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Of Politics, Sports and Sex

OK, so there won't be a LOT on here about sex, but tell the truth, that's most of the reason you entered this site, right? So, I'll slip some things in from time to time just to keep you coming...back.

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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Articles that make me wonder why I still go to The Huffington Post

Headlines on one random day on Huffington Post - May 31, 2011:

- In Badminton, Pants Are Back
- Snooki In Custody After Cop-Car Crash
- WATCH: Mika HITS Joe
- WATCH: Tennis Player Infuriated After 12-Year Old Ball Boy Disrupts Point
- Woman Allegedly Wheeled Around Trash Can Full Of Body Parts
- PHOTO: Naomi Campbell Fuming Over 'Racist' Candy Ad
- Real Housewife Reveals Truth About 'Fights' On The Show
- WATCH: Giant Prehistoric Shrimp Was A Killer, Scientists Say
- Oh, Boy: Giant Baby Born In California

At this rate, here's my predicted headline upcoming:
AOL re-thinking their offer to buy for $315 million

Obama Poll Numbers

Opinion Research Corporation for CNN (PDF) (5/24-26, adult Americans):

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Barack Obama is handling his job as president?

Approve: 54%

Disapprove: 45%

Now compare this to his numbers in early April, according to the same polling firm:

Approve: 48%

Disapprove: 50%

That's a net swing of 11 points in the positive direction in a little less than two months. Notably, much of that shift has come from independents and Republicans. Here's the net swing by party:

Democrats: -4

Independents: +23

Republicans: +24

Interesting that we Dems like him less now than everyone else, though not statistically signifigantly. Doesn't seem to be any policy reason, so maybe it's just because R's are starting to like him that we are changing our minds. For the record, I haven't changed mind.

Friday, May 27, 2011

NBA Finals

I doubt I'll watch much, but like 90% of the rest of the country, I will loudly say: "GO MAVS!"

My letter to the editor earlier today

Amongst all the usual hate and froth from the usual two or three right-wing writers to the Daily Local, I was shocked this past week to see two of them giving so much credit to socialism! Our President has rescued our country from world economic collapse – the worst since the great depression, and the RWRs – the right-wing ranters - want to give all the credit to, of all things, socialism? I am not a socialist, but if that is the economic system that has accomplished in a few years what it took two to three decades to accomplish last time, I think it’s time we looked into it.
And what exactly has the President done? He rescued General Motors and Chrysler, saving up to 100,000 hard-working American jobs in the process. General Motors is now recording quarterly profits in the billions and this week Chrysler announced that they were paying off their government loans in full, more than six years ahead of schedule. It took a lot of courage for President Obama and the Democrats to put that legislation through, and the proof is now in that they did absolutely the right thing, even though some of us, myself included. were, at best, skeptical at the time.
When Obama took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month. Last month we added 244,000. That’s a turnaround of almost one million jobs…each month! And contrary to what the healthcare industry spokesman guest columnist wrote, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ,government jobs have declined in 10 of the last 11 months for a total of 814,000 fewer government jobs in that time. And also from the same non-partisan source, there have been 14 consecutive months of private sector job growth, for a total of 2.1 million new jobs! Best of all, many of the states hardest-hit by the recession are coming back the strongest. Manufacturing centers like Michigan and Ohio are seeing their best job growth since 1999, the last time there was a Democratic administration. No wonder such a clear majority of Americans now approve of the President’s performance and why there are so few qualified Republicans willing to fight his re-election.
Or maybe the socialism they refer to is welfare – corporate welfare, that is - and the redistribution of wealth – our middle and lower-income earnings redistributed by their right-wing friends in Congress who think it is better directed to the big oil companies, who inexplicably still get tax subsidies, while they raked in profits of $32 billion in the first quarter of 2011, (so Big Oil gets you twice – once at the pump, and again in the paycheck) and to their friends on Wall Street and to the big banks and to tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, while cutting health care coverage for seniors and education funds for our kids. General Electric, Exxon Mobil, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and Boeing are among the corporations that paid no income taxes (some of them even got rebates!), but Republicans want to cut the corporate tax rate even more? Non-partisan analysts have shown that the current Paul Ryan GOP “plan” actually increases the national debt by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next ten years - and it still forces seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket and potentially cuts off health care coverage completely for millions of Americans. If cost estimates of the Congressional Budget Office are at all right, the inadequate size of the vouchers — which by 2030 would cover only about a third of seniors’ health costs — would leave many if not most older Americans unable to afford essential care.
If Republicans are serious about debt reduction, as the conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, wrote: “Republicans should offer to raise tax revenues on the rich. They should get rid of the interest deductions on mortgages over $500,000 and on second homes. They should close corporate loopholes and cap the health insurance deduction.”
Some of us who consider ourselves moderates – on the left and the right – used to think it was a waste of time for some of these writers to be spending their time wailing about death panels and birth certificates, and “proving” our President is a secret Muslim. Now, some of us are thinking that may in fact actually be the best use of their time, even if they use some of it to support socialism.Jamie McVickar

