Friday, June 29, 2007

Random Thoughts Redux

More random thoughts. I'm getting good at random thoughts.

The car bombs in London are sobering. I am not convinced that things are very secure here and I still don't believe our agencies cooperate with each other like they do in England. The Department of Homeland Security is still run by a man who didn't know that the civic center in New Orleans was a human disaster----and it was being shown on TV all morning. I believe that my lack of confidence may be very justified. It doesn't make me happy, however.

Roger Clemens is 1-3 pitching for the Yankees who are paying him an obscene amount of money to pitch half the season. It has to make you wonder.

My wife, Janet, sent this quote to me from Sojourner's.

The church has only two alternatives in its confrontation with the world: either it adapts itself to the world and betrays the gospel, or it responds to the gospel and enters into conflict with the world.
--Rene Padilla

My sense is that we are better at the former than the latter.

The recent Supreme Court ruling on racial issues in schools concerns me.

John Roberts' words that the only way to end racial divisions is to end racial divisions is on many levels very true and good. Idealistically we should not need to be creating the diversity that we are creating to assure a good education to everyone. The problem is that it doesn't work out this one in the real world. I fear that we have taken a huge step backwards.

Crystal Meredith, the Louisville mother whose lawsuit brought this case forward said this:

"My son is my world and I will never regret fighting for his rights." "I only hope this case has brought attention to the school board and to the community that each child's education is more important than their plan."

I, as a parent, understand children being 'our world' but in all cases we, as communities, need to see what is best for all the children of the community and not just some. What concerns me is that her fight was about what benefited her son and not what was best for everyone's children.

Lisa Nowak's attorney has stated that it is outrageous that it was reported that his client wore diapers on her road trip. There were diapers in the car but not on her and her attorney has stated that these claims were made to make her look bad. I don't want to justify anything but has anyone come up with the obvious here? She lost it and had a mental breakdown. It seems amazing to me that we put very bright people in very stressful and dangerous situations where they are under intense scrutiny and they break---and we throw them to the dogs. I feel for this woman, I really do.

Finally, on I Phones. They have batteries that, when they die (not just need to be recharged), you have to replace the entire phone. Every have a cell phone battery die on you and need it to be replaced?

Consumer Reports has consistently ranked ATT/Cingular pretty much at the bottom of effective cell phone providers. You need to sign up with them to get an I Phone.

They are using a wider but slower network----all these 'extra' features of watching video clips and "You Tube" on your phone will need high speed access and it won't be as high as it probably needs to be.

Why do I want to watch movies on a 2 inch screen?

Finally, it looks great on TV. Have you ever purchased a computer product that worked as well as they advertised? Admittedly Apple has a better track record than Microsoft but I'm just curious to see how this works out.

Finally, I Phones are really expensive and the plans you need for them are really expensive. I am paying enough as it is.

Speaking of Microsoft. They've probably done a great money saving favor for many people. People don't want to purchase new computers right now because all new computers come with Microsoft Vista and Vista has helped Mac sales a great deal. Bill, Bill Gates, XP worked well! Still does. Vista is a dog! Learn a lesson from Coca Cola. New Coke didn't work!!! They pulled it.

Wow, New Coke. I wonder what rocket scientist dreamed that one up. Makes you wonder if Michael Chertoff used to work for Coco Cola...

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What Does it Say About Us When...

What does it say about us when we trumpet trivial nonsense.

Last night CNN interupted Wolf Blitzer who was interviewing Bill Cosby concerning urban problems and education. Breaking news. Paris Hilton was arriving at Larry King's studio.

Paula Zahn had a ticker on her show counting down the minutes and the seconds to King's interview with Paris Hilton.

This morning CNN news was about two things, first of which was Paris Hilton.

Joe Scarborough on MSNBC was doing his show following and criticizing CNN's endless coverage of the Paris Hilton story the night before. This went on and on. Finally a viewer e-mailed him and said that all CNN was doing was covering Paris Hilton and all he was doing was covering CNN's coverage of Paris Hilton. He laughed and said touchee! The writer was correct.

And, of course, Elizabeth Edwards was interviewed today on all the shows and Ann Coulter is being interviewed by all these shows.


At hearings in LA the sheriff had to justify as to why he let Ms. Hilton out of prison early. This hearing was held BEFORE the hearing discussing the issues of a woman who died on the floor of the waiting room in an LA hospital with her family and other people calling 911 to help her because she was obviously in major trouble and the medical staff wouldn't see her. Priorities.


Our troops are in two wars overseas and each day young American soldiers are killed and/or grievously wounded.

Healthcare remains an issue for people.

Urban poverty continues to be on the rise.

The environment is in trouble.

The poor are getting poorer and the middle class is shrinking.

Oil prices have stymied economic growth (unless you are an oil company.)

