Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sympathy For Donnie Mack

If I lived in Detroit and I had a football team that consistantly could be counted on to win one game in a sixteen game season, I'd appreciate a quarterback who could elevate my team to five NFC championship games right? Say this quarterback took my team to a Super Bowl? Damn, if we won or not... we went there! To cap my argument, say that this quarterback and his football team finishes in the top two or at least third seed every year that he's been here and the team can be counted on to make the playoffs every year, wouldn't you love him? Wouldn't you make him untouchable? The Answer is a big "Yes!" So, how come Philadelphia fans can't show Donovan McNabb some love?

I had an argument with someone who is not a football fan but followed the party line of saying that it is time for McNabb to go. I pointed out to this person all of McNabb's positives... playoffs every year, division titles, conference championship appearences, and Super Bowl appearences. And, not to mention his stats, which are right up there with Brady, Manning, and Farve. But this person wasn't hearing it. They kept saying that McNabb had to go. I asked them why and they couldn't give me a reason (not one that made any sense). They just insisted that he had to go.

Philadelphia fans can be the most fickle and unforgiving (not to mention embarrassing) fans on the face of the earth. They make me ashamed sometimes to say I'm one of them. There is some goofy sportscaster that still brings up the 1969 incident when Philly fans threw snowballs at Santa Claus during an Eagles loss. (I was at that game. I was about 11 years old and traumatized!) The Eagles used to lose a lot back then and Philly fans forget that. They need to talk to fans in Detroit, who would rejoice if their team could win five or six games in a season.

Under Donovan McNabb, we have been guarunteed at least eleven win seasons every year. Wanna go back to four win seasons? I asked this person I was arguing with about McNabb, who would we get in return for McNabb? You know, of equal value? And, of course, they couldn't tell me. We have Michael Vick and we have a good young back-up quarterback in Kevin Kolb, but a Donovan McNabb only comes around once in a blue moon, so I say stick with him. He's a free agent after this season is over anyway

The Eagles have already traded away fan favorites, Westbrook and Dawkins. If they trade McNabb now, can they live with several seasons of Detroit Lion-like records? I'm betting we here in Philly can't do it!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Trouble With Knee-Grows

Republican National Chairman, Michael Steele's spending habits have come under question recently and the Chairman isn't liking it at all. If this isn't a case of the chickens coming home to roost, I don't know what is. You see, the shine isn't coming from the Democrats or liberals... it's coming from the Republican Party. The same Republican Party that he is the chairman of.

According to two knowledgeable sources (okay, if you say so), Michael Steele once raised the possibility of using party money to buy a private jet for his travel. "I know that… regular ongoing use of planes was something that was looked at,” says one person with direct knowledge. “I can’t speak to how serious those inquiries were." Hmmmmmm!

Both sources say Steele considered purchasing a plane outright or buying fractional ownership in one, through a company such as NetJets. Steele’s spokesman, Doug Heye, did not deny that such discussions took place, responding that the RNC never had a "plan" to buy a plane. "I don’t know what somebody might have discussed or might not have discussed." Hmmmmmm, again!

While Steele has not purchased a plane, he continues to charter them. According to federal disclosure records, the RNC spent $17,514 on private aircraft in the month of February alone (as well as $12,691 on limousines during the same period). There are no readily identifiable private plane expenses for Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine in the DNC’s last three months of filings.

A livid Michael Steele took a minute to hand out a few dirt naps to his Republican party critics. "I tell them to get a life. That’s old Washington, that’s old ways, and I don’t represent that, and that kills them." he said in an interview today.

He went on to say... "I’m telling them and I’m looking them in the eye and saying I’ve had enough of it. If you don’t want me in the job, fire me. But until then, shut up. Get with the program or get out of the way." Oh really? Is it like that now, Mike? They just might fire you. "Some of my prior chairmen, who are running their mouths right now -- How many farm teams did you build as chairman?" he snapped.

"All I’m saying is cut it out. If we have party differences that are inside the party, let’s deal with them inside the party. You don’t see the Democrats running around trying to beat up their national chairman or embarrass him." he continued. Now Michael Steele is beginning to understand just who he is to his party, though he won't admit it. He's still a team player. It's a shame some members of his party don't consider him part of their team! Sounds to me like the tide may be turning for old boy. I have sat back with puzzled indifference as the Republican Party has trotted Michael Steele out as it's mascot and then preceded to disrespect the brother.

Last fall, he said that Rush Limbaugh was not the head of the Republican party... that he, Micheal Steele, was the man the media should be interviewing about official party policies. A few weeks later he had to go on Fox TV and apologize to the De Facto leader of the Republican Party. Oh, wait a minute... that would be you, Brother Steele, wouldn't it? Oh, I don't have my score card with me. It's hard to tell from one week to another. It was Glenn Beck a few weeks ago.

And see brother, this is the trouble with you knee-grows... they trot you out for the world to see and you don't have the good sense to go along with the program. You gotta spend money, you gotta actually believe that you're the boss. Silly knee-grows!

Come home brother (says Keith, doing his best Louis Farrakhan impression). Come home brother... you been mislead, you been hoodwinked, you been bamboozled, you've been tricked. Come home, Good Brother Steele.

See, that's the problem with you knee-grows... You think because you can eat cavier today, that nobody is ever going to remind you that you once loved collard greens!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. If I believed every perception and misperception held about me at the moment, my feelings might be hurt!

2. The trait I most deplore about myself is that I seem to need validation from
people who have nothing to do with my being here or my well-being.

