Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Governors Race

With tonight being the last debate and only a few weeks left I thought I would post something on the Governor's race. Here is the list of the Republican candidates and their endorsements. Please note that a couple groups endorsed more than one and several groups have stayed out of the race altogether. I may have forgotten a few and if so, let me know and I will add them to the list.

Pete Hoekstra

Candice Miller

Mike Rogers

Vern Ehlers

Mitt Romney

Newt Gingrich

Gary Bauer

James Dobson

Lansing Chamber of Commerce

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Citizens for Traditional Values

Michigan Credit Union League

Michigan Forest Products Council

Michigan Agribusiness Association

Teamsters Union

Mike Cox

Dick and Betsy Devos

Dave Camp

Thad McCotter

Mike Huckabee

Michigan Chamber of Commerce

Right to Life

Citizens for Traditional Values

Shooters Alliance for Firearm Rights

Wayne County Chiefs of Police

Gun Owners of America

Michigan Gun Owners

Rick Snyder

Bill Milliken

John McCain

Joe Schwarz

Bill Ford, Jr.

Dan and Pamela Devos

Detroit Chamber of Commerce

Michigan League of Conservation Voters

Republicans for Environmental Protection

Mike Bouchard

Terri Land

Brooks Patterson

Michelle Engler

Jane Abraham

Elizabeth Dole

Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce

Detroit Chamber of Commerce

Fraternal Order of Police

Police Officers Association of Michigan

Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo

Home Builders Association of Greater Grand Rapids

Citizens for Traditional Values

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Praying for myself

The past month my church community group has been talking about prayer. Last week's topic was on intercessory prayer or simply praying for other people. One of the comments during the discussion was how hard it was to pray for others since most of our prayers are focused on our self. After this was said, most people nodded in agreement but I felt distinctly at odds with that statement. For me, it is much easier to pray for other people than to pray for myself. In fact, 95 percent of my prayer time is going down my list of people to pray for. I would much rather for someone Else's needs than my own.

At first, I thought that praying for others instead of myself was sort of a badge of spiritual maturity. I am putting other peoples needs ahead of my own. But upon further review, there is conclusive evidence that my prayer life is just a deeper reflection of how I treat all my relationships. When I am talking to someone, I would much rather listen to their ideas or problems than talk about my own. If they don't want to share themselves, then I focus the conversation on talking about other people we know. Basically, anything to avoid having to talk about myself. In fact, the only way I generally reveal things about myself is if I am asked specific direct questions. I started this approach years ago under the guise that it made me less selfish but in reality I simply prefer my privacy. A great irony is that I often times will use the very public means of blogging to provide a small glimpse into my life and this is one of those occasions.

As you might expect, this lack of self revelation has been a hold up in many of my relationships. This would explain why several of my romantic endeavors have failed. And this hesitancy towards intimacy is a hurdle I am trying to jump over with Erin. I am making improvements but it still remains a potential barrier between her and I.

Unfortunately, this same pattern is now spilling over into my prayer life and my relationship with God. I would much rather read about him in the bible or talk to him about others than talk to him about myself. This revelation is quite startling and explanatory. No wonder my relationship with God is stale and impersonal considering I don't like sharing too much about myself with him. It scares me too think of why I would be so cautious with a God who unconditionally loves me.

This Christmas seems like a good time to become more intimate with God. I am not going to ask him to reveal himself to me but instead my goal is to trust him more and more as I reveal more and more of myself to him.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Obama the weak

Regardless of party, I was really hoping that Obama would succeed as president but it is becoming increasingly obvious that he is a weak leader and not ready for the job. Forget the fact that his primary domestic goal of health care reform is DOA, the bigger problem is his terrible foreign policy. It's like Jimmy carter left him his playbook in the oval office and Obama thought hey it's 30 years later, maybe appeasement will work this time.

He has basically given Russia a green light to bully any of the former soviet states when he agreed to dismantle our weapons shield in Europe. The Russian's view this as weakness and know that they can now do whatever they want and we will back down. If I was Georgia I would be very, very worried.

Iran is brazenly moving ahead with the nuclear weapons and Obama can't even get economic sanctions against them much less a military option on the table. I heard his advisor say this weekend that they wouldn't even confirm that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons. Can you say Naive?

