Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Favorite Christmas Things



The Christmas season brings out some of my favorite sights, sounds, tastes and events not limited to:

1. Chocolate Chip Cookies right out of the oven.

2. Trans-Siberian Orchestra music.

3. Giving and receiving gifts.

4. Sleeping in late on Christmas morning.

5. Snow on Christmas morning.

6. Christmas morning breakfast.

7. Trolling shopping areas to find best deals.

8. Seeing extended family members.

9. Candy canes.

10. Watching "A Christmas Story"

Around The Horn: Christmas Time

Christmas season caught up with me and I couldn't post last week but I'm back again just in time for Christmas!

1. Channel Surfing has the winter woes as he is glad he isn't in Iowa. Good thing he isn't running for President as sentiments like that will not help him!

2. Blue Jersey is still hung up on civil unions. Sadly no one really seems to care.

3. Fred Thompson is wishing us all a happy holiday season according to MoreMonmouthMusings. Anyone else hear crickets chirping in the background?

4. Save Jersey Blog has got the coverage on George Bush as a civil rights icon? That is about as accurate as calling Sarah Palin's wardrobe thrifty.

5. Dan Cirucci is still whining and upset about Barack Obama's victory in November. His latest source of discontent...Obama's vacation destination.

6. There are dolphins in New Jersey? According to Read All About It, we have plenty of 'em.

7. Conservatives With Attitude thinks France's Sarkozy is a failed president. Well he is married to a hot chick though, that has to get him brownie points right?

8. The Test Panel is infatuated with the smell of flame-broiled beef. Good thing she picked up a bottle of FLAME.

9. Apparently some children ARE being left behind in the world of PoliticsPatrol. He wants to throw out G.W.'s only claim to fame.

10. Santa is out of a job in Philadelphia. Interested parties can view his resume at Sid in the City.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Conspiracy Theories Abound

The Internet is a very interesting place. Through it, anyone in the entire world can visit your blog with just a click. The question is, who are these people and how do they get to your blog? I've often wondered how most of the people who came to read my blog got there in the first place.

For example, take reader 1,596 of my blog. This person is from Wasilla, Alaska (hometown of Sarah Palin) and actually got to my blog by entering my full name and the word "blog" into the search engine. Things like that always make me wonder...how does this person know me?

I guess that's what comes with the territory when you decide to have a public blog. You have to take the good, the bad, the ugly and....the unknown.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Around The Horn: Senate Seat on Clearance

1. Capitol Quickies (nope not Elliot Spitzer's experience) has got the Gay Marriage covered in the Garden State. A Civil Union Review Comission (I hope taxpayers are not paying for this...) thinks NJ should allow gay marriage.

2. Wondering what all the blackout was about in Monmouth County? The Inside Clamdigger has got the beat on the street. An estimated 44,000 people went without power (including most importantly...me!!!) for an hour and a half. NJ. com has a great map here.

3. Middletown Mike thinks Illinois is really corrupt. No truth to the rumors Mike received a telemarketing car asking if he would like to buy a senate seat. This does make New Jersey look like an innocent child next to the political whore that is Illinois.

4. MoreMonmouthMusings won't be spending any time at seedy hotels. The power is back on! In only two hours, the people of Monmouth county descended back into tribal warfare and Neanderthal survival tactics. Just kidding, but it was close!

5. Conservatives With Attitude has a really squwaky voice and wants to run for a Senate seat. Nope, that is just Fran Drescher and to think, we thought Sarah Palin was un-qualified...

6. ClearysNoteBook will be locking their gate in the future as their pesky pooch took off. The bright side was that a new friend was made...who promptly got into his car and will never be seen again...(sigh).

7. Read All About It hates Obama's reported choice to lead the EPA. Hey she is a "Jersey Girl", she can't be all that bad. Look on the bright side...she could be from Illinois.

8. The Opinion Mill roasts good old George W. for his actions around 9/11. Hey, at least he kept us safe!!!! Just kidding, I'm not drinking the Peggy Noonan kool-aid.

9. Dan Cirucci is wondering who killed Christmas. He's even got a little poll up, unfortunately one of the options is not "Who Cares". I would have clicked THAT one.

10. Keep your dogs away from the fire hydrants as RedBankGreen is warning us of the testing that will be going on. The dark murky water is OK to drink though, so don't worry about that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Around The Horn: Plaxico Burress & Dick Cheney Shooting Club

1. The Rix Mix is into cybering. Shopping that is...what were you thinking of you dirty son of a gun? He doesn't believe in the validity of the day and puts it in the same category as unicorns and leprechauns.

2. Conservatives With Attitude is pissed off! What else is new hehe. They opened up their pre-Christmas gift to find a lousy gift-certificate to get an abortion. They weren't even pregnant to begin with! The outrage!

3. Sid in the City is all about scat. He also loves having scantily-clad women in his little illustrations on his web-site. Theres something about having a stripper and a Christmas Tree in the same photo that really puts me in a festive mood.

4. Curious about New Jersey's AIDS rates? Hit up Blue Jersey but don't ask the site to share its needles with you. I know, I know...another classless joke by me.

5. Hillary Clinton sure has a fan in Middletown Mike. He loves the nomination of Clinton to the Secretary of State post. Looks like Mike got the big end of the wishbone.

6. Jon Corzine is taking a little trip to Philadelphia according to Capitol Quickies. No word yet on when he actually plans to do stuff for New Jersey...you know...that state he is the GOVERNOR of.

7. Politiker NJ covers the entrance of Steve Lonegan into the gubernatorial race for New Jersey. If Lonegan can run a decent campaign he really has a shot at winning this. I'm wondering, why isn't Tom Kean Jr. running?

8. Rob Tornoe is all about the pantsuit on Hillary Clinton. Count me out on that one Rob.

9. Dan Cirucci has nothing to say about Obama's 4 picks for his national security/state team. Guess you are in favor of these picks Dan?

10. Reagan nostalgia is in good supply at The Save Jersey Blog. SJB warns not to expect one from good old Bush 43 anytime soon.

A Clintonista's White House

If you were a supporter of Hillary Clinton in the primaries, you couldn't be happier with most of Obama's picks. Clinton herself probably would of kept Gates in his current post and would have picked someone in her same mind of thinking for Sec. of State. She also couldn't complain with the number of former Clinton people to be included in the Obama administration as there are several big names including Bill Richardson and Rahm Emmanuel.

Something not lost on most people is the ample supply of big names and egos that will be present in the White House. Most of the people Obama will surround himself with all have ambitions of their own and will ultimately desire higher positions. His challenge will be to keep them all in line and focused on their "current" position. He certainly seems up to the challenge.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Around The Horn: Billary as Secretary of State?

1. Conservatives with Attitude is up in arms! Tom Kean & friends have been blowing them off worse than a fat chick after a blind date. According to CWA, New Jersey Republicans need to start acting like Republicans and not like...Democrats.

2. Middletown Mike hates Barack Obama. Just kidding, Mike seems to be in support of Obama's new plan to create 2.5 million jobs which Obama announced over his weekly radio address. Keep up the good work Mike!

3. Blue Jersey normally loves "poster children", but not in this case as Rutgers football seems to be in shambles. Apparently things got so bad, Rutgers asked if they could be included in some form of government bailout.

4. Dan Cirucci seems to hate Franklin Delano Roosevelt as he posts an editorial on his site linking Obama and F.D.R to similar policies. No word yet on if Dan has nostalgia for soup lines. In un-related news, Dan wants you to stop mailing him Thanksgiving cards as he doesn't want the heathen filth touching his mailbox.

5. Jon Corzine and Andy Reid have a lot in common according to The Save Jersey Blog. In addition to an expanding waistline, they both suck at managing people. Hopefully Obama's bailout will include a bailout of New Jersey voters for their mistake at electing Corzine.

6. Corzine isn't popular as the Politics Patrol doesn't like him either. Corzine won't win Miss.Congeniality anytime soon...because Sandra Bullock already won that.

7. The Opinion Mill is feeling like a Turkey with its head cut off this weekend. No wait, that's just Sarah Palin who seems to only have pull with men these days. Good luck selling that book Sarah, I plan to wait till it drops under a buck!

