Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
It's good to know I have a fallback position if I should lose my job in the coming layoffs.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Michael Kinsley quipped that a gaffe is when a politician says what he really thinks. In this case, it’s what happens when an elite Democratic politician’s wife says what a significant portion of the party’s base really believes to be the truth: America is more a source of shame than pride.
And after decades of finding nothing in America worthy of pride, it was her husband winning some primaries that finally inspired pride in Michelle Obama?
Personally, I am proud of America and proud to be an American on a daily basis. There is a lot to be proud of as an American:
- America won the Cold War and brought down the Soviet Union without firing a shot.
- America built the Space Shuttles and flew them a hundred times or so, landed rovers on Mars, and studied the reaches of the universe with the Hubble telescope.
- The Berlin Wall fell, due in large part to American pressure.
- Michelle has lived through decades of peaceful election cycles under the rule of law, which have brought about change, both good and bad.
- Michelle has witnessed and benefited from unbelievable advances in technology, communications, science, and medicine pioneered by American entrepreneurs.
- Patients lives have been improved and extended by American pharmaceutical companies which have flourished under the best economic system in the world.
- What about every Memorial Day? Every Veterans Day? Every Independence Day? Every Medal of Honor ceremony?
- Has Michelle never attended a welcome-home celebration for our troops?
- Does her liberal disdain for the military prevent her from taking pride in the honorable service of our soldiers and the sacrifice they make around the world to bring freedom to those who are oppressed by evil tyrants like Saddam Hussein?
- Has Michelle never attended a naturalization ceremony where hundreds of new Americans raised their hands to swear an oath of allegiance to this land of liberty, embracing the opportunity that America offers?
- Did Michelle not find any reason to be proud when millions of Americans rallied to help victims of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia?
- Or when citizens rushed to their churches, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina?
- How could America's response to the attacks of 9/11 not make her proud? Only a heart of stone could be unmoved by the strength, valor, and determination displayed in New York and Washington DC after that horrific attack.
Michelle Obama's own success is evidence of the opportunity available to every American, which ought to be another source of price. Michelle has achieved enormous professional success, political influence, and personal acclaim in America. Ivy League educated, she has been recognized by Essence magazine as one of the 25 World's Most Inspiring Women, and named one of the "Harvard 100" most influential alumni. She has had an amazingly blessed life, which flies in the face of her ungrateful rhetorical claim that America does not offer opportunity.
Anyone who has trouble finding numerous reasons to be proud of America has no business in the White House.
If you are reading this, please leave a comment telling me why YOU are proud of America.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
After all, they take up your time and money, and there are a lot of other things you would rather be doing. You know, things for yourself. Instead of raising kids, you could be going out to eat a lot more, seeing all of the wonderful movies that Hollywood makes, staying out late at the bar, or playing a lot more golf. Yeah, that would make life so much more rich and purposeful.
Meanwhile, I am home with my three boys. They like to play games, and they beat me if I don't watch out. Don't underestimate Mark just because he is only six. I can't tell you how many fun evenings we have spent playing Blokus, or Qwirkle, or Rat-a-tat-cat.
Mark and Caleb like me to read to them, as well. We finished the second book in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia last week, and started in on the third. They love the movie, but a while back, one of them said, "Wow, dad, the book is a lot better than the movie." I read the books when I was a kid, but I'm finding a lot more depth in them now, re-reading them as an adult. If I ever forget to read a chapter, they remind me.
We gather around the kitchen table and do our Bible Study Fellowship lessons together. We are studying Matthew this year. Last week we read about Jesus asking Peter the central question of life: "Who do you say that I am?" It is the greatest joy I could experience to hear them answer in faith, as Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
There are many moments which make a parent's job worthwhile. This morning, Caleb brought us a piece of paper cut into a heart shape, on which he had written:
Dear Mom & Dad,
I wouldn't trade that for fifty years of seeing movies and hanging out in bars.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I have a different way of celebrating Valentine's Day -- something I believe that Saint Valentine, the Christian martyr who restored sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailor before being beheaded for refusing to denounce Christ, would find more fitting.
Each Valentine's Day that I am able to, I give blood. I've been doing that since I was twenty. Of course that is not the only time during the year that I give blood, and some years I can't do it exactly on February 14 because I'm not feeling well, or it falls on a Sunday, or I'm not elgible yet.
I have given thirteen gallons of blood so far -- typically once every two months. I don't know who has benefitted from any one of those 104 units, but it is a simple thing that can save lives. Only about 10 percent of the population gives blood regularly. This Valentine's Day, you ought to think about starting to give a gift from the heart.
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
CNN recaps Monday night on Letterman:
That rough, husky tone to New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's voice didn't come from the campaign trail.
"Every New Yorker has a sore throat after last night," Clinton told talk-show host David Letterman during her appearance Monday on "The Late Show." She said she had been rooting for the New York Giants while watching the Super Bowl in a Minneapolis sports bar.
Clinton said she was modeling her campaign for the Democratic nomination for president on the Giants' last-minute, 17-14 victory over the undefeated New England Patriots.
"I took a lot of heart from that, Dave," said Clinton, who is neck-and-neck in many polls with rival Barack Obama on the eve of the 22-state nomination contest. "The fourth quarter before Super Tuesday, you've got to keep going."
Hey Hillary -- you are no Giant.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I was entirely underwhelmed by the ads.
The talking spot was pretty good, and we all laughed at the Doritos mouse trap.
