29 December 2009

My Love/Hate Relationship With BBC World Service

Via the miracle of Sirius Satellite Radio, I have been an on-again/off-again listener to the BBC World Service. I absolutely love a number of aspects about the BBC; the depth to which they cover stories, the focus on news from places we, U.S. Americans to quote a former Miss Teen S. Carolina, normally hear nothing of (such as Africa), the specialty football shows (soccer to you U.S. Americans), and the perspective of non-Americans on world issues.

I also like the perspective the Brits bring to social issues as it gives an insight into where the U.S. is headed unless we dramatically change our socialistic/liberal ways. Even though I like the perspective from a cultural study point of view, it still drives me crazy sometimes and I have to steer clear of the BBC for a few days. That's where the hate part of the relationship comes into play.

Allow me to give two recent examples to illustrate my point:

1) A few days ago one of the shows had a guest on who was a Brit vacationing in Mumbai a year ago when the coward terrorists attacked the hotel and killed a number of individuals. This guest survived the harrowing attack by escaping through a window via bed sheets tied together. Unfortunately, the sheets broke and the gentleman fell quite a ways onto pavement below where he broke a number of bones and is now paralyzed from the waist down. The guest was on the show because he is leading the cause (that is well supported by the Brit politicians) to have the government provide monetary compensation for his pain and suffering. Don't get me wrong, I feel for the gentleman and believe he deserves compensation, but the British government (more appropriately, taxpayer) owes the gentleman nothing. Rather, the terrorists and their supporters are the appropriate ones to pay (or, if the Brit or Indian government ceased terrorists assets and gave it to him that would be appropriate). But, this gentleman went on for ages to much sympathy from the host and callers describing why the Brit government owed him. News flash, the Brit government didn't MAKE you vacation there dude!

2) Today, the Chinese executed a Brit citizen that had been caught and convicted smuggling 9 lbs. of heroin into China and the Brits are up in arms about it for various reasons. My problem isn't that the Brits are up in arms about it, but rather the fact that I learned during the talk show that the Brits consider drug addicts as being "disabled" and compensate them as they do other, more legitimate in my opinion, physical and mental disabilities. I couldn't believe my ears. Paying for drug addicts who CHOSE to take that first hit/snort/etc. to live off of the taxpayers dime? Seriously? What incentive do they have to get off drugs?

Both of these situations, and socialism/liberalism in general, are disturbing to me on numerous fronts. The trend of society shirking the notion of personal responsibility in favor of reliance on government scares me to death. Few seem to understand that reliance on government means reliance on taxpayers. Worse yet, those that do realize it believe they are "owed" something by their fellow man and feel justified in taking their tax dollars. All of this is voluntary relinquishing freedom in favor of "stability" that really isn't stability at all but imprisonment and enslavement to those in power. Scary.

Oh, and to be fair, my comments on socialism/liberalism isn't meant solely at the Democrat party. Many Republicans are no better in that they too want us to voluntarily give up freedoms, just in a different way and at a slower pace.

27 August 2009

The Beautiful Game

I grew up playing soccer in Casper, WY where it was a somewhat popular sport in the '80s. My first memory of fandom is the 1986 World Cup tournament when I spent the better part of three weeks camped out in front of ESPN watching the likes of Diego Maradona and Roberto Baggio ply their craft. With the move to Texas in 1988, my interest waned except for an occasional check-in on the US National team and the World Cup that rolled around every 4 years.

That passing interest was rekindled about two years ago when I was bored one day and found myself cruising through Youtube and somehow ended up on a highlight reel featuring Steven Gerrard, the brilliant Liverpool midfielder. I knew I was instantly hooked. In the last few years, I've become a close follower of the English Premier League, the Champions League, numerous national teams, and have a working knowledge of the Spanish Primera League and Serie A (the Italian League). I "get" why so many across the world (sans Americans) are infatuated with the "beautiful game." As a matter of fact, I join them in the infatuation.

I once heard someone, in describing the game, state that every trip down the pitch (field) is like a novela. While that might be hyperbole, there is an element of truth in it if you really pay attention to the game. It's a game of skill, imagination, strength, and incredible physical fitness. I'm not sure why Americans have not appreciated the game to any great degree, especially with so many kids growing up playing the game over the past two decades, but it probably has to do with the perceived lack of action brought about by the presence of few actual goals scored. I hope that changes over time.

So, how much of a soccer nerd am I? Well, I own a handful of jerseys that I've picked up off of eBay or while working in Ireland. I have a Fernando Torres jersey from the Spanish national team. I have Fernando Torres Liverpool jersey. I have a Peter Crouch Portsmouth jersey. And I have a long line of other jersey's I'm "watching" on eBay. While working in Ireland I seriously considered spending my free weekend riding the ferry across from Dublin to Liverpool in order to attend a match. I catch every match I can on espn360 and the ones I miss I catch the highlights on footytube.com after the fact. I'm on the soccer sites daily in the offseason to watch player movement amongst the teams (especially Liverpool as I have adopted them as "my team"). I'm a nerd. I admit it. But I have no plans of changing as I love the game.

