1.31.2008

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.

1.30.2008

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

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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:

Santana
Beckett
Dice-K
Schilling
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
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First issue of Life magazine
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Hoover Dam was constructed
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The first NFL Draft
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The birth of John McCain
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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.

1.29.2008

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:
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1.28.2008

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.

Rambo

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."

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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.
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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.

1.25.2008

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”.

1.24.2008

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.

1.23.2008

FA Cup: The World’s Greatest Tournament

As a sports fan, one of my favorite times of the year is the month of March. Growing up near the University of Kentucky, its impossible not to get caught up in March Madness. I love the idea that any team in the country can qualify for a spot in the 64 team field. (I refuse to admit the Play-In Game exists.) Well if you’re a fan of the NCAA tournament, I’ve got news for you. It pales in comparison to England’s FA Cup.

Disclaimer: The FA Cup is a soccer tournament. I’m just talking about the setup of the league and the tourney; so even if you hate soccer, please keep reading.

English Soccer 101: Think of English soccer as an uber-version of Major League Baseball. But instead of baseball’s 4 major divisions (MLB, AAA, AA, and A), English soccer has 14 separate classifications, culminating in its Premier League. If you get interested, read all about the English Football League System.

The best thing about the setup is that each league promotes and demotes teams from year to year. So at the end of this season, the 3 teams with the lowest amount of points in the Premier League (accumulated similar to the NHL), will be demoted to Football League Championship (AAA). Those teams will be forced to WIN their way back into the big time. Similarly, three teams from the FLC, will be promoted to the promised land.

Imagine if the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Kansas City Royals, and Pittsburg Pirates all got kicked back to AAA. In turn, Nashvillians would truly root for the Sounds, because if they finished in the top three, they would be in MLB the next year!

For all practical purposes, teams in the top 11 tiers are allowed to enter the FA Cup. Teams in better leagues get byes to further rounds. An astonishing 665 teams entered last year’s draw. The tournament exists amidst league play and lasts for an incredible 9 months. Besides the initial byes, there isn’t any seeding. All match-ups are drawn before each round. So there isn’t a bracket; you could play any team remaining in the tournament at any time. There are from time to time historic upsets. The system is set up so that the West Tenn. Diamond Jaxx would have a change to beat the Boston Red Sox.

I think tournaments/league setups are the reasons soccer fans in Europe are so passionate. There is always a chance for greatness.

ESPN Execs: "She said WHAT?!"

I really hate political correctness. I think society has gotten to a point where we rip people apart before learning all the details or know somebody’s true heart. A while back a female golf analyst jokingly remarked that other golfers should “lynch” Tiger Woods to keep him from winning tournaments. If she would have said “shoot him” or “stab him” people would have laughed/shook their head at her and moved on. Instead she threw out a word that conjures up awful racial sentiments and all kinds of craziness broke loose.

I think it was a ridiculous word choice, but when Tiger Woods himself comes to her defense, I think we as a society have to move on. So with that said, this next story draws the exact opposite response out of me.

Here’s a brief description from an Atlantic City paper of what transpired at a roast for ESPN radio hosts Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic when Cold Pizza host Dana Jacobson took to the stage:

“ESPN anchor Dana Jacobson made an absolute fool of herself, swilling vodka from a Belvedere bottle, mumbling along and cursing like a sailor as Mike & Mike rested their heads in their hands in embarrassment. (Comedian Eddie) Griffin came to the podium to defend her after she was booed by the crowd. Ross eventually had to pull her off stage, too.”

So what in the world did this seemingly shy lady say that drew such a response? From multiple reports, she threw out these 3 bombs:
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"f**k Notre dame"

"f**k touchdown Jesus"

and - the step-aside-because-lightning-is-about-to-strike… "f**k Jesus."

In a statement, Jacobson said,

"I am sorry. My remarks about Notre Dame were foolish and insensitive. I respect all religions and did not mean anything derogatory by my poorly chosen words. I also deeply regret the embarrassment I've caused ESPN and Mike and Mike. My actions at the roast were inappropriate and in no way represent who I am. I won't make excuses for my behavior, but I do hope I can be forgiven for such a poor lack of judgment."

Yeesh, where do I begin with this? I’m just going to list a couple thoughts and be done with it.

1) ESPN really tried to keep this under raps and only said something about it once a Catholic organization said something about it. Nice job sports leader.
2) If she would have said a derogatory remark about Muhammad, she would have been fired in about 3 seconds.
3) It’s crazy how two words can ruin a person’s image.
4) Its sad how mad I got when I first heard this story.
5) It’s amazing how forgiving Jesus Christ is, even when so many people don’t realize/understand his divinity.

Your 401(k) during recessions…

Since stocks are steadily decreasing, it is natural for your 401(k) to decrease too. Some people look at this and think “Why am I even putting money in here? It’s just vanishing! I could put it in a high-yield savings account and make more!”

Well, those people are wrong.

Say you put in about $100 a month. This is pre-tax money, so they only took about $80 out of your check. You are already up 20%. Then if your company matches…say 50%, you’re up to $150 for the cost of only $80! That is an 87.5% return! Try making that in a savings account.

Here’s a little chart for $100 monthly investment that assumes you will loose 4% in your 401(k) and gain 4% in a high-yield savings account:
If you stopped contributing to your 401(k) and put it in a savings account, you’d be down $730! Even if your company doesn't match, you'd still be down over $150.

That being said, you should take a look at your 401(k) and see where your money is going. I would probably move some of it to a more conservative fund or to some bonds during the recession. You won’t want all of your money in high-risk stocks this year.

1.22.2008

R.I.P. - Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger found dead in NYC at age 28

Heath Ledger was found dead Tuesday at a downtown Manhattan residence, and police said drugs may have been a factor.