3. I'm not a hard boiled man. I'm a family guy, but I deal with quite a few hard
boiled people in my day-to-day life.

4. The trait I most value in a friend is loyalty. You can't measure that or put a
price on it!

5. My greatest regret is having a regret!

6. The most overused phrase I keep hearing is... "At the end of the day...." Please, don't anybody else say that around me!

7. The thing I most admire about myself is that I don't take myself too seriously. Some folks
have me scratching my head with their over-bloated sense of self-importance.

8. Why do people go on social networking sites and only socialize with people they know? Apparently the word "networking" got by them at some point.

9. My favorite writers at the moment would have to be Zane and Walter Mosley! (The fact that
I just purchased new novels by both has nothing to do with it.)

10. Spring and warm temperatures always seems to bring out the best in me.

11. Resilient people adapt to whatever situation fate places them in. This is why nothing gets them down or stops them from being successful.

12. Is it me or is ABC suddenly becoming the network to watch again, like it was in the 70's (for those of you who remember)?

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bracket Blues

If I were a gambler, I'd be at the aid office, asking for a ticket back to my hometown. I would be (in other words) straight busted! Syracuse just lost to Butler. Not only that, but seemingly every team I've rooted for this March has lost... Villanova, Temple, Kansas... for crying out loud, Kansas! The President (who picked North Carolina as the eventual winner last year) picked Kansas to win it all and they got beat Saturday Night!

I wrote on my Facebook page just this past Sunday Night that Syracuse was my saving grace. Well, so much for that... Willie Veasley scored 5 of his 13 points during an 11-0 run down the stretch and the Bulldogs rallied to upset No. 1 seed Syracuse 63-59 last night in the West Regional semi-finals for their 23rd straight victory. The fifth-seeded Bulldogs (31-4) fought through Syracuse's vaunted zone defense and kept the Orange boys (30-5) from getting their fast break going most of the night.

Now, after reaching the regional finals for the first time in school history, Butler is one win from going home to Indianapolis for its first Final Four. Say it ain't so ma, say it aint so... Butler, in the Final Four?

Gordon Hayward scored 17 points and started the celebration, while dribbling out the clock after the Bulldogs forced Syracuse into its 18th turnover. Wes Johnson had 17 points and 9 rebounds for Syracuse, the second No. 1 seed to go down. Northern Iowa stunned top-ranked Kansas in the second round of the Midwest Regional just Saturday night, as I stated above.

There were some mild boos, but not as many as you'd think. When the score was announced at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY, where West Virginia beat Washington in the East Regional semifinals, that was me screaming... screaming all the way from Philadelphia!

So, I'm a man with no brackets. They are all shot to hell now. If I watch anymore so-called "March Madness", it's clearly just because I'm a basketball fanatic and it's pure entertainment... Which is the whole point of sports anyway, right? Not!

Have a great weekend everybody!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today Is My Birthday!

I'm on vacation, but I'll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Now That The Smoke Has Cleared

Some final thoughts on the historic passage of the Health Care Reform Bill...

Sunday night, as the votes were tallied and the health care initiative passed, I was happy. I was proud of my president and I was happy for some members of the legislature who chose to do what is right for the American people, even though it could possibly mean their political ruin.

Despite all of this, there was still an "idiot" moment. A politician who should know better yelled out, "Baby Killer". Remember last year, when the Republican senator from South Carolina yelled out, "You Lie!?"

A Republican congressman from Texas on Monday admitted that he shouted “baby killer” from the House floor as Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) defended his change of position on health care legislation on Sunday. But Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) said that his remark was a comment on the bill itself and not directed at the Michigan lawmaker. Okay, if he says so.

"In the heat and emotion of the debate, I exclaimed the phrase 'it's a baby killer' in reference to the agreement reached by the Democratic leadership," Neugebauer said in a statement released by his office. "While I remain heartbroken over the passage of this bill and the tragic consequences it will have for the unborn, I deeply regret that my actions were mistakenly interpreted as a direct reference to Congressman Stupak himself. Again... okay, if he says so.

"I have apologized to Mr. Stupak and also apologize to my colleagues for the manner in which I expressed my disappointment about the bill. The House Chamber is a place of decorum and respect. The timing and tone of my comment last night was inappropriate."

Yeah, it was inappropriate. Once again, we have an elected official, an adult, acting like a schoolboy and having to apologize for outlandish behavior. For all of their bitching, moaning, and whining about how bad this bill is and how it's socialized medicine and what not, I have not heard the opposition party offer an alternative once. I have challenged them to offer an alternative in several of my posts and I have yet to see or hear of one.

This tells me that there really was no alternative policy... that all the opposition wanted was business as usual. I do mean business. The insurance companies are big business and they have been making a lot of money off the backs of the American people.

Well, I got news for 'em all... What does the current health care industry (before reform was passed) have in common with leisure suits, eight track tapes, cassettes, disco, and Republican scare tactics and misinformation?

Answer: They are all relics of the past and like those relics, they are gone, baby. Gone!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Speak No Racism, See No Racism, Hear No Racism

Angry (and stupid) demonstrators opposed to health care reform legislation gathered outside the Capitol on Sunday, hours before a climactic vote on the Democrats' overhaul of the nation's health care system.

Democratic leaders were heckled as they made their way to the Capitol from a nearby House office building. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led her caucus across the street with a gavel in one hand and the other on the arm of Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, who had been harassed by protesters on Saturday. Protesters shouted Pelosi's name and chanted "kill the bill."

