Sao Paulo or Bust!

Eric and I are going to Sao Paulo, Brazil on a missions trip. Pray that God will make us a blessing to the chilren, adults and missionaries down there!

We'll give a full report when we get back.

Little known facts: Did you know that Sao Paulo is the largest city in the Southern Hemishphere? It's also the 3rd or 4th largest city in the world. And it is much more south than I thought it would be. It's the same latitude as South Africa. That is all the random thoughts I have.


Britney Spears placed on “mental evaluation hold”

Spears taken from her home in ambulance

A Los Angeles police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the matter, said the 26-year-old pop star was being taken to the hospital to "get help." The Los Angeles Times cited unidentified authorities who said Britney Spears was being placed on a "mental evaluation hold."

Well, the wheels have officially fallen off. I think I actually feel sorry for her. I love watching The Soup and their hilarious updates of her life, but I think its gotten to a tipping point for me. I think EVERYTHING that has happened is her and her family’s fault. Still, having that many people around enabling you to party can’t be good for you.

What does “mental evaluation hold” mean anyway? Does that mean one of her family members called the police to have her restrained at a hospital. At first I thought Spears was headed toward a Michael Jackson-type ended. Where a one-time megastar is forever known as a punch line. Unless somebody helps her, I think she might end up more like Anna Nicole Smith.


Picture Time

So, I've been a little lazy about posting...good thing my amazing husband is picking up the slack!
Here are some of our photos from our trip to the San Diego Zoo.

I now know why everyone loves Pandas. They are probably the neatest animal I've ever seen.

I waited FOREVER to get a photo with all meerkats standing straight up. They move so quickly!

Johan Santana Joins the New York Mets

I just wanted to throw out my thoughts about Santana going to the Mets. Pretty simple: The Twins didn’t get enough back for him. The Twins have a great history of judgejing minor league talent (See: 2003, Boof Bonser, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Nathan to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski and cash to the Giants), but giving up the best SP in the game is a bit much for four prospects.

Also, why didn’t the Red Sox make that trade happen? Listen to this potential 5-man rotation and you tell me if they wouldn’t be the favorite to win the World Series for the next 3 years:

Either Lester or Buchholz (one of them would have been in the trade)

You’re telling me that anybody could beat the Red Sox in a 5-7 game series with that going against them? Theo Epstein needs my cell number.

Anyway, check out my objective commentary here.

Age and the Presidency

Guess what happened in 1936:

Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini create the Rome-Berlin Axis
First issue of Life magazine
Hoover Dam was constructed
The first NFL Draft
The birth of John McCain
Only two presidents have every been elected after their 66th birthday. William Henry Harrison (68) and Ronald Reagan (68). Harrison died after serving less then one month in office and there was speculation about Reagan’s health during his tenure. They has been reports that Reagan may have developed symptoms of Alzheimer’s during his term. That seems to be refuted in this NY Times piece. Either way, his health was always an issue that the press held over him.

Here’s where I’m going with this: If John McCain is elected President, he will be the oldest elected President in US history. Just as a reference point, he is only one year older than the Dalai Lama. Yeah, and he looks old.

I’m not trying to take cheap shots at McCain. He has more foreign policy experience than anyone left, and was tortured for like 5 straight years. So we know he’s tough. He seems like a solid option for the country. All I’m saying is that I know about 10 people over the age of 70. All of them go to bed around 7. They eat breakfast around 5am, eat lunch at 10, then they wrap up supper before 5. If they make it through Wheel of Fortune it’s a good thing. Heck, I’m 26 and go to sleep around 10. Shouldn’t the leader of the Free World be a tad bit younger?

With McCain, it will be VERY important that he chooses a strong running mate. VPs are usually afterthoughts. Heck, Bush #1 even won being drug down by Dan Qualye. Speaking of Qualye, get a load of this:

“W. Bush called on Quayle to be his running mate in the general election. Quayle was chosen to appeal to a younger generation of Americans and his good looks were praised by Senator John McCain, who said "I can't believe a guy that handsome wouldn't have some impact."