8. More Monmouth Musings seems to lament the possibility of another Corzine term if the Republicans can't get their stuff together. Comon Art, this is New Jersey we are talking about here, Republicans can't even plan a church picnic in this state, let alone win an election.

9. Sid in The City is advocating that people leave their children in the able care of strippers and loose women. Just kidding, in actuality Sid is just pointing out the facts as Vineland grips with a lady in the lunch room who has more to offer than Sloppy Joes.

10. Charlie Rangel sucks according to NJ Tax Revolution. The guy forgets to declare an entire property on his tax return and then receives kickbacks on money he owes the government for other properties.

Update: The Car Situation

I test drove three cars yesterday. You may remember all three cars from a previous post I had here. The Toyota RAV-4 was by far the biggest disappointment as it seemed boxy and un-personal. One might think they were driving a horse and buggy by the way the RAV-4 positions the driver's body. The all-wheel drive felt terrible as the car seemed to be "grinding" all of the time. The car's V-4 engine felt weak and un-impressive. The RAV-4 did score high marks from me for the folding rear seat which left a large amount of space for stuff. Other than that, I was very disappointed.

The Honda Civic EX had the best value of the three (as expected) with many standard options including cruise control, a sunroof and MP3 player capability. The Civic was extremely peppy for a V-4 and I liked the fact that instead of a speedometer the car just shows you the number of MPH you are going. This was the first time I'd seen that. I was worried I would feel like I was skimming the ground in the Civic but the seat sat me higher than my 1998 Taurus, which was a welcome change.

The Acura TL was by far the best performer. The car had everything including leather seats, power-moonroof, powerful V-6 engine, MP3 capability, gadgets galore and plenty of passenger space. The care is actually a very reasonable price when bought used (as I intend) to do and would not be stretch for my budget if purchased. However as a finance major, I do not want to finance a car longer than 4 years and depending how much I can save before my current car dies, I may not be able to raise the down-payment I want.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Around The Horn: Bailouts Are Vogue

1. Conservatives with Attitude is beaming about Mike Huckabee's recent vacation in New Jersey. Just kidding, he was there for "defending the family" reasons, whatever that means. Not sure what he is running for this time.

2. Page 13 News is wondering if Obama is really an American citizen. Apparently he wasn't a terrorist, muslim, black panther, un-ethical politician or a celebrity so we had to find something else. Some nobody named Phillip Berg is running the investigation, good luck with that.

3. Dan Cirucci blogs about Barbara Walter's "Most Fascinating List of 2008". Using artful dexterity, Cirucci manages to get a shot in at Barack Obama at the end. It just would be a Cirucci post without one! I'm beginning to think the guy is secretly obsessed with Obama.

4. Joe the Plumber will now be Joe the Writer as he has a book deal lined up. The Opinion Mill seems slightly disgusted with this. I love Joe the Plumber. Where else but America could somebody so un-interesting become a cultural-phenomenon. To add insult to injury, he wants to run for a congressional seat.

5. Sid In The City is all about Spam. Not the email variety but the fake meat...variety. He says Spam sales are way up. I'm sure this can somehow be attributed to Barack Obama. I'll ask Cirucci to get on that.

6. The Center of NJ Life is telling us to not believe everything we hear in the mainstream media. We can listen to the ultra-liberal media but not mainstream media. Sarah Palin still doesn't know where Africa is according to imaginary McCain confidant Martin Eisenstadt. Eisenstadt is reportedly preparing for a run for congress in 2010.

7. There's a unity march goin' down in Blue Jersey. Apparently an Obama supporter had a cross burned on their front lawn. Nothing wrong with that, just good ole fashioned racism. Whats all the big hubbub about.

8. Is the "right" really right? A Voice For The Youth Of Monmouth County is musing about the subject. It is a really great centrist post even though he professes to be a Democrat. In the end he sides with the left.

9. Cleary's Note Book is telling us to Stay Low and Go! Is he speaking to the Republican party following its resounding defeat in the 2008 election season? Nope, just pesky toddlers during fire-safety training. Yawn...

10. If there are two things in life Middletown Mike likes...one is John Adler and the other is the new Yankee Stadium. Apparently some NY Times big-wigs were given a tour of the clubhouse and etc. C.C. Sabathia reportedly has his own personal day-spa somewhere in the depth of the stadium just waiting for his arrival.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Car Season Is Here


It's that time again as my car is hanging by the proverbial thread and will soon need to be replaced. I am faced with the dilemma of a person educated in finance. My brain tells me that a car is the absolute worst investment a person can make. For one, cars depreciate faster than any other asset imaginable and have high upkeep costs. Thus a person guided by their head would buy the absolute cheapest car possible that meets their basic needs and is cost effective. I give myself a little pat on the back, because I have decided to buy used.

Unfortunately my heart is telling me another thing! I was given a 1998 Ford Taurus LX as a hand-me down car in 2004. The car did its job by getting me from point A to point B. At the beginning, there were very few maintenance costs involved with the car but I have reached a point where it is no longer cost-effective to own the car. I somewhat want to treat myself with options like a sunroof, leather seats and etc. I have started to research my options and have come up with a few ideas for cars I would be interested in. Some of the cars are higher priced, others lower-priced, some sedans, some mini-SUVs and a lot of other in between. Here are the top three contenders:

1. 2006 Acura TL: This is by far the most expensive car I am looking into. This car also comes with the best features including: a power moon-roof, leather seats, fog lights, 6-Cd changer and volume controls on the steering wheel. The car comes with a peppy V-6 and averages about 20 mpg city and 29 on the highway. This car has a blue book value around $22,500.

2. 2007 Honda Civic: This is the best value for the money. This car has a blue-book of $17,500 and comes with power moon-roof, a folding seat (which the Acura does not have), satellite radio and power everything. The car basically has everything the Acura has but does not come with leather or V-6. It is also on the small side. I'm not crazy about driving with a V-4. If this car had a V-6, I would be all about it, but then again it wouldn't get 30 mpg in the city and a whopping 40 mpg on the highway.

3. 2006 Toyota RAV-4: This is a true hybrid in the sense that it sits you up high and gives you the feel of an SUV but comes with a great fuel economy of 23 city and 28 highway. Comes with a standard sunroof, daytime running lights, 6-CD changer, roof racks, MP3 compatible and power everything. Drawback is a less than peppy V-4. Blue book value around $21,000.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Around The Horn: Obama is President!

1. New Jersey: Politics Unusual thinks Sarah Palin should be the next ambassador to Africa. Wait, scratch that. Palin will be returning to Alaska to enjoy diet Dr. Peppers and a lack of knowledge concerning all things African.

2. Are farms funny? Apparently MoreMonmouthMusings thinks so as this is the title of its latest post. He is trying to get a tax break for raising trees or something. Good luck with that.

3. Dan Cirucci is thanking the President for his service by displaying a little editorial on his blog. I wonder what the resale value will be on that plush and cozy rock that Dan has been living under for eight years. Depends on the financing available I guess...

4. "Dale Earnhardt" economics are all the rage over at Blog the Fifth. Apparently Earnhardt wasn't an expert on safety. I'm just kidding! I know, that joke was in very bad taste. Anywho, Earnhardt mused at one point that GM was too big to fail.

5. The Opinion Mill has a massive post on how conservatives are trying to salvage some dignity from the '08 elections. A good start wouldn't be: To have infighting among the top of your failed presidential ticket, Infighting among the leadership roles at the top of the House of Representative or Having the current President from your party leaving the White House with a tarnished legacy. Oh wait...

6. The Save Jersey Blog is stretching his jurisdiction out a little and trying to save the entire Republican Party. He is spot on in noting that most of the true conservatives around the country lost to Democrats and the moderate standard bearers of the party survived. A prime example is Susan Collins of Maine, who won quite comfortably in a Democratic Tsunami year.

7. NJ Tax Revolution is begging Obama to steer clear from John Corzine. The guy who was supposed to be the "messiah" for the New Jersey economy due to his economic background, couldn't even figure out how to use a seatbelt and you are surprised that he did nothing for New Jersey's residents. But I digress...