Police arrested two people in the House gallery Sunday after they yelled during a debate session on the bill. Disruptions are banned in the chamber. Several Republican lawmakers stood up and cheered during the interruption. Typical. Imagine if this had been President Bush and Democrats had cheered during an outburst on the floor. Imagine how Fox News would have spun that.

These are Rush Limbaugh people. These are the folks he, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and a number of Republican hacks have inflamed with their campaigns of misinformation. These are also the kooks from the far right and knucklehead fringe that (as I've said before) are to the Republicans what that girl is who you secretly see at night but don't want your friends or anybody you know to see you with.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who has also reportedly been a target of heckling by health bill opponents, called the cheering GOP lawmakers "clowns." "I've never seen this... for the Republicans to stand up and cheer the guy on," he said. The disruptions came one day after a raucous protest including chants laced with racial epithets aimed at black members of Congress.

The tone was set outside the Capitol. Clogging the sidewalks and streets of Capitol Hill were at least hundreds (no official estimate was yet available) of loud, furious protesters, many of them tea party opponents of the health care overhaul.

Rallies outside the Capitol are typically orderly, with speeches and well-behaved crowds. Saturday's gathering was different, with anger-fueled demonstrators surrounding members of Congress who walked by, yelling at them and spitting on them.

I am told that these kooks used the word nigger 15 times. So, let's stop playing games and dancing around the issue. Let's talk about what this really is... this isn't about health care reform at all. Granted, I know that a few people honestly don't understand this bill because it is complicated, even for otherwise intelligent folks. But these folks don't really care about the bill... this is about their racism and their hatred of the fact that a Black man sits in the White House. The tea baggers just can't get over it. They have been wanting to call him a nigger for so long that they just couldn't hold it in any longer. President Obama could have said "one plus one equals two" and these people would still have called him a nigger, just like they did him and the other Black members of Congress yesterday. It was truly disgraceful.

The motorcade that carried President Obama to Capitol Hill to whip up support for the bill drove past crowds waving signs that read "Stop the spending" and "Get your hands out of my pocketbook and health care." Many booed and thrust their thumbs down as President Obama rode by. As police held demonstrators back to clear areas for lawmakers outside the Capitol during President Obama's speech, some protesters jeered and chanted at the officers, "You work for us."

Republican leadership and the organizers of the tea bag protests denounced the behavior of these kooks and then, did a double-take and tried to deny that any of the racist chanting and harrassing happened in the first place. Just what I expected. I've heard that John Lewis , a former civil rights activist from the 60's said that he heard things in that mob that he hadn't heard since 1960.

Yet, Matt Kibe, an organizer of the tea bag movement, sat on MSNBC yesterday and said that he didn't hear any racist chants and no arrests were made, even though the Washington Police said that they made three arrests. In other words, this was all fantasy... just like their misinformation campaign, which has led to all of this trouble.

The sad thing about all of this is that some of these tea baggers don't have health care themselves. If one of them was injured tomorrow... let's say, my foot got stuck up the crack of one of their hind parts... they wouldn't have medical coverage to remove it. And yet, they are on the side of the big insurance companies and fat cats who are trying to kill the bill and who, by the way, have the best health care their money can buy. This is the true genius of the Republican party... that they can take a certain segment of poor people and make them work against their class interests. And, how do they do that? With racism.

These poor clowns are in the same economic boat as me, but they would rather stop me (and themselves) from having anything just to make a point. Tomorrow is not going to be any better for them and it's a shame that they can't even see it.

P.S. The House passed health care reform by a vote of 219-212, so take that tea baggers!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Keith's Favorite Quotes

"Procrastination isn't the problem. It's the solution, so procrastinate now... Don't put it off." - Ellen DeGeneres

Thursday, March 18, 2010

In The Lion's Mouth

My grandmother used to say that when your head is "stuck in the lion's mouth, you've gotta ease it out slowly"... which to me meant, "Know where you are and how much you can and can't do at all times. Tread lightly when you must." So, when I heard today's news, all of this came to my mind.

President Barack Obama will appear on Fox News to rally last-minute support for the health care reform bill. I immediately thought, What? Say what? Special Report's Bret Baier will sit down with President Obama on Wednesday at 6/5C for an interview regarding the proposed legislation. The interview will be followed by an in-depth panel that will analyze President Obama's responses. The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill later this week.

President Obama has said that he would like a live televised Health Care Summit, which is all well and good, but on FOX? Unfair and unbalanced Fox TV? Makes me shake my head. We welcome the opportunity," Brett Baier wrote on his blog. (Yeah, everybody's got one and a Facebook page and a Twitter page!) "We're going to try to really get some specifics from President Obama on a number of different topics." That means, we are really going to try and stick it to the President, if we can.

I for one will break my self-imposed ban of all things FOX and try to catch the Presient's appearence on the Fox Network. Remember Barack, remember the words of my grandmother... "When your head is in the lion's mouth, you gotta ease it out slowly." Watch ya back and protect ya neck!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Random Thoughts

1. It's funny how I wrote a blog post yesterday about being in the hospital four years ago for food poisoning and then I wound up in the hospital Monday night for undisclosed chest pains. Talk about irony. (I'm okay. It wasn't heart-related. It was muscle pain.)

2. I need a warm beach and pure blue water in my life right now!

3. The Blogosphere was so alive with so many interesting and meaningful conversations in 2008 when I came into the game. Then, everybody got into Facebook and Twitter and it seems like the content of good blogging started to drop.

4. Thanks to fellow bloggers, Carey Carey, Mizrepresent, Don, 12Kyle, Terry Campbell, Zack, and SLC for keeping the game alive and interesting.

