Monday, April 13, 2009
I remember when I was a kid, sitting on the swing and listening to my grandparents talk about how much the world had changed since they were my age. In most cases, I'm sure I rolled my eyes and wondered how they could be against "progress" and moving forward. I mean, times change. We have all lived through times that have brought about inventions and personal outlooks that have changed the face of our world in some form or another. Until just recently, I always fell to the opinion that our way of life was being made easier and these were great times to be alive. Now, I'm not so sure.
I usually hate it when people complain about things but don't have any suggestions or ideas to make things better. So, here are a few suggestions that I have to make the world we live in a better place - both for now and for our kids.
1) Obey the "Golden Rule" - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you truly think about it, our world lives in stark contrast to this ideal. It's more along the lines of..."I'll beat you down before you can think of a way to beat me down." Or maybe - "Do unto others BEFORE they do unto you." How drastic would the world we live in change if everyone, simultaneously, started living out the Golden Rule?
2) Let's reward hard work, drive, creativity, and initiative instead of punishing it. It's really easy for those who do not have to criticize those who do. But what about those who did not have - who worked very hard to create a good life for themselves - and now DO have? Should they have to take a portion of their economic wealth and give it away to those who have decided that they would rather not work, rather not succeed, rather not create a new and better way and are content to sit in the dark and loath themselves? No! Some today think that if you are successful that you OWE it to those less fortunate to bring them to an equal level of success. I wholeheartedly disagree.
3) How about we require our media to be honest, fair and truthful in everything they report without having personal biases? Give us fact and then let us decide how to respond. Opinions are worthless when truth is available.
4) If you claim to be a Christian, then how about you obey ALL of God's Word instead of just picking out your favorite one or two causes and then harping on those? If you say you are a Christian, and you stand up for equal rights for men and women, African-American, Hispanics, Asians - but you neglect a child in the womb and say that it has no rights - then shut up! Your argument holds no more weight. If you say that all life is precious and ordained by God, and then you hate your co-worker because they hold a different opinion - then shut up! Your argument is moot. Quick picking out abortion and gay rights as your soap box and then forgetting everything else.
5) Let's see if we can still treat the office that people hold with respect even when we disagree with their stance on a topic. Also see #1.
6) Throw out everyone in Congress and start over. No one can be elected to serve more than 4 years. As a public servant, you will get paid $30,000/year and nothing more. If you take money from organizations and lobbyist - you go to jail as well as the organization.
7) Supreme Court Justices can only serve a 4 year term and then must be replaced. A vote must be taken by the entire country and if they do not get 75% of the vote from all parties - they cannot serve.
8) NO MORE BAILOUTS for public companies from the government. If they make poor business decisions, then they go under - period. Bigger and more involved government cannot be the answer under our current structure.
9) Redo the tax system and make it freakin' simple!
10) If you are going be a health nut and be anal about every single bite that you place in your mouth - then quit taking more sick days than me and get your own thighs under control before you start getting judgmental about the things I choose to eat.
There. That's 10 things to get us started. Believe it or not - these were toned down and edited several times before you had the opportunity to read them. I have many more opinions that would be sure to stir things up, but alas - I must save them for another conversation.
Let me know what you think.
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's been a while since my last rant and I've been holding back to see how some things would take form before bringing them up in this forum. Now is the time though.
I'm not a hunter. I don't oppose those who do, I just wasn't raised in a family where this took place. I've lived in small towns and large cities. I've lived across the street from a crack house. None of these things ever pushed me to the point to purchase a weapon until our current President was elected. I found it very intriguing that gun and ammunition sales have skyrocketed since Obama won that election. Of course, during the campaign he said that he wasn't going to do anything extreme regarding personal gun ownership. Again - he's not being truthful.
The government is trying to limit gun ownership and ammunition sales and they are using the violence in Mexico as the reason for it. They claim that the drug lords there received 90% of their weapons from the US. Nevermind that the ATF has said that they cannot defend that number and feel that it has been dramatically overstated. An ammunition purchase will soon get you listed in a government database so they can track just how much ammunition you have at any one time.
I heard someone say today that if this becomes reality that she will be purchasing her ammunition one bullet at a time just to drown them in paperwork. Not a bad idea.
Limiting Executive Pay...
I'm not a big fan of some of these executives getting bonuses with tax payer bailout money. I think that if they take a bailout that they should be subject to some strict regulations until the money is paid back. But now look what Mr Obama is up to. Using AIG as his model, he wants the government to step in to ALL publicly traded companies and limit just how much their executives can get paid. Are you kidding? So the executives at McDonald's, Southwest Airlines, Apple, etc. - who have done nothing wrong and have led their companies to be world icons - will not be able to make whatever their board decides they are worth to the company. The government will decide what is fair.
