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September 27, 2008

Thanks, Paul

Paul Newman died today at the age of 83.

What we've got here, is a sad day in history. My favorite films are Cool Hand Luke and Slap Shot. He did play a great pool shark though. He also served in the U.S. Navy.

Thanks for the great films, your service, and the salad dressing.

"I can eat 50 eggs. And for the record, I would steer clear of me for about 3 days after."

September 11, 2008

Dastardly Deed

I remember exactly what I was doing this day 7 years ago. It isn’t important but it is one of those remembrances of my lifetime that parallels the Space Shuttle disasters, the day President Reagan was shot and the death of John Wayne. For me however, this event still, and probably always will, tighten my gut and cause a few tears well up in the corners of my eyes.

I will not watch any memorials or September 11 rehashes on the news. I don’t need them to remember who did this to us, why they did it, and why the lives of millions of Americans have never been, and probably never will be, the same since that day. September 11 rivals the attack on Pearl Harbor and Roosevelt’s description of the December 7 attack as a “dastardly deed” just doesn’t seem apropos to describe the actions that happened in NYC, the Pentagon, and Flight 93 that never made it to its target. But the terrorists did awaken a sleeping giant that day.

For too long our countrymen suffered attacks overseas by Muslim extremists and for too long we suffered attacks on our own soil before finally doing something about it. It has been a long 7 years, even longer for the men and women of the United States military who have fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. But it is a different war than what our fathers and grandfathers fought and died in. It seems like there is something missing from Americans today in this War on Terror. Resolve, mutual cooperation, and pride were elements of a mantra adopted by Americans during the World Wars that seemed to dissipate when our involvement in Vietnam launched us into an unpopular war with some Americans- much like the war in Iraq.

I see the war in Iraq and an opportunity for politics to dictate our actions instead of our resolve, our will to defeat an enemy being trumped by rules and laws that protect them. There have been some mistakes in this war on terror, some only realized in the perfect 20/20 vision of hindsight and some warned of from the start. Instead of learning from them or even correcting them, lawmakers, politicians, and Republicans and Democrats alike, use the mistakes as ammo to attack each other. There is more of a fight in Washington to defeat the other party than there is in defeating the terrorists who want to kill us.

McCain and Obama agreed to pull their ads on this day in a show of respect. Why would they have to do that unless the ads are so negative that they distract from anything else that might be on? Yahoo! didn’t even bother to commemorate the lives of the 2974 Americans and visitors who were killed on September 11- but they did have a cute banner graphic for the Olympics and ducks for Mother’s Day. They couldn’t make the “H” in Yahoo to look like the twin towers? Google is no better. It must be too much of a risk to put something on their homepage that might stir up some emotion or patriotism.

While most Americans live their lives oblivious to the war we are fighting, unless it causes their gas costs to increase or that they miss a tv show because a September 11 special is on, I will never forget.

September 5, 2008

The Next 60 Days

Well, 2 weeks of conventions have passed and America is probably a little better informed about the candidates. I have to admit that after Obama’s speech I was impressed with his message. After thinking about it for a while, however, it dawned on me what his message really was. You really had to read between the lines but I got from it was higher taxes, kiss the terrorists asses, and McCain is a weenie.

Obama promised to just raise taxes on the rich and corporations and I stated in a previous post that I don’t think those 2 demographics are going to be to supply the money needed for Obama’s proposed plans. They very well might, however, Fred Thompson summed it up best:

Now our opponents tell you not to worry about their tax increases.
They tell you they are not going to tax your family. No, they're just going to tax "businesses"!

So unless you buy something from a "business", like groceries or clothes or gasoline ... or unless you get a paycheck from a big or a small "business", don't worry ... it's not going to affect you.

They say they are not going to take any water out of your side of the bucket, just the "other" side of the bucket! That's their idea of tax reform.
A lot of talk went on about each party’s qualifications and experience level. Although Palin has had more government experience as a Governor and Mayor than Obama, who held positions on several Board of Directors. In my opinion, neither is very impressive, although their positions were probably very demanding at times. But at least Palin has some experience in government and has an impressive track record to boot.

McCain is a true hero, I get it. He went through some pretty rough times as a POW. I get that also. I just hope that we don’t have to hear about his torture and his triumph every time someone speaks about him. Again, I look at his record and there are some things I like and some things I don’t like. Overall, I am more impressed with McCain’s record than Obama as well as McCain’s character.

Both the RNC and the DNC speechwriter’s should be commended on the VP and Presidential nominee’s speeches. They were all well thought out and expertly delivered. But I take all this with a grain of salt. It was all just a dog and pony show and hopefully, over the next 2 months, we will get to the meat of the candidates, get to the substance that will make up our minds.

Obama is a great speaker and a sharp looking man. His very persona appeals to a lot of people who are tired of the last 8 years of bullshit. McCain looks like the same old story and selecting Palin as his VP was a brilliant move. But I hope that America sees through the smooth talk and fancy suits and actually listens to what both sides say.

A guy in my office, who was going to vote for McCain before he heard Obama’s speech last week, didn’t even bother to watch the RNC. I just have to shake my head.

Another liberal at my workplace told me that Obama has his vote because of the renewable energy plan. True, since we work in that industry, that is a valid point. My coworker also countered my view of higher taxes under Obama as misunderstood. Obama is only going to tax the higher tax brackets and big businesses. He also poiinted out how many billions of dollars of tax breaks hte Bush administration has given the oil companies. I told him that McCain and Obama are going to put a stop to that but that the taxes will still go up under Obama because the tax hikes to businesses will be compensated for in higher prices. The coworker said that the energy plan will compensate for that.

He just didn't see the effect of higher taxes on businesses that sell things that he will buy. When I pointed out to him that he will continue to buy gas, groceries, clothes and DVD's under Obama's presidency and those taxes will cause those prices to go up. He finally got it but he didn't want to admit it so he commented that it wouldn't matter if those costs went up because he would be making more money.

This same guy also told me that Obama will change our foreign policy and help the world see us in a better light. I asked him which countries- Russia, China, Iran, North Korea? How about the Arab countries we send millions of dollars to each year that also hate us? Are those the countries we need to pander to?

"Hey, man. We all have our opinions", as he leaves the room. I guess if you can't defend your position or your candidates you can cop out with that phrase.

It is going to be a wild 2 months.