8. Monmouth County Republican Blog has a nice little editorial from Reagan's oldest son, Michael, describing the reasons John McCain lost. In one of the more interesting lines of the novel, Reagan writes that Obama ran the best campaign since his namesake did in '80. On the flip side, McCain ran the worst campaign since Dole in '96. I don't know about that. Dole was really bad, can anyone ever match that?

9. Is it too early for Christmas. Apparently Channel Surfing thinks so as he is already experiencing the burn-out from the holiday season. I hate to break it to him, but we haven't even hit Black Friday yet. It's just going to get a lot worse from here.

10. Conservatives with Attitude wants Palin to be the nominee in 2012. With global warming on the rise, Palin might not be able to see Russia from her house by that time as Alaska could be under sea-water. Would that hurt her foreign policy gravitas?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why Obama Won: New Democrats


Barack Obama won for many reasons including the current state of the economy, John McCain's ties to President Bush and Obama's call for change. However, something overlooked seems to be the "style" of Obama's campaign which falls along the lines of "New Democrats". "New Democrat" was the moniker applied to Bill Clinton's campaign which ran on a populist tone calling for "change". Where have we heard that before?

Before Clinton, John F. Kennedy also ran as a young candidate calling for change and inspired Americans with his message. On the flip side, John Kerry and Al Gore ran stiff campaigns that lacked inspiration and emotion. If Al Gore had run for president with his personality now, he would have won. The label of stiffness and blandness was something that did Gore no favors. Kerry lost because of his un-willingness to defend himself against smears and his lackluster campaign. Obama tackled every arrow thrown at him by McCain and did an excellent job of spinning McCain's criticisms as smears and lies.

Remember that even though Clinton was nearly impeached, he left with one of the highest approval ratings of any president since World War II with 65% of the public approving of his administration. If Obama shapes his presidency in the mold of Clinton and Kennedy and works with Republicans to craft centrist legislation, there is no doubt he will be successful.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama: 44th President of the United States


Congratulations are due to President-elect Barack Obama. The election is now over and all Americans will look to Obama to deliver on the promises of hope and inspiration from his campaign. Obama will have a hard road ahead of him to fix the problems that face this country. I hope all Americans can unite behind him on the path towards our common goals. I for one, have full faith in him.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Live Bloggin' Election '08

I'm live-blogging the election tonight with all my thoughts and analysis. Check in often as I plan to post as much as I can. Will probably be up till 11 or 12 EST tonight so check back until then.

7:20 PM EST: Hello to everyone out there. CNN has just called Kentucky for McCain and Vermont for Obama. Lunsford is running surprising close to McConnell, back by only 2 percentage points. Florida and Indiana are in McCain's column early but both look close and Indiana looks like it will be a nail-biter. Warner seems to have picked up a Democratic senate seat in Virgina. Things are looking pretty good for the Dems early.

8:08 PM EST: Obama has just picked up a bunch of states he was supposed to win including Delaware, New Jersey, Maryland and Illinois. McCain has won South Carolina, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Bruce Lunsford has tied McConnell in Kentucy, things could surely get interesting as far as the "60 goal".

8:39 PM EST: Obama has just won Pennsylvania and may be on the way to a rout as he is running ahead in Florida, North Carolina and Virginia. Joe Biden has also won his senate race so regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Biden will still have a job come the new year.

8:53 PM EST: Kay Hagan has just defeated Liddy Dole in the North Carolina senate race. This was slightly expected but the margins Hagan is running up actually surpasses that of Obama. Kentucky looks like it will narrowly go McConnell so unless the dems can pick off the Georgia seat they will be stuck somewhere around 58-59 seats.

9:05 PM EST: Obama has just won Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. John McCain's path to victory is shrinking and he may have already lost the race. McCain would have to hold on to every Bush state at this point to chart a course to the White House. He won a semi-battleground state in North Dakota, but that is far from a general election victory.

9:32 PM EST: Obama just won Ohio. Stick a fork in McCain, he is done.

9:43 PM EST: Jack Markell has won the race for governor of Delaware. I volunteered briefly for the Markell election bid and I can tell you it was Markell's ground game that won him the primary and propelled him to the governorship. You can toss this one up to the "Jack Pack".

9:59 PM EST: Obama looks on track to win Virginia and North Carolina. He has already won Iowa and New Mexico. McCain would have to win some combination of California, Hawaii, Oregon or Washington to win the race. At this point, Obama would like to have a landslide victory to have a voter "mandate" for his movement.

10:30 PM EST: Still waiting on results from Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia and Florida. Looks like Obama has a chance of taking all four of 'em. Indiana's democratic hot spots still don't have all precincts in and Obama is down by less than 10,000. Lautenberg and Obama won New Jersey...yawn.

10:59 PM EST: Obama has won Virginia and officially...the Presidency.

11:35 PM EST: McCain conceded and Bush has called Obama. With that I'm calling it a night!

Monday, November 3, 2008

It's Finally Here!


The race for 2008 has taken me a very long way. From the winter chill of November 5th, 2004 to the beginning of the campaign in something like August of '07, to Caesar Rodney Square in Wilmington, DE on a cold winter day in January of 2008 to the point we are at now. This election is historic not because of the people in it, but because of the way it has truly shaped our culture. Here are some of my favorite moments from the 2008 race:

1. SNL Comedy: Never has SNL been more popular with their dead on impersonations of people such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Keith Olberman, Bill Clinton, John McCain and Nancy Pelosi. Am I forgetting anyone? Sarah Palin was by far the most interesting portrayal of them all and Tina Fey deserves an Academy Award in my mind.

2. Gaffes, Fumbles, and Joe Biden: I have enjoyed hanging on every word Biden has spoken since August as we have been given quite a hefty amount of interesting material to work with. According to Biden, Frankie Roosevelt was broadcast on the TV, Obama will be tested during his first year as president and apparently Obama's last name is...America? Thanks for the memories Joe!

3. The Primaries: From Iowa "hearting" Huckabees, the RomneyBot 2000 falling short, Hillary Clinton's tearing up in New Hampshire and Rudy Giuliani going from a front-runner to a not-so-much runner, this has been a primary season to remember. The Democratic primary was especially engaging, as people were voting well into June, truly a sign of a great democracy. Although some people will claim the Republican primary was nothing special, we surely had cliffhangers in Florida, New Hampshire, Missouri, Iowa and South Carolina.

4. Sarah Palin: I feel she deserves a section of her own. Who will ever forget lipstick on a pig, wardrobe malfunctions, teenage pregnancies, and hockey moms. We found out more about Palin's personal life over these last three months or so then anything she stood for. Although she may eventually be blamed for John McCain's downfall, she was sure entertaining to watch.

5. Joe The Plumber & other Campaign Distractions: This has truly been an election of popular culture as Joe the Plumber dominated headlines for referring to Obama as Socialist and campaigning for McCain. Obama has been a celebrity, socialist, messiah and terrorist all in the same election season. Absorb that statement for a minute.

I will try and live-blog the election starting around 4 0r 5 PM. Hopefully I can post at least once an hour with my thoughts, opinions and analysis. See you tomorrow, don't forget to vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Around The Horn: Jersey Style

Starting today I will take a look at some of my blogging brethren every Sunday and try and give a little roundup of what's hot in the Garden State. I'll try and have at least ten bloggers represented, shoot me an email or comment if you would like to join.

1. New Jersey: Politics Unusual takes a look at Joe Biden's vice-presidential and senate campaign. Apparently Joe Biden has more than one Republican woman challenger in his life, as Christine O'Donnell is challenging him for his Senate seat in Delaware.

2. Art Gallagher over at MoreMonmouthMusings talks about his love of Nevada brothels. Just kidding, in reality, he does not want to trust the bailout to proprietors of loose women and cheap sauce.

3. The bailout seems to be a hot topic as ClearysNoteBook notes new tax breaks will increase the bailout cost. Geez, you mean you don't support giving companies unlimited amounts of money with no regulation as to how they spend it, raising kids should prepare you for handing out wads of cash with no idea as to where it is going.

4. Sid in the City is still pumped up about the Phillies victory this week. I am wondering if you were able to make it to the parade Sid? I like the responsible person I am, had work to go to and thus could not make it.