What a shame. His career seemed to really be looking up after critical success in Brokeback Mountain and his upcoming role as the Joker in the new Batman movie. I actually first remember him as the dreamy/rebellious kid in 10 Things I Hate About You.

R.I.P. Heath, we hardly knew you.

(Credit to Lindsay Beals for breaking the story to The Adams Family)

See you on Law & Order Fred Thompson

Fred Thompson Drops Presidential Bid

I would like to congratulate Fred Thompson for the least spirited presidential campaign in history. I don’t see how an old boring guy with no outspokenness didn’t get more support.

Last summer, many pundits considered him a potential frontrunner. Here’s what I said in an earlier post:

I may vote for him, but he’ll need to stand up and be a little more outspoken. Stop reading from a script and speak from the heart…He’s normal enough. If he ever wakes up and uses his personality, he may win this thing.

Well, he didn’t and now he’s kaput. What a waste.

A little bird spreads its wings...

It seems like just yesterday Courtney Baker was a guest writer on The Adams Family blog.



Well, ladies and gentlemen...I'm proud to announce that she has created her own crafting blog now:


We at the Adams Family would personally like to say congratulations and that we take full credit for any and all of your future success.

Politics 101

Giuliani's Florida strategy about to be put to test

So Giuliani goes all-in with Florida. “In what many political strategists called a risky strategy, the former New York mayor essentially sat out the early contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan, Nevada and South Carolina and focused on Florida and its January 29 primary.” Three candidates have already passed him in the national polls. Seems like the old phrase, “Out of sight, Out of Mind”, applies pretty heavily here.

Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in S.C.

Yes, this was a silly story, and CNN quickly posted this follow-up story. I love politics and stereotyping.

CNN readers respond angrily to 'race or gender' story

"Within minutes of posting a story on CNN's homepage called "Gender or race: Black women voters face tough choices in South Carolina," readers reacted quickly and angrily."

Hehe, nice one CNN.

Does This Have Anything to do with Peak Oil?

The other day my wife and I were out and about and needed to stop and get gas. At the specific spot we were at, we had two choices: BP or Citgo. BP was about $3.00/gallon, but Citgo was only $2.74/gallon. So I decided to support Hugo Chavez and we went to Citgo.

After I pumped about 15 gallons in my high-powered Altima, I noticed something strange. The pump said I was paying $3.00/gallon. I went inside to discuss the discrepancy. The lady basically said her manager changed the pump prices, but went to the bank before changing the store signs. I tried to get a refund, but much to my surprise, they can’t take the gas back from my car. Fantastic, I love corporate dishonesty. No wonder we’re headed to a recession. So I decided to boycott Citgo, but after reading the following story, maybe I need to extended it to BP as well.

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A gas station clerk is accused of defrauding her boss out of nearly $50,000 by selling fuel to her family and friends for a tenth of a penny a gallon.

Police arrested 25-year-old Madeline Jordan on Sunday — along with her mother, brother, a cousin and two others — after setting up a sting at the BP station in South Charleston.


You can read the whole story here

Why can’t my friends and family be criminals?

Yikes….the “R” word

Looks like were going to a recession.

The Dow dropped quite a bit…and the Feds have cut the interest rate by 0.75.

If you have money in a savings account like ING (which is a fabulous product, by the way), you should maybe consider putting that into a CD. Anytime the Feds cut the interest rate, all the banks will follow. Right now the savings rate is 4.10 APY, and will probably fall to 3.35. Their CD rate is currently 4.35, and they have 6 to 60 month increments for CDs and will lock in that rate.


If you have money just sitting, CDs are probably going to be your best bet for the short term; especially since stocks are tanking.

Just something to consider. Also, to sweeten the pot, if I refer you to open an ING service, you get $25 and I get $10. So if you are thinking about it, let me know and I’ll give you some more specifics.

1.21.2008

MLS SuperDraft..Yes its Real

Without any significant national exposure, the MLS conducted its 9th annual SuperDraft this weekend. The timing of the draft itself must be called into question.

Why didn’t the MLS wait until after the Super Bowl to hold this? MLS should schedule the draft before MLB teams have their pitchers and catchers report for training camp. That timeframe would also still miss out on all the pre-March Madness hoopla. Waiting 2 weeks would be worth the exposure. For a league still struggling for national attention, they should have used the dead time in February to garner a little more publicity. I would safely wager that none of this blog’s readers knew the MLS even had a draft recently. Speculating further I bet nobody reading this even realized how the MLS got their players.

Soccer in the United States is struggling because it is lacking the ability to cultivate local stars. I, along with the majority of soccer fans, don’t really care which 22 players are on the field at a given time. But for a sport to survive in the US, you must cultivate stars that fans can get behind. MLS execs must put more focus on the draft and work closer with the NCAA to cross-promote. That is why the NBA has started to see a renewed interest -- we actually have gotten to know starts that are coming into the league.

The draft itself was categorized as “unpredictable” by a majority of experts, including ESPN’s Ives Galarcep. You can check his column here for a bio of all of the first round selections. He went on to say that “the Chicago Fire, Toronto FC and Kansas City Wizards were the big winners Friday”. But as in everything, only time will tell who will benefit the most from Friday’s draft.

GTKTPRFP - Who Wants My Help?

I got a personal call today from a supporter of Barack Obama. The volunteer’s name was Liz and she encouraged me to vote for Barack, let me know that early voting was underway, and invited me to visit Barack Obama’s Tennessee headquarters here in Nashville. She also asked how I would be interested in helping the campaign. I don’t think I’m going to help him, but it was an incredible show of his push into TN. Two thumbs up for the nice lady Liz and for Obama’s campaign in general.