And Paris Hilton and the coverage of Paris Hilton are the lead stories.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Complete Lack of Decency

Ann Coulter has displayed a complete lack of decency. She has taken it upon herself to be the personal critic of John Edwards. Whether you like John Edwards or not, or whether you would ever choose to vote for him or not is not at issue. She seemingly cannot resist taking deeply personal potshots at him. A few months back she referred to him as a faggot. It was a dreadful derogatory remark referring to the gay community that most people above the age of 12 years old recognize it as a dreadful and derogatory word and will not use it out of a sense of decency. Except Ann Coulter. She inferred that John Edwards was a faggot. It was an indecent comment on its own merit and truly bizarre. John Edwards doesn't happen to be gay so where this came from no one is really sure.

On "Good Morning America" the other morning she said, "“If I’m going to say anything about John Edwards in the future, I’ll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot.” Oh, it was a joke. I missed the punchline. A person is running for President and you are suggesting that you wish he had been killed by terrorists?

John Edwards has utilized the personal attacks by Ms. Coulter to raise money for his campaign. His premise is that she might learn that these kind of personal attacks on people are an affront to the average citizen and people will pay money to a candidate to prove that point. I'm not saying that I agree or disagree with his fund-raising on this but it has worked.

Last night Chris Matthews was interviewing Ann Coulter....they need to put a longer delay on her than most guests because her language tend to be on the salty side and she doesn't seem to have the ability or the desire to clean up her language on television. They do it for her.

In the middle of the interview Elizabeth Edwards called and took Ms. Coulter to task. Quoting, "The things she has said over the years, not just about John but about other candidates, lowers the political dialogue at precisely the time we need to raise it,” Elizabeth Edwards said in a phone call to MSNBC’s Hardball host Chris Matthews as Coulter, a guest on the program, listened.

“It debases political dialogue,” Elizabeth Edwards added. “It drives people away from the process. We can’t have a debate about issues if you’re using this kind of language.”

Ann Coulter tried a bogus approach as a response that Elizabeth Edwards wanted her to be totally quiet. Ms. Edwards was not and everyone watching knew it. It was the tone, and the kind of things that are said. I watched the clip on "You Tube" and it's fascinating to watch Ms. Coulter's body language. She fidgets and is incredibly uncomfortable. She is legimately being taken to task and knows it.

Political discourse needs to be about issues and people need to be able to seriously dialogue about issues. Shouting over a person or being cruel in one's statements about another does lower the political dialogue. Frankly the Ann Coulter's of the world will continue doing their thing and lowering the dialogue as long as people keep buying their books and inviting them to be on the air. The only way we will raise the dialogue is by disempowering those who choose to lower it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Today's News

The long national nightmare is over. Paris Hilton was released from jail today. She's happy. Her parents are happy. The tabloid people are happy. One person has consented to interview her. Larry King. I often wonder what he was like before he had his lobotomy. Imagine the brain power in the room with Larry and Paris there together. Yeah, I know. I'm too sarcastic.

The Chicago Bears cut Tank Johnson. They should have cut him before the Super Bowl and there was no earthly way he should have been allowed to play. Incredible.

Speaking of the Bears, they are still depending on Rex Grossman. I was at a Super Bowl party filled with Colts fans and everyone cheered whenever Grossman got on the field like something good was coming our way. When your QB is cheered by the other team and the other team is thinking that he might be their real MVP it's time to get nervous and perhaps think about getting a different QB.

Of course Grossman played well against the Giants....

I am legimately excited that the Harry Potter book finale and the 5th movie is coming out.

If David Chase were writing the Harry Potter books here's is how it would end.

Harry would be in the room along with Ron and Hermoine. Snape would be there as would Hagrid. Voldemort would come into the room and....

the next 20 pages of the book would be blank and that would be all.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Approval Ratings and Where They Come From

I was looking at the President's approval ratings and the approval ratings of Congress. All are dismally low and no one from either party should jump up and down for joy. These dismally low approval ratings are reflective of how people are really feeling. There are looming huge issues facing us and our nation's leaders are failing miserably.

First and foremost the wars. I use the word wars (plural) very intentionally. When World War II first became a part of our day to day reality the President attempted not to have too much press given to the war, to casualties, etc., under the belief that people would be mortified to see how many people were dying. Then President Roosevelt reverse his decision on this (this would be called a flip flop nowadays, when you change policies because you have changed your mind....and maybe gotten some insight!). He reversed his policy because he wanted the nation to know deep in their guts that we were at war and this war was painful and brutal. People had to sacrifice for the sake of the war.

We are a nation at war in two nations and we are simply not facing the fact that we are at war in two nations and our troops are in harm's way every day. And...there are not enough of our soldiers and this is not equipment in either place. Despite political spins, no one is saying the really dreadful thing that may be on the horizon. We are falling behind in both regions and the painful reality is we may end up losing not one war but two. Neither Congress nor the President has been willing to have a Caput colonectomy in order to really address this.

