Sunday, March 14, 2010

Corey Haim, Earmarks, WASPs and Sean Penn

· I went to my first auction today. Okay, so maybe not my first, but I sure don’t remember when the last one was. So here I am thinking this will be a nice way to spend three hours or so with the wife and my dad and stepmom. And who knows, maybe I will find a hidden gem or two. SEVEN hours later and I am exhausted. WOW. Who knew it would take so long? And of course the things I am remotely interested in they save for last. I did manage to get a couple of really good deals, and if you know what you are doing I am sure you can make some money. But could we find a way to like triple speed up the process?
· I am still in mourning today. I miss Corey Haim. I have missed him for almost 20 years. He was never my favorite Corey, but if you grew up in the 80s how can you not feel sad at his passing. He could be the poster child for how not to handle being a teen star. His demons are well chronicled. And I have to admit I was a closet watcher of ‘My Two Corey’s. And if you watched that you knew this day was coming. Still, I hope he has found peace now. And may one of ‘The Lost Boys’ live forever…

· This week the big news in Congress is going to finally ban earmarks. You know those appropriations that never see the light of day and every single member of Congress is complicit in, even if they haven’t proposed one themselves. The Democrats, desperate to stem the tide of public backlash that is currently going on, came up with a brilliant idea. Let’s ban Earmarks for ONE WHOLE YEAR! Yeah! But let’s read the fine print. The ban only applies to for-profit companies. This would reduce earmarks by at least 1,000. But it does not affect thousands of earmarks in aurthorization, tax, tariff and transportations measures. According to the Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) in all fiscal 2010 measures there were 9,500 earmarks worth $15.9 Billion. Most of these earmarks go to state or local agencies that spend that money on….for profit companies. What I don’t understand is if these earmarks are so important, why aren’t they brought up in committee and voted on, debated like everything else. What is wrong with that? If the committee includes them and it’s passed great. It went through the legislative process. But the current earmark process, I firmly believe, is not what the founders of our system of government intended. And it is definitely not open, or transparent, so that most U.S. citizens have no idea what is going on.

· Evidently I haven’t been paying attention. The NCAA is seriously considering expanding the NCAA basketball tournament from 65 teams to 96. And may do so as early as next year. Of all of the half baked, stupid, money grubbing ideas the NCAA has come up with over the last few decades, this is the worst. And it isn’t even close. Right now, the NCAA basketball tournament is close to the perfect sporting event. Who doesn’t fill out a bracket? Who doesn’t watch at least one game? What other sport gets an entire month almost exclusively to themselves? Every team in NCAA Division 1 has a chance. Every team plays in a conference tournament. And the NCAA selection process is about as fair as can be. But NOOO, the NCAA can squeeze a few more hundred millions out of CBS. So let’s add 31 teams. Give the top 32 teams a bye. Extend play by a week. And it will be great. NO IT WON’T!! How many casual fans will take the time to fill out a bracket? And who will care about conference tournaments? And why should the 10th place team in the Big XII, ACC, Pac-10 with a 5-12 league record go to the tournament? Just SAY NO NCAA. But remember, the NCAA is who is responsible for the BCS…

WASPs – This week Congress honored 1,102 Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) who served during World War II. Many of you know my great love of anything surrounding World War II and what our country was able to accomplish and overcome. The WASPs are a group I did not know much about. The WASPs were created in 1942 to recruit and train female pilots to fly at home to allow men to fly combat missions on both war fronts. They flew fighter craft, they ferried planes from factory sights to training stations. They became the first women ever trained to fly military aircraft in the history of our nation. Some of them died for our country. These women are all heroines. Thank you, all 1,102 of you, for serving our country.