For those that might have interest, google or Youtube any of the following to see the who's who of the soccer world:

- Fernando Torres (Liverpool striker and Spanish national)
- Steven Gerrard (Liverpool and English national)
- Carlos Tevez (Manchester City and Argentine national)
- Cristiano Ronaldo (boooo - Real Madrid and Portuguese national)
- Ronaldinho (flashy player that has seen better days, AC Milan and Brazilian national)
- Robinho (Manchester City and Brazilian national)
- Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentine national)
- Thierry Henry (Barcelona and French national)
- Kaka (Real Madrid and Brazilian national)
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Barcelona and Swedish national)
- Didier Drogba (Chelsea and Ivory Coast national)
- David Villa (Valencia and Spanish national)
- Wayne Rooney (Manchester United and English national)

If you want a few American names:

- Landon Donovan (plays for LA Galaxy, but will be playing in Europe next year no doubt)
- Oguchi Onyewu (plays for AC Milan in Italy)
- Michael Bradley (plays in Germany)
- Clint Dempsey (plays for Aston Villas in England)
- Jozy Altidore (plays for Hull City in England)

05 August 2009


Considering my political views, and specifically my voiced opposition to the Obamanation's health care to ruin America plan, I need all that read this post to report me to the White House. Read this link to find out why and how: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/05/pr-war-erupts-dems-gop-health-reform/

This is eerily reminiscent of the Hugo Chavez et. al. method of government in which you ask your supporters to report those in opposition in order to censor the opposition. Hugo shut down private media today. When do you suppose the Obamanation will do that? Perhaps the Obamanation read the book Chavez gave him a few months back at the U.N. meeting? Could they be sharing notes?

People, WAKE UP! The Obamanation is going to RUIN everything that is still right about this country! Voice your displeasure in spite of the possibility of being reported! If you don't, we're going to lose all freedom and you won't even have the ability to protest in a short while! Silence is assumed to be acceptance of his fascist ways!

29 July 2009

Hosanna by the GREAT Andrew Peterson

I am tangled up in contradiction.
I am strangled by my own two hands.
I am hunted by the hounds of addiction.
I have lied to everyone who trusts me.
I have tried to fall when I could stand.
I have only loved the ones who loves me.

O Hosanna!
See the long awaited king come to set his people free.
We cry O Hosanna! Come and tear the temple down.
Raise it up on holy ground. Hosanna!

I have struggled to remove this raiment,
tried to hide every shimmering strand.
I contend with these ghosts and these hosts of bright angels.
I have cursed the man that you have made me,
as I have nursed the beast that bays for my blood.
Oh, I have run from the one who would save me.
Save me, Hosanna!

O Hosanna!
See the long awaited king, come to set his people free.
We cry O Hosanna! Come and tear the temple down.
Raise it up on holy ground. Hosanna!

You have crushed beneath your heel the vile serpent.
You have carried to the grave the black stain.
You have torn apart the temple’s holy curtain.
You have beaten Death at Death’s own game.

O Hosanna!

Hail the long awaited king, come to set his people free.
We cry O Hosanna! Won’t you tear this temple down,
raise it up on holy ground.
O Hosanna!

I will lift my voice and sing: you have come and washed me clean.

26 July 2009

Eva Kate Creel

Ms. Eva has arrived!

I was summonsed home from VBS on Thursday night as Rachael thought it might be time to head to the old horsepital. So, we finally meandered to L&D around 11PM. There was actually much doubt (after an hour of observation) whether we needed to stay or return home as the contractions were 5 minutes apart but not too intense (which, I know, is relative...especially for a man). About 1AM, the decision was made that we were to stay as they wanted to get Rachael started on an antibiotic IV as they thought the baby would probably be born sometime in the afternoon. So, for about a while Rachael and I wandered the halls but were told to be back in the room by 1:40AM for the next check up. By 1:30, the intensity of the contractions was much increased and Rachael told me she had the urge to push (something she didn't remember having with Nolan). So, I was told to go fetch the nurse around 2:15 and have her do the next exam. Needless to say, things had changed FAST and the preparations went into high gear and the good MD showed up in the room within minutes. So, we knew they meant business. Around 2:45 or so the dose of antibiotics had been delivered and the pushing began. At 2:53 Ms. Eva was born.

First, let me say that women that birth children are my heroes. I think I have a high pain tolerance, but I don't think for a minute I could give birth to a child. Rachael chose to give birth naturally and I have to say, she's an absolute trooper!

Second, there is absolutely nothing pretty about the birthing process. Nothing. Yeah, it's miraculous, and yes, it's a very cool experience, but it isn't pretty.

Third, we are in love with Eva! Even Nolan! :-)


7 lbs. 14 ozs.