Has anyone noticed that the real estate market is a disaster?

We are paying record high prices for gasoline and oil companies are making record high profits. Is their a correlation and why is no one really addressing this?

The really thing, however, is that basic services are not taking place. Incompetence reigns supreme.

The EPA approved a few years ago, New York City air and water to be clean and good post 9/11. Record numbers of people are getting or have gotten ill from the toxins that filled the air. Scraps of human remains have been found filling potholes in NYC streets. The former mayor of New York, who is running for President, assured people this would not happen. It did. The former head of the EPA, Christie Todd Whitman assured people that the air and water was safe. It wasn't even close.

Katrina was a disaster. It remains so. Other than Hellofajob Brownie the same cast of characters is still in place and New Orleans remains a mess.

The State Department handles passports. Read the news.

The worst thing, however, is that we do not seem to be safer. Somehow we are being led to believe that taking our shoes off and emptying baby's sippy cups is preventing terrorist attacks.

The problems loom and our political leaders in DC play games with one another and put their party's goals as more important than the nation's needs. Both parties.

The low approval ratings are EARNED!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Be Careful Who Advocates for You

It has become fashionable for organizations to use athletes to endorse products. In recent years churches have begun to use athletes to promote their churches. One needs to be careful who advocates for you. They might not necessarily put you in the best light. Sometimes these athletes are more of a hazard than a help. Here are some amazing quotes:

* New Orleans Saint RB George Rogers when asked about the upcoming season... "I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first."

* "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein." - Football commentator and former player Joe Theismann 1996

* "You guys line up alphabetically by height." - Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

* "You guys pair up in groups of three, then line up in a circle." - Bill Peterson, a Florida State football coach

* Boxing promoter Dan Duva on Mike Tyson hooking up again with promoter Don King - "Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter? He went to prison for three years, not Princeton."

* Shaquille O'Neal on whether he had visited the Parthenon during his visit to Greece - "I can't really remember the names of the clubs that we went to."

* Shaquille O'Neal, on his lack of championships - "I've won at every level, except college and pro."

* 1982 - Chuck Nevitt, North Carolina State basketball player, explaining to Coach Jim Valvano why he appeared nervous at practice - "My sister's expecting a baby, and I don't know if I'm going to be an uncle or an aunt."

* 1991 - Steve Spurrier, Florida football coach, telling Gator fans that a fire at Auburn's football dorm had destroyed 20 books - "But the real tragedy was that 15 hadn't been colored yet."

* 1996 - Lincoln Kennedy, Oakland Raiders tackle, on his decision not to vote - "I was going to write myself in, but I was afraid I'd get shot."

* 1991 - Torrin Polk, University of Houston receiver, on his coach, John Jenkins - "He treats us like men. He lets us wear earrings."

* 1987 - Shelby Metcalf, basketball coach at Texas A&M, recounting what he told a player who received four F's and one D - "Son, looks to me like you're spending too much time on one subject."

* 1991 - Frank Layden, Utah Jazz president, on a former player - "I told him, 'Son, what is it with you. Is it ignorance or apathy?' He said, 'Coach, I don't know and I don't care.'" (from The Daily Dilly)

Monday, June 18, 2007

Stuff in the News

Former Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee is running for the Republican nomination for President. Currently he is lagging in the polls behind Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Fred Thompson (who might not even be running), Mitt Romney, Tommy Thompson, and some guy named Pete who runs a pizza place in Denver. Huckabee recently complained that the news media is focused more on Paris Hilton's adventures than they are on the Presidential campaign. Actually, what he meant was that the news media is focused more on Paris Hilton than HIS run for the Presidency. Governor Huckabee, here's the sad news for you. When this is over you will be remember as the former Governor of Arkansas who moved out of the Governor's mansion and lived in a mobile home for a while. This might have been very noble of you but the people are Arkansas were mortified because the perception of the nation was that everyone lived in mobile homes in Arkansas and you seemed to verify that myth to the world. As much as I hate to say it, Paris Hilton is a bigger news story than you. Sorry!

Edith Isabel Rodriguez, died of a perforated bowel on May 9 at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital in Los Angeles. She was bleeding from the mouth and writhing on the floor in pain in the ER waiting room with people calling 911 FROM THE ER WAITING room begging for help. Hospital officials ignored them and the 911 operators were incredibly rude to the callers. At minimum everyone involved in this case, from the people in charge of the ER waiting room, the 911 operators and the police who came in and arrested her for a parole violation, needed to be fired immediately. Frankly, criminal charges would not be out of line in this case. Incredible!!!