5. If health care doesn't get passed and we go back to business as usual, I'm betting the Republicans will blame it's failure on President Obama, when they did everything they could do to assure that it failed.

6. Tiger is back! Should women working in Hooters and Dave & Busters be concerned? Just asking!

7. If somebody on the 76ers coaching staff and management team could pretend they had a clue, couldn't we at least have made 8th seed in the playoffs this year?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bad Diner

Years ago, my grandmother told me that if I ever went into a restaurant or any place where food was being served and the bathroom was nasty or unkept, not to eat there. "Get up and walk out because if they can't clean the restroom, chances are, they ain't cleanin' the kitchen." Now this is common sense and it makes more sense to me today than it did many years ago when she said it.

She, my mother, my aunts said many things. Some stuck with me and other things, like this, went in one ear and out the other. So, why did I go into this Jamaican joint and order up a plate of ox tails one night four years ago? (Something that horrified my mother and aunt upon hearing that I had consumed it.)

The food was really good... ox tails with rice and peas. In all fairness, I ate the food before I went to the restroom and it was bad. It was so bad that I decided I wasn't going to use it. Instead, I walked three blocks to another restaraunt where the restroom was cleaner. For a "guy" to say a public restroom was bad, says a whole lot about how filthy this restroom was!

I went home, went to sleep, and then went to work the next morning. Soon after I arrived at work, I noticed that I was sweating profusely. I felt weak... weaker than I'd ever felt before and pains wracked my stomach in a way I'd never felt before. I began to panic. I realized that something was wrong. I was in trouble. I tried to dial my cell phone for help but didn't seem to have the strength to do it. That's how bad I felt.

I called a friend for help and he walked me to the hospital, which luckily wasn't that far away. They pumped my stomach and put a cold towell on my forehead and told me to rest. Apparently, I had suffered a mild case of food poisoning.

My wife and my daughter came up to the hospital and I told them my story. I still hadn't put together the "restaraunt and restroom" thing. It wasn't until later... much later. So, this morning on my drive to work, I see the owner of that same restaurant (which by the way, I never ate at again) being walked to a police car in handcuffs and I had to wonder...

Whatever he was accused of doing probably didn't have anything to do with the cleanliness or "lack of" cleanliness in his establishment, but it did make me think. I saw my grandmother in the rearveiw mirror of my car, sitting in the backseat with her arms folded, saying... "See? He shoulda cleaned that nasty bathroom. I told you not to eat in places like that."

If there was a lesson to be learned from this, it was simply that a lot of things your parents and grandparents tell you, might not make sense at the time they are telling you, but it's good to listen to them. What they say always seems to have a way of manifesting itself at some time in your life when you least expect it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekend Update

There is an old saying that when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I always try to live by that saying. So, during my first free weekend in ages in which I wasn't supposed to be anywhere, didn't have anything to do, and no mountains of snow anywhere in sight to further discourage or depress me, what does it do? It rains and boy, oh boy, oh boy, did it rain! And, the wind was blowing something crazy! From inside my house, it sounded much worse than it actually was.

I remembered that this was the Saturday I set aside to have my oil changed and my car inspected so actually, I did have something to do and someplace to go. If it had been a sunny day, I was going to get up, get out early, have a nice relaxing breakfast, and drive to my dealership in the nearby suburbs and have my car inspected. Instead, I turned back over and continued sleeping until about quarter-to-ten and realized... "I've got to be there in an hour!" This was one of those "Awwww, s^%&!" moments I often talk about.

I showered, shaved, brushed, and then got dressed. I didn't have time to have a relaxing breakfast or pack some cool CD's for the car. I just grabbed the ZANE novel I had been reading and had promised to finish for close to two months and hopped in my ride and headed out to my

Let me tell you, I absolutely love my dealership. It's super clean, they have comfortable couches and seating in the back, it's Wifi-compatible, and they have 3 or 4 TV monitors in the lounge area. One monitor had CNN, another had ESPN, yet another had VH-1 (or MTV), and still another is showing an old classic black and white movie. If you're having your car inspected or worked on, there is an endless pot of hot coffee and tumblers awaiting you.

I sat back and got into my book, while sipping on coffee and an orange juice I had purchased from the vending machine. I got so engrossed in the novel that I never realized how much time had gone by. The manager of the spot, the one who had sold me my car last year, tapped me on the shoulder.

"Hey, I've just seen your next car," he said with a smile. He and I have become somewhat friendly since he sold me my car last year. I stopped by there to get a credit card a few months later and some months after that, to get some minor maintenance done on my car. So, hearing him say that he's just seen my next car was no surprise. He always says that, plus he's a
salesman... that's his job.

We walked out on the showroom and he showed me what just might be my next car... Lord willing, bank account willing. It was two cars, really... a gray 2010 Altima and a jet black 2010 Maxima. Both had gorgeous leather interior and naturally, were sparkling and shiny... the way my car looked to me last year when I was seeing it for the first time.

"Listen, you wanna test drive it?" He said. "What?, In this weather? Are you sure?" I said. "Ahhh, what's a little bit of rain?" he said. He tossed me the keys and pointed to the black 2010 Maxima on the lot in front of us. They had my registration, proof of insurance, and my car keys in their possesion, so it's not like I could run off with anything. They knew where to find me and since I've become like a fixture around there, I said to myself, why not? Boy did that car drive smooth... just like mine appeared to drive last year when I test drove it. (Anything always seems better than what you have.)