The war in Afghanistan is headed in the wrong direction and Obama looks to be folding his cards instead moving all in. He should never have changed the focus to Afghanistan before counting the cost. Now we are left with either pulling out and giving terrorists the same home base they had before 9/11 or we have to commit a lot more soldiers to fight in a part of the world that is known for outlasting their attackers.

We now have dictators freely acting abroad and a foreign policy that is afraid to confront them. What is driving this lack of confrontation? It is rooted in Obama's lack of resolve that America is right and that our enemies are completely in the wrong. He is nuanced and likes to point out our faults while giving our enemies the benefit of the doubt.

This naivete is not what the American people voted for in 2008. Many people were tired of Bush's black and white world view but frankly our enemies laugh at shades of grey. Obama has to realize that Iran, Russia, China and North Korea don't respect him. In fact, they trust that he will not respond with force. That's a bad signal to rest of the world who look to America for leadership.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Michigan football

Well if wasn't tough enough to be Rich Rod before this week, things just got a whole lot worse for him and for Michigan fans. The Free Press ran a hit piece this weekend accusing the program of violating the number of practice hours. Frankly if this were the whole story, I think the school would be ok and that they would take whatever penalty faces them for the violations. Just for the record, the limited practice hours are a joke and every football program realizes it and probably pushes the envelope on this issue. Michigan just happens to be the one that got caught.

But worse than the allegations is that the story was based on anonymous football players either on the team last year or still on the team. This is bad news for the coach. It shows just how little control and respect he has from some of his players. My best guess is that these are disgruntled holdovers from the Lloyd Carr era and they simply don't like Rodriguez. The preferred the country club mentality instead of having to compete for their playing time. But I wish they would have handled the matter with dignity by going to the coach or the AD instead of to the newspaper.

After a terrible 3-9 season last year, I was hoping to have a redeeming season to help forget about the past and lay the groundwork for future success. I am still in Rich Rod's corner and unlike many Michigan fans, I think he was the correct choice and can restore Michigan to a football powerhouse. But unless he gets his whole team on board, I can foresee a very long season ahead. If that long season includes several losses, it is hard to imagine Rodriguez keeping his job. And unfortunately it is easy to imagine the old guard bringing in a Michigan man like Ron English to replace him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


This Wednesday was my birthday. Leading up to it I wasn't all that thrilled with yet another birthday and turning 36 seemed like nothing special. As it turned out, this birthday was one of my favorites. It started last week when Erin surprised me with my very first Ipod. I had heard of such a magical invention but I am technologically unsavvy. One week and 700 songs later I love how much fun it is.

Tuesday night my parents took me out for dinner. Jake, Dave and Vince joined us as well. The food was good and I really like it when the whole family is together. Logan's steakhouse by the way has incredible deals as I think we all ate for less than $60. My parents got me some new cooking utensils which seems kind of practical yet I was thrilled to get them. It must be a sign of getting old.

Wednesday began with a call from my Grandpa and it was a great way to start the day. Then my coworker Derek's wife baked me a cake and I had several people stop by to wish me happy birthday or more likely to grab a slice of the cake. I also had tons of happy birthday posts on my facebook page which reminded me of just how many friends I have.

That night Erin took me out for Sushi. We sat on the floor and had to take our shoes off which was cool. The sushi was good and we experimented with several new types. Most of our experiments were successful and it felt hip to be sitting on the floor of a sushi bar.

If my birthday had stopped there I would have been very happy. But unknown to me Erin had been planning a surprise party for months. We went to our friends Sam and Carrie's for what I thought was a small get together after dinner. I was instead surprised with a large group of my friends and family. It was great to see the people who are important to my life gathered in one place. It was even better to realize just how lucky I am to have a woman in my life who would organize the party. I thought that the Ipod was my favorite gift but just having Erin in my life is the best gift of all.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Bye Sarah, We hardly knew you

I was in Traverse City Friday when I got a call from my friend CJ asking what I thought of Palin's announcement. Since I hadn't seen the TV I had no idea what he was talking about and I was shocked when he told me she was resigning. Her actions have created quite a buzz in Republican circles ranging from criticism to praise. Here is my take:

Sarah Palin is most concerned about Sarah Palin. In her speech she talked about Alaska and how her resigning was good for the state. The reality is that she is no longer having fun being governor and therefore moving on. Granted she has received a lot of bad publicity but unfortunately, like her resignation, she mostly brought it on herself. She was the one who agreed to run for VP while knowing that her teenage daughter was pregnant. Did she not think that the media would care about that? She is the one who reportedly refused to prepare for her interview with Katie Couric which ended in a disaster. And now this.