On another note, I got an email from Rudolph Giuliani’s campaign today. It was an endorsement written by a Hollywood celebrity. It was from Jon Voight. Yeah, that Jon Voight. Who in their right mind got this email and thought: “You know what, I was leaning toward Mitt Romney, but this shakes EVERYTHING up.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Jon Voight. His range in portraying FDR in Pearl Harbor to Larry Zoolander is one for the history books.
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He’s a likable guy (Well except to Angelina Jolie. Yeah I watch E!, back off), but who cares who this guy votes for? Two thumbs down for random irrelevant political endorsements. (Mine included)

Movie Review – Cloverfield (Second is best)

Hey. I know Eric just created a Cloverfield movie review here…but I feel like I should also.

There are always film critic duos -- Ebert AND Ropert, Robert Deniro AND Al Pacino…and now there is Eric AND Shannon. (By the way, you should check out that Deniro and Pacino link, it is hilarious)

I think the reactions from people are quite polarizing: people either love it or hate it. Cloverfield is a very different movie than anything I’ve seen. Sure, it reminds you of other films (Godzilla, The Blair Witch Project, Saving Private Ryan, and The Day After Tomorrow) but it is completely unique in its ability to combine all of these into one amazing film. Is it a horror film? Action adventure? Documentary? Romance? Comedy? Um, yes.

The biggest backlash from the movie is the shaky camera. This is to be expected. DON’T sit on the front row or you will puke everywhere. Maybe take some Dramamine before you go. Look away from the film every once in a while to let your eyes refocus. After the initial running sequence, the shakiness eases up quite a bit (which makes you wonder why they had it in there to begin with).

The film is only 84 minutes, but to be honest, I don’t think I could handle much more. It was...intense. One thing I love about good movies is how they stay in your head and you can’t stop talking about them. Cloverfield definitely has that effect. JJ Abrams is a genius. There are even funny moments within the film to lighten the mood a bit - like Hud's line "Another thing that is also terrible".

Like Eric, I can’t say much about the plot without giving the movie away. I think the moral of the story is “don’t ever leave the person you love, even for like 5 minutes...because it is going to be hard to get him/her back”.

The movie cost about 25 million to produce...which, in a CGI film that is dirt cheap. It has already made about 40 million in 3 days. So watch out you overpaid actors who make crappy movies like "Mad Money" or "First Sunday"!

I gave this movie an 9.0 on imdb.

Welcome to Mother Russia

This memo got distributed from corporate today. I’m sure every place of business is like this, but it really bothered me for some reason. One of the lines reminds me of the classic: “All your base are belong to us”. So I just wanted to get this in writing. If for some reason I disappear for no good reason, you may want to check with our CEO Leonid Brezhnev. See Orwellian statement below:
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YOU SHOULD HAVE NO EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY WHEN USING OUR INFORMATION SYSTEMS. All our Information Systems are considered to be owned by us. We regularly monitor email, telephone and Internet use. We reserve the right to access, monitor and disclose all messages or information sent over or residing on any of our Information Systems.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Politics 101

I’m modifying an idea from the great Dink and Flika with a way to share some of my favorite Political stores from time to time. Its like, TSTWBTAT, except this is boring. Imitation is the sincerest for of flattery, and an easy way to present information.

Campaigning for Mike Huckabee, actor Chuck Norris said Sunday that Sen. John McCain is too old to handle the pressures of being president.

He may be. The oldest elected president was Ronald Reagan at 69. Also, McCain was tortured for like 5 straight years in a POW camp. How many years does that take off? Yeesh. Maybe we need to pay attention to his VP candidate.

But this comment was also uttered by somebody who could kill McCain just by thinking of it hard enough, so he has a lot of factors against him already.

Rep. Duncan Hunter has abandoned his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

Who is this guy? Maybe every American has to declare whether their running or not. Let me clear something up just to be on the safe side: James Eric Adams officially withdraws his name from the Race for the White House.

Mike Huckabee repeated a claim by his campaign chairman that Fred Thompson was his biggest barrier to defeating John McCain in South Carolina.

No, I’m pretty sure John McCain was the biggest barrier to winning South Carolina.

1.20.2008

Ode to Lowe's


My dad never fully trusted Home Depot. I always thought he was stupid for only shopping at Lowe’s. I mean, shouldn’t you simply go to the place with the most variety on a given day? At the very least shouldn’t you compare prices and make a reasonable decision.

No. That’s what Dad’s answer has always been. It’s not a complicated reason either. I used to think it was na├»ve. My father hates NASCAR’s bad boy Tony Stewart. And since Home Depot has been the title sponsor of Tony’s car, my dad will not shop there. The logic seems flawed; I know. But after my experience last week, I’m beginning trust my father’s gut instincts even more.

I had a comp day on Friday and needed to some stuff for home repair. I’m nowhere near Bob Villa yet, but I do enough for my wife to not leave me for Ty Pennington.

I was in Home Depot for about 30 minutes grabbing an assortment of things. The fun began when I went to check out. The young girl behind the counter scanned everything and gave me the total. Once I handed over my credit card, she asked for my driver’s license. Whoops. I left my stupid wallet at home.

The girl proceeded to tell me it was the store’s policy to check ID on every credit card purchase, and that she couldn’t take the card without an ID. Hmmm….fair enough. I told her I understood, but asked to speak with her manager. I was shooting for the classic “one-time exception”. Unfortunately the manager wasn’t buying into my sob story either. I used what I thought were great lines. First, the whole, I’ve spent so much time here to collect this stuff. Can you let me get by and just do it this once? No luck. Then I pulled out the trump card. I told her that if I leave that store, I’ll have to buy the same stuff from a Home Depot closer to my house. The manager was unconcerned with loosing money for her store. At least she was sticking to store policy..I appreciated that.