I drove the car about two counties down and then brought it back. It had a port for an I-Pod in it and whoever owned the IPod had some cool sounds on the playlist... Steely Dan, Breakwater, Sade, Anthony Hamilton, Jill Scott, Maxwell, Coldplay, etc. I was impressed with the music and the car!

I brought the car back, returned the keys, and told the manager in all seriousness that he might be right... that either the Maxima or Altima might just be my next car. Unfortunately he didn't have the Altima available for me to test drive at the moment. It was lunchtime and I walked across the street and got myself an Italian combo sandwich on the best home baked bread you have ever tasted and a Mediterranean Salmon Salad for my wife.

By the time I finished my sandwich and returned to the dealership, the car inspection and oil change were done and my car was ready to roll again for at least another year. All of this took place in little under three hours. I got back in my car, drove off of the lot, and headed home. Not bad for a Saturday in which the city was buffeted by a potentially fun-ending noreaster.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Weekend Humor

A man and his ever-nagging wife went on vacation in Jerusalem. While they were there, the wife passed away. The undertaker told the husband, "You can have her buried here in the Holy Land for $150 or we can have her shipped back home for $5,000.

The husband thought about it and told the undertaker he would have her shipped back home. The undertaker asked him, "Why would you spend $5,000 to have her shipped home when you could have a beautiful burial here, and it would only cost $150?"

The husband replied, "Long ago, a man died here, was buried here, and three days later, rose from the dead. I just can’t take that chance!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Continuing Dialogue

The more I try to understand what's going on and what's not going on in our nation's capital, the more I feel as though the Republican strategy is simply to make this President fail at everything, regardless of how it effects the nation as a whole. Let's just mess up everything he does because we can.

Recently Republicans dug in against calls from Democrats for a stand-alone agency to protect consumers from abusive tactics on credit cards, mortgages, and other financial instruments. It seems that the Republicans wanted banking regulators to take the lead in enforcing consumer rules, but Democrats argued that such a system would water down consumer protections. Such a system is akin to asking the fox to guard the hen house.

It doesn't matter if it's health care reform or, in this case, the reform of the financial system... a system badly in need of reform. Everytime the president and his administration try to do anything, they get a knee-jerk reaction from the Republicans. "NO. We are against this." They have become the party of "No".

Everybody knows how I feel about this... screw 'em! You got a majority so, go it alone. They certainly did what they wanted to do when they were in power. One Republican, Senator Robert Corker has actually been trying to work with Senator (and senate Banking Committee Chairman) Christopher Dodd on a compromise. The bill Chairman Dodd will unveil Monday contains some elements negotiated with Corker, both senators emphasized, but key stumbling blocks, including how much authority to give to a new consumer financial protection agency, still remain.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said he would try to expedite any proposals that Dodd manages to get out of his committee. "We have to make sure that everyone acknowledges that we can't have institutions that are too big to fail," Reid said... adding that he plans for the full Senate to consider a bill before lawmakers take a break at the end of May.

It's too late. We already have two institutions that recently got big cash handouts (i.e. bailouts) that are clearly "too big to fail". The House of Representatives had approved its own bill in December that would bring the most sweeping regulatory reforms since the 1930s. Others said Democrats appeared to hope that public anger at banks might persuade some Republicans to join in the effort to stiffen rules for banks and other financial firms. No chance. All they'll do is mislead the public into thinking that this is yet another Obama gaffe.

Senator Corker said that he and Chairman Dodd had achieved bipartisan agreement that the rule-writing and enforcement functions of consumer protection would be separate. He said the main stumbling blocks were in the areas of derivatives regulation and whether to give shareholders greater say in electing corporate officers.

It seems to me that we are worrying more about shareholders than the greater public good... but, that's just me. We all know what that is about and who is whispering in who's ear. Until then, all you and I can do is sit and watch the people we elected wrangle over our welfare while we hope and pray that our lives improve when the smoke and political posturing clears.

Yeah, we can always hope!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Howard Stern

I always pictured myself as a guy with an open mind and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. I would say around 1991 or 1992, one of my white co-workers told me about this guy Howard Stern. He raved about how funny this guy was in the morning. I had never heard of Stern before so, I gave him a listen. This was long before he went to satellite radio.

Upon listening to Howard Stern's show, I immediately found it to be very sophomoric. I'm a silly guy by nature and I love a good joke like the next man, but this show and the humor on it seemed to remind me of guys I went to high school with. Mind you, I was 29 or 30 years old by the time I heard Howard Stern for the first time and the show was too silly for me. Not that I'm so sophisticated... I'm not. But, by then, I was beyond fart jokes and toilet humor.

The thing that really turned me off to his show was the subtle brand of racism that was just below the surface of all of his humor. There were his endless stories of how he was beaten up and bullied by black kids when he was in high school in Long Island and how he'd begged his parents to move out of Roosevelt, which was becoming all Black by then. He even told a story about how he came to school and the black kids took his pants from him and he had to walk around all day with no pants on. (Now, I did find that story funny!)

If he barely tried to hide his racism... his listeners didn't hide theirs at all. They called up and said some outrageous things and were barely ever checked by him. To make matters worse, His sidekick, Robin Quivers (who is Black or at least, that's the rumor), sat there and giggled at everything that was said. I couldn't believe her. I found myself being irritated more by her than him... and believe me that was hard.

He had a member of the Ku Klux Klan on his show once that came close to calling her a nigger and she sat there and laughed it off. Of course, Howard was making fun of the man, but he still didn't check the guy once. This guy is disrespecting your co-host and you don't stand up for her? That was all I could take. After that show, I never listened to him again.

