Thursday, August 28, 2008

Repubican prediction

Well since I was dead on picking Joe Biden as Obama's VP, I thought I would quickly go on record and predict McCain's VP.

The story today is that it could be announced as soon as tonight. I am going to play it safe and say it will be Mitt Romney. He does bring a good economic resume to the table and having Michigan ties definitely helps. Personally I am not thrilled with Romney but he will be disciplined and on message.

My guess is that McCain really wanted to pick Lieberman but his advisers will have talked him out of it. And they are probably right. With the race beginning to trend in McCain's favor why take such a risk? We will soon find out if McCain is really a maverick or if he is being forced into a more conventional Bush style campaign of shoring up base.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fantasy football

Fantasy football season is a great time of year. This year I am in four different leagues and I am anxiously awaiting my drafts to begin. I have one with college friends, one with high school friends, one with work friends and one with church friends. There is a little overlap but not too much.

This year will be a year of firsts. I am in my largest league ever with 16 teams. Our teams are going to be pretty thin but I think it will benefit me since the larger the league, the more it helps to have experience and time to commit to the league. Rookies and part timers will have a hard time competing in that league.

I am also participating in my first auction draft which I have wanted to do for a long time. I am nervous because I don't know what to expect. My biggest fear is over spending on a couple players leaving the rest of my team lacking.

As I am preparing for my first draft Monday night I have been reading about the death of the running back, running back strategy. Basically this means that you take running backs with your first two draft picks. The "experts" say that this is the year to draft a WR or QB in the first two rounds but I couldn't disagree more.

In my most competitive league, the first two rounds contain 24 players and typically 20 or more at Running backs. The reason why everybody takes them early is because there is such a lack of depth at that position and it is usually more predictable. I made the mistake of picking Manning one year in round 1 and was left with a huge hole at RB all year. I don't want to be that guy again this year.

Quarterbacks and Wide Receivers are typically a dime a dozen and tough to predict from one year to another. I will go out on a limb and say that Tom Brady does not finish the year as the top QB. And maybe Randy Moss will catch 20 plus touchdowns again but I doubt it. I hope all the rookies in my leagues follow the experts and leave all the good RBs for me while they are drafting Jehuu Caulcrick in the middle rounds trying to fill their second RB spot.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My prediction

It looks like Obama is going to pick his VP very shortly. My hunch is that it is Joe Biden. He needs to shore up his foreign policy credentials with stories of Georgia and Pakistan dominating the headlines. Biden fits that role perfectly. Plus the main role for a VP candidate is to attack their opponent and Biden will do very well at that task. All in all, this pick would make sense. I could be wrong but we will be reading all about Joe Biden within the next 24 hours.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


I just watched the "debate" at Saddleback Church on CNN. Let me start with saying, I liked the format much better than the type of debates we have seen in recent political elections. It was relaxed, informal and gave both candidates the chance to speak in prose rather than soundbites. I also realize that many of the questions were Republican leaning but not all. Having said all that I was shocked at how well McCain performed and how dreadful Obama was. Anybody watching this debate realized the differences between McCain and Obama both in substance and style. Obama is a talker who lives in shades of grey. McCain is a leader who tells it like it is. It was as simple as that.

Obama went first and was hesitant, uneasy and not surprisingly non committal. I expected much better from him considering he should be refreshed from his vacation. The biggest problem was how long winded he was and how couldn't get around to answering the questions directly. He no doubt realized that he was not in agreement with many in the audience but instead of simply acknowledging that disagreement and staking out his position, he tried to awkwardly find grey areas of agreement with them. This approach did not work and made him look weak, calculating and feckless. I cannot think of one answer that expanded his appeal beyond the democratic base let alone his appeal to evangelicals.

McCain by contrast hit a home run. This is obviously his type of format and he flourished. Every answer was direct, concise, confident. He was even able to tie in stories and anecdotes with a strong since of poignancy and humor. Frankly, he appeared much more secure in himself and his positions than Obama. You might not have liked every answer he gave but you had no doubt where he was coming from and why. He looked like a guy ready to be president.

I hope they have another debate in this format. To be fair, they could host it by a liberal group instead of a church to make it easier on Obama. But I am fairly confident that Obama's handlers are working overtime tonight to try and limit joint appearances and debates after seeing their man's pitiful performance.

Picking Joe Lieberman

This past week McCain floated the idea of picking Tom Ridge as his running mate. Ridge is the former governor of Pa and the first director of homeland security. He is also pro choice. In McCain's interview he states that his being pro choice wouldn't necessarily prohibit him from being Vice President. My guess is that they are using Ridge's name as a Trojan horse trial balloon for Joe Lieberman. If they don't get much kickback from the right on Ridge they can feel emboldened to pick Lieberman. If they get a huge uprising from conservatives against Ridge, who is at least a Republican, then they can all but forget about Lieberman.

