Republican, but did not make it past the primaries having lost to John McCain.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I live for Spelling and Grammar Errors

Yesterday we received this notice from the leasing office of our apartment complex:
Apparently, according to our leasing office the Mayor of our city has some "plumbing issues" which requires them to turn off the water to our entire community.

Though to clarify, it is just for our apartment complex.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Christianity has a Horrible Reputation

Over the past thousand years, or so, Christianity has developed a seriously bad reputation for blood shed, intolerance, and out-right dishonor.  Just a few examples are:

The Crusades, where a bunch of Kings and Knights from all over Europe decided "in the name of Christ" to go conquer the holy land and take it back from the "Infidels."  

The Spanish Inquisition, where Spanish monks, under the direction of the Vatican, decided to round up all of the "unbelievers" and try out some new and interesting torture techniques on them until they either converted or died.

Then we have groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), who has taken it upon themselves to broadcast to anyone who will listen about how God hates everybody.  Ok, not everybody, just gays, and pretty much anyone who isn't them.

If someone were to look at even these few examples, and there are many others, it is no wonder that there are so many people that are turning to Atheism, Agnosticism, or other religions such as Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism, etc...

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Tea Party is either a Revolutionary Movement or a Historical Flash in the Pan

Recently, the Tea Party movement groups staged protests and rallies all across the United States in relation to tax day.  It appears that other than the name, many of these groups have very little in common as to the causes they are for or against, other than the opinion that we, as a country, are taxed too much.

This seems to be the very reason that many, in both of the major political parties, do not take the Tea Party movement very seriously.  Other than the ability to coordinate protests and rallies on major issues like taxes or health care reform, there is no real cohesiveness among these groups.

As mentioned previously I think this country is ripe for a new major political party to emerge to challenge the inconsistencies, incompetence, and outright lying demonstrated by both the Democrats and the Republicans.  It is clear that the country as a whole has lost confidence in both parties.  But is the contempt strong enough to create a solid third party?  Is the Tea Party movement that party?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

My Wife is Bullet Proof!

Well, more likely she is "bullet resistant" to a certain degree.

This past weekend we went down to San Diego to visit her brother's family.  We got down there in the mid-afternoon and Friday.  They already had plans for dinner so we took our boys down Belmont Park to the WaveHouse for dinner.  It was pretty cool, they have a wave machine type thing that you can see from pretty much anywhere in this outdoor restaurant.  People are able to ride surf boards on this machine generated wave.

Anyway, we came back after dinner and got the boys tucked in, since they were rather tired.  Then we went out to the living room to hang out with my wife's brother and his wife.  We all were up til about 11 when me and my brother-in-law decided we were too tired to talk, or even listen for that matter, and decided to call it a night.

So, we left my wife and her sister-in-law to talk the evening away.

Now it is important to point out that their living room is on the back of their house and they have a closed in patio off the back of that.  Also, the I-8 freeway is almost literally in their backyard.  You can see it from their house.  The only barriers between the end of their lot and the freeway itself is a chain-link fence and a big concrete drainage ditch.

Well, at about quarter to 1 in the morning my wife and her sister-in-law decide to call it an evening, since our kids would be getting up in a few hours and they should probably get some rest.

As they are standing up they both hear glass shatter, or more likely pop.  My wife's sister-in-law feels this sort of shower of glass particles hit her all over her back, and my wife feels something bounce off of her leg.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

This Year's Masters Tournament Has Historical Potential

This week down in Augusta, Georgia the 2010 run of the Masters Tournament will be played.  And with Tiger Woods coming of the biggest scandal of his life, and plenty of other up and coming golfers, this is shaping up to be quite a competitive and entertaining event

I am sure many people will tune in just to see if Tiger will be able to handle himself playing in his first major tournament since his sex scandal broke last November.  There has been plenty of speculation surrounding this as he had stated previously that he may not return to golf for the 2010 season.  Of course if his comeback after his major knee surgery was anything to go by, you can't really believe anything he says.  His actions have always spoken louder than his words, and in many cases have contradicted his words.

Whether your rooting for him, or against him, this weekend has historical potential.  We could have Tiger mount his greatest comeback ever, or we could have one of the new comers, like Anthony Kim, run away with it while everyone is watching Tiger self-destruct in the final rounds.

Regardless of what happens, this years Masters Tournament will be memorable.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

We are on the cusp of the greatest upheaval in our country since the Civil War.

With the passing, and signing into law, of the biggest health care overhaul in our nations history we have embarked on probably the biggest upheaval that this nation has gone through since the Civil War, which is certainly beyond the scale of anything anyone alive has experienced since the Second World War.  This overshadows events such as Watergate, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the Clinton Scandal, hands down.