Sean Penn. There are a lot of reasons why I don’t like Sean Penn. And there are reasons why I have boycotted most of his films. Thankfully we live in a country where he can make movies and I can boycott them. But one wonders if Sean Penn truly understands what kind of country we live in. Now Sean Penn and Hugo Chavez are good friends. Have been for years. Fine. Whatever. But now Sean has taken this friendship to a new level. Sean thinks that Hugo Chavez is a model democrat and that those who call him a dictator should be jailed. To use his words “Every day, this elected leader is called a dictator here, and we just accept it, and accept it. And this is mainstream media. There should be a bar by which one goes to prison for these kinds of lies.’ Really? You want the press to go to jail for reporting on the news? Do you think if Sean lived in Venezuela and thought this about a rival Presidential candidate that Hugo would let that go unpublished? I have an idea Sean. Move to Venezuela. Disagree with Hugo Chavez on one thing publicly. Just one. See what happens. Douche.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wedding, Olympics and Charlie Rangel

Well my dear and faithful readers since last we talked, I have gotten married in Ireland, had a wedding reception, completely moved into our new house, and seen my boss of over fifteen years resign and leave office on the day I get back from Ireland. Needless to say things have been a little crazy. That is an awful lot to digest in one month’s time. I am hoping that the next month will be slightly less busy. That being said, getting married in Ireland was unbelievable. At some point there will be pictures on here or FB. It was one of the few times that reality turned out to be much better than anything I could have imagined. My wife did such an incredible job in planning and making everything perfect. It has truly been magical.

I wanted to take note today that Iraq conducted parliament elections today. I do not know how they turned out, and frankly am not all that concerned about who wins or anything like that. What does concern me is this. At last count 38 Iraqis have died and over 80 have been wounded just so they could participate. And yet vote is exactly what Iraqi citizens have done. What will it take for Americans to take the right to vote that seriously? Democrats, Republicans, liberals, conservatives, big government, little government, EVERY person has a vested interest in what their elected officials are doing. Voting has never been easier or more convenient for the average citizen than it is now. What will it take for Americans to be engaged? Does anyone care?

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Wednesday night Sherron Collins played his last home game in Allen Fieldhouse for the Kansas University Jayhawks. Collins has been one of my favorite players since his arrival. To me, he is the perfect Bill Self player. He is tough. He doesn’t back down. And he WINS. He hasn’t been the prettiest, the easiest, or the most eloquent player. But he leaves Kansas as the winningest player EVER to have played. Wilt Chamberlain, Clyde Lovellette, Danny Manning, Raef LaFrentz, Kirk Hinrich, and a thousand others have not won as many games in a Kansas uniform as Sherron Collins has. Think about that. And he isn’t done yet.

This is a tad late, but my cool person of the week is every Olympian who participated in the 2010 Winter Olympics. I think the Olympics are one of my favorite things to watch. It is moving to me watching people from different countries reach for their dreams. Whether it be Lindsey Vonn, Apolo Ono, Joannie Rochette, Shaun White, Evan Lysaceck, Nodar Kumaritashvili, Shen Xue / Zhao Hongbo, Sven Kramer, Bill Demong, Ryan Miller or any member of a curling team (Why do I love curling so much?). The Olympians represent what you can do with perserverance, hard work, determination, and a little luck.

Charlie Rangel (Democrat) New York – former chair of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee. Now it is somewhat unfair to pick on a member of Congress from either party. I mean, come on. They don’t play by the same rules the rest of us play by. God forbid they actually follow the same rules, ethics, and personal responsibility the rest of us do. But Charlie Rangel has particularly irritated me this week. He FINALLY ‘temporarily’ stepped down as Chairman of the most powerful committee in the house The Ways and Means Committee. Rangel thinks this move is only temporary and that he is ‘innocent’. What is he ‘innocent’ of? Well he has been investigated for taking two trips to the Caribbean that violated House rules because they were corporately funded, failure to report rental income from a Dominican beach house, leasing three rent controlled apartments in New York in his district, his use of House parking facilities for long term personal storage, personal assets he failed to report on financial disclosure forms, and fundraising efforts for a City College of New York facility that bears his name. Now Charlie Rangel has been in Congress for a long time and has a long and distinguished career as a legislator. But are you really telling me you haven’t done ANYTHING wrong and you deserve to be the chair of the most powerful committee. I don’t believe you! Douche!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Haiti and New Years Resolutions