West Vincent Township

And Ammar was there to see the whole thing

Weird stuff from last night's Phillies - Reds 19-inning marathon:

- In one inning, the Phillies walked three, hit one and still did not allow a Cincinnati run to score.

- Wilson Valdez is the first player to start a game in the field and then win the same game as a pitcher since some guy named Babe Ruth did it 90 years ago.

- The two teams combined to throw exactly 600 pitches.

- When Jay Bruce hit a home run in the 10th inning, a Phillies fan who caught it threw it all the way back to the place it had been a half-minute earlier - the pitchers mound.

- Phillies relievers pitched 12 innings and had more strikeouts (10) than walks and hits allowed combined (8).

- The run the Reds pitcher allowed in the 19th was the first run he's allowed this year. (OK, in just 4 games).

- That was the first time in his 19 years of managing that Cholly Manuel has allowed a position player to pitch.

- If the game had gone to the 20th, the Reds manager was going to bring his shortstop in to pitch.

Oh, and try to study something that makes you enough money to live on

For the past few months, I've inexplicably been thinking of what I would say in the, not just unlikely, but impossible event that I would ever be asked to give a Commencement address. And then out of nowhere, I found out that an old friend of mine from 9th grade, Becky Leuchak, not only will be giving a commencement address, but will be giving it our school's graduation this year, and thanks to Ev's graduating, I'll be there!

So, very typically thoughtful of her, she asked her old classmates for any advice they had to share. I spent the better part of 2-3 weeks thinking about it, and this is what I posted on our OJR Class of 1974 facebook page:

OK, Becky, I’ve given this a lot of thought over the past week or two and since you asked for advice, here’s my 3 cents, even though you may have already finished it and even though you may not use any of these suggestions. This is not as polished as I’d try to make it if I were giving the actual speech but hopefully it kind of gets some of the point across.

The first thing I’d do is ask for a show of hands of how many people in attendance, friends and relatives included, can calculate the slope of a curve? And how many can solve a quadratic equation? And how many know when the Spanish-American War ended? (Etc – might be fun to talk with a few grads in advance to see if there was some common point of frustration or dumb fact they had to learn – I can ask my stepdaughter if you’d like).

Then ask for a show of hands of how many people think they know what it takes to be a good friend? And how many people have learned that they’d rather hear someone say something nice to them, than to make fun of them? (maybe too simplistic) And how many people have gone out of their way to help someone less fortunate than they or commit a random act of kindness?

(Assuming more people are raising their hands for the second group of q’s than the first):

Then you have learned the most important lessons of all in your 13 years going all the way back to kindergarten when you were taught to share and play well with others and you’ve learned that what you need to succeed in life is not just what your teachers taught you out of textbooks but how to be a friend, how to contribute in positive ways and how to love the people around you. That we are all interconnected and that when you are down, it brings the people around you down, and when you are doing positive things, it makes other people want to do the same. You get back what you give out.