The first returning volley of political or legal action has been the filing of suit against the federal government by over a dozen of states' Attorneys General.  And one might assume that these were all republican AGs, but it appears that there are democrats joining this fight as well.  The suit that has been filed asserts that forcing citizens of the united states to have health care is unconstitutional.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Two-Year-Old's Left Nostril Can Hold (at least) 5 Pieces of Corn

This evening while eating dinner our 4 year old decides he is going to stuff some corn up his nose, which his little brother thinks is a great idea.  He promptly starts stuffing them up his own nose, which daddy then needs to suck out with one of those mucus suckers.  Now you would think that after a couple rounds of this our 2 year old would get the idea that getting them out is not as fun as putting up there, but you would be wrong.

After being distracted for a few minutes I come back to the dinner table and discover him stuffing more up his nose.  Well, I squeeze his nose and three of them come squirting out.  Just to make sure I got everything I take a look up there and see one is definitely still up there.  So, I take the sucker thingy and after a couple of minutes I am able to extract a rather large piece of corn.

Now you would think that was it.  Again, you would be wrong.  There was still one up there.  So another couple minutes of sucking and finally I am able to liberate a poor piece of corn that I am sure never thought it would end up in the nasal cavity of a 2 year old.

Ah, but the story does not end there.  About 20 minutes later I am required to extract a piece of corn from both, yes both, nostrils.

Seriously, how much discomfort does a child have to go through before they realize something is not a good idea?

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Suddenly the 80's Again!

If anyone remembers the NFL in the 80's they will remember long periods of the same few teams going to the Super Bowl while other teams pretty much stayed at the bottom scrambling for scraps the other teams let fall off the table.

Well, it looks like those times are back.  The salary caps that have been imposed on the NFL since the early 90's are gone.  This should usher in a new dynastic era where teams like the Dallas Cowboys, who have plenty of money to throw around, will be able to buy any player they want to ensure they make it to the Super Bowl year after year.  Meanwhile teams like the Detroit Lions, and the Cincinnatti Bengals will struggle with the meager earnings these teams make from year to year, because of their poor performance from year to year, it will be harder and harder for them to build a competitive team.

Sure, many people throughout the NFL may say that there will not be an immediate effect, but when you consider owners like Jerry Jones and Al Davis who will not sneeze at the possibility of shelling out the big bucks if they can bring some major players to their teams, you have the possibility of some new dynasties developing.

With the same token you will have owners like Mike Brown who, historically, has not had that great a track record putting together winning teams.  Even with profit sharing and the salary caps.

Hopefully, the owners will not start signing players with astronomical contracts while at the same time raising ticket prices to pay for them.  This will alienate the fans and ultimately drive attendance down, even at the big venues like the new Dallas Cowboy stadium.

Part of the excitement of watching football from year to year is seeing different teams make a run for the big prize.  Sure we all want "our team" to go every year, but that would be boring.  The league would no longer be competitive, and thus no longer entertaining.  We would end up just tuning in at half time during the Super Bowl to see who the big act is.

Case in point is the New Orleans Saints.  This year is the first time since they became a franchise that they made it to, and won, the Super Bowl.  Who is to say that would have happened without a salary cap?  Sure there were plenty of other factors involved, but one of those is the fact that every team had a limit they had to work with.

Many people in the league don't think that another salary cap will happen any time soon.  This would involve the players union and the owners negotiating a new CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement).  However, with the salary cap being gone, so is the "floor", which means teams can pretty much pay as little as the feel they need to in order to keep players on the roster instead of cutting them lose.  This may prompt "underpaid" players to push for a new CBA.

We shall see.  Needless to say, this upcoming season will be interesting to say the least.

Monday, February 22, 2010

There is such a thing as "Violent Garage Sales"

Apparently if you hold a garage sale in the San Antonio, Texas area you can be fined.  And if you choose to thumb your nose at the "silly ticket" you can be included in one of their "Warrant Roundups."

Basically, if you hold a garage sale, get ticketed for some illegal act associated with it, and do not pay for the violation, you can be arrested.  Now it is obvious that should expect to face an arrest if you don't take care of a citation within the time-period required.

What is interesting though, is that you can receive a citation for holding a garage sale in the San Antonio area.  Now I do know that there are some municipalities that limit when and where you are able to hold a garage/rummage/yard sale, but I have never witnessed a "violent garage sale."  I can only assume that these are reminiscent of certain holiday shopping days where over-zealous shoppers trample each other to get the last, whatever, before the store closes, or before another shopper can grab it.

