This topic is for links to relevant news, interesting websites, quick opinions and inane ponderings. Postings in this thread are considered "open-thread", meaning that anyone can post a comment on any of the articles, whether the comment relates to the post or not. If you have something random to say, this is the place.
What does the future hold for our children? Does education really matter? America doesn't do anything any more. The only hope for our children is to own, operate or work for a marketing company who manufactures, imports and distributes something that is made in another country. We don't actually do anything anymore in this country. All we do is swap around monopoly money on the stock exchange like it actually means anything.
Warning, subprime lending rant: We swap around money to lend to ourselves to people who clearly can't handle their own simple finances and don't have the means to repay the money they borrow and then stand back in shock and horror when the inevitable time comes that they can't pay their obligations! Ooh. Better pull all our money out of that horse race and stick it all into the next fad.
The only reason our economy survives is that we continue to take our idiot asses to Walmart and buy plastic pieces of crap made in China and Indonesia with child and slave labor that inevitable ends up in a our land fills. If we were to suddenly stop buying things our entire economy would collapse.
Bush and congress know this all too well. Why on earth did Bush give tax money back to the public at a time when the economy was teetering? So we would all run out to the nearest mall and buy fanny packs and sneakers with lights in them!
The equation is stupid simple: we spend money = economy OK, we stop spending money = we are totally screwed. Seems sick that our economy is based on us wasting money and saving nothing. Even further, extending ourselves into debt. When do we reach the end of the rope?
Welcome to America. Puts a whole new meaning on obtaining a visa.
McBlogger has something to say about journalistic integrity. Although his post is in general about a specific journalist making comments about a candidate for U.S. Senate, I like what he says about bloggers:
"Wolff recently excoriated the blogosphere for supporting Noriega over Watts while 'pretending to maintain journalistic integrity'. Pretending? Doll, we post endorsements of ELECTED OFFICIALS FROM A GIANT WAX C**K. We've never made a claim to having any journalistic integrity. Of course, when WE support someone, we announce why and we disclose that up-f***ing-front. Maybe, just maybe, we have some integrity. "
Although I've yet to make up my mind about the issue in question: regarding Noriega vs. Watts, you'll know it when I have. With no advertisers to please or subscribers to pacify, I say what I believe when I want to, in my own way, on my own timetable. Thanks McB!
It's been an interesting week to say the least. I started out the week with my client in New York, who is... well, was - a very large mortgage company. I had been working with them as an IT Consultant helping them build, and then maintain and extend a website for independent brokers to submit their loans through.
The website was a work of art, and we poured our efforts into it for more than three years, making a very successful run. We had many successes, and to my knowledge, we were scheduled to be featured in a prominent mortgage industry trade magazine for our technology.
But something weird happened: When I showed up on Monday, I heard news that they had suspended trading of the company's stock. I won't go into details, but basically market conditions caused the company to suddenly implode. It was very surreal having on Friday had a plate full of tasks with go-live dates of mid-August to September, and by Wednesday, flying home early, having left a workplace full of people who were packing boxes and saying goodbye.
For me, as a consultant, I go into every job knowing it's only temporary, and that my company is very good at placing me. I have no worries. But for these folks who have lost their jobs due to the machinations of the market and poor judgment in a segment of the business they had no part in, I feel pity.
I'll have a new gig soon. To be honest, I'm somewhat relieved. I was getting burned out, but I didn't want it to end that way.
The Bridge As I was flying home on Wednesday, wondering where I'd be working the next week, some unfortunate people in Minnesota had a really bad day when the bridge they were driving on collapsed from beneath them. As with most tragedies, the first concern is for the victims. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. Already, many bloggers are pointing out that perhaps if we didn't spend so much on this damn Iraq quagmire, we could have afforded to repair this bridge (and others) before it failed.
I'm not so quick to point fingers. I know that there has been some discussion regarding previous inspections of the bridge. I know that there has been a concerted attempt by Republicans in all states to keep taxes low, sometimes at the expense of maintaining our public infrastructure. It's fairly easy to put two and two together, but to try to assign blame at this point seems like political opportunism. I say lets wait until the forensic analysis is done and the engineers have their say. Americans will eventually realize, whether or not this particular incident was a result of fiscal irresponsibility, that sometimes taxing and spending is the cheapest and smartest option. This is what I mean when I talk about Fiscal Progressivism.
Finally, a town in Texas has some sense. I was getting ready to change the lining in my bird cage yesterday when a story headline caught my eye. (Damn paper cuts suck!) When I recovered, I read that the city of Highland Village is getting ready to revise its anti-smoking ordinance to ease up on the smoking of "weeds or other plant products".
When Highland Village Mayor Dianne Costa discussed the current smoking ordinance last week, she wasn’t talking tobacco.