My white co-workers used to laugh and howl at everything he said. They never understood why I couldn't listen to Howard Stern anymore. He had a television show for awhile and these guys used to come to work and quote everything he said verbatim. I would usually walk away when the subject of Stern came up. They thought I was being over sensitive. The same way an old man referred to me one time as "Shine" and his nephew, while very apologetic said... ''Look, he's an old man. He's from that time, man." I said... "Well, I'm from this time and I might just say somethin' out my mouth that will make him wish he were back in his time." They just didn't get it.

Stern's many lawsuits and his feuds with the FCC didn't interest me in the least bit. In many cases, I felt as though he deserved the fines he got. When popular Latin singer Selena was murdered, He discussed her murder while machine guns and a recording of Speedy Gonzales running from Sylvester the cat played in the background. Of course, Robin Quivers thought this was hilarious. Well, the Mexicans didn't. They threatened to boycott several of the radio stations that broadcasted his newly syndicated show in Texas and New Mexico. The Company that was syndicating his show demanded that he apologize for the bit and in a rare moment, he actually did apologize.

African-Americans jumped all over Don Imus a few years ago when he made an ignorant remark he made about some Black female basketball players, yet we have never threatened to shut down Howard Stern's radio show. He has said way more ignorant things about Black people than Imus ever has. Stern has long since left "free" radio. He's on satellite radio now, which means you have to pay to hear him. I'll be damned! I wouldn't listen to his ignorance for free, I definitely will not pay to hear him.

The latest Stern controversy is what he said today about Oscar Nominee, Gabourey Sidibe... “There’s the most enormous, fat, black chick I’ve ever seen. She is enormous. Everyone’s pretending she’s a part of show business and she’s never going to be in another movie.” And, on Oprah Winfrey, he said… “Oprah’s another liar, a filthy liar. She’s telling an enormous woman the size of a planet that she’s going to have a career.”

People always defend Howard Stern by saying that he says "what everybody else is thinking but won't say." Who is this "everybody else"? The mean-spirited, stupid ignoramuses that listen to this guy and actually think he's funny? Yeah, that's who he speaks for... the tea party set. And, I'm finding out much to my dismay that there are a whole lot of them out there.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Is That A Promise (Or Are You Just Teasing Us)?

Rush Limbaugh claims he'll leave the country if health care reform passes, or so he claimed on his show yesterday. Check this out folks...

Caller: "If the health care bill passes, where would you go for health care yourself? And the second part of that is, what would happen to the doctors? Do they have to participate in the federal program or could they opt out of it? "

Limbaugh: "My guess is that even in Canada and even in the UK, doctors have opted out. And once they’ve opted out, they can’t see anybody, Medicare, Medicaid, or what will become the exchanges. They have to have a clientele of private patients that will pay them a retainer and it’ll be a very small practice. I don’t know if that’s been outlawed in the Senate bill. I don’t know. I’ll just tell you this, if this passes and it’s five years from now and all that stuff gets implemented, I am leaving the country. I’ll go to Costa Rica."

I am not even going to deal with his lies, half truths, and misconceptions about health care reform as proposed in the United States or socialized health care as practiced in Canada, Sweden, the U.K., and other enlightened nations. All I'm going to say is that news of him promising to leave the country and end his radio show is just one more reason I want health care reform to pass. Mental health is important too, you know. So Rush, if health care passes, get to steppin'. We will all be better off for it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What The Hell?

I don't know why the bad behavior of some people always gets to me. I mean, I hear other people's stories of how bad some people they deal with's behavior can be, but I suppose you don't actually believe it until you see it.

Saturday, I was at a car wash, the line was backed up ran and into the street. Then, this borish man decides that lines aren't for me. I'm going to cut in front of somebody and get my car washed because waiting in line is for those other people, not me. He cut in front of a woman who was in the car in front of mine. I screamed bloody murder and honked my horn. My wife got out of the car and walked up to his window to talk to him. She told him that there was only one lane and that he was cutting in front of people who had been waiting their turn to get their car washed. He ignored what she said, told her that there were two lanes, and that he was merging with the traffic. Complete fiction!

I got out of my car, stormed into the office, and informed the female manager that this guy was cutting in front of everyone. I told her that he said there were two lanes when it was clearly one lane and she agreed. He was standing right there so, I said to him... "God don't like ugly! You know you're wrong, man!" He looked into the horizon as though I wasn't there. He had already paid his money and his car was on a conveyor belt getting a wash and wax.

So finally, I decided to really put him on blast. I yelled out... "This man jumped in front of all of these people who have been waiting for a long time to get their car washed and that ain't right!" This caused two men and an elderly lady to start yelling at him. "Hey man, I saw you, you can't do that! What's up with you?" It was if no one was there. He turned, without saying a word to any of us, and walked out of the office. As he was walking out, the manager said to him... "Don't come back here again!" He smirked and kept walking. I ran after him but by the time I got outside, my wife informed me that his car was done so, he got in his car and pulled off. I was furious but there was nothing else left to do. He had displayed a total disregard for everyone else and got away with it. The injustice of the situation didn't set well with me.

Sunday night, I was watching the Oscars and some brother is getting an award for some short film that not only did I not see but never heard of. The next thing I know, while he is giving his speech, some woman named Elinor Burkett is running toward the stage. Another woman (who I found out later is the Oscar winner's mother) throws her cane out and trys to trip the woman but fails. The woman runs up on the stage, rudely cuts in, and starts talking all over the winner. A Kanye West moment! Can you believe this? Only in Hollywood! Nobody did anything and I'm sitting there incredulous!