I tried Googling "violent garage sale" and didn't come up with much, other that a reference to someone being stabbed with a pitchfork.  Really though, if you are taking a militant approach to these types of sales, you should seriously rethink your hobby and/or priorities.  Most of that stuff is just not worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Writing on Your Hand Can Cause Someone's Head to Implode.

Apparently if you are a public figure and you write some notes on your hand you can cause some people to go into almost epileptic fits.  At a recent Tea Party event Sarah Palin gave a speech from topics as specific as the currently Health Care Reform bill being considered by Congress, to President Obama's overall performance since moving into the White House.  While she was speaking, and later in an interview, it was discovered that she had written some notes on her hand.

Quite frankly this speaks volumes if something so trivial as writing notes on your hand can send the liberal bottom feeders of this country into a frenzy.  The Democratic Party has been losing ground ever since Obama entered the White House and announced as his number one priority the overhaul on Health Care.

This fall's mid-term elections are shaping up to be quite interesting.

"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts." - Proverbs 21:2

Monday, February 8, 2010

Freedom of Speech Only Pertains to English

According to a school in Charlotte, North Carolina, freedom of speech is reserved for only English speaking students and faculty.  Who knew!?  And this on the anniversary of the original release of one of the most "progressive" films of all time.  Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, doesn't it?

Monday, February 1, 2010

People Hate it When Those in Public Office Actually Do Their Jobs

For those that have been living under a rock the past few years you may not have heard of Joe Arpaio.  He is the Sheriff of Maricopa County in Arizona and runs the famous (or is it infamous?) Tent City Prison, where inmates are required to wear pink underwear, socks and flip-flops, as well as black and white striped uniforms.  He was first elected into this position back in 1993 and has gained popularity, both good and bad, ever since because of his unconventional methods used in his prison, and other areas of law enforcement.

Along with the special clothes the inmates are required to wear, they are not allowed cigarettes, skin magazines, salt and pepper, movies, coffee, and some other items that some may consider to be luxuries.  Which is why he banned them from this prison.  He also makes the inmates work in chain-gangs.  Basically, he makes this prison as undesirable as possible without crossing the line of being in-humane.  Though some people would disagree with that assessment as would be evidenced by the many lawsuits that have been filed against him in recent years.

Apparently some people in this country believe that those that are required to live any period of time in prison should be able to do so in some relative comfort.  Some prisons not only have tvs in their common areas, but also have weight rooms.

Quite frankly the people of this country should just allow Sheriff Arpaio to do his job, which he does quite well.  His brand of discipline is what this country needs in order to prevent people from committing crimes that would land them in prison.  One could argue that he puts the fear of God in his community.

And yet, recently it has been reported that someone has posted a map to his home on the internet (of course I am not going to link to it here).  So not only will be people be able to ridicule him at his place of work, but now they can do it at his home.  They are able to harass him for doing the very job he was elected to do because people disagree with how he goes about it.

Really, would you want someone to come to your home to give you grief about how you do your job?  There is a time and place, people.  A man's home is not it.  There are places and forums to voice your opinion (hey looky here). 

Honestly, I hope he stays in office for as long as he can continue to be a benefit to his profession, and whomever is elected after him takes up his banner and runs with it.

"Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.  Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil." - Proverbs 4:26-27

Thursday, January 28, 2010

After a Big Speach No-one Works in Washington.

"President Barack Obama took his retooled agenda on the road on Thursday, hoping to convince Americans he is serious about focusing on jobs and the economy as he seeks to dig out of his deepest political rut since taking office."

The quote above was taken from this article that was posted by Reuters recently.  Apparently after giving a speech, that lasted over an hour, that basically said nothing our President's next step is to tour our great nation promoting his new agenda.

Quite frankly, if this new agenda is that important why is he trying to get buy-in from the voting public before he starts on it.  If it is that important then he should get back in his office and start working on it.  Actions speak louder than words, and so far his actions have not produced much that would be considered positive.  So if he wants to sway the American people back to his side then he needs to get moving on coming up with viable solutions to the problems plaguing this country.  That is if he really has the power to change anything.

Arguably we have seen stimulus package after stimulus package get passed through the government that never really ended up helping the economy in any significant way.  We have also seen that companies that did not take a "bail-out" did better than ones that did.

What we have seen from the bailed-out organizations is major bonuses given to their executives.  Even though it may have been in their compensation agreement, they should have declined these bonuses on the basis that if the company does not do well then the executives at that company should not be rewarded for it.  That is what bonuses are after all, a reward for a job well done, not a "perk" for having stuck around for another year.  If the company does not turn a profit no one, not even the executives, should be getting any kind of bonus.