5. Blue Jersey is concerned about the turnout, but in a good way I guess, as more voters than ever as expected to turn out. The post offers some great tips to make sure you are not bottlenecked at the booth and can arrive and vote within a reasonable time. Blue Jersey supports Barack Obama

6. John Adler sure has a fan in MiddletownMike. Adler is the Democratic candidate for congress in New Jersey's fightin' third district which includes Marlton and Cherry Hill. Mike apparently met Adler and thought he was the greatest thing since sliced bread.

7. Dan Cirucci talks about how the Kennedy's have no soul for not following the teachings of the pope. Seems people were blasting John Kennedy in the 60's for thinking he would vote with the pope. You just can't win with people like Cirucci I guess. In Cirucci's comment section, the "Ayers Kool Aid" is in good supply as Cirucci is a Catholic saint, an ethics expert and an enlightened "open to all ideas" kind of guy all in the same comment thread. Way to go Dan!

8. Conservatives with Attitude is all about attitude in their recent post as they blast some poser named Leonard Lance for not being conservative enough. Geez, what was that guy thinking! CWA goes on to pummel Lance for not being pro-family enough as he is gleefully supporting planned parenthood. If only Lance was as gleefull in courting these conservatives, he would really be set.

9. Are we in American Idol season? Nope, just voting season, which is apparently much un-cooler that A.I. and more likely to drive young people to "the drink" as The Rix Mix points out. TRM points out old people are reliable, routine and easy to train. Are we talking about a Border Collie here, or actual people?

10. The Save Jersey Blog pummels Obama for not wanting to allow his daughter to trick-or-treat in peace. Coupled with a giant picture of Obama next to lightning really reinforces the idea that he is some of deity who holds trick-or-treating in high regard. Thats not even the half of it as Obama has let his aunt live in squalor, I thought he was a deity...deities don't let family members live in squalor!

My Electoral Map Predictions

<p><strong>><a href='http://projects.washingtonpost.com/2008/pick-your-president/'>2008 Election Contest: Pick Your President</a></strong> - Predict the winner of the 2008 presidential election.</p>

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Socialized Medicine: Grab a Number

I've been skeptical of socialized medicine for a long time. This is basically the idea that health care can be free for all and provided by the government. Just imagine health care turning into the New Jersey DMV with long waiting lines, sub-standard service and endless mounds of forms. Sounds like a scary Halloween movie plot line to me.

In theory, socialized medicine is a great idea because everything would go smoothly and everyone would receive the same level of care. In reality, different parts of the country would have different care and urban areas would see long lines and doctors stressed from dealing with the sheer number of patients they would have to see. In a utopian society, pharmaceutical companies would have no objections to dealing with the government and paying less than market value for their drugs. However under socialized medicine, we would see less people enter the field of medicinal research, leading to less breakthroughs and substandard medication.

What should be done instead? How about creating health clinics in populated urban areas that offer free care, provided an appointment is made. People would have access to preventative care and this would more than likely ease the stress of area emergency rooms as problems could be diagnosed and addressed earlier. Having appointment only scheduling would keep wait times relatively short and allow doctors to avoid "assembly line" appointments.

If you don't like that idea, perhaps creating funding to merge health care service into the public school system. We could have children get to see a doctor once a year for a checkup and they wouldn't even have to leave the school to do it. In my mind, health care is one issue that cannot be solved by bigger government.

Sarah Palin-omics


This has been quite the whirlwind year for Sarah Palin. Many people are split on whether she ultimately helped or hurt John McCain's chances at the United States presidency. Although I didn't agree with her on most of her stances, I liked her a lot as a person and thought she was very interesting and down to earth.

However she has certainly provided a large amount of late-night fodder. Not limited to: the winks and folksy talk during the debate, the wardrobe malfunctions and the constant focus on her family during the beginning. Ultimately I think history will view her as a Dan Quayle-type politician and the run in '12 she has hinted at, will be fruitless at best.

I say that because Palin in essence is a combination of Mike Huckabee and Karl Rove. I make that connection because she combines folksy religious-ness with red-meat conservative platforms. Huckabee proved that evangelicals do not have enough pull in the party to anoint their own candidate and Rove left the White House weakened at best. Telling people that Democrats are "soft" on national security and god-less when it comes to religion, will only work for so long in elections. Eventually those criticisms fall on deaf ears.

Palin can salvage her reputation by spearheading a diversified group of issues and beefing up her foreign policy experience from now until '12. If she is able to shake off those issues and keep her personality, she could transform herself into a George Bush II style candidate with religious principles and compassionate conservatism. Although Bush seems to be vilified for all the nation's problems, he did win two terms didn't he?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Election Day 2008 Predictions


It seems like ages ago when we first began talking about 2008, oh wait, that's because it was! The 2008 race has been on our collective minds since the moment John Kerry lost in '04. I remember reading a Yahoo article on the Wednesday morning after Kerry's defeat which raised the question of who would be president in '08.

I went through a personal lull around August of 2008 because I was tired of hearing about 2008 every single time I turned on the TV. I was back into the race for good on a snowy January day when I witnessed Barack Obama speak to 20,000 strong in Caesar Rodney Square in Wilmington, DE. Enough of my nostalgic feelings, lets get to the predictions:

2008 Presidential Race:

Barack Obama: 326 Electoral Votes
John McCain: 212 Electoral Votes

I think Obama will win Ohio, North Carolina and Virgina while McCain will win Florida, Missouri and Indiana.

2008 Senate Race:

Democrats will pick up eight senate seats winning Alaska, New Mexico, Colorado, Virginia, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon and Minnesota. They will fall short of the 60 seat majority.

2008 House Race:


I think this is where Democrats do the real damage and wind up with 255 members. Sweeping most of the close races and felling the last New England Republican, Chris Shays. Other victims of the tide will include Michelle Bachman, Don Young, Jon Porter, Jean Schmidt, Phil English and Dave Reichert.

Bonus Round Predictions:

1. One of the two, Dick Lugar or Chuck Hagel, will be in Obama's cabinet.
2. Joe Lieberman will be kicked out of the Democratic caucus if Democrats do not reach 60 votes and will be replaced by Arlen Specter and at least one other Senator.
3. Obama's Secretary of State will more than likely be Bill Richardson.
4. Obama's first Supreme Court nominee with either be Deval Patrick or Hillary Clinton.
5. "Joe the Plumber" will run for U.S. Congress in 2010 and lose.
6. Democrats will score decisive gains across the United States as down-ticket politicians ride Obama's coattails to victory.
7. Ed Rendell will be in Barack Obama's cabinet.
8. Joe Biden will be replaced as US Senator by one of the three: Ruth Ann Minner, John Carney or Beau Biden.
9. Bristol Palin will give her child a weird/strange name.
10. The finger-pointing after John McCain's defeat will be legendary.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Philadelphia Phillies: 2008 World Series Champs!


In case you haven't heard, my hometown team, the Philadelphia Phillies, just won the World Series and are the BEST team in baseball. This championship really belongs to Philadelphia fans who patiently stuck with their baseball team for 28 years (25 of which spent waiting for any championship).

Philly fans take a lot of heat for being passionate about their sports. You will not find another city that rewards hard work and dedication and punishes lack thereof like we do. For one year we can say we are truly the "team to beat".

Redistribution of Ignorance: Part II

"We're going to take on Wall Street speculators and bring them to justice". That line has been uttered by many campaigns across the country, whether they be presidential, congressional or state races. It has been quite the rallying cry for people who are angry after seeing their 401k or investments go down the drain.

What exactly is a "Wall Street Speculator"? Well just about every single American is a Wall St. Speculator if they invest in a mutual fund, have a 401k or invest in stocks on the side. Being a speculator doesn't mean that you just hedge on companies to go up or down, it means you invest in stocks period! By investing in mutual funds, 401ks and other investments we are betting the economy will drive businesses to success and thus increase our stake in the company to a higher monetary value.

Another bit of breaking news: Since when has betting on companies been outside of our typical human nature to make money? Everybody is a speculator on something, for example, I speculate that I will retire one day so I'm saving for retirement. Does this make me a retirement speculator? Everybody is looking to point fingers at some scapegoat for the failure of the markets when the true culprit is the society we live in which over the last two decades has become increasingly loose on credit and crying out for transparency.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Redistribution of Ignorance?