Everything was understandable until I happened to look over to my left. Home Depot has self-checkout lanes, just like grocery stores. I quickly noticed two people run their credit cards and walk off with out any of the interrogation I was getting. I posed this epic question to the manager: “Why do I have to show my ID with credit card purchases here, but the people in self-checkout don’t?” You would’ve thought I asked her how to fix Iraq or about Peak Oil. After a 10 second zone out, she said it was store policy.

Store policy?! You have to show ID when working with a store associate, but its ok for a whacko to pay with a stolen credit card while self-checking out with a load of Fertilizer, Ammonia, and other redneck explosives. Thanks Home Depot for helping out in the War on Terror. I jokingly asked if it would they could void everything out of my cart so I could self-checkout. She agreed!

Two lessons today class:

1) If you steal a credit card, ALWAYS USE THE SELF-CHECKOUT LANE
2) Don’t invest in companies that have conflicting store policies. It’s like when Doc Brown warns Marty that he and his future self can’t see each other. Bad things happen when stuff like this happens.
3) Jimmy Johnson in the #48 Lowe’s Chevy has won back-to-back NASCAR Cup titles. I’ll never doubt you again Dad. I love you.
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Movie Review: Cloverfield

Since his creation of “Alias” and “Lost”, I’ve basically decided to watch whatever J.J. Abrams makes and ask questions later. No matter what you say about the product he puts out, he gives each project of life of its own, and makes it tons more fun to follow than a typical CSI: (insert a variety of cities). So when I heard he was behind a monster movie, well let’s just say, I was a little exited.

J.J is a master of viral marketing and has taken the Internet by storm for the promotion of “Cloverfield”. He has two sites fully devoted to the movie itself. All 5 main characters of the movie have MySpace pages. No, not the actors, the characters’ themselves have fake accounts. J.J created a fictional drink called Slusho that has appeared in Alias, Lost, Heroes, and in the promotion of this movie. It’s a bit much, but he did turn this movie into a runaway winner at the box office. Estimates are around 40 million.

So where do I begin with a review of this movie? Here’s the best I’ve got: It’s a cross between The Blair Witch Project; Godzilla; Saving Private Ryan; and The Day After Tomorrow. And yes, this is a good thing.

The movie uses Blair Witch’s “found footage” angle. So everything you see is from a homemade video that was found by the government and cataloged to preserve the horrific events that happened. The first 5 minutes of the movie almost made me throw up and reminded me of when 10-year-old Cousin Jimmy got a hold of the camera at Christmas.

I compare it to Godzilla simple in the monster movie context. I could have said Mothra, but only 2 or 3 of you would have known what I was talking about. Here is a drawing of the creature. It seems pretty accurate. You never get a clear focused shot of the monster in the movie, which is great.

I know it’s a little weird to compare a story of WWII and a fictional demolition derby in NYC, but I think it holds up. You don’t see the monster attack from a distance. You truly become part of the action. I can honestly say that I’ve never been more locked in to a movie in my life. There’s no way to escape the sense of danger. You know the famous Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan. It’s like that, but for ¾ of the movie. You’re as helpless as the characters. But instead of getting Matt Damon, we’re stuck with the idiot son from ABC’s Carpoolers.

Have you all seen The Day After Tomorrow? You know, the uber global warming movie. In that, Denis Quaid makes an epic, heartfelt, absurd journey to save his son in the midst of the worst disaster the world’s ever known. Well, those same thought processes drive our main character to risk his and his friends’ lives to save his true love. Immediately after the movie, I told my wife to never do anything that stupid to save me. She quickly agreed.

Anyway, I can’t give much detail without spoiling a bit. All I can say is that if you’re planning on watching this, it must be done in the theater. After it was over, about 150 sat in our theater unable to move. It was like we couldn’t process everything. I’m not even sure if I liked it. But, I let myself be taking into JJ’s world, and it was the most intense movie I’ve ever seen.

1.17.2008

Dinner and a Movie, or A Movie and Dinner?


I love living on a budget, but I hate the feeling of sacrifice. One of my favorite date-on-a-budget tricks is to go to the movie BEFORE dinner. With Movie prices around $9.50, the $6.50 Matinee is a great way to save $6.00 per couple without really sacrificing anything.

Well, Regal Entertainment Group has decided to burst my bubble. They’ve lowered their Matinee times to showings before 3:00 p.m., instead of the usual 6:00 p.m - thus thwarting my frugal efforts.

Fortunately Carmike Theaters still operates under the 6:00 p.m. cutoff.

Other ways to save at the box office: become a senior citizen, join the military, or go back to school. All completely worthwhile efforts to save a couple bucks twice a month.

1.16.2008

Ah, alas… so I’m not an Adams -- I’m a Baker

Courtney here, doing a stint as a guest blooger. And you might be asking yourself, “What in the world is she going to write about? We’ve already got politics, sports, and finance covered.” Well, I am here to introduce you to the wide world of ….drumroll please…. CRAFTS. Yes, that’s right - the stuff your grandmother does. I’m talking baking, scrapbooking, cards and photography. I won’t pretend to be a great writer, but I will always provide visuals.

I’m going to start off with a digital scrapbooking. I started scrapbooking in June, and I’ll admit it, I’m hooked. Who knew photoshop could be so fun? And honestly if you know how to use a computer it’s pretty easy. It does help to have someone teach you how to get started, but there are some fabulous resources out there if you are interested:

Digishoptalk
Two Peas in a Bucket (great tutorials, but I wouldn’t buy their products they are really high)
Little Dreamer Designs (serious high quality freebies)
Funky Playground Designs (just good products to get started)

Here is a page I just finished a few days ago. I’m still not sure how I ended up with a green and yellow Christmas page, but I did. Sometimes I get tired of red and green for every Christmas layout.