First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers are with the people of Haiti. The devastation is unimaginable. My frame of reference for natural disasters is Greensburg. This is Greensburg times ten thousand. I cannot comprehend what these people are going through. The resources it will take to rebuild an already impoverished country are extraordinary. The response that the U.S. has provided so far is beyond impressive. If you need a reason why the United States is the greatest country on the planet, look at how its citizens respond to natural disasters around the world. If you feel called to donate to the relief effort in Haiti, please donate to the American Red Cross ( or text HAITI to 90999. A $10 donation will be sent to Red Cross and appear on your cell phone bill.
How many of you make New Year’s Resolutions? How many of you have stopped pursuing them by MLK Day? According to some google research (I love google), by now 29 percent of us have already stopped pursuing our resolutions. By the end of the month that number will rise to 36 percent and by June 30th, 54 percent of us will have failed. That being said, studies have shown that almost half of all Americans make at least one resolution. And if you haven’t made one, how can you break it? This then, is my list of New Year’s resolutions. I usually try to come up with ten resolutions every year. Several of these are not new, and I have even been successful on a couple of these in previous years. I have never been able to accomplish all ten in one year however. We will check back periodically to see how bad I am doing.
(1) Blog consistently for an entire year.
(2) Lose ten pounds
(3) Read twelve new books
(4) Read five books off of the New York Times 100 best books of all time
(5) Read the entire bible
(6) Watch ten movies off of the AFI List of Greatest 100 movies of all time
(7) Visit a state / country that I have never been in
(8) Shoot under 40 for nine holes
(9) Increase my net worth
(10) Learn / re-learn a foreign language

This is more of a mini-rant / observation this week. Earlier today, I was driving in my car running errands. It is not often that I listen to weekday talk radio, but today I was able to. (Thank you Dr. King). During one of the commercial breaks, three commercials in a row were provided by U.S. Bureau of the Census, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Now all of the programs advertised are good programs that people should participate in or be aware of. But in today’s economic climate, and with the amount of money our government is in debt with, should our taxpayer dollars be used in this manner? Are there better ways to spend less money and still reach the target audiences? When the federal government never even attempts to balance its own budget and the state of Kansas is facing a tax increase or drastic cuts in almost all areas, shouldn’t this be examined?
Mark McGwire – So Mr. McGwire finally decides to admit he used steroids during most of his major league baseball career. Of course this was done because he was hired as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals which is a curious decision by itself. I don’t remember McGwire ever being much of a complete hitter, other than he could crush the ball. I have conflicted emotions about the steroids era, how it should be handled now, and how history and the record books should judge those who played during that era. At some point I will try to explain those emotions when I can sort them all out. But what I CAN’T STAND is the great hypocrisy of MLB and ‘the integrity of the game’. MLB is big on ‘integrity of the game’. Pete Rose remains banned from anything remotely related to MLB, the Hall of Fame and everything else because he violated the ‘integrity of the game’. But what about all those players who BROKE THE LAW, and committed CRIMES with their use of steroids? That’s not cheating? That isn’t violating the ‘integrity of the game’? whatever.
The cool person of the week is not one person, it is a collection of people. This is for every person who rushed to Haiti to provide the immediate assistance that is needed for so many people. From search and rescue crews from the City of Los Angeles to a Mercy Corps group from Harvard University. There are thousands of Americans rushing to Haiti to provide assistance in any way possible. I am so incredibly proud of the generosity, the sense of duty, and the overwhelming response that you have shown.
Pat Robertson / Rush Limbaugh – This week it is a tie on the DOUCHE of the week. I couldn’t decide which one was worse. Pat Robertson saying that the country of Haiti made a pact with the devil in the 1700 or 1800s which led us to the earthquake or Rush Limbaugh saying the earthquake was made to order for President Obama and that the President will use Haiti to boost his credibility with the light skinned and dark skinned black community in this country. I don’t care if you believe this is true or not, the week that 200,000 people were killed and another 1.5 million displaced is not the time to politicize a horrible tragedy. Talk about the economy, Afghanistan, what color tie the President wore, but leave tragedies alone. Douche!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