Can we, as taxpayers, decide what these senators and the like are worth and cap their pay? Can we come in and say, "It's public service. So you are going to make $25,000 per year. You are not allowed to make any additional money as long as you are in office. Oh, and you'll need to go purchase your own health benefits, security teams, and private jets to accomodate the demands of your office."?
CEO of AIG...
Did you see the current CEO of AIG getting grilled by Senators last week? This isn't the CEO who ruined the company. This is a guy who was retired and was asked by the government to come out of retirement and try to turn around this mess. He did so because his country asked him to. OH, and he's getting a salary of $1 per year as long as he serves in this capacity. Then he gets brought in front of this panel to be scolded by the very people who voted to approve the bonuses that he was contractually obligated to. They want names of everyone who took a bonus. I'll give you a name. Chris Dodd from Connecticut. He's the one who changed the bailout terms that would have eliminated the bonuses and said that would not work and added the provision that required AIG to give out the bonuses. There's your name.
I think it is safe to say that just because Obama says something, it does not mean it is true. We would not have lobbyists in his cabinet - yes, we do. We were going to have the most transparent administration ever - no, we don't. We were going to have 5 days of having any proposed law posted on the White House website for all Americans to review before it would be signed into law - no, we haven't. He's not going to come after guns and ammunition - yes, he is. He wants to reduce the number of abortions that take place in America - no, he doesn't.
He's a very good teleprompter reader. He's smooth. He's got this ability to fend off criticism with the flash of his smile and a tilt of his head - AND WE'VE FALLEN FOR IT! Don't be fooled by his words. As a matter of fact, when he says something - go ahead and accept the fact that the opposite is what he will do.
Funny story to end this rant. Mr Obama was a guest speaker at an event last week. It is well publicized that he takes his teleprompter with him everywhere (watch for it tomorrow night at his news conference). The person who introduced the President also had a speech on the teleprompter and when Mr Obama stood to greet the crowd, the other person's text came up instead which literally got Mr Obama to say the following...."Thank you. I am honored to welcome President Obama here tonight." Unreal.
Friday, February 20, 2009
I chatted tonight with a friend of mine from high school. She was one of those people that everyone looked at and was envious - beauty, intelligence, athletic, funny, etc. I hadn't heard much about her since high school, except that she became a cheerleader for the Minnesota Vikings at one point. But tonight, I was able to find out a lot more and wanted to share her cause with anyone who might ready this.
Her brother was in the military and went in to have a somewhat routine medical procedure done through the military to help him breathe easier when sleeping. He came through the surgery fine and my friend picked him up and took him home. He had a patch on his arm that would release pain medication to him and the only instruction given to her was to change his patch in 3 days. Later that night, he passed away from an overdose of pain medication through this patch.
There had been problems prior to this with this kind of patch and a warning was issued to beware of it - but that was never explained in this situation. The military has a law that states that the military doctors cannot be held responsible for incidents like this either. The LA Times even wrote an article about this story and goes into much greater detail.
As you can imagine, my friend was very close to her brother and has been devasted by this incident. It has now become her mission to make sure that his name lives on. She has a website that has been dedicated to her brother and this story and I would encourage you all to spend a few minutes reading more.
Can you help me help my friend to make sure her brother's name lives on - MSG Harold W. (Bud) Kinamon, Jr.? Pass his name and story along to all that you know. And if you'd like to send my friend a note to encourage her, just leave a comment below or reply to me on my Facebook page and I'll be sure to pass it along.
Bud Kinamon - thank you for your service to our country!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I graduated from high school in 1986. It was the era of hair bands, tight rolled jeans, no socks, Converse high tops of every color, and letting out your best Rebel Yell. I left the life that I knew in downtown Dallas, and started college in a small east Texas town where tight Wrangler jeans and roper boots were all the rage. So when I showed up my first day with my punkish/rocker big city duds on and walked into that world, I felt just a wee bit out of place.
I'm not exactly sure why, but when I left high school, Dallas, and the life I knew there, I didn't stay in touch with anyone. I left. It's not that I didn't have any friends, because I did. But maybe I just felt like it would be an easier adjustment to go off to a new school if I didn't think about the people I was leaving behind. I found myself doing the same thing again when I left college and started my career.
Now fast forward to 2009. For the first time in more than 20 years, I'm starting to catch up with all of those people that I left behind in high school, college, and in my moves throughout my career. I am simply amazed at the lives that we all represent - the stories that we have to share. I'm humbled that I know such an amazing group of people.
I remember back to the drama of school days when a zit appearing at an inopportune time was such a tragedy. When we were ready to fight to the death if the girl of our dreams dared to talk to THAT guy. If a grade came back on an assignment that put our whole college career in jeopardy. I don't know about you, but I would love for those to be my biggest problems now.