People are making a lot of noise about "socialism" these days. You know, that scary monster our grandparent's generation battled and thankfully defeated in the 40's and 50's. People say they don't want a redistribution of wealth and fear that under an Obama presidency.

Here is the real kicker, we already redistribute wealth in this country! We have been doing so since 1913, so you can thank Woodrow Wilson for that one! Where do you think the money for public schools, infrastructure, social programs and war funding comes from? Although it is true that the United States has one of the highest income tax burdens in the world, the company we keep shows you why that might not be such a bad thing.

If you are going to be pissed about Obama's plan, you should do so for the right reasons. Perhaps you are a firm believer in the "trickle-down" effect of tax cuts and would prefer higher earners get tax cuts as well or maybe you think low-income workers should remain at their same level. Just don't call it socialism because under that definition, America is already socialist.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Goodbye Little Buddy


This is a pretty hard post to write. My little Miniature Schnauzer "Lady" lost her battle with diabetes on Wednesday October 8th. I know some people don't get sad about the loss of pets, but I tend to view them as little people who have their own distinct personalities. Lady has been my dog since I was in the 5th grade and I have always viewed her as a full member of the family.

Like I said before Lady had her own little personality and was quite the mischievous and fun-loving pooch. Her favorite things were to wrestle, bark a lot and make frequent attempts to invade the garbage can. It was very hard to be away from her when I know she has been sick for the past month. Due to my new job, I have not been living in my family home since July. My mother made the executive decision to put Lady to sleep after she took a very sharp turn for the worse that morning.

Lady had been diagnosed with diabetes in early September and as a result of treatment lost her eyesight and some of her hearing. She was having a lot of trouble adjusting to the new situation and was very sad after not being able to do her favorite things anymore. Hopefully she is in heaven now, chasing after various animals, barking to no end and having a grand old time.

Whats The Big Deal With Energy Drinks?


A co-worker of mine starts everyday with a "Red Bull" energy drink to get his day going. I asked him if he really thought it was giving him any more energy or got him in a better mood to deal with his work and after thinking about it he said "It doesn't give me any more energy but makes me think I am being proactive about getting things done".

A closer examination of the ingredients inside a Red Bull would stun even a casual observer. Red Bull has 80mg of caffeine in every can which is only slightly more than the average cup of coffee. So where is this supposed "energy" coming from? The can features a whopping 27 grams of sugar packed into only 250 ml in the form of sucrose and glucose. The tandem of those two are certain to leave you with a debilitating "crash", after they wear off.

Another eye-popping metric is the 250% of Vitamin B6 and 80% of Vitamin B12. High does of B6 have been linked to nerve damage and numbness in the hands and feet. Now that all those "benefits" have been debunked, what about Taurine? Taurine helps the body absorb fat soluble vitamins, regulate the heart beat and prevent brain-cell over activity. Huh, nothing about energy? Well it seems Red Bull is more of a "sexy" choice for providing energy than actually providing it in the first place.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Campbell Brown: I Love You


While much is made about good looks this electoral season (Sarah Palin) and lack thereof (Hillary Clinton), one woman has stood out in my mind as the perfect fusion between intelligence and stunning looks. Campbell Brown has made CNN not only my "go-to" spot for political commentary but also the place to go for an anchor who can steal my heart while massaging my brain cells.

I first met Campbell in early 2008 when she had just begun her career at CNN. She was an evening anchor and I was just someone who happened to be watching the TV. I knew love had instantly blossomed as I could tell that Campbell's trademark smirk and wry smile were being directed solely at me. The brunette vixen had ensnared me and certainly made my love of politics grow as I realized I could begin to enjoy the people that delivered the "news" to me.

Campbell is everything a journalist should be. She is intelligent, witty, sincere, modest, reserved and educated. While often soft spoken, she occasionally channels her inner "Tim Russert" when dealing with BS from the campaign trail. She has a fiery streak and is not afraid to show it.

David Gergen may have his so called "lovers" but I know in my heart that Campbell and I were meant to be together. So what will I do? The only thing I can do: tune into CNN for spot on political commentary, relevant interviews and an occasional smirk that I know will only be meant for me.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Real World: Macy's


In case you haven't heard I work two jobs now, stepping into the realm of retail at Macy's. I've worked there long enough to make some generic, general observations about shoppers in general that seem to apply to department stores in general:

1. People bring in 10 coupons and expect each one to magically be accepted and have their item somehow just be reduced to nothing. Obviously this is not the case and as you explain this to people they act like this is a novel concept and must be limited to just your store.

2. The common thought is that people will try on everything and whatever I don't like I will just pile on the floor in the fitting room. I often have to conquer mounds of clothing when checking the fitting rooms because people are too lazy to bring their clothes back to where they found them. Women are more frequently guilty of this heinous offense, as they often bring quite an array of clothes into the fitting rooms with them.

3. Some people think they can get away with stealing. Let me set the record straight for you: You will never get away with stealing in a department store! I have seen the security room and they can zoom in on the face of your watch. If you are considering some type of operation to relieve a department store of its merchandise, you will most likely end up in handcuffs at the end of the it.

4. Unlike the urban legend, you actually need to have your receipt to return things. I know it sounds almost heinous to ask someone to provide a proof of purchase when returning something, but I will unfortunately have to enforce that policy. There are always several people who seem to think receipts are like pay phones and are just for "show" these days.

5. Unfortunately you do not get a "discount" if the merchandise is damaged. The process involves little to do with you and the garment going back into the supply room. I can't make special arrangements with you just because you think I should be giving you a "deal". If it's damaged, don't buy it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You F-ed Up, No Problem!

The Wall St. bailout plan really sickens me. Let me run a little scenario by you. Lets say you take out a loan to start a new business and that business unfortunately goes in the tank. You knew the risks going into it, so the financial ruin that came with it shouldn't have been a surprise to you. Unless you are a big Wall St. firm, then it's OK! Apparently what is good for the goose isn't good for the gander.

A bailout plan proposed by the president would attempt to keep companies solvent, but take responsibility for their mistake and place it on the taxpayers. Adding to the dilemma is the plea from the administration and economic leaders that without this plan, the American economy is dead in the water. The absolute last thing I want is seeing my tax dollars and the tax dollars of my fellow citizens going to bailout somebody who made a dumb decision and then turn around and not make that person pay for it.

If I was in charge for a day (and a long day that would be), I would press criminal charges against the CEO's of all those major companies in exchange for "bailing out" their companies. In addition, the U.S. government should get stock in all of the companies being bailed out, they would have limited CEO compensation privileges and would be subject to frequent auditing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Media Mentality

In this past February, I attended a Barrack Obama rally in Wilmington, DE to check the guy out and to see what he was all about. That part went over well as I got a pretty good feel for him as a person and I stood only fifteen feet away from him. However there was something that did piss me off and that was the denial of my media pass!

For some reason, last night I had a dream that my pass was accepted and I had gotten full media rights for the rally. I have no idea why I dreamed this but thats what my dream was! When I applied for the pass as a blogger, I thought I'd have no trouble getting one, as I viewed myself as a respectable member of the media (although technically mainstream). I even thought to myself, man I am really a big honcho now, once I get this pass. Sadly that was not to be the case, they didn't think I was "real media"

I think it is bloggers who actually drive the spread of "real news" around this country. It was bloggers who outed the Dan Rather story about having evidence that Bush wasn't in the national guard. It was bloggers and average people who defeated the "inevitable candidate" in Hillary Clinton and instead chose Obama. It was also bloggers such as Matt Drudge, who brought down Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky scandal. So with that said, can I officially be in the media now?

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Obama Train Slipping Off Of The Tracks



Obama's lead in the electoral college is starting to slip away before our eyes. The upper Midwest (states like MN, WI, MI) is starting to slip away and places where he was competitive before (MT, SD, NC) are starting to move more towards McCain. The strange part to me is that Obama has been under greater fire during previous spots in this election. I thought the Jeremiah Wright situation, "they cling to their guns" and the Hillary Clinton drama at the convention should have all been worse moments than right now.