Hmmm…so I guess we can look for McCain to have a uber young, VP. So my prediction is Senator Lindsey Graham . He’s young, Southern Baptist, (to help the Evangelical vote), and has a super cheesy picture. He was also an adamant supporter of "comprehensive immigration reform" and of the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill of 2006. So there’s my best guess. Hopefully whoever his VP is will be the Tom Brady to McCain’s Drew Bledsoe. If McCain announces his running mate as Dennis Kucinich, I’m officially voting for Hillary Clinton.


Politics 101

McCain, Romney neck-and-neck as Floridians head to the polls

“Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts appear to be neck-and-neck in the Republican primary. If McCain wins in Florida, his status as the national front-runner will be cemented.”

For 5 minutes tonight, please go to CNN and see who is going to be the Republican nominee. I agree with a lot of predications that the winner of Florida will be the nominee for the party.

One by One, Angry Liberals Turn Their Backs on Team Clinton

“Like lovers scorned, Bill Clinton’s longtime liberal supporters are walking out on him, slamming the door behind them and rebuking the 42nd president for his behavior leading up to last weekend’s South Carolina primary.”

It’s confusing to me how Obama keeps getting random backing from key Democrats, but its not translating into the national polls. Do Democrats not care about the opinions of their elected officials? I’m missing something here.

White House 2008: Republican Nomination

Just to reemphasize: Click on the link to see Giuliani’s demise. He went from solid frontrunner to afterthought in about 2-3 months. I bet his campaign manager is not getting job offers anytime soon.

Hey Friends

I hope Tuesday is starting off well for everyone. I was hoping you could do me a favor. I’ve been playing around a lot lately with freelance writing. I’ve posted some of the stuff from this blog on various websites and gotten a decent response.

Anyway, I posted a few newspaper-style stories. It's not great, but I'm trying. Check it out:

Pedro Feliz, Philadelphia Phillies Agreed to Contract

It’s a site that “publishes” stuff online and does a good job of getting search engine traffic. It's a pretty clever site. They get people to write stuff, then make money on ad revenue from it. I wish I was smart. Check it out and leave a nice comment! Thanks!
Also, for reading this post, you are rewarded with a classy pic:


Rambo: Heroes never die.... They just reload

Have you ever been to IMDB? It’s easily one of my favorite sites. I can spend WAY too much time ranking movies and looking for “classic” movies to watch. I love seeing whether 'There Will Be Blood' or 'No Country For Old Men' will rank higher on the site’s Top 250 Movies of All-Time List.

(Yes, I’m a movie geek. Let’s move on.)

One reason I love the site, is that for the most part movies are ranked pretty much dead on with what I think. This week’s 'Meet the Spartans' is currently a 2.6/10. Since users vote for their favorites, film critic classics like 'Citizen Kane' don’t get as much love. Likewise, fan favorite 'Shawshank Redemption' is #2 all time.

Anyway, I wanted to see the initial response to the new Rambo movie. I expected it to be a crummy 3/10 or something ridiculous. Much to my surprise the movie is currently rated as a 8.5 and is listed as the 195th best movie of all time.

Rambo: IMDB Page

I’m not sure if this is a joke or not, but some people are saying it could be the most violent and best action movie of all time. I have a hard time believing this is better than my personal favorite - 'Die Hard'.

Before I get a divorce from my wife and go see this movie, please help me out. If you have seen Rambo, please post a quick review of it here. Didn’t EVERYBODY think this movie would be awful? By the way, Sylvester Stallone is 62. Also as a thanks for reading this, here are some of the multiple taglines for all the Rambo series (No, I didn't make these up. I'm not that awesome):

First Blood

One war against one man.

This time he's fighting for his life.

Rambo: First Blood Part II

What most people call hell, he calls home.

They sent him on a mission and set him up to fail. But they made one mistake. They forgot they were dealing with Rambo.

No man, no law, no war can stop him.

Rambo III

God would have mercy John Rambo won't!

The first was for himself. The second for his country. This time it's to save his friend.