It's a New Year

· For the fourth or fifth year in a row, one of my new year’s resolutions is to blog for an entire year. Sadly, and probably somewhat predictably, I have failed. Which puts me in line with 90 percent of the rest of the world’s new year’s resolutions. That being said, I am going to attempt my damnedest to at least blog once a week. I am using a format from the last time I blogged regularly. It probably sucks, but it helps arrange my thoughts in somewhat of a coherent manner. Feel free to criticize as you see fit. Haha

· This is fairly predictable if you know me. My rant of the week is centered squarely at the blatant bribery taken place during the initial health care debate in the U.S. Senate. Ben Nelson’s $100 million Medicaid payoff. Vermont and Massachusetts get a similar, although less generous Medicaid payoff over the next ten years. Christopher Dodd’s $100 line item for construction of a university hospital in Connecticut. Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming will all see an increase in Medicare payments to hospitals and doctors because 50 percent of their counties are ‘frontier’ counties. Funny I thought our country has already been settled. And Mary Landrieu’s $300 million Louisiana Purchase. Now some people may say this happens on every bill and maybe they are right. And IF that is true, there is something fundamentally WRONG with our country. This is NOT how good legislation occurs. And people wonder why Congress routinely has one of the worst reputations around. Instead of having one of the best. Go figure…

Mike Leach – former Texas Tech head coach. Wow, never saw this one coming. Depending on which account you believe, Mike Leach had Adam James, senior wide receiver locked into a shed for ‘treatment’ of a concussion. There is very little excuse for this allegation and I don’t see how Texas Tech could have kept him as head coach. Where was the medical staff on this? Aren’t they in charge of injuries? And just to give a little nod to the other side of this, ESPN’s coverage of this event is appalling. Why? Because Adam James just happens to be the son of Craig James, a ESPN college football analyst. I don’t think Craig James should have been anywhere near an ESPN announcer during this saga. But alas, that is probably too much to ask.

Dafna Michaelson. – Dafna is the visionary behind the 50 in 52 Journey (see her website The Journey is Dafna’s way to showcase people across the country who are trying to make this great country a better place by making a difference in people’s lives. I saw a blurb on Dafna via a google search and am now completely hooked. News stories like these are what reinforce my belief in this great country of ours, and how there is still hope despite the struggles of so many people. I encourage you to check her out!


Since this is my first blog in awhile, I am taking some editorial discretion and go back a couple of weeks. Janet Napolitano is this edition’s SCHLEP of the week. Let’s harken back to Christmas day. A failed attempt to blow up an airplane flying into New York. Some faulty explosives, and quick thinking by passengers on the plan averted a disaster. So what does Secretary Napolitano say? “The system worked really smooth.” WHAT?? What system is that? A terrorist boarded a U.S. airliner with explosives and managed to almost set them off. This is the system working??? And she didn’t just say this once. This phrase was repeated on the Sunday morning talk show circuit. Then a few days later after she was criticized repeatedly, did she declare that she ‘misspoke’. Whatever. And this is the person in charge of our homeland security. Ugh.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Return

After a fairly long hiatus from blogging I am back. I am a former blogger on myspace. But myspace is sooo 2007. 2008 was Facebook. And 2009 is definitely Twitter. I have discovered that I love Twitter. But there are often times I have a lot more to say than 140 words. So that is why I am back.

I am very recently engaged. As in one week ago today. And she is fabulous. I am out of my league. Good thing she got a nice ring. haha

I have put together this little list that best describes me. Today. I think.

I am a moderate. I am not scared to say that.
I am angsty.
I volunteer.
I believe in God.
I golf.
I play softball.
I read.
I pay too much in taxes.
I recycle.
I love baseball.
I think for myself.
I am cynical.
I believe that Bill Self is the greatest basketball coach in the world.
I am hopeful.
I am optimistic.
I believe each of us can make this world better tomorrow than it is today.
And I want to live on the beach.