However I am going to make a few bold predictions. I will say right now that Obama will win the election handily. By this I mean he will win more than 300 electoral votes. You are probably wondering how I came by this figure. First I look at the InTrade prediction market which I have a click able picture up above. Obama is currently around 51% to win election while McCain is at 49%. I figure the polls used to calculate this figure don't include young voters who primarily use cell phones and aren't included in land line polls like Gallup. These figures also don't include minority voters as these voters are much more unlikely to participate in the survey or have a land line phone. With this in mind I increase Obama's percentage in every state by 2-4%.

With that change we can immediately add Colorado, Nevada, Iowa, Virginia, Ohio and possibly Florida. This also means he holds onto all the previous Kerry states. This takes into account young voters and minorities actually showing up at the polls. I think there is still a high enthusiasm for him which will push him into victory. If he can survive the "lull" before the debates he should be set for victory.

EDIT (10/19/08):

Looks like I was right!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

September The 11th


How far would you be willing to go to defend your family, your country, your home and your freedom. Would you give your life for it? Every year when September the 11th approaches, I think about the lengths I would go to defend the things I believe it.

September the 11th was an ordinary day, it was a Tuesday in the middle of September for cryin' out loud, so you know nothing exciting was going on. You would think the type of people to take up the call to defend freedom would be superhuman, extra-ordinary or above-average in some regard. The truth is that these people were moms, dads, sisters, brothers and friends. Some of them gave their lives intentionally such as firefighters, policemen and first responders. Unfortunately some of them had life stolen.

You owe it to these people to know and defend what America has always stood for. In a word...freedom. The freedom to speak your mind, practice your religion and be anything you want to be. Never forget the sacrifice these people made in the name of their country.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Delaware Governor Day

Tuesday September 9th will be a huge day in Delaware politics. At stake is the governorship of the state and a chance to shape Delaware politics for decades. John Carney is the establishment man having served as the Lieutenant Governor under the administration of Ruth Ann Minner . He has quietly waited his turn, towed his party line and waited for his chance at higher office. Jack Markell is the progressive, rabble-rousing, underdog challenger who has served as State Treasure.

The issue in the election is how much value voters should place on experience and party service. Carney has served in the administration of the state and was endorsed by the Delaware Democratic Party. However, Markell brings fresh ideas to the table and is not tied down to the policies of the unpopular Minner. Carney may be obligated to continue these policies to create some sort of legacy and not appear to be changing his horse mid-stream.

Markell has put a lot on the line. He was almost assuredly offered the position of Lt. Governor and I am certain without a doubt that party leaders told him he would be the next next Governor if he just waited his turn. Markell has a huge lead in fund-raising and has an impressive grassroots support system. Carney has bigger name recognition and this has mattered in the past (see Beau Biden). Tuesday's showdown will ultimately determine who will be the face of Delaware Democrats for years to come.

EDIT: Markell won with 51% of the vote. Obviously a huge upset. Chalk this up to Markell's superior grassroots ground effort. I volunteered for Markell in January/February of 2008 and was stunned at the efficiency and depth of his ground network. Markell's people were relentless, dedicated and intelligent and helped him get through this squeaker.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Michael Phelps: The Gold Medal In Creeping


What would you do if you had just won eight gold medals? I would sure as hell become a massive creeper and try and hit on every girl possible, in efforts to score some sort of sexual conquest. Why don't you know it, apparently Michael Phelps feels the same way. After that female model (I can't remember her name) trashed Phelps and laughed when asked if she would ever be interested in him, it's only natural for him to want some vindication.

So what does he do? He goes straight to Vegas and hits on anything with two breasts and a pulse. If you click on the above picture (courtesy of RadarOnline.com) you will see an obviously intoxicated Phelps petting a girls behind. Thought he could pull an 'ole fast one. Notice how he pretends to look into her eyes as if his hand somehow accidentally ended up there. Now if you or me ever did something like that we would be slapped, kicked or punched in the face so fast we'd see stars.

Not Phelps, apparently he had the moxie to call girls over to himself all night long. Way to go man! Mr. Gold Medal Winning, Butt Grabbing, Chiseled Bodied Swimmer, we salute you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Sarah Palin: A Hot MILF?


Lets get one thing straight before we continue. Sarah Palin is a hot MILF. In case you are not familiar with the term, please reference it here. Unlike most people, I had heard of Palin before 2008. When she ran for governor in 2006 I watched with mild interest because she was about to become the first female governor of Alaska. However after being inundated by constant media coverage surrounding her, I am really enjoying my daily dose of Sarah.

Not only does the woman like to hunt and ride motorcycles but she is also into fishing, camping and other "outdoorsy" things. That right there definitely moves her to the top of my "short list"! Looks like John McCain and I are twins! I had been worried for months that I would have to watch Mitt Romney's perfect hair follicles dominate my TV but we got to trade Mitt for Sarah Palin. That is like taking your beat up Datsun to the auto dealer and getting a Mercedes in exchange.

Palin is extremely conservative but if she makes it to the White House, we will have four years of media coverage on her to salivate over. I can just imagine the headlines now: Things are Steaming Up In Alaska, Global Warming Or Crotch Warming? or even Palin: The First Ever GILF? That is a lot better than having to listen to Mitt Romeny drovel on about how he is Regan reincarnated. Why can't we just vote for Obama/Palin '08?

The American Portrait: Debunker Central

There are a lot of crazy myths, strange stories and pointless coverage coming out of the election news these past two weeks. I am starting to wonder who the media loves to cover more, Barack Obama or Sarah Palin. It seems every political story is revolving around Palin ever since she entered the race last week.

1. Sarah Palin's Daughter is News: Actually I think it's pretty disgusting that the media is all over Bristol Palin like white on rice. I remember the first time I saw her on TV, I thought she was older and was very cute. The fact that she is keeping her baby and has not withered under the intense media pressure only elevates her in my opinion. The baby's father is going to make an appearance at the RNC. He really should have been through her side throughout this whole thing but has been MIA so far.

2. Sarah Palin & Barack Obama are Inexperienced: Experience is what you make of it. Barack Obama has served as a state senator for seven years and as a community organizer before that. He has had to deal with people on a daily basis for most of his life. Just because he doesn't have a lot of high media scrutinized experience does not mean he is an "average Joe" off the street. As for Sarah Palin, she has been a mayor, governor and has sat on various committees throughout her time in Alaska politics. While she doesn't have the "typical" experience wanted, she isn't running for president she is running for vice president. The role of that job is to complement the president with your life experiences and background.

3. Barack Obama & John McCain are Mavericks Who Work Across the Aisle: This is very untrue. Obama is very liberal and McCain is very conservative. There hasn't been such a difference in the candidates running since possibly Mondale and Reagan. McCain likes to call himself a maverick because he has disagreed with his party on a few well publicized events. Just because you became an outcast in your party doesn't mean you are a maverick. Likewise Obama has been a reliable democratic vote. I actually think Hillary Clinton is more centrist than he is. However his independent appeal makes him seem centrist.

4. Sarah Palin was Vetted: It really seems like John McCain made a spur of the moment pick with Palin. My gut tells me he was going to go with Ridge or Liberman and at the 11th hour somebody talked him out of it after he had already called Romney and Pawlenty. Palin was such a surprise pick that even some of McCain's staffers were surprised. The fact that the Republican party is just now sending a team of lawyers to Alaska to make sure no more "surprises" come out, is a pretty big sign that this was a rush job. I think if Palin and her family can make it through the convention they should be fine however the stress it is putting on her family would not be worth it if it was me.

5: The Presidential Race is Close: Barack Obama may be headed to a landslide victory in the electoral college but a slim popular vote majority. He is very close to McCain in states such as Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Missouri, Montana, South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire. The problem for McCain is that Obama has had excitement from his base since January. He has extensive operations in all of these states save Florida and Michigan. I would not be surprised if Obama took most of the states previously listed. I was skeptical about Florida but there are internet rumors that link Sarah Palin to Pat Buchanan who is despised by people of the Jewish faith. With Florida's large Jewish population, Florida will get closer.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Barack Obama: The Journey


On February 3rd 2008, I can say I witnessed history and knew that change was coming. I was standing in line at Barack Obama's rally in Wilmington, Delaware, with my friend Ryan Silberstein, when he turned to me and asked me who I would vote for if I voted in the Democratic primary. When I told him I was undecided, he pressed me further and asked me who I was leaning towards and I told him Barack Obama. What was holding me back? I knew that Hillary was the "safe" choice for Democrats, she would more than likely cruise to victory over McCain and had as good a shot as any to be a two-term president.