The ordinance, passed in 1987, begins: “Whereas, the smoking of tobacco or weeds or other plant products has been demonstrated to have a detrimental effect…”
“Weeds or other plant products?” Costa said.
The council agreed that the outdated terminology had to go. Costa suggested that they revisit the tenets of the ordinance and strike out the reference to marijuana.
I totally agree with Mayor Costa's puzzlement over "weeds and other plant products" having a detrimental effect. I've been smoking weeds for over um.... a number of years, and they have not had a detrimental effect or any detrimental effects on me.
I called Ms Costa for comment, and she made the following statement:
"Who is this? Do you know what time it is? Are you high right now?"
Indeed, I couldn't have said it better myself Ms. Costa. I think we should make one of those Budweiser "True men of genius" commercials for you, except it would be "True Chicks of Genius". We should totally write that. Yeah, it could be like this:
We salute you miss marijuana-legalization-trigger-law mayor. (Sing along:) "Miss-marijuana-legalization-trigger-law-may-ay-yorrr..." When other mayors waste their time with silly things like streets, water, and police protection, you go straight for the Marijuana references in smoking ordinances. (Sing along:) "Smoking weeds and other plant pro-oood-ucts!" Because of you, when Norml finally gets those pesky federal and state marijuana laws repealed, pot heads everywhere will be able to torch up in the local diner. (Sing along:) "Get wasted at the city cou-in-cil meee-eee-ee-ting". We salute you, Miss marijuana-legalization-trigger-law mayor. This "bud" is for you!
Formr Norml member, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, whose district includes Highland Village (the city name of which is suddenly makes much more sense) was unavailable for comment, but the babe on his answering machine sounds hot! (Call me!)
If you're a regular reader, you may have noticed I haven't written much lately - at least not here. I've still been busy trying to determine how best to complete my article on the Interview with Micheal Burgess. I've had to do a lot of transcription - which I'm not all that good at, and have had to research a couple of the things that he's said. I've got an article coming soon for the Texas Blue, but I'm still editing and re-checking some statistics.
There has been a ton of stuff to write about, for sure, but frankly; it's fatiguing to try to keep up will all of it alone. Hopefully, you're still reading the feeds on the bottom right, and visiting some of them. My favorite reading lately has been a fairly new blog: BlueBloggin
Things around the house have been quiet this week. The kids went to stay with their "pop" - my dad and their grandfather. I think they had fun. Work has been a real pain lately, draining my will to study and write.
At any rate, hopefully I'll get some time and inspiration and have more good stuff posted soon.
In the mean time, I want to again encourage those lurkers to sign up and post your own. Let me know about any local events you may have, and I'll be glad to post it here.
Another thing I'd like to start doing is profiling local small businesses. If you know a local business that does things right and could use some exposure, let me know.
In light of controversy over Presidential pardons in recent administrations, I propose the following Amendment to the United States Constitution:
The President of the United States' right to grant reprieves and pardons, as defined in Article II, Section 2 shall not apply to anyone who has worked in the office of the President or Vice President, or any of the President's Cabinet members. A President may not grant a reprieve or pardon to anyone who has worked within three levels of the chain of command of the President or Vice President at any time during the President's service to the United States in any capacity. Pardons and Reprieves may not be granted between the first day of October in Presidential election years, and the following January 21st. A President may not grant a blanket pardon or reprieve for unspecified crimes, but rather may only do so for specific convictions.
I believe we can get bipartisan support for this amendment. Please email it to your Congressman and Senators today!
Well, it's another sleepless night here - at least for me. MamaSk8z is snoring loudly next to me, and I am writing - about nothing in particular.
Today I had a very bad case of Fridayitis. I'm on vacation all week this coming week, so I was able to crack open a beer just before 5 today, and enjoy some time sitting on the front porch, playing my guitar, and conversing with neighbors.
Work has sucked lately due to a lot of travel, and just general burnout. I hope that the coming week will refresh me a bit in that regard.
I had started writing a bit of an outline as to where I hoped for the website to go, and the niche I wanted it to fill, but it sits in the folder of unposted items, still waiting for me to finish. I suppose that if I had to do this for a living, it would be no fun. The joy in blogging is writing about what you want when you want to. I have no deadlines, and I have no mandates of "must cover" materials.
That being said, I think that for a person who lives in Lewisville, you could do worse than to set your homepage up for WhosPlayin.com. With the news feeds, local coverage, opinion, and photos, everything you need is at your fingertips. If there's something I could add that would make it the perfect homepage, let me know.
One of the things that has hit me pretty hard lately - a gut shot, if you will- is that I cannot change the world by myself. I know it sounds simple, but a lot of times, I find myself highly frustrated when I don't see people stepping up to the plate to take on tough issues, or stand up to politicians that let us down, or sell us out. In the course of my coverage of the Lewisville Council elections, and in my time in the Democratic Party, I've learned so much that it's humbling. Basically in a nutshell, what I've learned is that each person should do what they can do at the level they can do it, and not try to bite off too much. Sure, it's tempting to say "If I were in charge, I would..." but that's not where change starts.