There are just people in the world who are pigs. Rules, regulations, and proper decorum does not apply to them, that is for those other people. And, these boorish louts are the ones who will scream the loudest when someone has done something to them, but have no respect at all or empathy for anyone else. They only feel their own pain.

When I was a younger man, that boorish guy in the car wash would have gotten his tires flattened or a "damn good whacking". But as an adult, I don't roll like that anymore... it wouldn't have made me much better than him to react that way.

As for the woman at the Oscars, she is getting enough bad press and negative chatter on Facebook and Twitter that I suspect she'll be a lightweight celebrity within days... and that will serve her just right!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Weekend Humor

A woman decides to have a face lift for her 50th birthday. So, she spends $15,000 and feels pretty good about the results. On her way home, she stops at a newsstand to buy a newspaper. Before leaving, she says to the clerk, ''I hope you don't mind my asking, but how old do you think I am?" He replied, "Oh, I'd say about 32.'' The woman said happily, ''Nope! I'm exactly 50.'' The clerk said, "Really? Wow! You look good!" The woman smiled... that was exactly what she wanted to hear. She was amazed that at 50 she could still turn the heads of guys half her age.

A little while later, she goes into McDonald's and asks the counter girl the very same question. The girl replies, ''I'd guess about 29 or 30." The woman replies with a big smile, "Nope, I'm 50.'' The girl said, "Wow! I hope I got it goin' on like that when I'm 50. You, go girl!" said the girl at the counter. Now, she's feeling really good about herself , but she still has to ask someone else.

She stops in a drug store on her way down the street. She goes up to the counter to get some mints and asks the clerk this burning question. The clerk responds, ''Oh, I'd say 28.'' Again, she proudly responds, ''I'm 50, but thank you!'' "He said, "50? Come on! Are you serious? Stop playing!" She shows him her drivers license, he shakes his head, and said... "Wow, that's incredible. You must fool a lot of people." She laughed and replied, "Apparently, I have." He added, "Wow, guys must be all over you." She laughed again and said... "Yeah, I get my percentages."

While waiting for the bus to go home, she asks an old man waiting next to her the same question. He replies, ''Lady, I'm 78 years old and my eyesight is going. Although, when I was young, there was a sure-fire way to tell how old a woman was. It sounds very forward, but it requires you to let me put my hands under your bra. Then, and only then can I tell you EXACTLY how old you are.'' he said.

They wait in silence on the empty street until her curiosity gets the best of her. She finally blurts out... ''Oh, what the hell. Go ahead.'' He slips both of his hands under her blouse and begins to feel around very slowly and carefully. He bounces and weighs each breast and he gently pinches each nipple. He pushes her breasts together and rubs them against each other.

After a couple of minutes of this, she says... ''Okay, okay. How old am I?" He completes one last squeeze of her breasts, removes his hands, and said... ''Madam, you are 50 years old.'' Stunned and amazed, the woman said... ''That was incredible, how could you tell?" The old man asked, ''You promise you won't get mad?'' She said, "I promise."

''I was standing behind you at McDonalds." He laughed!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Rainy-Day Woman

Today, I was getting my morning coffee and orange juice from Dunkin Donuts and walking towards the building where I work. A black female that I knew saw me walking, gave me the biggest smile, spoke to me, and asked me how I was doing. I gave one of my original responses..."I'm just doing." I have never been a fan of the canned and packaged responses that everybody says day in and day out ad nauseum, such as "What's up?" "Ahh, nothin' much." I was amused at this woman's enthusiastic greeting for me. You see, five years ago, this same woman wouldn't have given me the time of day.

If we wind the clock back to April of 2004... I used to ride the El to work in the morning and I would see this woman everyday getting on the train at my station. When you see people everyday, whether you know them personally or not, you develop a kinship to them... at least, this is my way of thinking, so I used to speak. My grandmother always told me that it doesn't hurt you to speak or be courteous. This same woman used to look at me as though I wasn't there and stare blankly into the horizon. Ironically enough, we would get off at the same station... and still, nothing.

After awhile, I got angry (you know me) and I stopped speaking. My air is just as important to me as the next person's... so I thought, no need in wasting it. (I probably got that from Grandmother, Rebecca... it sounds like something she would've said.) Then, a funny thing happened.

At my old office, I had the additional duty of taking new employees on a tour of the campus. I didn't do it for all of them, only on the days when the regular guy, George, wasn't available. On this particular day, lo and behold, one of my new employees was, you guessed it, the woman who never spoke to me on the El. She was very embarrassed to find out that she was starting a new job and the guy who spoke to her who she ignored was the one showing her around campus.

About a month later, I had transitioned from that job to a new job and in addition to that, I now had a car, so I didn't ride on the El as often. Every now and then, I drove to work. One particular Friday, it was pouring down raining, I was driving home, and could barely see because it was raining so hard. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw this particular woman standing on the corner with a small umbrella, fighting the elements and losing. The wind was blowing, her hair was going in all directions, and no bus was in sight. I started to keep going.. after all, this woman used to look past me like I didn't exist so now, it was my turn. I suppose this was her lucky day. I guess God was talking to me or something... you decide.

I pulled over to the side, rolled down the window, and said... "Get in, I'll take you home." She didn't hesitate. There was no blank, phony distant stare... no sizing up the situation... none of that today! She was only too happy to be out of that rain. She thanked me profusely. Of course, during the drive home, we introduced ourselves and she told me her whole life story... her divorce, her relocation, her gratefulness at having a new job, etc. To both our surprises, it turned out that she lived just one block from me... imagine that! Who knew?