Heroes never die.... They just reload

Major Trouble in Kenya

In 2000, election results in Florida resonated across the country. Everyone had a different opinion on the balloting. Some called it voter fraud, some called for multiple recounts, a variety of stuff. But in the end, we had some protests, a Supreme Court case, and that was that. To be honest, most of America probably didn’t even care if Bush or Gore won. Even if you don’t agree with the decision to award Florida to Bush, everything was pretty much handled civilly (aside from some verbal cheap shots).

This is not the case in Kenya. From a CNN piece that is linked later in this post:

“One of the most stable nations in East Africa descended further into chaos Monday after a disputed election triggered violence that has killed at least 124 people.”

“They were protesting the government's announcement Sunday that voters had re-elected President Mwai Kibaki with 51.3 percent of the vote, compared with 48.7 percent for Raila Odinga, the opposition leader. International election monitors have alleged voting irregularities.”

"The Kenyan people are right now in a state of mourning," Odinga told CNN. "They are mourning the loss of democracy."

Businesses in Nairobi were shut down and a government ban on live television broadcasts imposed Sunday was still in place as Kibaki struggled to cope with the fallout from the vote.

If you have time read both of the stories below. One is from CNN, which is quoted above, the other from Fox News. Both shed light on a terrible situation. I hate the media a lot, but its nice to live in a country where media outlets can openly hold the government accountable. I mean, the Kenyan imposed a ban on live television.

*This next statement assumes a lot, so if I’m off base, please forgive me.

In the US, I think we tend to be VERY apathetic, many times to a fault. What would it take in the US for us to protest something to the point of death? If Kenyans truly believe Democracy is being taken from them, shouldn’t they be applauded for taking a stand? (I know some of this is pure ethnic violence which is awful, I’m just commenting on broad terms) If the current president rigged the entire election, the Kenyan people should revolt and get him out of office. Aren’t these the situations that the US needs to help in? If we can legislate reform in Iraq, we should help figure out if the current Kenyan government is circumventing the will of its people.

Full stories here:

CNN Story

Fox News Story

Dana Jacobson Follow-up

ESPN's Jacobson back on air, apologizes for comments at roast

ESPN2 "First Take" host Dana Jacobson returned to the air Monday with another apology for comments she made at a Jan. 11 celebrity roast for ESPN Radio personalities Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic.”

"Mistakes do not define us. It's how we respond to those mistakes that does," Jacobson said in her on-air apology.

Well her mistake was drinking too much vodka at a public setting. Her response to that mistake was lobbing expletives at Notre Dame and Christianity as a whole. Either way, I wish her the best in the career rebuilding phase of her life. Just lay off the vodka Dana and everything should be fine.

The Importance of Florida: Romney, McCain

As an amateur (simpleton) political commentator, this has been a fantastic presidential race to see how the nation as a whole responds to events external to itself. What I mean, is that we are a nation that loves frontrunners. We don’t vote for candidates that we simply believe in; we vote for a candidate that we sort of like and that has the best chance of winning.

With Romney and McCain establishing themselves as frontrunners, the Salt Lake Tribune wrote a price on the importance of Florida to the Republican race. They commented that:

“Tuesday's primary, coming only a week before the tsunami of states voting Feb. 5, could give a major boost to either John McCain or Mitt Romney, who appear to be the duo battling it out for their party's nomination….The Sunshine State's primary offers the best opportunity for either McCain or Romney to take the spotlight going into the 22-state contest on Feb. 5, a day with more than 1,000 Republican delegates at stake in a contest where 1,191 are needed to get the nomination.”

What this is implying is simple: 22 states vote on Super Tuesday. Right now, there are still tons of votes scattered around for Rudy Giuliani, Ron Paul, and Mike Huckabee. So instead of those voters continuing to vote first their “first choice”, many of them will switch their vote to either McCain or Romney. The reason is simple: Don’t throw your vote away. Vote for the best remaining candidate that shares most of your views on the issues. This drives me crazy. Why should we do this?

For example, in early November the leading candidates in the Tennessee Republican primary were Fred Thompson and Giuliani. Well, you know what happened there. Thompson is out and Giuliani appears to have “strategized” himself completely out of the race. (Somebody needs to write a book about that decision by the way). So we as Tennesseans have been limited to who we can/should vote for by a number of states, some that have vast different concerns then we do. Let’s assume for a minute that Tennessee’s primary was earlier in the year. If Thompson could have won this state, that would have propelled his national status and contributions to his campaign.