In my conversations with my classmates and friends, I've learned of death that has hit families hard. Severe illnesses that some are fighting daily. The struggle of having your own kids growing up and not listening or caring what you think any longer. Trying to pay the bills and keep your home. A spouse that is rarely home because they think they just have to work all the time, leaving their wife/husband lonely at home. Some are doing great things in other parts of the world through their careers, mission trips, and humanitarian aid. Some have become very successful in their businesses and are well respected in many circles.
I'm also intrigued to see the directions that people have chosen. If I had to guess, few would have picked me to have been a minister for close to 20 years. Some that I thought would always be fence riders when it came to their faith are now the most excited about it. And others who used to wear the label of "Super Christian" have been battered and bruised in their faith and rarely attend church anymore. Some of the bullies are now the most compassionate. The list goes on and on.
What a journey we have been on! From those high school days to our lives now scattered around, not only the country, but around the world. We have so many stories that we have shared already, but so many more that we're still keeping hidden away for a bit longer.
I'm honored to know each and every person that I have reconnected with in the past few weeks. My apologies for letting so many years go by and losing touch with them. The bright side is that we all are open to seeing each other as we are now, and not confining each other to what we used to be. I've changed, not all for the good, but I'm just not the same guy that I was back then. But neither are my friends from 1986. I'm anxious to see what we will be 20 years from now, but this time I don't plan on losing touch.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
One of my biggest concerns, heading into this most recent election, was that we would have a Liberal President, Liberal House, Liberal Senate, and a Liberal Press that that would cover for all of those mentioned ahead of them. The American people would never hear the whole truth about anything, but just slanted coverage that would make everything sound wonderful.
As we listened to Mr. Obama, he spoke of things that everyone would like to believe in - a new tone in Washington, change has come, and that his administration would be the most transparent administration ever. So, let's see how that is coming along.
Obama promised that he would post legislation on the White House website for 5 days before he would sign anything into law so the American people could see what was in it. Great promise! That's fair. Get it all out there so we can see for ourselves what is in it. Has it happened? Still waiting. You know the one he's already signed into law - the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Jan. 29, 2009? Was this posted on the White House website for five days? Nope. Wasn't posted at all, and he signed it into law just five HOURS after receiving it, not the five DAYS that he promised.
Why does this matter? Well, honestly, this law wasn't very controversial. It just said that women should get paid equal to men for the same job performed. We can agree on this one so it's not that the content of the law was controversial - it's that he didn't keep his campaign promise. it matters because we're about to have the largest spending bill in the history of the United States signed into law and the House and Senate members haven't even had time to read it before they were voting on it! Is that insane??? What happens when it gets to his desk? Do you think that all 1100 pages of it are going to be posted on the White House website for five days before Obama gets out his Bic pen and signs it into law? No freakin' way is he's going to wait! And I just wonder what got stuck back into this bill by legislators who knew there was no way anyone could read it before voting on it? I mean, politicians in Washington are so dependable and trustworthy. They would never try to sneak something in there, would they?
Get ready because life in America is about to change from the way we have known it. Obama believes that the government is the solution to all of our problems. Let's get a government program in place, fund it, and they can decide everything for each of us. Let's get a government run healthcare system in place so all Americans can have health insurance - sounds great - but who's going to decide when/if I get the procedure that I need for my life to be at the level I want it to be at? The same people who oversaw the banking systems and Wall Street? No thanks!
Mr. Obama, you promised us transparency and you have delivered because I can see right through you!
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
I don't watch a lot of TV anymore (compared to my previous TV watching behaviors), but when I do watch - I'm a reality TV junkie. Survivor - Big Brother - Amazing Race - Bachelor (yes, I'm man enough to admit it) - Bachelorette (there's the trade off) - Biggest Loser - Celebrity Fit Club - Made - Celebrity Rehab - The Mole - Dancing with the Stars - and of course, American Idol. My early pick is Danny Gokey. Wow! What a voice!
I really wished that American Idol had been around when I was 18-22 years old. I so would have tried out for it. The shame is that now I'm an old geezer in their eyes, so their age limits would keep me from giving it a shot. But don't the producers know they're missing some other prime targets? What about doing an "American Idol - Kids" version? Or an "American Idol - The 80's" version where everyone on it was in high school in the 1980's? They could even do "American Idol - Near Death" and draw a crowd.
Season 8 should be pretty interesting. They really do have some strong talent. It's also the most ecclectic gathering I think they have put together yet. There are always a few that I scratch my head over, but for the most part - this is a good line up.
For the life of me, I cannot understand some of the families of others who have gone to these auditions who genuinely think they can sing and the families haven't stopped them before standing in that audition line. What lesson are they trying to teach? What do they say to them after they fail miserably and the entire nation knows of them as a joke?
So, here's your chance. I want your feedback to these two questions:
1) Who is your early pick to win the whole thing?
2) If you were trying out, what song would you sing?