Credits: Vera Lim- If Only, Amy Hutchinson-Layer Edge Vol. 5 Recolored, Gina Miller-Off Beat Paper Alpha, Katie Hadfield-Doodled Black Alpha, Paint the Moon-Funky Flowers Take 3, Summer's Fading, Corina Nielsen-October Giveaway Paper Pack, Marcie Reckinger and Traci Murphy-Curled Border, Gina Marie Huff-Christmas Freebie, Natalie Braxton-Fluffy Puffy Ribbons, Swirly Whirly Strings, Anne deJong-Fa La La

I hope that leaves you feeling a little more creative. Thank you for letting me share my art.

1.14.2008

Open Invitation - Ron Paul


Good evening friends. Sorry about the inconsistant posts. My job wanted me to work 65 hours last week. That wasn't condusive to blogging. If somebody wants to bankroll this project so I can sit at home, please let me know.

Anyway, here is a last minute invitation to join me tomorrow. In my last entry, I mentioned that I was offering my full services to all high-profile candidates. Well I have gotten two responses. One was from a McCain representative asking what I wanted to do. I'm working on that response.

The next politico event takes place tomorrow. I got a generic invitation to see Ron Paul's TN campaign headquarters. It opens tomorrow and they are having an open house. Below is the press release. I am going somewhere between noon and 1. If anybody wants to join, please give me a call. 615/975-5103

Dear Friends,
Our momentum is good. The local media is now very interested in our efforts. Your presence at our grand opening will be an opportunity to generate even more interest.

Please come tomorrow, Tuesday at noon and show your support for Ron Paul. If you can make it, please do. Here is our press release. Television channels 2 (ABC), 5 (CBS) and FOX 17 will be there, as well as WLAC radio and Belmont Vision Radio station. After the speeches, We are open till 8 PM for supporters to come in and train on how to help "get out the vote". So if you can only come late in the day, please come. Here's the map link:
Paul TN Headquarters

See you Tuesday,
Cheryl

1.08.2008

GTKTPRFP - Who Wants My Help? (Seriousness Level: Severe)


I've been swamped at work and I'm sorry for the lack of candidate bios. I've been keeping up with everything and look forward to addressing the rest of them after tonight's New Hampshire primary. I decided to create a little experiment today. I registered with the campaign websites of all 9 remaining high-profile candidates.

Obama
Clinton
Edwards
Huckabee
Romney
McCain
Giuliani
Thompson
Paul

I basically gave them my info and volunteered to help with all of their campaigns. Some wanted very detailed information about me; skills, experience. Others just wanted my contact info. I'm curious to see which campaign contacts me first. I mean, I got a uber-quick THANK YOU email from all of them for signing up. I wonder who will be the first to call or email personally to see if I really could be of service. Let's just say my ego will give super bonus points if a campaign calls me.

I am up for grab candidates, come get me.

1.07.2008

There's a Reason They Call Them Free Throws


As a young impressionable boy, I remember three things most about my high school basketball career:

1) Scoring a career-high 17 points on Senior Night when Estill Co. didn’t follow the extensive scouting report on me and decided to play 2-3 zone. I can only do one thing well in basketball; stand and shoot, and Estill Co. played right into my hands. By the way, over the course of my 4-year “career” I probably scored 17 points combined in all other games, so I still contribute to the Estill Co. alumni fund.

2) During a disastrous loss my junior year, coach was going to put me in for some classy scrub minutes. As you can image I was pretty pumped. Time to impress. We were already down by about 20, so I really couldn’t screw up. Well, so I thought. Coach came over to pull me into the game. I stood up and swiftly ripped off my button-up warm up pants. You know the ones that come off in one violent motion. I pulled my pants off triumphantly, and much to everyone’s surprise, my left hand literally punched my coach in the nose. That was the only time I’ve “punched” anybody or thought I was going to be killed. The bench completely lost their minds laughing out loud, which, well, didn’t help anything.

3) Finally, when University of Kentucky legend Kyle Macy came to one of our practices to teach us the art of free-throw shooting. Here’s why he came, from his Wikipedia entry no less: “Macy was an excellent free throw shooter throughout his career. He still holds the career free throw shooting percentage record at the University of Kentucky, as well as the Phoenix Suns franchise record. Macy emphasizes free throw shooting in his coaching, and the emphasis has paid off, as his Morehead State teams were perennially among the Division I leaders in free throw shooting percentage.” In 3 hours, he basically gave us his philosophy on winning basketball games: low turnovers and hitting free throws.
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Why I’m I referencing a forgotten legend? Well, because I watched the North Carolina/Clemson men’s basketball game last night. I’ve been watching a lot of college basketball this year. I had seen North Carolina play twice against nobodies, so I was very excited to see them take on a solid team. Clemson was ranked 19th and their only loss came against an undefeated Ole Miss school.

I came away with a couple quick thoughts:

1) One of the better games I’ve seen in a long time
2) NC’s Ty Lawson is pretty much un-guardable when he wants to drive
3) NC’s Tyler Hansbrough was over-matched against two large post bodies
4) At about the 3:00 mark left in the second half I realized some guys named Ellington had 30 points for NC. Who is this guy? I kept hearing about the previous two guys and Green. Man, I really missed the boat on this guy
5) Clemson’s Terrence Oglesby doesn’t have a conscious. He was 1-8 on 3’s and shot some of them from a fictitious Rock N’ Jock line. I like confidence, but jeez some of those were ridiculous.
6) I am thoroughly convinced that Clemson would beat North Carolina 7 times out of 10 IF…drum roll……..they were a better free throw shooting team.

