Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dear Santa.....

Dear Santa,
I know it's probably a little late to be asking this question.....but......just how good would I have to be to get one of these?

I know I wasn't as nice as I could've been, especially to those pesky telemarketers, the politicians knocking at my door looking for a vote, and the neighbors upstairs who were always having parties at three in the morning. But I really tried. I really did! Just let me know what I need to do and I'll leave you a bunch of extra cookies and a cold one to wash'em down.

Thanks and Merry Christmas

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Open Letter to Lane Kiffin: Welcome To Knoxville!

I'm sure I'm not the first, but Mr Kiffin....Let me welcome you to "Big Orange Country!" You have seriously jumped from the frying pan into the fire. If you think life with Al Davis was tough, lose more than one or two games out of the chute and you'll find out what tough really is. Just Ask Johnny Majors and Phillip Fulmer. Blue skies can turn dark real fast on you if you aren't careful. You see SEC Football Fans expect a lot from our teams and our coaches....sometimes too much. Again, just ask your predecessor. At the beginning of this season, Coach Fulmer was the fifth winningest active coach in the NCAA ranks and he's even brought a National Championship to "Rocky Top"and it took him 16 years to do it. His 147-45 record at seasons start and that national trophy wasn't even enough to help him weather the storm or keep the most hardcore Volunteers among us from turning on him faster than the blue skies go dark during a summer rainstorm on the Plateau.
As a Tennessee native and a lifelong Volunteer, I believe Coach Fulmer should've been given a little more time to turn things around. However, I shall try to keep an open mind. I just hope you're bringing more to the dance than your experience as a Raider because Volunteer fans can be just as unpleasant as Al Davis if you don't turn things around quickly. Welcome to Knoxville Mr. Kiffin and good're gonna need it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pop Quiz

POP QUIZ: You're the CEO of a major investment firm and Wall Street is going down the tubes. What do you do? (hint: You're one of the few that isn't begging for a government handout.)

ANSWER: You call Michael Jordan for a quick pickup game in front of all your senior executives. See for yourself......

I'm not sure if this plain stupidity or a case of an extremely arrogant genius trying to keep his people motivated during very turbulent times. This video of Ariel Investments Chairman and CEO John Rogers was taken back on November 7th and has been making the rounds ever since.
What do you think?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Bad Home Loans, Anger, and Barrack Obama

Earlier this evening I had the opportunity to listen to one of my favorite talk shows hosted by a man who arguably is one of the smartest men in talk radio today. His name is Gene Burns and he hosts the evening show on KGO-AM out of San Francisco. Mr. Burns is a self described Libertarian turned Democrat, who most of the time falls back on his Libertarian leanings as the basis viewpoints and commentary. This approach has made him very popular and well respected among his audience and his peers. While I disagree with him most of the time, I enjoy his show and respect his talent because, whether I agree with him or not, he always give me reason to stop and think...sometimes even re-evalutaing my position on certain topics.

However, his comments during the first part of this evening show left me somewhat perplexed. The topic was home ownership and the proposed government intervention on behalf of some homeowners who find themselves in the unenviable position of having to make payments on mortgage agreements that they can't afford and should have never been allowed to enter into to begin with.

Conversation about this topic on this day had begun earlier in the day on another show. Tonight Gene started his show with an excerpt from that earlier program in which a caller was voicing displeasure over the government intervention, characterizing the intervention as unfair to all the homeowners who worked hard pay their mortgages and improve the value of their investment while a next door neighbor looked to the government to intercede on their behalf. The type of intervention spoken of, in it's most basic terms, consisted a devaluation of the property to a level where the struggling homeowner could then afford the mortgage payments. When that occurs, the value of everyone's home goes down as well. That, to many homeowners, is just plain unacceptable.

Then there was Gene's first caller who was angry about a situation similar to the one above combined with a homeowner who didn't even have a job because, according to the caller, they chose not to work. For her part, the caller and her husband works a total of five jobs between them to pay the mortgage and their other bills. Needless to say she was angry and even though she didn't express herself very well, I got where she was coming from. Unfortunately, Gene didn't. He characterized both callers as self centered, greedy and part of the problem, saying that both callers would be much better off if there neighbors received the help from the government and were able stay in their homes. How someone, that is as smart as Gene is, could have that viewpoint is just incomprehensible.