Barack Obama was a risk. He was inspiring and charismatic but I worried about what other people would think about a black candidate and if he really had the fighting spirit to defeat a Republican attack that would be blistering without mercy. To his critics he was inexperienced, hope mongering, and a celebrity to boot.

Hearing Obama speak tonight made me proud of my choice and proud of Barack for the long journey he has taken over his life to come to this spot. For someone who could have made millions on Wall St. to go back to the community, provide service to his county and then be called a "celebrity" is absolutely mind boggling to me. Tonight Obama was grounded, sincere, inspirational and humble. I don't know if Obama will win the presidency but he has won over my mind and my heart.

The late Tim Russert once said the American people rarely get it wrong when making the paramount decision of electing their president. I wholeheartedly agree with Russert and know that after all the ballots have been cast in November, the American people, the greatest nation on the face of the earth, are not going to get this one wrong either.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Reasons Why I Love Delaware

With the selection of Joe Biden as the Vice Presidential nominee, some people are not only wondering who Joe Biden is but what Delaware is all about. I came to Delaware in the summer of 2004 as a freshman attending the University of Delaware. I didn't know anything about Delaware and had only visited the state while traveling through it or to a Blue Rocks game. Delaware is an interesting place for many reasons:

1. Anyone Can Get Involved: Delaware is small enough for a political amateur to contribute to the political process and become included in the political circle. When I started my first blog around September of 2004, my posts were grammatically lacking, factually incorrect and tedious to the eyes. With that said, the Delaware blogging community welcomed me into their arms and I was considered "one of them". I was starting to get invitations to political events and people were shocked when I told them I couldn't attend because I had to go to class, they had no idea I was so young. I also interned at a local candidate for Governor's office for a few hours every Tuesday/Wednesday so I could get a look at the inside workings of a campaign. The candidate personally told me all the time how much he valued my contribution.

2. The People Are Friendly: When visiting Delaware you will notice the people have a "small-town" friendliness to them even though the state is conveniently nestled between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Most of the towns still have their original historical buildings and there is a large amount of cultural activities one can engage in (especially in Newark, DE) to become involved.

3. The State is Small: You may think being a small state would put Delaware at a disadvantage. This is definitely not the case. Having a small state just means you will run into friends of friends and meet people who know so and so all over the state. You can easily travel from one end of the state to the other in no time at all. The state even has some great beaches! Mom and pop stores run abound and they are better than any pre-fabricated chain restaurant you will run into anywhere else. The Post House on Main Street in Newark, Delaware serves some of the best french toast I have ever tasted and it is pretty cheap to boot.

4. No Sales Tax: The state has no sales tax which is obviously a great thing. Some people travel from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland just to make large purchases. You can thank the DuPont family for this as they handcuffed the government into making this deal for them that indirectly benefited all citizens. You are probably wondering how the state can support itself without tax revenue. Delaware's corporate laws make it an attractive place for business to do business and most of them incorporate in Delaware and bring all their revenue with them.

5. Affordable Living: With no sales tax and affordable property and state taxes, Delaware is an extremely affordable place to live with many options for localities. If you are looking for the beach property there is Rehoboth Beach, Bethany Beach, Dewey Beach, and many others. If the big city life suits you, Wilmington has great options with an interesting city history. If you are looking for the quintessential suburban college-town there is Newark with so many cultural and activity options due to the close proximity of the University of Delaware.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Barack Obama's VP Selection

Joe Biden seems like a nice guy. When I was a college student at the University of Delaware I wrote in to both his office and Tom Carper's office (the other Delaware senator) for a signed picture. Carper's office ignored me while Biden's office had the picture sent to me within 4 days. I thought that was pretty cool.

I really have to disagree with the choice that Obama made here. For all the hoopla and grandiose plans for his V.P. choice to finish up with Joe Biden is just...uninteresting. I also want to say how infuriated I am, that after trusting Obama's team with my cell phone number, he wakes me up at three in the morning to let me know about his mediocre selection.

Joe Biden is going to bring experience to the ticket but like I have said before, Biden is one misplaced comment away from destroying the campaign. If Obama can control him to some degree and keep him succinct at debates and other gatherings, he should be fine. John McCain also has plenty of ammunition to use against Obama as Biden has tons of sound bites, voting records, and skeletons left to dissect.

EDIT (An earlier writing on Biden, 7/10/08):

He has a lot of Chris Dodd characteristics in terms of age and excitement potential (save Delaware). He has good foreign policy experience and would provide an experience boost to the campaign however he is one or two sound-bites away from a campaign blow up. In my head I am seeing Kerry say "I was for the war, before I was against it" all over again. Biden is scary because he could destroy the campaign just by opening his mouth during a candid moment.

EDIT #2:

Even though I'm not sure it was the best pick for Obama, I'm excited about what it does for Delaware. I attended the University of Delaware for four years and I know this must be huge news all over Delaware and especially in New Castle county. Joe Biden is well-liked in Delaware and will be missed if he makes it to higher office. I'm happy for Joe because he is certainly somebody who has the resume to deserve a position like this.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Obama's Veep Choice


If I was advising Barack Obama, who has fallen behind John McCain in recent polling, I would advise him to pick the only person who can guarantee him the election. That person is none other than Hillary Clinton. Before you jump all over me saying its not going to happen and accusing me of being cronies with Ralph Nader, lets think about this for a second.

We all know the negatives that Hillary brings. Critics say that you would be getting a 1992-esque two vice-presidents for one! This implies Bill Clinton would constantly be in the backdrop and lurking in the shadows. The solution: make him a UN ambassador or send him out on goodwill missions 24/7, if he is out of picture Obama can have room to breathe. It is also been shouted out from the rooftops that Hillary is unpopular with independents. No big deal, you need to excite your base first and independents will not chose you based solely on your VP choice. Obama's campaign has been built on liberal enthusiasm from day one, could any other VP choice bring that much enthusiasm with them? I think not.

Say what you want about Hillary, but she is actually a very smart and interesting person. Many people hate her just because they think they should hate her. The media did not do her any favors in the 1990's but if you look past that you don't see any ego on her part and her choice not to use Mark Penn's strategy against Obama or let slip John Edwards' martial woes is honorable in the least.

Clinton at this point has to be the nominee if Obama is going to win. Remember back to President Bush in '00 and '04 with Dick Cheney as the VP nominee. Cheney has never been popular with independents and may be even more unpopular than the president but George Bush did fine with him and convinced his base he was a traditional republican.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Puppet Master

If you're one of the few people who still thinks Dmitri Medvedev is calling the shots in Russia, you'd better think again. When Russia invaded Georgia, President Bush (and rightfully so) issued the United States' response to the move, calling it "unacceptable". Condi Rice has played her role as Secretary of State (almost like a prime minister) by doing most of the "behind the scenes" work during the negotiations.

When Russia gives its response to the United States, Vladimir Putin of all people is the one to give it. He criticized the United States for portraying Georgia as the victim and for airlifting Georginan troops from Iraq. Shouldn't Medvedev have given that response? A prime minister in a secondary leadership role giving the official public response to the leader of another nation? Sounds fishy to me.

Europe and the United States need to learn that Russia's steady ascent to increased aggression over the last decade is due solely to Putin, an old school KGB man. Putin in some regards is a full blown dictator without an official title. As the world is prepared to give Russia a good 'ole slap on the wrist, this just seems a little too 1939ish for me.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Adultery In The Living Room

With the recent news about John Edwards' affair, I've decided I'm fed up with hearing about politician's affairs. I just don't want to hear about it any more! I don't care if it's Larry Craig, John Edwards, David Vitter or Elliot Spitzer. I really don't want to hear about a person's private issues that should be dealt with in the privacy of the home.