They hit 52% (14-27), while NC was at 80% (24-30). Clemson as a whole averages 65% as a team at the line. This is what we call a team that likes to throw games away. If they don’t straighten up, they’re likely to lose a lot of ACC games but not being able to close teams out. Here is my recommendation for March: Circle them in your bracket and promptly have them getting beat by Fairleigh-Dickinson. Gotta hit your free throws fellas. If Kyle Macy coached Clemson, you would be looking at a Final Four team.

1.03.2008

GTKTPRFP - Hillary Clinton: Part I (Seriousness Level: Severe)

*Disclaimer - For every candidate I’m going to devote 2 hours to look over their opinions on key issues and pointing out where I disagree. Then I’ll be looking at the major issues playing in the media that will dissuade people from voting for them. I’m trying to summarize thoughts, so please don’t take my words as absolute fact. If you have any gripes with my summary, please look to the candidate’s website for their official opinion. This is my interpretations from 2 hours ONLY. I reserve the right to change my opinion as this proceeds.


Baseball Card Statistics:
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Full Name: Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton
Age: 60
Marital Status: Politically Married to Bill Clinton
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Most Recent Office Held: Junior Senator, New York
College: Wellesley College, Yale Law School
Religious Affiliation: United Methodist
Eric’s Official Nickname: HillBilly
Official Candidate website: http://www.hillaryclinton.com/
Randomness: She has won a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album in 1997 for the book “It Takes a Village” audio recording.
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Pre-issue thoughts
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For some reason, I don’t like her. Not really sure why just yet. Maybe it’s because everybody around the Clinton’s ends up dead. Yeah, I’ve had 2 clients independently tell me that a bodyguard died at Waco, aids getting knocked, just random stuff happens to people who cross the Clinton’s. I’m sure all of this is silly and made up and those people were anarchists, but I still haven’t heard anything that bad about any other candidate. Well besides the Internet rumor that Dennis Kucinich killed the Wizard of Oz. Also, what a crazy dynamic of a former first lady becoming the President. She used to make Bill sandwiches in the White House and know she may be running the free world. Step up for HillBilly. Also, let’s pretend that Bill is a devout Christian. How could he ever “lead his family”, when his wife is the most powerful person in the world? Talk about a getting knocked down a few notches. But HillBilly is the “Democratic establishment choice” as of right now. A victory by Obama would liven this up going to New Hampshire. I hope this happens.
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Abbreviated Interesting Issue Watch
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Immigration – HillBilly calls for “a path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar.” I have mixed feelings about this. I mean, somebody broke our laws to get in our country. So then, since they are behaving themselves, we’re supposed to forget how they got here in the first place. That’s like me breaking into somebody’s house, but because I started cleaning and helping around the house, they let me stay. Ok, maybe that’s a bad example, but at least you see where I’m going with it. I do believe that we need to make it easier for people to become citizens. One of my professors was from Spain and was working for a couple years on a work visa and couldn’t get citizenship. It seems like he should have been shoo-in for citizenship.
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“Hillary believes we need to repair those broken portions of our immigration system that irrevocably damage families and force citizens and lawful immigrants to choose between their newly adopted country and living with their spouse or children.” This makes sense. Shannon and I saw a man at the US-Mexican border who had to talk to his wife and children through a fence. That got me thinking though. ANYBODY can stroll into Mexico near San Diego. We walked in with no problems, not even an ID check. So this guy that was talking to his family HAD to be an illegal immigrant. Right? Because he could have walked in to talk to them, but I guess he was afraid he couldn’t get back to the US. That’s all I can think of. Sad and illegal. Bad times at the Mexican border. (Side note: Tijuana is the scariest place I’ve ever been; but that’s a post for another time.)
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Abortion – “Hillary has fought the relentless and insidious efforts by far-right Republicans to limit the protections of Roe v Wade, while also working hard to expand access to family planning services.” Look HillBilly, I’m not far-right. Religion aside, I just don’t see how a nation can justify abortion. In the cases where a rape causes pregnancy, a woman should be able to have an abortion. She never chose that for her body. No offense to anybody, but isn’t abortion the termination of another life? How is this legal?
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Here’s the thing I don’t get. Why is abortion only legal until a certain time in the pregnancy? What’s the magical line? Oh, here it is: “the state's interest in protecting "potential life" prevailed in the third trimester unless the woman's health was at risk.” I wonder how often the health of a woman comes into play. If that’s the case, what a tough decision. I know a woman wants to “have complete control over her fertility and pregnancy”; but at what expense.
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“Hillary has seen what happens when governments try to control a woman's reproductive health decisions. Whether it was Romania under a dictatorship saying you had to have children for the good of the state or China saying you had to have only one child for the good of the state, governments have dictated the most private and important decisions that we as individuals or families can make.”
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Umm..yeah, great comparison HillBilly. I’m not saying that government should create birth quotas. I think the government should protect life whether is old, normal, deformed, or in a woman’s belly. I know this is a tough issue, but if a woman had consensual sex, in normal health, they should not be allowed to terminate a pregnancy. It seems like they would be ending a life for their own convenience.
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Iraq – "Our message to the president is clear. It is time to begin ending this war -- not next year, not next month -- but today.
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Ok, I’m with you so far.
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"Well, the right strategy before the surge and post-escalation is the same: start bringing home America's troops now."
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Still good.
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“As president, one of Hillary's first official actions would be to convene the Joint Chiefs of Staff, her Secretary of Defense, and her National Security Council. She would direct them to draw up a clear, viable plan to bring our troops home starting with the first 60 days of her Administration.”
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Heard this before.
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"A New Intensive Diplomatic Initiative in the Region. In her first days in office, Hillary would convene a regional stabilization group composed of key allies, other global powers, and all of the states bordering Iraq."
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WHAT!? She’ll convene a group of all states bordering Iraq. That’s nice. Will she ask nice? Will she bribe them? All this sounds nice and all, but its kind of a pipe dream. Do you really think that Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Turkey are all going to sit down and have any sort of a consensus on Iraq?! That’s not counting the struggle for Iraq between the Shiites, Sunni, and Kurds. It seems like HillBilly is assuming this will be as simple as asking for delegates from Vermont, New Hampshire, and California to get together over tea. The only way that group is getting together is if HillBilly wants to invade Israel.
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Eric’s Gut Feeling After 2 Hours of Research
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She’s got the name recognition to carry her a long way. I don’t now if she’s electable though. Don’t most Republicans despise her? I think Obama/Edwards is a safer choice for the Dems.
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Eric’s Official Rating
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I give her a 65. Would she have gotten anywhere without her husband? She’s a genius, but she’s still Bill’s wife to me. Nothing terrible impressive and I disagree with a lot of her core values. I’ll be writing about her more, but probably not in a good way.