19.5" long

17 July 2009

Mid-Season Review

With the all-star break occuring over the last few days, I am in baseball withdrawal. Allow me to reflect on the first half of the Rangers season:

* They are well ahead of where I expected them to be in the standings
* They are slightly ahead of where I expected them to be in wins (I thought around .500)
* The pitching is, without a doubt, the bright spot in the season:
- Best starting staff in years
- Young guys are getting experience and performing rather well
- Scooter Feldman is a BIG surprise
- The bullpen is above average
- The back end of the bullpen I still question a bit...I don't trust CJ Wilson
- Millwood is in a contract year and you can tell it
* The offense has bright spots, but also has concerns
- Michael Young is Michael Young...you get the same from him every year and that's good
- Nelson Cruz is the real deal
- Ian Kinsler is being exposed...hopefully he adjusts
- I am VERY happy with the contribution of Elvis Andrus
- Hank Blalock thinks he's Babe Ruth and has to start trying to drive the ball not jack it out every time

The problem for me is to keep my focus on the future, not now. All along this team has been built for 2010 and beyond and we have to keep that top of mind. My worst fear is that JD does something REALLY stupid to mortgage the future in hopes of making a real run this year. I can understand the temptation, but PLEASE don't do it like the Rangers have done so many times in the past! I hope Nolan Ryan exerts his influence on any and all personnel moves.

At any rate, let's hope for a run this year with no damage done to the future!

04 July 2009

Colin Powell Speaks Out

Colin Powell Skeptical of Obama Spending

Can someone tell me what would make a man that has a history of endorsing smaller government endorse Barack Hussein Obama? It's not like the Obamanation was talking of small government during the campaign as he was clear on his intent to expand government (though, we all are surprised at how fast he's moved us towards socialism). So, should we expect to find some funny business, kick backs, promises of positions, etc. at the bottom of this? Or, is this a case of racism where Powell endorsed him only because of the man's skin color? It's sickening, really.

At any rate, I'm glad Powell is at least speaking out a bit. He's one of the few people that speak out that the state-run media will actually report on. Which brings me to another issue. Has anyone been paying attention to the tight control of the media the Obamanation Administration has enacted? All of those that voted for the Obamanation because they hated Bush and his "tyranny" need to open their eyes to what B. Hussein Obama is doing. It's a ton worse than Bush...and I don't like what Bush was doing either so don't go there. 

I can only pray those that voted for the man for something less than substance (skin color, hatred of Bush, ignorance, party affiliation) open their eyes and see what the Obamanation contributed to the rapid downfall of our country. This administration is an utter disgrace. Let's pray we only have to endure this for 4 years!

29 June 2009

Pharmaceuticals and Capital Budgeting - A Review

Skrepnek, Grant H. and Sarnowski, Jeff J. Decision-making Associated With Drug Candidates in the Biotechnology Research and Development (R&D) Pipeline. Journal of Commercial Biotechnologys, 13,99-110.


The pharmaceutical / biotechnology industry is typically viewed as being as being a high risk venture. This is especially true when it comes to Research and Development (R&D) as a vast majority of projects never make it to market, and those that do average $800M in development costs. Thus, the importance of accurately assessing risk components of capital budgeting efforts is paramount. The present study, through survey with 7.5% response rate, explores various methodologies utilized in the industry. Findings show a penchant towards DCF methodologies such as NPV and IRR. However, DCF methodologies are usually combined with decision trees/decision analysis, sensitivity analysis, pharmacoeconomics, and real options methodologies. The role of past experience/intuition/judgment is still prevalent in the industry as well with 85% of respondents indicating a high reliance on the “soft” side of decision making; a surprising result given the advancement of other methodologies (specifically, DCF methodologies) in other industries.

The pharmaceutical / biotechnology industry is typically viewed as being as being a high risk venture. This is especially true when it comes to Research and Development (R&D) as a vast majority of projects never make it to market. Those that do make it to market average (according to the authors) $800 million in capitalized money to bring to market. Thus, it is a huge investment and a huge risk.

Historically, pharmaceutical / biotechnology companies have helped reduce the risk of empty development pipelines by entertaining and actively working on many projects in hope the lucky handful will come to fruition. With the advent of computer aided design of active compounds, the practice of filling the pipeline with many projects has begun to subside. And, with the cost of clinical trials, regulatory approval, and R&D costs in general increasing exponentially, any tool or technique that helps reduce the risk of having projects go bust is worthy of consideration in this industry.

In addition to using technology to increase the pipeline of promising products, some companies reduce the risk of busts by decreasing R&D efforts and acquiring promising technology from other companies in the business. Of course, this strategy commands a premium price since the developing firm has borne the bolus of risk seen at the beginning and middle stages of development and clinical trial.

With all this risk, the capital budgeting efforts are of utmost importance. The present study explored, among other things, the methodologies common to the industry in dealing with capital decision making. The methodology utilized was a survey, for which, a 7.5% response rate was observed (which is consistent with studies of this type).