From that time on, we were on a first name basis. When she sees me now, I get a big smile and a hello. I ask the question of why do we treat each other as though we don't exist, just because we don't know each other? Why are human beings so tribal? We exist in our little tribes and we act as if everyone else is non-existant... that is, until we need a favor or we are in trouble!

When I was in the Air Force and in foreign countries, I used to marvel at how certain Americans who would've shunned me in the States, grabbed their purses, or checked for their wallets if I had sat near them, were overjoyed to hear my American accent and see my baseball cap turned acey-deuecy (only when in civilian clothes). They were even more overjoyed when I wore the military uniform... especially, non-military Americans. There, in a foreign country, where the language was different and anything would and could break out at any minute, I was automatically a member of the tribe... the larger tribe. Of course, this all ended once we were back on American soil. Then, it was as it always has been... everybody back amongst their tribes.

People never cease to both amaze and disappoint me at the same time. Today, when I saw that woman's big smile, while I was going to work, I was reminded that this smile could have been there the first time we met instead of a blank stare. I also knew that if we had not wound up at the same job and I had never given her a ride during a near torrential rainstorm, I might still be getting the blank stare today. Maybe I shouldn't dwell on that negative... it was four or five years ago. But, it's a basic truth about the human condition and I can't ignore it.

Just thought I would share it...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The One Real Hero

Vernon Hunter, Jr.

Last week, I wrote about a distraught man, Andrew Joseph Stack, who set his home on fire and then got in a small aircraft and crashed into the Internal Revenue Service building in Austin, TX. At first, it seemed like a 9-11 style tragedy but, all praises to God, it wasn't. I said that I understood the man's frustration with the I.R.S. (I mean, who doesn't?), but I want it known here that I in no way agree with how he chose to take out his frustration. He was, as I wrote "murderously wrong". The entire building did not collapse but it now appears to have been one fatality. Even one life lost in a tragedy of this proportion is one life too many.

According to Austin fire officials, Vernon Hunter, Jr. was the one fatality in the Austin, TX plane crash that set ablaze the seven-story I.R.S. building last week. The pilot, Joe Stack, was found dead and the incident renewed fears of domestic terrorism and gaps in security for private aircraft. The victim, Vern Hunter, was an Internal Revenue Service employee, Vietnam veteran (two tours of duty), husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. "He was a very spiritual man, kind of the life of the neighborhood," said Darren McDaniel, who has lived two houses from Hunter since 1996. "We were all sort of like his kids." He was described as a man who offered Gatorade to the trash collectors on a hot summer day.

The family of Vernon Hunter, Jr. made this statement:

"This afternoon, the Travis County Medical Examiner’s office positively identified the remains of the person unaccounted for in the aerial attack on the Echelon building in Austin, TX on Thursday, February 18th, 2010. Regrettably, they are the remains of Mr. Vernon Hunter, Jr. of Cedar Park, TX. His wife, Valerie Hunter, has lost a devoted, loving, and doting partner, friend, and spouse. His children, Donald, Ken, and Christine have lost a father who absolutely adored them. He was their constant and loyal friend. His seven grandchildren, Don Jr., Jolene, Lutisia, Sienna, Quinn, Savannah, Athena, and one great-grandchild, Anastasia, will no longer have the love and affection of a grandfather who lived and breathed for them.

The Greater Mt. Zion church family of Austin, TX, under the leadership of Gaylon Clark, is saddened beyond words at the loss of Vern’s presence among us. Vern also has three step-children: Justin, Crystin, and Tara Jackson. His three children and grandchildren are from his first marriage to Hallie Hunter, of El Paso, TX. We are grieving today as one family.

We are not the only family in mourning today. Our hearts go out to the wife and family of Andrew Joseph Stack. We are not angry with them because they did not do this. We forgive Joe for his actions which took Vern’s “pound of flesh” with him. Joe had to be in a great deal of pain and distress so, the family and friends of Vernon Hunter, and the entire "Body of Christ" at The Greater Mt. Zion Church, pray for their peace and comfort this day, in the name of Jesus. We are also praying for any and every person whose life has been impacted by this terrible tragedy."

I felt it not only fair, but neccesary to devote a post to this man. The media and all of the crime shows are going to focus on Joe Stack until someone else does something atrocious. And, this good man, Vern Hunter, who lead a normal life, went to work everyday, and supported his family will all but be forgotten, except by the people who loved and worked with him.

The daughter of the dead suicide pilot described her father as a "hero" but I just don't see it that way. The only hero here is the victim who lost his life in this terrible incident, Vernon Hunter, Jr.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What I've Learned

1. Life isn't about "finding" oneself... it's about creating yourself.

2. What somebody else thinks or has to say about me is none of my damn business.

3. If you don't try, you can't fail. But if you don't try, you certainly won't win!

4. Sometimes we make the simple things so complicated.

5. Truth only hurts the person who has lied to him or herself.

6. My life has taught me never invest short and borrow long!

7. A Friendship that can end suddenly, never began in the first place.

8. There were times when I was a little too enthusiastic about speaking my mind and I could have and should have held back just for the sake of someone's feelings.

9. If you're going to do something or say something, you'd better stand by it or you lose my respect right away.

10. God forgives... it's your family and friends who don't.



"Mommy, can I go to Timmy's blog and play?"

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading

Click on image to enlarge for reading