My advice for all of you once you leave here, and after all, that’s what the commencement speaker is contractually obligated to do – give some kind of important life lesson - is this: think of the person or people you admire most in the world – not an athlete, or an entertainment figure – someone you know personally – a friend, someone you’ve met at church or summer camp, or if it’s possible – your parents (!), and figure out what it is you like best about them. It probably has something to do with the way they make people around them feel – they are affirming, they make you feel important or they are a really good listener. Spend some time, maybe not right now, or at your parties tonight and during Senior Week, but next time you’re alone and have some time to think, spend some time thinking about what it is you like best about that person/those people and think about how you can do it too – for your friends, and maybe think of someone younger than you for whom you can exemplify these important things you’ve learned, not out of a textbook, but form trying to be a more positive, uplifting, affirming person.

And conversely, now think about someone who really annoys you, someone who really gets on your nerves – someone in your class, maybe, or someone else from church or summer camp, or if it’s possible…your parents(!). and think about what they have done to upset you and study them similarly to think about things you don’t want to do and ways you don’t want to be, as a friend, or a co-worker or as a PARENT!

And don’t make this a one-time exercise- if you continue to apply this approach throughout your life in all settings, at college, and eventually even at work, in how someone handles themselves professionally, you’ll continue to grow and you’ll continue to learn the most important things in life, in how to make not just your world but the entire world a better place than when you entered it.

And Becky – if none of that is any good – I have one more two-word piece of advice, that if every graduate applies this to every facet of their lives – personal, academic, athletic, artistic professional, and whatever else, they will always succeed, and that is this: Exceed Expectations.

Now, having asked for advice, Becky, I hope you don’t feel any obligation to use any of it in your actual speech. As I mentioned, I will be there listening and will not feel the slightest bit of letdown if you don’t use anything we’ve suggested here, because I know that what you do say will be awesome. BTW, I saw on the wall at OJR this week, that you were in the OJR hall of fame – so cool – you make us all so proud to know you, Becky, my fellow long-ago hippie and Quaker!

And the response as pretty much the same as the reaction I used to get from the cute girls in 9th grade...none at all. :-)

All Pro Dad | AT&T Ad from 1993

All Pro Dad AT&T Ad from 1993

Monday, May 9, 2011

A tale of two presidents: Bush, Obama and Osama bin Laden

A tale of two presidents: Bush, Obama and Osama bin Laden

I'm posting this to my blog primarily so I don't forget where I saw it. It's the clearest explanation I've seen of how the Bush administration had every warning about 9/11 and chose to pay more attention to giving tax breaks to the wealthy. And it begs the question - which did they botch worse - the lead up to 9/11 or the response?
Colin Powell told graduates of South Carolina's premier historically black university that they were graduating during a tumultuous time that saw a royal wedding, a pope's beatification and a U.S. military assault that killed Osama bin Laden, "the worst person on earth."

But the former secretary of state and Joint Chiefs chairman told South Carolina State University's 400 graduates on Friday that he particularly enjoyed another recent event: "That was when President Obama took out his birth certificate and blew away Donald Trump and all the birthers!"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I show you his, if you show me...his

I know, I know - the Birthers are crazies, and they are still whining a week after the official birth certificate was revealed. Now they want Kindergarten records, among other crazy things. But I will stand as the one liberal...excuse me, progressive, to semi-defend them.

First, I don't care from a political standpoint if they make all these demands...polite requests. It makes them look much worse than it makes Obama look.

Second, I still want to know where GWB was during his year of National Reserve duty, when not one person ever came forward fro the time he was supposedly stationed i Georgia to say they had served with him there. And since that questions was never answered, I have at least a little bit of empathy for the birther crowd.