If my understanding of the Libertarian Party philosophy is correct, this seems be quite the contradiction. All that aside, the anger Gene dealt with tonight is very real and very justified. You see, many Americans are growing rather tired of watching their hard work and success marginalized by a part of our society that, in many cases assisted by our government, is looking for nothing more than a free ride. This has been going on for decades and perpetuated by a government bureaucracy that provides social benefits without the kind of vetting required to truly ensure that a system designed to help people in need isn't being abused. Now that some homeowners are seeing that value of their investments devalued because of greed in some cases and laziness in others, that anger is boiling to the surface. It isn't just homeowners upset over loan bailouts that are angry either. Middle Class Americans, who are not homeowners, are fed up too. I have experienced this myself in the form of a neighbor who refuses to work and receives welfare and food stamps from the county. This month she decided she was fed up with paying rent, so she goes and applies for subsidized housing. Then I hear her bragging to her friends about how she can now afford that fancy car she wants and a big screen tv and all other kinds of cool toys. How much is her subsidized rent costing taxpayers......214 dollars a month. When you add in the welfare, medical insurance, and food stamps, the bill becomes much higher. That is just one small example from my incredibly small part of this world.

Then when you see these same type of people going for home loans that have no business getting and then getting "relief" from the government.......well, it's not really that hard to understand where all the anger is coming from. With the leadership we have in store for us the next four years, don't look for it to go away anytime soon. Hopefully, wiser minds will prevail, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

Til Next time................

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Why Keith Olberman Is A Jerk

You know, there was a time when Keith Olbermann was at the top of his game and had fans around the world and I was one of them. On ESPN, Olbermann along with Dan Patrick and Chris Berman were the creme of the crop. Now, all these years later, Olbermann has given up and walked away from the truest of his talents to become just another talking head spewing partisan politics and hateful negativity on third place cable news outlet MSNBC. People talk about Rush Limbaugh's biased radio broadcasts and there's no doubt that they are. But in all fairness, if you want to talk about agressive, biased commentary, you have to include Keith Olbermann. All you have to do is watch this quick clip of his little catch phrases and jabs to understand why he has become one of the most incendiary hosts on television today.

Even now as he returns to NBC's Sunday night "Football Night In America" broadcast, it seems he just can't help himself as he injects subtle sarcastic political references while vo'ing the weekend's highlight reel. It's really too bad he has decided to go this route with his career. It seems such a waste of talent. I guess it just goes to show that a hatred of one man and a pretty hefty paycheck from the "Peacock" is enough to turn a once great broadcaster into a jerk.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Well, Here We Are.....

......and for the past couple of month's leading up to the election, I've pretty much kept my mouth shut about all the politics swirling around us. As I've mentioned before, I wasn't impressed by either of our major candidates for the presidency. Neither candidate had a real plan to bring this country out of it's current downward economic spiral. For his part, Obama still doesn't and what's left of Wall Street knows it. All you have to do is look at what has continued to happen economically and with the job market since the election. The only bright spot this fall has been the falling price of a barrel of oil.

What scares me more than Obama's liberal/socialist agenda is the reaction of so many Americans on election night. It was a historic night indeed and I truly believe it was a huge step forward for America when it comes to matters of race. But the unbridled show of emotion we saw on election night makes me wonder. Are we as a nation so unyielding when it comes to our distrust, dislike, and in many cases, plain ol' hatred of George Bush and his policies, that we are willing to just blindly hand over the reigns of the country to a man that we really don't know that much about (other than what the media has spoon fed us) and a man who has such limited experience?

For the record and despite my misgivings about the man, I voted for McCain because I've always subscribed to theory "Better the devil you know than the one you don't." At least that way you know what's coming and what you need to do to defeat it. With Obama and Biden it's gonna be a crap shoot and I'm afraid we are going to come out the losers in the end. Biden is nothing more than an overdressed/overpaid used car saleman that has been told no by the American people every time he has tried to run for President.

As for Obama, I'm trying really hard to keep an open mind despite my firm belief that his liberal/socialist agenda is absolutely the last thing this country needs right now. We've all heard the old saying "Be careful what you ask for........."

Well here we are. We asked for it. Now we're about to get it. I just hope it doesn't turn out to be a horrible mistake.