The results of the study showed a wide array of techniques used but also showed some themes. Unlike a similar study in the 1960s, Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) methodologies were found to be the most utilized methods. Net Present Value (NPV) and Internal Rate of Return (IRR) were utilized by 74% of the respondents. However, it was noted, as other studies have also shown, these methodologies are less than ideal in cases where risk is high and difficult to accurately assess. These cases are certainly present in the pharmaceutical / biotechnology fields, thus, few firms were found to solely rely on DCF methodologies. Additional questions concerning DCF methodologies showed that only 11% of respondents found DCF methods valuable at the pre-clincal stage of development, and only 46% found them valuable at the clinical stage. This is further indication of the sketchy reliability of such methods in this particular industry.

With so few respondents finding DCF methodologies effective and valuable, one would expect the usage of such methodologies to be combined with alternatives. In fact, the study did find this to be true. Respondents (59%) also indicated they utilize decision trees/decision analysis methodologies to aid in capital budgeting. Respondents also indicated they utilize sensitivity analysis during budgeting cycles (54%). 28% all indicated they utilize real options. These findings show a high degree of reliance on multiple methodologies in the pharmaceutical / biotechnology field.

A surprising finding was that 85% of respondents indicated an ultimate, heavy reliance on past experience / intuition / human judgment (unlike certain other industries that rely solely on more sterile mathematical models). However, when one considers the level of risk and enormous uncertainty in R&D efforts in this industry, it really shouldn’t be a surprise that data is gathered using multiple models and then run through the filter of history/intuition/judgment and common sense.

The future of this industry is in great peril at the present moment, making capital budgeting efforts all the more important. With the general public hearing/seeing report after report about the billion dollar babies (drugs with sales over $1 billion annually), and virtually nothing on the billions spent fruitlessly in development work each year, pressure is on the firms from all sides to do their part to stem the tide of increasing medical costs. The present, poor excuse for an administration is, in my opinion, seeking entirely too many concessions from the industry as part of their plan to overhaul the American health care system. At some point, firms will not find it profitable to be saddled with all of the risk for a government-mandated reduced reward and will discontinue seeking ways to find treatments for certain conditions. There is already a huge problem in the industry in that lesser known conditions receive little to no attention because of the small population of patients, yet the development costs and risk of failure are unaffected regardless of population size. Every disincentive the current, idiotic administration and other uninformed citizens erect as a roadblock will further serve to prevent new therapies from being developed. Don’t get me wrong, the industry has plenty of problems of its own making and greed, but obstructing capitalism in this instance is not a good idea in my opinion. However, any improvements concerning the accuracy of capital budget cycles (specifically DCF methodologies) could go a long way to meeting goals of the company, the public, and governments across the globe, but the key to these developments is increased ability to quantify the risks associated with development.

29 May 2009

Introducing -- Government Motors (GM)


So, let me ask the question of the brilliant Obamanation administration and his cronies in Congress: Did we really need to give billions in aid to General Motors to avoid bankruptcy for a few months? No. So, this bankruptcy filing is, in my mind, the admission of a HUMONGOUS policy mistake by the Obamanation.

All the experts said it was inevitable and the bailout was only going to delay the inevitable. So, is the Obamanation so arrogant to think that he was truly the savior for GM? Or, was he wasting taxpayer money to repay the labor union drones that helped elect him? Or, did he orchestrate the bailout to get his slimy paws on historically private industry? All of the possible answers point toward a man that is incapable of governing.

With this bailout, and the Obamanations guidance through the bankruptcy process, General Motors will now be totally controlled by the government...thus, it's now Government Motors. I, for one, have no plans of ever buying a GM car again as I've seen the inability of government to manage anything. Government has never run anything more efficiently than private industry. One way to make GM profitable is to break the union. The Obamanation will never do this as he needs the union support to back his re-election bid (God help us all). So, it is clear, government is incapable of making GM profitable, making the cars desirable to drive, and improving quality without doing the most horrendous, but most likely, thing: subsidizing. I fully expect the Obamanation to artificially lower the price of GM vehicles by subsidizing with TAXPAYER money to prop up his socialist project of Government Motors.

At a Hollywood fund raiser yesterday, the Obamanation said he'd pit his first four months on the job against any previous President. So would I. Only I would say it's by far the worst four months of any President (auto bailout, humongous debt-ridden budget, worsening of economy, a pitiful and racist Supreme Court nominee, stupid Air Force One stunt, weak-knee approach to N. Korea, weak-knee approach to Iran, a terrible national sales tax proposal on top of income tax that touches all layers of commerce, health care plans that will set healthcare back 50 years, etc.). I'm guessing the Obamanation measures success by how much socialism he's been able to pull over on the general public in such a short time. Makes me want to puke.

05 May 2009

I'm Too Old For This

Some people that do not or have not travelled as part of their job probably will not understand this, but I hate work-related travel. It's not exciting. It's not fun. It's not something to sign up for.