Energy Star Washing Machines Suck

Our washing machine is just about to give out, so I’ve been doing some research on new models. I was duped, like a lot of people, into thinking that Energy Star actually meant that you were saving energy and water. This not really the case.

The cheapest non-efficient model I could find was a Kenmore 200- 3.2 cu. ft. capacity for $263.99. This is probably one of the least energy efficient models. Do you know what the annual cost for water and electricity to run the machine is? $21.85! Wow I feel so bad for contributing to the world’s pollution. Oh wait, I’m not. And that is using the worse case scenario of 38 gallons of water per load.

The stupid thing that Energy Star does is blanketly say that each machine will be used 8 times a week by an average family. That is probably true if you have a midget washer or if you have 17 kids, or are OCD. Eric and I wash roughly 5 loads a week and there is about 10 pounds of clothes per load.

For the Kenmore 3.2 model, this is 163 loads a year. But Energy Star calculates 416 loads a year. Like I said, unless you have 17 kids or are obsessive-compulsive, you probably won’t wash this much.

So say you get a super-efficient washer that only uses 10 gallons per load. Congratulations, you’ve saved $8 bucks per year. Don’t spend that all in one place. If you invest that, in 25 years you may have enough to fill a tank of gas.

Bottom line: Don’t buy in to the “energy efficient” washer myth. Buy a cheap model instead of the $1599 model and thank me later.

Here is the math, in case you are a nerd like me, or want to build your own equations:

GTKTPRFP - Barack Obama: Part I (Seriousness Level: Severe)

*Disclaimer - For every candidate I’m going to devote 2 hours to look over their opinions on key issues and pointing out where I disagree. Then I’ll be looking at the major issues playing in the media that will dissuade people from voting for them. I’m trying to summarize thoughts, so please don’t take my words as absolute fact. If you have any gripes with my summary, please look to the candidate’s website for their official opinion. This is my interpretations from 2 hours ONLY. I reserve the right to change my opinion as this proceeds.




Baseball Card Statistics:
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Full Name: Barack Hussein Obama
Age: 46
Marital Status: Married to Michelle Obama
Party Affiliation: Democratic
Most Recent Office Held: Junior Senator, Illinois
College: Columbia University, Harvard Law School
Religious Affiliation: United Church of Christ
Eric’s Official Nickname: Ophrama
Official Candidate website: http://www.barackobama.com/
Randomness: He is a pretty good poker player and is trying to quit smoking.
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Pre-issue thoughts
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Ophrama is the most interesting candidate running for President in my opinion. But he’s facing a couple challenges. First, randomly, no United States senator has been elected president since John F. Kennedy. He doesn’t have a ton of experience, compared to heavyweights McCain and Biden. But for me, the key and tough question to ask is: “Can a non-white, multi-cultural candidate win the Presidency, whose name happens to be Barack Hussein Obama?” I mean are you kidding me? I know there are millions of Muslims named Hussein that are great, but running for President with that name. We just got done invading Iraq, which lead to the trial and execution of a guy named, wait for it…Hussein. I guess it’s like the Michael Bolton line from Office Space. One guy ruins it for the rest of them. Ophrama should have changed his name last month to George Lincoln Kennedy. But he’s a unique guy who has the backing of Oprah. Now that’s a heck of an endorsement. She should travel to different speaking locations and give his audiences new Dodge Neons or something. I really want to like this guy.
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Abbreviated Interesting Issue Watch
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Iraq – Regardless of your feelings about the war, we’re there, things aren’t going great, and some sort of plan needs to be put into place. Democrats blame the war on the Bush Administration, but they voted for it too. I’ve said this before, but one website projects the Iraq War has cost us $482 billion. That’s unbelievable. I love that Ophrama always lays out everything in practical steps. It doesn’t feel like its as much jargon and that’s actually thought about this stuff before. Here are a couple of his points: Bringing Our Troops Home; Regional Diplomacy; and Press Iraq’s Leaders to Reconcile.
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First Ophrama, you can press all you want. You’re not going to persuade leaders following separate doctrine to just because the US wants them to. He says “The best way to press Iraq’s leaders to take responsibility for their future is to make it clear that we are leaving.” In a related story: Insurgents rejoice that the infidel is leaving their country and begin assassinating US-backed leaders. (See Pakistan).
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Also about regional diplomacy: “Obama will launch the most aggressive diplomatic effort in recent American history to reach a new compact on the stability of Iraq and the Middle East.” Then the next day he will begin to make sure to put down the Alabama-Auburn and Ohio State-Michigan rivalries. I like his moxie, but I think it’s a little presumptuous.
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He is also going to begin bringing troops home immediately. “Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months.” I’m not smart enough to know the difference, but I wonder if this includes all National Guard units, etc. Also, what if the region goes crazy? Are we still pulling out then? What if there is a coo and another bad guy takes over? Are we calling a do-over and going back in later? I think we’re in a mess and this is too simple an answer.
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National Security – Here are his category listings for homeland protection: “Evacuating Special Needs Population in Emergencies; Keeping Track of Spent Nuclear Fuel; Protecting the Public from Radioactive Releases; Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe” At least these are practical. He doesn’t really mention the Patriot Act, because he voted to keep it around. He spoke against it before he became a Senator and then…whoops.
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Eric’s Gut Feeling After 2 Hours of Research