We have also seen his party create a Health-Care Reform bill that has effectively polarized this country, with more and more people liking it less and less the more they hear about it.  Though, even if you put aside the contents of this bill, the approach the Democratic majority of Congress is taking to get this bill passed is setting this country up for some of the biggest upsets when it comes to this fall's mid-term elections.

Really, if the President wants to increase his approval rating he should stop talking about making things better and start doing it.  Though, if history has taught us anything we should know, as a country, that we do not need to rely on the "leadership" of our country to make inroads to fix the economy and other issues we are facing.  We are able to take the onus on ourselves to do it without having the government setup some new "Czar" in order to get things moving in the right direction.

 "Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.  For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold." Proverbs 3:13-14

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

This Mid-Term Senate Race may be Pretty Entertaining

It is currently early in the Mid-Term US Senate and Representative races, but things are already looking pretty interesting.

We are close on the heels of the recent win of the Senate seat in Massachusetts by Republican Scott Brown, that was held by the late Ted Kennedy, and we are already starting to see a glimmer of a shift in power in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Now the Republicans in the Senate have the power to delay a vote on the current Health-care Reform Bill with a filibuster. And even if the Democrats can get past that they may still not have the majority they need to ultimately pass the bill. The outcome of this bill could have some serious ramifications on this fall's elections. If it somehow passes it will, more than likely, spell the doom of many democratic Senators and Representatives political careers. However, if it does not pass the results of the elections may be a bit more unclear.

In California we already have three Republican candidates running against the Democrat Incumbent, Barbara Boxer, who some have described as a "failed senator." Her main challengers in no particular order are:

Carly Fiorina was the CEO of the large computer hardware company Hewlett-Packard, where she worked her way up from being a secretary in the shipping department.

Tom Campbell, a career politician, is the only one of the three that has held more than one major political office, the most recent of which was a US House of Representative seat he held until 2000 when he ran against, and lost to, Diane Feinstein for a US Senate seat.

Chuck DeVore, who currently holds a State Assemblyman seat, served in the Armed Forces, specifically in the Army Reserve, and achieved the rank of Lt Colonel before retiring.

My only advise here is to thoroughly check the platforms these candidates are running from and choose wisely. Recently I heard an observation regarding how the power shifts in our government are becoming more and more extreme. It is rather obvious with what is going on with the Health-care Reform bill that the Democrats have spent all of their "political capital" and are now scrambling to push this through. If this does pass this country will be poised for one of the biggest pendulum swings in our history.

I just hope this country will be able to survive it.

"And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand." - Mark 3:25

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Have a Circus for a Governing Body

A series of events that could only happen in our nations capitol, or possibly in some sort of satirical comedy based on our nations capitol, we have learned that we basically have a circus for a governing body.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of our great nation made a controversial ruling that removed all limits on what private corporations can contribute to the campaign of their chosen candidate. Previously there was a cap on how much the private sector could funnel into a campaign, which conceivably reduces the likely-hood of a candidate from being "bought." Now there will be no limit to what special interest groups can do to "persuade" their candidate to make a decision, or draft a piece of legislature in their favor.

However, today we see a story coming out of the private sector, as reported by Newsmax, describing how CEO's of major corporations are fed up with how much Congress keeps asking for money.

So what we are basically seeing here is, corporations that are in the very economy that Congress is trying to prop up with the stimulus packages they keep pushing through are being asked for campaign contributions to help those same lawmakers stay in office.

I think it goes without saying that we are seeing the biggest political shift this country has seen since either the Civil War, or the Great Depression. The upcoming mid-term elections will produce some of the most heatedly contested Senate seat elections in recent memory, which may result in a huge shift in power come November.

Not only will we see incumbents losing their offices due to the voters showing how fed up with how the combined Legislative Branch has tried to ram Obamacare down our throats, we will also see corporations who, at one time, would have heavily backed these "public servants", will suddenly be backing their opponents.

We are living in interesting times, indeed.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Even Brett Favre gets self-conscious.

So I am watching the Vikings-Giants game. The Vikings have the game pretty well in hand and they decide to take Favre out for the remainder.

Now he is standing on the side-lines just looking around since it is between plays. One of the NFLs cameras is trained on him. As Brett is looking around he gaze finally seems to rest on the very camera that is trained on him. Now I know it is probably on the other side of the stadium, but I found it rather comical that after "staring into the camera" he then says, "What?" As if the guy behind the camera is expecting him to do something.

Too funny.