Granted, I haven't always felt this way about it, as pre-marriage I travelled quite a bit and enjoyed it for the most part. But now it's a different story. I miss my wife. I miss my son. I miss my own bed. I miss my church. I miss the security of home. I miss knowing that if something happens to family I could be there in a matter of minutes. I miss riding my mountain bike. I miss good Tex-Mex.

I write this from a hotel room in what seems like my home away from home the last few months: Chicago. It's a nice hotel. Nice people at the hotel. Great co-workers. And, I've spent enough time here to know how to get around easily, where restaurants are, where the nearest Starbuck's are located, and even how to efficiently navigate the parking lots at the mammoth Abbott campus. Yet, I still hate it after a few days. I'm on the 7th night of a 9 night stay and I'm way passed ready to come home. I'm to the point now where going out to eat holds ZERO appeal to me. Luckily for me, the room contains a refrigerator so I can keep some food and drink of my own and don't have to spend yet another night staring at my travel mates (our Dallas team has spent every day together for months now including 5 weeks on the road since mid December). Yet, I know more is to come...even though I have managed to get out of the June trip to Ireland due to vacation schedule.

Luckily, on the present trip, Rachael and Nolan were able to join me over the weekend and we were able to get out and see a few sites. Not only was it great to spend time with my family, but it also broke up the monotony of work. We spent Thursday evening at Wrigley Field (a dream for me), spent Saturday at the Shedd Aquarium and Navy Pier, and Sunday at the Lincoln Park Zoo. And that's the funny thing about travel; when I travel for pleasure, I thoroughly enjoy it even though a lot of the same things I hate about travel are present.

The project I'm on still has a number of months until completion and I know there will be more travel involved. I dread it. The only saving grace I have, for a period of time at least, is that when baby girl is born (yes, we are still deciding name) I should get a bit of a travel reprieve.

So, the best I can say is that I understand why I have to travel and I have to do my best to tolerate it and make it as painless as possible.

Aside: A big thank you to our neighbors, and to American Airlines, for the tickets to get Rachael and Nolan up here over the weekend.

23 April 2009

Savior On Capitol Hill

One of my favorite musical artists is Derek Webb. He has a song that I think describes the state of American politics pretty well. It's called "Savior on Capitol Hill". Enjoy.

"I'm so tired of these mortal men
With their hands in their pockets and their hearts full of sin
Scared of their enemies, scared of their friends
And always running for re-election
So come to DC if it be thy will
Because we've never had a saviour on Capitol Hill

You can always trust the devil or a politician
To be the devil or a politician
But beyond that friends you'd best beware
'Cause at the Pentagon bar they're an inseparable pair
And as long as the lobbyists are paying their bills
We've never had a saviour on Capitol Hill

All of our problems gonna disappear
When we can whisper right in our President's ear
He could walk right across the reflection pool
In his combat boots and ten thousand dollar suit
You can render unto Caesar everything that's his
You can trust in his power to come to your defense
It's the way of the world, the way of the gun
It's the trading of an evil for a lesser one
So don't hold your breath or your vote until
You think you've finally found a savior up on Capitol Hill"

15 April 2009

Proud - A Repost of the Writing of a Friend

For both of you that read my blog regularly (OK, maybe I've given myself too much credit there), I wanted to post an article written by my friend Nathan Slatter. Nate has a writing style that gets right to the essence of an issue instead of the beating around the bush I tend to do. This article summarizes my thoughts much better than I can could ever summarize my own thoughts, so I thought I'd just throw it out there because I have this sneaking suspicion that there are many more people that are fed up with politically correct America these days. Enjoy!

"I, in the recent past, had lost my pride as a Texan, as a US Citizen, as a white man, as a capitalist, and as an individual. I'm done with self abuse, self hatred, and self loathing. I have come into my own these past few years. I am Texas proud! I am US proud! I am Caucasian proud! I am Capitalist proud! I am proud as an individual! I encourage you to be proud of who you are, what you are, and the essence of YOU.

It is time to cease allowing those "other people" to beat you down and you need to stop buying into the idea that you are worth nothing. Remember, that you are who you are - and be proud of that. 

Don't allow your state pride (Texas in my case) be the reason that you yield to those who bow down to the nationalism that is becoming more and more prominent in this nation. Where the federal government is the central power, instead of merely keeping the position of mediator and facilitator of these United States. Fear not -- they only have power in Washington because they receive it from the states of residency of WE THE PEOPLE.

Don't allow your race to be dismissed (and this mean all races not just mine) because others would denigrate it and cause it harm. Remember, regardless of the color of your skin, you are part of the human race and that is a GOOD, no GREAT, race to be a part of!

Don't allow your capitalist tenancies be attacked as evil greed and abhorrent materialism. While we are in this mess partially because of our inability to understand personal economics -- make no mistake, the other part of the mess is because the Federal government has also lost its understanding of basic economics -- that is, don't spend more than you bring in. Capitalism is not evil, it is not greedy, and it is not materialism. Be proud of your capitalistic ideas and ways.

Don't allow your individualism be dismissed and destroyed by those who are ashamed of their own essences or are not as individualistic as you are and therefore see you as a threat to their own world view.