It has long been rumored that many prominent people in the U.S. media knew John F. Kennedy had been having activity outside of his marriage both before and during his presidency. While this obviously unknown and can never be verified, it does ask another question. Why didn't the press release the information they had found? Many believed it was because the U.S. public just didn't want to hear about it. They didn't want to know Kennedy's accused personal failures because it wasn't considered proper "news".

Both Franklin D. Roosevelt and Bill Clinton had affairs and are generally regarded by most Americans as having successful presidencies. Personally, I feel they are lousy human beings and don't deserve their partner's love. With that said, I would rather have a capable adulterer in the White House than a pious simpleton. In short, keep the tabloid tidbits out of the news and the meat of their policies in it.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Best Video Game Ever?


I was surfin' the good old internets (as Senator Ted Stevens would call it) the other day when I came across a poll for the best video game ever. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw "The Sims" leading the voting. Not only is this not the best video game ever but not even close. I mean were WOW, Unreal Tournament, Halo, Doom, SimCity, and Roller Coaster Tycoon all on vacation?

If I had to pick one video game to bring with me on a deserted island (assuming this deserted island had internet of course), I would pick Blizzard's Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. This video game is the best I have played for many reasons. For starters, the game can be beaten but doesn't end once this occurs. With many video games, once you beat the game, the game ends and your only option is to start all over again. Diablo can be beaten but once you have beaten the game you can continue playing but just don't accumulate any game bonuses.

Diablo is also great because it can be played both single-player and multi-player (using the internet). Thus if you want to play by yourself/you are anti-social, you can enjoy the game. You can also play with friends or strangers online. The game is very addicting and very interesting and is poised to be added upon with Diablo 3, being released in two years time.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Socialites Around The Horn


Over the past week I have become very impressed with Paris Hilton. Long an afterthought in my mind due to her lack of contribution to society and generally adolescent behavior, she has injected herself into the presidential race like no socialite ever before. In reality it was really John McCain who dragged her into the race but instead of ignoring it or giving irrelevant and un-educated sound bites about it, she has fired back.

In a quirky and intelligent (gasp) ad, she discusses (jokingly of course) how she is now running for president and that she is a celebrity too. Bashing against the "white-haired guy" and the guy for change, she talks about her own hybrid energy plan which really was very interesting.

I never knew she had it in her and my opinion of her has definitely increased. One can only hope Britney Spears will issue a similar ad and give us her positions on health care or terrorism.

EDIT: Seems like CNN agrees as they totally just stole my phrase calling Hilton's ad: "quirky". I made that phrase up, not you CNN!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Generic Products

I have found for the most part that generic "non-name" brand products usually fall short of their pricier counterparts. I was thinking today how I can't really think of more than five generic products which are equal or better than the products they imitate. I think you really do get what you pay for and my run-ins with generic products would back that up.

My experience with generic peanut butter was by far the worst out of any. I decided to purchase a "Sam's Club" jar of peanut butter in order to save about 39 cents from the regular "Jiff" that I normally purchase. In case you have never had it, "Jiff" is a perfect concoction of peanut butter, sugar and hydrogenated oils. "Sam's Club" unfortunately is a watery, bitter tasting, poor facsimile of that previous description. When opening up a "Sam's Club" jar it is not uncommon for one to have to drain the excess fluid from the top before beginning to scoop out the butter. Clearly disgusting and not worth the 39 cents of aggravation.

Another example of this is generic electronics. I recently purchased a USB hub so that I could have four additional USB ports. In order to save five dollars I chose to use a brand I have never heard of instead of Microsoft. In hindsight, a very poor decision. Not only did the USB hub not work properly (provided power to objects but not data transfer), the cable hookup to the computer was only 4 inches long. Now what the heck am I supposed to do with a 4 inch USB cable? I use floss longer than that.

The next time you feel the urge to save a few dollars (or in most cases, a few cents) on a generic brand product, unless it is store brand cereal...don't. You'll thank me.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We Don't Have Time To Legislate

While Americans have been enjoying record prices at the pump, Congress is set to take a month-long summer break. It seems nobody is really up in arms about this. If I were dictator for a day I would (among other things) strip the Senate and the House of Representative of any breaks making them work 5 days a week (like normal people do) until they found a solution for clean energy.

You might say they aren't scientists what can they be expected to do! Well besides being "cruel and unusual" punishment, a no-break period may force some other ideas to the table and bring about ending our current (and probably future) energy crisis.

On a side note I have really enjoyed watching the ads by T. Boone Pickens who has begun a "wind energy" revolution. Even if you don't think wind is a viable alternative, it's still an idea and Pickens is taking out of his own pocket to do so. Congress should be following his lead.

Friday, July 18, 2008

(Dis)-Reality TV

These days reality television dominates the airwaves. Dancing With The Stars, American Idol and America's Got Talent seem to horde conversation, coverage, and water-cooler chatter. I only watch two reality programs: American Idol/The Mole.

When thinking about why I like American Idol, it is easy to understand why other people do. The shock value of watching someone get ridiculed to their face is something most of us are not used to. We were taught as children to wait until someone has left the room or turned the corner until unleasing a verbal assault on that person. Watching Simon Cowell brand someone as "weird" or "cabaret" is something some of us have always wanted to do to people in our lives but our manners stepped in.

I watch the Mole because of the riddles and mindwork inside the game. If you are not familiar with the Mole there are 12 characters competing to win a cash prize but one is secretly deceiving the players and trying to keep the pot as small as possible. The object of the game is to figure out who that person is and you win the prize. Mensa has rated the Mole the "smartest" show on television (not to brag) and lauds its intellectually stimluating storyline.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Workplace Commentary

I started my new job this past Monday. I do interesting work in acquiring the equipment army personnel use around the world to do their job. It makes me feel good that I can at least support them in some way. Adjusting to the workplace schedule has been a little tough for me. In the past four years of schooling I never went to class longer than 2 hours. It is hard sitting still for hours at a time and I often find my mind wandering into daydream.

I work with people of all ages so I am sure you can imagine there are some funny characters there. Everyone has been very nice to me and I think I will do just fine in the position. I also get cheap housing from the government so it is a win win!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Light Posting

Hey all! I just started my new job so posting may be light over the next few weeks. I haven't been able to get TV or internet since last week so I'm a little behind on my current events. While I'm out and about enjoy the links on the side.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My Concerns With Offshore Drilling

There has been some significant talk lately of plans to open up the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge and other coastlines across the United States to explore for oil. I have many concerns with the project covering multiple facets including: the environment, practicality, feasibility and cost-effectiveness.

Realistically this would be a "short long term" solution. I say that in the sense that reports are it will take at least ten years to start adding this oil (which may or may not exist) to the U.S. supply and even then it would only take a small bite out of the overall problem which is oil dependence. There needs to be greater focus on getting us off of oil. This is the nation that created and deployed an atomic bomb for crying out loud. When push comes to shove (if ever) clean energy should have been a walk in the park for our nation's minds.

If this oil is drilled does the United States get all, some or none of it? Could private companies go and sell the oil to the highest bidder on the international market and leave the U.S. out to dry? Will private companies or a nationalized oil system control and drill the land? The questions are numerous and we haven't even touched the environmental aspect of it or if the cost of opening, surveying and prepping the land for drilling would outweigh the actual benefits. Regardless of whether I am for or against the proposal I would want all of these questions answered before drilling is even on the table.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Apple iPhone For All


Abilene Christian University (ACU) will be the first college/university in the nation to provide all incoming freshman with either an Apple iPhone or an Apple iPod. This will not be free of course but discreetly hidden in the tuition bill parents receive. Not unlike the University of Delaware's famous "Health Services Fee" which still mystifies me to this day.

I think this is an interesting thing to do but if I attended the school I would be against it. First of all, I don't need (or want) to check my email when I'm not at a computer. Nor do I want to be forced to pay for something which has features I would either never use or not feel comfortable paying for.

The school touts benefits including homework alerts, being able to get directions to their professor's office (heres a hint, it's RIGHT ON CAMPUS) and check meal and account balances. There is no mention of the indirect subsidized profit sharing this is giving to the Steve Jobs Apple empire. I would be inclined to believe Apple and the school discussed the move and some cash changed hands.