Prince William and Prince Harry have told the world that the death of their mother has impacted them greatly and will impact them their entire lives. Matt Lauer was able to interview them and he astutely was able to gather this piece of information. It's good that they have had all the years of fine education and protocol training to offer them the insight that losing your mother at a young age will impact your life. (I know I'm being mean!)

I received an e-mail the other day from a person who was passing on an e-mail that was sent to her. It was one of those, "I know I should have checked Snopes before sending it on," moments but she's a terrific lady who didn't realize that people send out nonsense. It was a story telling the world that Barack Obama is really a radical Islamic Fundamentalist with a radical Islamic agenda. Other than getting facts wrong, other than making claims about events that happened a decade after Obama left a school and saying he was there, and other than the fact that he's member an active member of Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for over 20 years, it was a good article. Please note the sarcasm. Here's the thing to me. If you don't like a candidate that is fine. We all have our choices. But please be honest. There is no reason to make up fictional tales to scare people.

On the Giants front....They cut Lavar Arrington as a liablity. He was in a motorcycle accident and was badly hurt----but has non life threatening injuries. The Giants look smart.

Finally, my poor Mets have become pitiful. Their record for the last 10 games is 2-8 and they have lost their last 5 series. When they hit their pitching is lousy and when they get good pitching they can't hit. Or there was last night against the Yankees where they couldn't pitch and couldn't hit. Where is Marvelous Marv when you really need him?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Why This is a Big Deal

The issue of District Attorney Mike Nifong being disbarred in North Carolina is a big deal. The aftermath of the Duke case leaves a huge wake.

First some things need to be said.

These young men were having a crazy party and hired strippers. Talk about poor value judgments.

Additionally, the two young women who were hired as strippers. Talk about poor value judgments.

One girl cried rape. The evidence did not back up her claim. Lack of evidence, however, did not stop Mike Nifong from charging full speed ahead to prosecute the case. It looks like it was pure politics. He prosecuted three lacrosse players from a prestigious university in the rape of a young African American woman despite the fact that there was no evidence to support the criminal charges. I suspect that he didn't like the three young men and wanted them to be guilty....but....

He broke Gil Grissom's rule. You always follow the evidence where it leads...not where you want it to go. Nifong has now been disbarred.

Here's why this is a big deal.

For one his actions caused huge consequences.

The three young men will be remembered forever as the people who were accused in this rape case. No matter what they do or where they go a cloud will be over them.

The lacrosse coach of Duke lost his job. He's now at Bryant College in Rhode Island. Bryant College is a good school in a nice area----but ever hear of it? Duke is high profile...Bryant College isn't. Talk about demotions.

But her's the worse part. An athlete will rape or sexually assault a young woman. She might not be believed. I feel for the next victim of a sexual assault from someone famous. The rush to judgment will be on her and not the defendent. Mike Nifong has cast a long shadow and created a slew of victims. One can only hope that his best career opportunities for the future include the line, "Would you like fries with that?"

Friday, June 08, 2007

Random Thoughts

I'm at that point right now where I can't think of anything to blog about. I thought I'd throw out some random thoughts.

First, I think I figured out the 'health reason' for which Paris Hilton was released from prison. They were sick of her.

Secondly, Cal Thomas recently wrote an editorial attacking the religious convictions of several of the Democratic nominees. Thomas, of course, regular supports the religious convictions of people within his own, Republican party. He makes an observation that Barack Obama made the statement, "I am my brother's keeper." It was a reference to Genesis after Cain kills Abel. God asks of Cain the whereabouts of Abel and Cain responds, "Am I my brother's keeper?" From that point on much of the Bible gives a definitive answer of 'yes' to this question. But Thomas makes the statement that Obama is ignorant of the Bible (though Obama nailed the meaning of the passage) and that this was some sort of a Biblical statement that people ought to be on welfare and such. Huh? Thomas, of course, is a model Christian who supports torture. When the Cal Thomas' of the world are making theological observations and critiques of other people's theological positions we ought to all run for cover.

I hear people ponder with the question, "Can you imagine how bad it would have been if Al Gore had been elected President?"

I wonder.

The Clinton Administration had made following and tracking Bin Laden their priority. Is it possible that intelligence reports would have been seen and 9/11 been prevented? In fairness this is a true 'what if?' kind of question, but it has to make you wonder.

When Clinton left office there was a huge budget surplus. Now it's a major deficit. Gore would have probably continued the policies of the Clinton Administration.

Would the oil companies have been able to gouge people as much as they have?

I strong doubt we'd be fighting a war in Iraq.

It has to make you wonder.

Finally, the Mets have lost 4 in a row. That's what happens when I get excited and post a blog about my team. They have gone 1 and 5 since I posted that. In 1986 the Mets won the World Series and the Giants season ended with a Super Bowl victory. Foolishly I kept watching sports after such a great year. What a fool I am!