While none of these actually explain the essence of me -- they are what molded me and made me and are part, but not the whole of, my self. They are the things that have kept me and are part of who I am. I REFUSE to buy into a collectivist ideology that indicates that I have no individuality and that if I do, it is evil and fallen short of goodness.

I will not acquiesce to those who are less than comfortable with themselves to the point that they wish to pull me down to their level (or pull me up to their level -- as I'm so sure they believe). I am not shallow. I am not stupid. I am not selfish. I am not greedy. I am not evil. I am quit the opposite and I refuse to allow these labels to be the catalyst to shame me and force my silence and submission to the collective.

Who I am:

Rebellious / non-conformist.
Classical Liberal.
Austrian Economics follower.
Good, even Great.

And I say each of these things with pride to the point of sinfulness -- and I don't care if you don't like it!"

29 March 2009

The Next Step Towards Socialism

Click Here

It was inevitable. The Obamanation has fired the first shot across the bow of capitalism. The full war is coming.

GM is firmly entrenched under government control and the first big automaker has been put on life-support. GM will be propped up in this dying industry (Obama has to prop it up because the socialist unions helped elect him). Government management will be far worse than private management as government cannot run the most basic of programs efficiently, much less a for profit enterprise. Yet, the American taxpayer (whom the Obamanation sees as his own personal ATM) will continue to pump money into keeping GM on life-support with no hope of recovery. 

There is more to come.

Amerika, we are getting exactly what we voted for...a socialist president and we've been too ignorant to even see it coming. Gone are the days of personal liberty. Gone are the days of hope. Gone are the days of personal responsibility. It's a sad, sad time...and it's a short step from socialism to communism. I miss America.

24 March 2009

How A Garage Sale Ruined My Saturday

At 8:45 AM this past Saturday, I meandered out to my truck to leave for a meeting at the church that was scheduled to start at 9. To my surprise, the neighbor across the street was hosting a garage sale and the cul de sac was packed with cars. No problem, right? Well, one manners-challenged person decided it would be fine to just block a strangers driveway and parked covering 3/4 of our drive.

So, I politely wandered over to the neighbors yard and asked her to have the owner of the offending vehicle move it so I could attend my meeting. She complied and started to ask people if it was their truck, and so I headed over to my vehicle, started it, and waited, and waited, and waited. Finally, I'd lost all patience (which, granted doesn't take much for me sometimes when it comes to people starring in their own personal soap operas) and backed out with 1/2 my truck in my lawn. I was about 6" away from the bumper of the car blocking my drive...not really all that close. 

At any rate, I backed out and then had to go down to the end of the cul de sac to turn around and exit the neighborhood. As I was coming back towards my house, I noticed a lady in the street pointing at the offending truck (funny how she didn't profess ownership when asked by the neighbor huh?). So, I rolled the window down and shouted to the lady "Yeah, move your truck! What are you thinking blocking someone's driveway?" Then, I left and headed for the church. Well, a few minutes later Rachael called my cell and told me "this is a much bigger deal than you think...she is claiming you hit her truck." At this point, I was beyond irritated...I was mad. So, I turned around and headed back home.

As soon as I got home, I approached the lady sitting in her truck and asked her to get out. I told her I did not hit her truck in any way...to which she pointed at her back BUMPER and muttered something in Spanish. This went on a few times and it was clear she either did not speak English or didn't want to speak English at that time (a remarkable phenomenon here in Texico). At this point, I was beyond mad...I was irate...so I called the police because I could see the dollar signs sparkling in her evil eyes. 

After a long wait, the police, and the ladies husband/boyfriend/brother/life coach (or some combination thereof), showed up. I told the story to the police officer while the lady and the husband/boyfriend/brother/life coach conferred in the street. When the police officer approached them, the husband/boyfriend/brother/life coach informed him that I didn't really hit the bumper, but I'd hit the back fender in front of the wheel. In addition, they pointed out that I had a white mark on my front bumper. An amazing switch of story, huh? Well, I inspected the area he was claiming I hit, then headed into the house to get a tape measure. Now, I don't claim to be too brilliant, but immediately I could see that the area he pointed to was much lower than the mark on my truck that had been there for years. So, I whipped out the tape measure and showed that their mark was at 18" and my mark was at 25". How could that be? The police officer thought that was pretty funny. 

In the meantime, the officer had talked to two eyewitnesses that confirmed I had not even come close to their truck. He told the idiot couple of this fact and they still continued to claim I hit the car...but, they then decided that I really had not hit in front of the wheel, but behind the wheel. At this point, I could see the full scam press was on and they already had plans for the money they intended on collecting from my insurance company. So, I pointed out to them that their car was TAN while the marks on my truck are WHITE. Got the same reaction from the idiot couple, but did get an acknowledgement from the police officer. Then, the police officer pointed out that if I had hit them, the black rubber from my bumper would have rubbed off on their vehicle...not their paint rubbing off on my vehicle. Same stupid grin on the idiot couple's faces. At this point, the husband/boyfriend/brother/pimp/life coach thought it would lend more credence to his argument if he pointed out the truck had a "custom paint job, man." To which I said..."doesn't matter to me, I'm fully prepared to see you in court because you nor your lying wife will get a penny from me and I fully intend on recuperating every cent I spend defending myself if you pursue your lie." The police officer sent me to my driveway at this point. :-) So, I took lots of pictures of where they parked, the scratches, the tape measure held up next to the scratches, etc.

