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.