Did she really think she would get positive coverage for quitting in the middle of her term? And the way she framed her announcement was preposterous and pretentious. If she was intent on resigning, the least she could have done is make the announcement with dignity and class. Most people would give her some slack if she simply said I am tired of the spotlight and being dragged through the mud and I want some time away to rebuild my family. Instead she turned her resignation into a badge of honor and noted how she was inspired by her visit with the troops. I am sorry but those troops don't quit when the going gets tough. They don't go home halfway through their deployment. If anything, her visit with them should have inspired her to stay the course. After all, wasn't her claim to fame that she was tough minded and could take on the establishment? Apparently not.

If she was really interested in helping Alaska, she should have dropped the pretense of running for president and focus on accomplishing reforms before she left office. Instead with dropping poll numbers and a tumbling economy to contend with she somehow decides it's in the best interest of Alaskans for their leader to give up and go home. It doesn't make any sense. As for her presidential aspirations, as my New York friends would say "forget about it".

One of the criticisms of her last year was that she was untested and not ready to be President. Quitting the one job that will give her the necessary experience and skills to become President is not the right plan. If she can't take the heat of Alaskan politics how is she going to handle being the leader of the free world? Leaving the Governor's office early does little to inspire confidence or build her already thin resume. She could have used her time in office to learn the issues and sharpen her ability to govern. She could have demonstrated the type of leader she would be for the country by her actions in Alaska. Well maybe she just did that.

Now what is she going to do? Write a book or join the talk radio/Cable TV circuit. Yes they pay more but they don't help prepare someone for the presidency. In the end her demise is hardly a disappointment. Less than a year ago most people in the lower 48 states had never heard of her. And outside of the first few weeks of the campaign her performance was less than impressive. With Sanford's trouble and now this, somewhere Mitt Romney is smiling.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

The Pistons

I have been a Pistons fan for a long time. I grew up cheering for the bad boys and enjoyed the past several seasons and the 04 championship. That's why it is so painful to watch what is happening to the team.

Joe Dumars is making a lot of suspect decisions lately; from hiring Michael Curry last year to passing over Dejuan Blair to draft a 6'11 kid who weighs less than I do and wasn't even the third best player on Gonzaga. Now he thankfully dumped Curry who was the worst coach in the league but then to counter that smart move he just signed two middle of the road players to expensive long term contracts.

When the Pistons unceremoniously shipped off Billups it was supposedly to free up cap space so they could sign a big time free agent. Did anybody have Ben Gordon in mind as that premier free agent? Yes he is a scorer but he is also a ball hog and a terrible defender. For every three he jacks up he gives up two layups. But that isn't the worst part, he plays the same position as Rip Hamilton and let's face it Hamilton doesn't much like sharing his minutes. Just ask Curry and Iverson.

In addition to Gordon the Pistons signed Charlie Villaneuva who is a lackadaisical forward who even Milwaukee didn't want. And the Bucks are not exactly overflowing with all stars. Yes the guy has talent and it's tempting to think he might put it all together but he hasn't done it so far and there is no reason to believe he will ever reach his potential. To me he is a younger, less talented Rasheed Wallace but without the defense.

After these two signings, the roster is now officially a mess. They have three shooting guards because Stuckey is not a point guard no matter what they say. Then they have two small forwards in Prince and Villanueva plus the last 5 draft picks who may or may not work out. But there is no proven point guard and our big guys consist of only Maxiel and Kwame Brown. It might be the worst front court in the league. Add to the mix that the defense and rebounding that has been a hallmark of the Pistons is virtually gone. This reminds me of when the Steelers tried to become a passing team and skimped on the running game. That didn't work out and neither will this.

The best hope for Pistons fans is that they deal Hamilton for a big guy like Chandler or Okafur and both are realistic possibilities. I have been down on Hamilton for several years. Mostly because he complains every time something doesn't go his way but also because he is easily replaceable. There are a lot of guards who can hit a mid range jump shot. I would even consider tossing in Prince if they could land a better big man like Bosh or Stoudamire. Prince has been solid and I like him but he has capped out his potential and simply put; he is not an all star.

Hopefully I am wrong and Joe D's moves will pan out. But I am not optimistic.