The police officer told me he had to issue an incident report because the idiot couple continued to insist I hit their truck.

So, let's take inventory:

- Their story changed three times
- The paint doesn't match
- The height of the scratches do not match
- I have picture proof
- I have two eye witnesses

Yet, most likely I will be getting a call from my insurance company any day telling me a claim has been submitted. Welcome to Texico. And we wonder why our insurance premiums are so high. 

17 March 2009

More Problems With Socialism


A few disjointed thoughts on socialism.

Whatever happened to the shared dream Americans had of personal freedom? Liberty? Personal responsiblity? Hope? Have we so soon forsaken what made us a nation in the first place and what brought our great nation so many immigrants wishing to share in the dream? Apparently so.

It's been a long time coming really. Perhaps the start of it was the "New Deal", but regardless, the process has certainly been sped up in recent times under the Obamanation. We continue to add social programs that have been proven time and again to do little good and much bad (like causing dependency). They become entitlements (and if you don't believe me, just read or watch a little news and you'll see story after story of individuals looking to the government for a handout). Personally, I find it offensive that many among us can't see past the title of "government" and realize their entitlements are coming from taxpayers like me! Or, worse yet, they do understand that and just don't care.

The conundrum, for me, is that I do believe in helping people in need...I just don't want it to come from entitlement programs from our government. I want it to come from charitable organizations. I want it to come from "the church." One theory says that if taxes were cut then people would be more willing to give to charities. Maybe so. But, I also think that basic greed gets in the way of people giving to charitable organizations and the church has to step up efforts of meeting the needs of the "fatherless and the widow" (James 1:27). This is not an indictment of any local church or organization, but rather the entire "church world." I'm just as guilty as the next person, no doubt.

Then, there's the issue of the bailouts. Since when has failure not been an option in America? It's a staple of our economic system. The strongest survive. It's called competition and it has a long track record of producing results. Nobody likes to see companies go under and nobody likes to see jobs lost. But, let me ask, is the artifiical propping up of companies using taxpayers money only delaying the inevitable? If not, it's putting lipstick on a REALLY ugly pig (i.e. Detroit). The problem with propping these companies up is that the government now holds a stake in these corporations and have (see link above - notice it's a Republican this time) begun to exert control over those that have accepted the bailout money. And, we all know how great the governement is at efficiently managing programs don't we? Thank God for Ford and their refusal to take tainted bailout money. I hope when it all clears they are the one auto manufacturer still standing.

Margaret Thatcher supposedly once said "The problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples' money." Truer words have ever been spoken. Socialism is a downward spiral toward the abyss that removes personal choice, personal responsiblity, and freedom as we know it. We're well down that staircase and picking up steam under the Obamanation we elected to bring us into the depths of hopelessness. God save us.

18 February 2009

What Do Bristol Palin and Alex Fraudriguez Have In Common?

It's no secret that A-Fraud is number one on my list of phony athletes. He occupied that position long before the steroids scandal came down. But, his press conference held at the Yankees spring training yesterday took it to a new level of ridiculousness. Many things that he said made me want to puke, but his sudden desire to be an "advocate" was particularly puke worthy in my opinion.

Yesterday on foxnews.com (you know, the fair and biased channel :-), I saw pieces of an interview with Bristol Palin. Bristol, the 18 year old daughter of Alaska governor Sarah Palin, recently had a baby out of wedlock. There's nothing unusual about that, and, to be honest, the interview was filled with softball question after softball question, but something Bristol said did catch my attention. That is, two months after having the baby, she has declared that she now wants to be an "advocate" for teaching kids it's not wise to have children so early. I found it puke worthy. 

Alex Rodriguez was outed last week, and even though he didn't answer the question when asked, he never would have come out and admitted to steroid usage otherwise. In other words, it wasn't that big of an issue to him just two weeks ago. Two weeks ago he didn't care that teenagers were using steroids. Two weeks ago he didn't care about the long-term health effects of steroids. Two weeks ago he didn't care about being a role model. Two weeks ago he was "stupid" and "naive" (his words). But today, since he was outed, we are to believe he passionately feels that teenagers shouldn't use steroids, that information is disseminated regarding steroid related health issues, that he becomes a great role model, and that overnight he now is filled with wisdom and is knowledgeable about the ways of the world? I don't think so A-Fraud. Let's see you stay clean (as evidenced by a self-imposed, regular blood testing scheme administered by a third party outside of baseball) for the next 10 years, renounce your MVP awards, suggest an asterisk be put beside all future records, and then I'm willing to listen to you as an "advocate." And, by the way A-Fraud, regardless of what you said in your presser, I'm relatively certain God didn't allow this happen to put you in a position of advocacy...I'm pretty certain you did this to yourself.