I think he’s an interesting candidate. I disagree a lot with comments on Faith and his view of US Healthcare. He’s going to be around for a while, so I can discuss him in-depth again. If I were a Democrat in Iowa, I would probably be voting today for Biden, Ophrama, Edwards in that order. It will be interesting how America continues to respond to him. I think that he would/will make an incredible VP candidate, but we’ll see. By the way, don’t you think that Iowa has a little too much power in this race? Right Said Fred might drop out if he loses Iowa. Are all states that similar? I mean if Fred is more popular in the South, then why would he pack up shop after performing bad in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada? Shouldn’t he just start campaigning everywhere else and go for the bigger stats? I guess that’s why I don’t work for CNN.

Eric’s Official Rating

I give him an 81. If I woke up tomorrow, I wouldn’t be ramming my head in the wall. That’s good enough for now I guess.

1.02.2008

Did you go to a foreign country in the last 10 years? Want $25?

No, this is not a scam - feel free to Google the lawsuit.
Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, Bank One, First USA, Chase, Citibank, Diners Club, HSBC, MBNA and Washington Mutual were sued and have since created a settlement fund of $336 million to pay damages for adding excessive transaction fees. They added 1-3% on some transactions for use in Foreign Countries. They say it was legit, but are settling to avoid a lengthy and expensive trial.

If you made a credit card transaction in a foreign country from February 1, 1996 to November 8, 2006, you are a part of the Settlement Damages Class and are eligible for a refund!

There are 3 options to get a refund (all of these forms take about 2 minutes to fill out and you don't need receipts):

-Refund Option 1 is an Easy Refund of $25 and is recommended if you travel outside of the U.S. for less than one week or had foreign transactions of less than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the class period.

-Refund Option 2 is a Total Estimation Refund and is recommended if you traveled outside the U. S. for more than one week or had foreign transactions of more than $2,500 using your eligible cards during the class period.

-Refund Option 3 is the Annual Estimated Refund option. It is recommended if you had extensive foreign travel or foreign transactions.

If you got a letter in the mail with an ID, you can file online at:
http://www.ccfsettlement.com/claim
If you don’t have an ID, you can fill out this form and mail it:
http://www.ccfsettlement.com/documents/claim/non-tar-notice-and-claim.pdf

The deadline to claim is May 30, 2008. Don't forget!!

PLEASE NOTE: Scammers on the loose!
Be careful! These banks will not send you an email asking your account information. Make sure it is legit and it has https:// before you enter any info.

The Caucus for Iowa (Seriousness Level: Guarded)


Well the Iowa caucus is tomorrow and I've yet to address a lot of the candidates. So I'm beginning a marathon session of candidate intros.

I've decided to ignore Biden and Richardson, et al. until they decide the nation that they have a chance. As a side, I really like Biden's real world experience. Agenda/politics aside, he would probably have the least learning curve of any of the candidates. He would be a safe, solid choice.

I'm looking at unleashing the following over the next 24 hours:

Clinton
Obama
Edwards
Huckabee
McCain
Giuliani

Since most of these are sorta frontrunners, I should have time to revisit them later.

It looks as though Obama and Huckabee are the odds on favorite to win Iowa. If you're bored and want to read about the race, here is the best source I've found specifically for Iowa:

Des Moines Register - Iowa Caucuses '08

Robert Frost and The Road that Shoudn't Have Been Taken



Random AP Story of the Day:

"Vermont - A former home of poet Robert Frost has been vandalized, with intruders destroying dozens of items and setting fire to furniture in what police say was an underage-drinking party...Empty beer bottles and cans, plastic cups, and cellophane apparently used to hold marijuana were also found. The vandals vomited in the living room and discharged two fire extinguishers inside the building.

I like the way the kids roll in Vermont. At our high school in Kentucky, people used to get wasted at non-historic venues. I guess that's why Kentucky test scores are so low. I'm sure the Vermont kids were having a poetry study session before they found a 100-year-old bottle of scotch and things got out of hand.

Here's the Full Story

Michael Moore vs. Hillary Clinton (Serisousness Level: Low)


I've only seen two of Michael Moore's movies. Both controversial, both interesting: Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine . I walked away from both thinking he likes to shake things up and doesn't care who he infuriates. I personally disagree with a lot of the stuff he does, but he has a knack for making powerful, sometimes misleading documentaries. Even though he took some shots at Bill Clinton, I always assumed he would heavy endorse a Democratic candidate for President. But today I read this story and have decided that I'm glad people like MM are around. He shares most of the same views as Dennis Kucinich, but said he was running assuming he would lose. He called Sen. Obama unelectable, and dropped this bomb on Clinton: "nothing has disappointed me more than the disastrous, premeditated vote by Sen. Hillary Clinton to send us to war in Iraq — Do you want a president who is so easily misled?"

I guess it’s easy to throw stones. We need people to do this in politics from time to time, so we as a country don't follow our leadership blindly; because patriotism is misused a lot. But I wish these vocal slingshots would offer more solutions instead of just picking people off.