True change starts within the minds and hearts of individuals, who gradually come to realize that their previous perceptions were wrong, or that there is some imbalance or imperfection in "the way things are". As a father with two boys - now 8 and almost 7, I realize that family is the first level of governance. For myself and my family, we make our own "Energy Policy". We try to teach our children non-violent dispute resolution. We protect the environment by taking it upon ourselves to just do it. We don't wait for government to tell us to. We make our household an example of what we choose to make for our world. Others volunteer their time and money to fill in where government fails.
For me, my circle of influence may be small now - and that's ok with me. But I'm out here opening up my life to the general public and speaking my mind. It may be considered by some to be a Career Limiting Move - but I'm compelled by patriotism (and sometimes sleeplessness or boredom) to tell my thoughts, and let people know that I am a Texas Democrat, and I am your neighbor.
I've not done a perfect job as a citizen journalist, to be sure. One of my greatest failings here on this blog, I think is to have expended so much effort trying to play "gotcha, you S.O.B". There are plenty of other worthy news outlets for that sort of thing. Not that there isn't a place for it here when other news outlets fail, but it doesn't come without risks. It can cause more polarization and politicization of things - which is expressly NOT my intent here.
You know, in person, I absolutely LOVE talking politics - especially with those folks that consider themselves conservatives. Reason being, that I used to be one. I do tend to eschew labels for myself, but what I find, 90% of the time, is that when I talk to conservatives, there is more to agree on than to disagree on. And on the points where we disagree, we often agree that they're not that important.
OK, I'm rambling. I know it. Happens when I'm tired. Just have to do some more brain dump. Bear with me.
So another thing I find interesting is the amount of readership of this blog by folks on Capitol hill. We get an awful lot of hits from the Washington, DC area. We get a lot of .gov hits, a few .mil hits, some hits from the City of Lewisville's computers, and dentoncounty.com. I think it was interesting that last week, I published a piece called "WhosRunnin, WhosNot" where I shared some gossip that has been piling up regarding our local Denton County politicians. Within one hour of the website being viewed by someone at house.gov, there was a post from the Republican chairwoman disputing some of what I said. Definitely shows that there is a line of communication from Washington back to the local Republican Party.
Lastly, an administrative thing: I am embarrassed to admit that I simply cannot get this website's email feature to work correctly. It has prevented users from being able to register and post blogs and comments. If you've tried to register, and failed, feel free to email me and I'll activate your account. Unfortunately, we have to control access to prevent spam. I end up deleting at least 6 posts per day from spammers. I rarely if ever, would delete a post or comment with anything substantial in it - even if I disagree with its content. We had a pretty good discussion here recently about health care policy reform, and I'd like to use that as an example of the type of civility that would be ideal for this website.
Marsha Keffer is a long-time Denton, TX resident, and loyal Democrat. She has decorated one of her bathrooms in her house in a distinctly Democratic motif. Click on any of the pictures to see a better quality photograph. You've got to see this.
I just about had an aneurysm today when I heard what my kids did in summer camp. I won't mention any names here, since my kids know who they are. By the time they're old enough to read this, I suppose this post will be irrelevant.
Anyhow, this morning, my wife gives my 7 and 8 year old sons $20 each as payment for their allowances, having spent yesterday cleaning the house, and also as an advance for this week's work. I think she did this partly as a test. She told them to make it last all week.
Today when they came home, they bitched and moaned about how they *hated* the baseball game they were *forced* to go see in Frisco. They said it was "more boring than football".
My 7 year old has 4 dollars, and my 8 year old has 1 dollar left. What do they have to show for it? Well, not a good time. Not much of anything.
They both bought foam fingers with their money. Knowing my sons, I ask them: "Are they torn up yet?". "Yes," was the answer from the 7 year old. The 8 year old lost his, after it was torn up. Great.
And here's another good one: We put their asthma inhalers in their bag - with the understanding that the camp staff would keep them just in case one of our sons needed it. Nope, they gave it back to the older one, who put the inhalers in their lunch bag. End of lunch, he throws away the bag. So, it's going to be a couple of at least $10 co-pays for me, and the insurance company will pay the rest. I'm not even sure what the retail price of an albuterol inhaler is.
So, the problem is that my kids are irresponsible with money. They lose it, blow it on crap, and constantly lose and damage other things that cost me money.
Anyone have any ideas about how I could get my sons to understand the correlation between work and money, and also the correlation between damaging things, and how much work it takes to replace?
I've got them doing the laundry right now, but I really want to drive the point home. I want to do it in an instructive and non-humiliating way. If you have any ideas, please post them. I'd much appreciate it.