Bristol Palin, in her interview, was asked and talked ad nauseum about the level of family support she is receiving in raising her child. Her mother, father, sister, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandmother, and aunts are all participating in caring for her child. This allows her to continue her schooling (she graduates high school in May). Her future plans still include attending college, a career, marrying her boyfriend and father of her child, and ten years down the road having another child. Now, I really do like Bristol Palin (as I tend to have a soft spot in my heart for teen mothers that realize their mistakes) and I am very happy for her and her child that she has such a great support group. But, Bristol does not in any way resemble the poster child for teen pregnancy as she will face virtually none of the issues the average teen mother faces. Like Alex, ten years from now, when you've accomplished some of your plans, and overcome a few obstacles that you might face, I'm willing to listen to you as an "advocate." But right now, the only thing most teens are going to see you advocating is having a child  (because mommy and daddy will obviously help support it), going on tv and becoming a celebrity, and how your life has had no real negative effects from your mistake. Not buying it.

Can we please lay off the advocacy for a bit? We're seeing right through this whole PR bit (especially you A-Fraud!). 

One last thing...I may have one last A-Fraud blog in me before I'm through. There's another aspect of his ESPN confessional interview that I'd like to cover. :-)

10 February 2009

Thoughts on A-Fraud Rodriguez

He's finally been caught. Raise your hands if you are surprised! Didn't think so.

There's no question Alex Rodriguez is one of, if not the most, talented people in all baseball. Why he felt he needed (or needs) steroids is beyond me. I know he said he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders when he signed his record deal with the Texas Rangers, but I'm not buying it. If we are to believe A-Fraud, and we shouldn't based on his past denials of using steroids, he would have us believe that it is all explained by being "young, stupid, and naive." I think the real answer is embedded in other statements he has made in his admission of guilt...he is extremely image conscience and wants to be viewed as the best in the world. Well, Alex, did you ever stop and think as you were signing your 10 year $250 million contract..."hey, I must already be viewed as the best in the world if I was offered this contract?" Or, did the Baseball Antichrist (agent, Scott Boras) have you believing he was the only reason you got that contract?

Regardless, my major problems lie in other statements made in his confessional. He stated, "So I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas. And there's absolutely no excuse, and I really feel bad about it." Listen, dude, the Texas fans are sorry for the Texas years too. We accept your apology for using steroids, but I would like to throw out a few more things we would like apologies for:
* No community involvement while here. OUR PURCHASING OF TICKETS AND MERCHANDISE PAID YOUR SALARY, DUDE! Could you have at least kissed a few local babies and done something for the community? Apparently not, all your charity work went back to your beloved Miami. Fine...but, you made ZERO effort in our community.
* Losing. This one isn't all your fault, but a lot of it is. By all accounts you were elitist and stand-offish in the clubhouse. No amount of testosterone injections can solve that problem.
* Your arrogant attitude.
* Your deragotory comments about the players left behind after your fortuitous trade to the Yankees.
* Using the Baseball Antichrist as your agent
* BREAKING THE LAW. Steroids are illegal.

So, A-Fraud joins the long line of baseball superstars busted for illegal steroid usage. In an era where everyone and every record must be scrutinized, A-Fraud really shouldn't stick out. But, for my money, I'll make him the posterboy for everything that is wrong with baseball today.

For accuracy of my quoting A-Fraud, here is the reference: http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3895281

04 February 2009

Thoughts on Military Usage of Web 2.0 Tools

Web 2.0 tools (blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, etc.) tend to have one thing in common: networking. From that aspect, it seems a perfect fit for the military intelligence community to utilize these tools as well. After all, the intelligence community is spread out across the world, large in numbers, may cover various military branches, and in need of methods of rapid information dissemination. This makes them perfect candidates for utilization of Web 2.0 tools save for one major issue: security.

There is an element of danger that accompanies the usage of these tools and it is magnified in the intelligence community. For instance, wikis are notoriously bad for providing misinformation because of the nature of how they are editable (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2007/01/26/wiki). While it may have little impact that an 8th grader utilizes mininformation about Nolan Ryan gathered from Wikipedia.org in a report, mininformation in the intelligence community could have fatal ramifications. Information without verification is always dangerous and Web 2.0 tools only serve to speed the dissemination of mis-information (when present).

In addition, security concerns must abound over the usage of such tools in the intelligence community. For instance, it could be difficult to control who does/does not have write access to a military wiki, who has security clearance to see informaiton, and how much verification is required before others can act on information. Keeping others from hacking the information is also of great importance and cannot be overlooked.

Regardless of the detractors, the benefits of rapid information sharing and dissemination likely override the concerns and these tools play an important role in keeping the American populace somewhat safe.