But a lot of them just didn't make any sense. Using sex to sell stuff has been a standard practice forever, and selling an image or a promise that some product will make you cool is a time-tested marketing ploy as well. Humor is a common tool to make ads memorable, but I didn't think that many of the ads were all that funny. Some I couldn't even figure out what they were advertising. What the heck is Under Armour? I couldn't tell if it was deodorant or adult diapers or what? There was one with two stereotypically asian pandas which was not only offensive, it was also ineffective because I have no idea what they were advertising. The Bud Light ad with Bill Ferrell was picked as the forth best by CNN, but I thought it was horrid. The moment he started talking about putting sweat into beer he lost me. I've never seen one of his movies, and it is pretty safe to say that I won't any time soon. And I don't think I'll ever eat a pistachio again in my life.
So was it just this year, or are the advertisements that bad all the time?
Friday, February 01, 2008
Our current President, George W. Bush was governor of Texas.
The Presumptive First Lady Elect, Bill Clinton, was governor of Arkansas.
George HW Bush was VP under the great Ronald Reagan for eight years.
Obama's hero, Ronald Reagan was governor of California.
The Hapless Jimmy Carter was governor of Georgia.
Ford (who was never elected President or VP) was appointed Nixon's VP.
Nixon was VP under Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Johnson was VP under Kennedy.
That takes us back to 1960 when JFK, sitting Senator from Taxachusetts, was voted President.
There is a good reason for this clear preference of the voter.
Governors, Presidents, and Vice Presidents are part of the Executive branch of government, while Senators are Legislators. Congress sets budgets and makes laws, while Governors and Presidents run the government. The two skill sets are very different, and it is hard to know how much value experience as a legislator has in being an executive.
So you think that the public likes Legislators better than Executives? The media loves to discuss how unpopular the President is right now, but George Bush beats the approve/disapprove spread of Congress by twenty points.
So, which of the front runners in the current election has executive experience?
Hillary has seven years experience as a carpetbagging Senator from New York. She will surely try to claim that she should get credit for riding the coat-tails of her husband into the Arkansas Governor's Mansion and then on to the White House. By that criteria, Laura Bush ought to be equally qualified to be our next President. Ah, but Hillary was actively involved in policy-making during Clinton's term, you know, White Water, the health care debacle, Vince Foster, and so on. She was, in effect, co-president. If that were really true, the Constitutional term limit ought to exclude Hillary from being elected again. And if Hillary wants us to consider her accomplishments as co-president, she needs to release the records of what she did in that position. Doesn't it only stand to reason that if she wants credit for the experience she claims, we ought to be able to scrutinize her record and determine if it demonstrates the kind of leadership we want in a President? Every other candidate's record is public. Shouldn't she be eager to let us marvel at the brilliance of her tenure as First Lady? She has been asked to provide those records, and claimed that they are sealed in the National Archives until 2012. It turns out that when Bill Clinton was busy packing up the silverware, pardoning hundreds of convicted felons, and otherwise preparing to vacate the White House, he appointed two people to handle the archiving of the records from his term, including those relating to Hillary. Those two people put the records into the National Archive with instructions to not release them until 2012. Those two people were Hillary Clinton and Sandy Berger. Maybe the records are in Hillary's underpants.
B. Hussein Obama can't even claim proximity to executive experience. He has been a legislator, serving three years in the US Senate and eight years in the Illinois State Senate. He makes Hillary's padded resume look robust. He will surely try to spin his lack of experience into a positive, presenting himself as "a new, fresh face." But in the long, brutal battle to the White House, being able to point to experience of actually running something would be a tremendous advantage, and he just doesn't have it. Name just one major accomplishment. Can't do it, huh?
John McCain has served twice as long in the US Congress as Hillary and Obama combined. Compared to either of them, he is a heavyweight. The voters might like McCain’s record on national security, or Hillary's health care proposal, or Obama's oratory prowess, but not a one of them has any record running anything.
Then there is Mitt Romney. All his life he has been running things. He is most often noted as the governor of Massachusetts, where he turned a $3 billion deficit into a $700 million surplus, primarily by cutting spending. After the unrestrained spending of Bush and Clinton, this is a real positive. While Obama was experimenting with drugs at his high school in Hawaii, Romney was Vice President of Bain & Company, a management consulting firm in Boston. Romney left that position to co-found Bain Capital, a private equity investment firm which he ran for 14 years. During that time, the internal rate of return on realized investments of his company was an astonishing 114%. Warren Buffet is turning green with envy. Meanwhile, Bain & Company was floundering in his absence. They brought him back, and he turned the company around dramatically, returning it from the brink of financial collapse to profitability in one year without resorting to layoffs. Romney served as President and CEO of the 2002 Olympic Games. When Romney took this position in 1999, the event was running $379 million short of its revenue benchmark, plagued by corruption, and facing a scaleback due to lack of funds. During his term, the Games faced additional challenges due to security concerns arising from the 9/11 attacks, just months before the event. In spite of the initial fiscal shortfall and these increased security costs, the Games ended up with a $100 million profit. Romney donated his $825 thousand salary to charity. Romney has repeatedly demonstrated his ability to run things, which is the most crucial skill for a President. This sets him apart from the rest of the field, and clearly makes him not only the candidate with the best ideas and policy positions, but the candidate with the best qualifications for the job.
McCain, reverting to his habit of adopting the rhetoric of the left, uses anti-business slurs to criticize Romney as "managing for profit." Senator, don't you realize that America is great because people actually produce things and make a profit, not just sit around and pass bills?