Hopefully somebody smarter than me can explain a simple question I have. Why aren’t all primaries held on the same day? Wouldn’t this be a fairer representation of the nation’s true opinions? Like I mentioned earlier, Giuliani was leading national polls early in the race. What changed about his policies? Nothing. Romney or McCain haven’t been THAT impressive. The reason he is losing is because he’s been out of the spotlight for 3 months.
Our next president shouldn’t be decided by strategies or budget allocation. All candidates should run national campaigns until March, then let us all vote at the same time.


Tax Rebate Time!

So the feds are coming to the rescue, trying to stimulate the economy…and they are going to give us free money!

If you pay taxes (and if it passes the Senate), in June you’ll get:

$600 for individuals
$1,200 for working couples
$300 additional per each child claimed

The rebates phase out for individuals making more than $75,000 and couples $150,000.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck, this will be a great time to catch up on you 401(k) contributions, pay off you high-interest credit card debt, start an “emergency fund”, put an extra payment on your mortgage, or start a “vacation fund”.


Clinton and Obama: First comes love…

I love perfect timing. To kill time at work, I was reading this story:

Bill Clinton: Race, gender key in S.C.

It included this great quote from Bill Clinton:

Voting for president along racial and gender lines "is understandable because people are proud when someone who they identify with emerges for the first time," the former president told a Charleston audience while campaigning for his wife.

He was basically said, black voters are voting for Obama simply because he’s black. (It also kinda implied that women would vote for Hillary because she's a woman) Nice. I’m sure that didn’t offend anybody. Sorry to have to tell you this, but only white males aren't superficial in their decision making process. Read the full story at some point, it’s filled with bickering between both candidates. It really shows how Obama is running against both Clintons.

Now, at the EXACT same time that I was reading this story, I got an campaign email from Michelle Obama, “the wife”, with the subject line: What We Didn’t Expect.

I’ll let her explain in her own words:

In the past week or two, another candidate's spouse has been getting an awful lot of attention.

We knew getting into this race that Barack would be competing with Senator Clinton and President Clinton at the same time.

We expected that Bill Clinton would tout his record from the nineties and talk about Hillary's role in his past success. That's a fair approach and a challenge we are prepared to face.

What we didn't expect, at least not from our fellow Democrats, are the win-at-all-costs tactics we've seen recently. We didn't expect misleading accusations that willfully distort Barack's record.

Barack Obama isn't relying on a former President of the United States to campaign for him

I love it; this race is officially REALLY interesting to me.

The Colbert Report: Who Needs Writers?

Shannon is a huge fan of the The Colbert Report and she could go on forever about it. I think it's fabulous as well. It's hard to put the show into a proper context. So instead of me rambling about it forever, here's a link to kill a few minutes and to get a good impression of the show.

Colbert's Civil Rights MLK Day Writer's Strike-Busting Writerless Show — In Song

From the Huffington Post piece:

Stephen Colbert is a great entertainer, but the reason he has resonated so strongly with audiences particularly during this administration is because he has a core of earnestness that deeply reflects a strong moral sense and a desire to educate, illuminate, and do good works. If you think I'm being overblown, all you need to do is watch last night's episode of The Colbert Report, which was uniquely inspiring, edifying and touching — all while still managing to be completely hilarious.

Politics 101

Giuliani fights political fall in Florida

Rudy has fallen like the Dow Jones industrial average," said Bill Adair, chief editor of the St. Petersburg Times. "What's happened is he gambled on Florida and put all his chips on Florida, and it's beginning to look like he gambled wrong."

Eric’s words of wisdom for the day: When you’re political career is being compared to a stock market preparing for a recession…well, that’s not a good thing.

The Resurrection of John McCain

I understand the political analogy; but nobody would ever headline a story: “Giuliani’s Suicidal Decisions in Florida”. Why, because people are sensitive to specific words. Regardless of the headline, it’s a good story if you have some free time.

Study: Bush, aides made 935 false statements in run-up to war

Yet another reason to vote for Ron Paul.