I had a friend of mine ask me what I thought about Ridge and suggest that I blog about it. To be honest I could care less about Ridge but picking Lieberman piques my interest. Choosing Ridge would be a somewhat risky choice but the reward is not as high as choosing Lieberman. Having Lieberman on the ticket would daringly break down the political barrier by running as a bi partisan ticket.

The risk of course is that he is not fully in line with most Republicans on a number of important issues including abortion. Republicans want someone who will work to prevent abortions and who will stand up for the innocent babies. Lieberman does not meet that criteria but McCain does. Does choosing a partner who disagrees on such a fundamental issue reveal a lack of commitment on McCain's part to the pro life movement? Does it weaken his opportunity to enact pro life laws as President? One could reasonable argue yes on both questions and that poses a problem for him and a bigger problem for those pro life voters who want to vote for him.

The reward for picking Lieberman would be expanding McCain's appeal to independents and Democrats. But more than that it would put Obama's words of change into action. Instead of talking about being bi-partisan and changing the status quo in Washington, selecting a Democrat to run on the Republican ticket would actually do it. I have often thought that McCain's best chance is to highlight how bipartisan he has been in the past and contrast that with Obama's empty rhetoric on the issue. Picking Lieberman would be effectively doubling down on that strategy.

Finally, and maybe most importantly choosing Lieberman would allow McCain to be McCain. McCain enjoys his maverick persona. He is most comfortable swimming up stream and taking on the status quo. He even enjoys taking on members of his own party that he disagrees with. That's what makes McCain so unpopular with his colleagues but very popular with the American people.

My best guess is that there is an internal battle within the McCain camp between picking Romney and Lieberman. His handlers no doubt want to make the safe choice and pick Romney while he is lobbying to pick his friend Lieberman. It will be interesting to see who wins that argument.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Interfaith Dating

The issue of dating someone who does not share your Christian faith continues to pop up both in my own life and in the lives of my friends.

Just recently I met a woman that lives in Grand Rapids. She is attractive, smart, funny and just the type of woman I am interested in. But she isn't a Christian. We had a couple of dates and I asked about her experiences with the church and they were not positive. (The awful way her church acted needs a post entirely on its own.)

After that discussion it became clear that even though there was chemistry between us, the relationship was not going to work because we had differing world views. She did not feel comfortable dating someone so Christian and I did not feel like I could commit to someone who didn't understand the importance that my faith plays in my life.

This experience makes it both easier and more difficult for me to understand how easily other Christians can date non Christians. I know how hard it is to find someone you click with, someone who is date worthy and that actually finds you date worthy as well. And when you find somebody you enjoy spending time with and who makes you feel good, it is easy to ignore the differences you have.

Having said that, my Christianity defines me and there is no way that a non Christian would ever be able to understand me without sharing a similar frame of reference. It isn't just about not sharing the same religious view but it's more about not being able to share my entire self with that person.

It can also be very tempting to start putting my dating relationship ahead of my faith because that person is real and tangible and sometimes Jesus seems a little distant and mysterious. I don't ever want to walk down that road too far. I have seen way too many friends of mine follow that path and their Christian faith is almost always mired in mediocrity.

Another lesson I am learning from observation is that it is better to get out too quick instead of too late. I only had a couple of dates and therefore didn't really have much invested emotionally. A friend of mine on the other hand has a much harder time. She is a Christian who has been involved with a non christian for a long time. They were even talking about getting married. Instead, they are now in the process of splitting up because of their differing religious views. While I support her decision, it is messy and not easy on either one of them. In fact, her relationship with him will most likely make it that much more difficult for him to accept the truth about Jesus as he will always blame her Christianity for ending their relationship.

The idea of not being in a relationship with someone just because of a different faith can seem restricting. It appears to limit our options as Christians and trust me the options are limited enough already at this age. But the reality is that I think only dating people of similar faiths is a protective measure. It protects our faith from being dragged down and it also protects our heart from having to choose between our romantic interests and the religious core of our identity.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Affordable housing

If you want cheap real estate, Detroit is the place to be. I just read a funny story in the Detroit news. Apparently somebody just bought a house for $1. And I thought the houses in Marion IN were cheap. My favorite part of the story is that it still took 19 days to sell.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

What a weasel

I have always disliked John Edwards. He always struck me as a sanctimonious phony. Claiming to be a champion for the poor while charging $50,000 to speak about it. Then changing his political persona from moderate southern democrat to fire breathing liberal, it's a wonder even he believed what he was selling. But now we learn he is even sleazier than I thought.

While using his sick, dying wife as a political prop, he was sleeping with a woman hired by the campaign. Does it get any worse than that? And this is the person who said the Bill Clinton "had shown a remarkable disrespect for his office, for the moral dimensions of leadership, for his friends, for his wife, for his precious daughter. It is breathtaking to me the level to which that disrespect has risen."

Well he might not have respected his action but he sure did emulate it. In fact he even decided to follow Bill's example to lie and cover it up. When the story first ran he lied right into the camera calling it "tabloid trash". But when finally caught sneaking out of her hotel room visiting her and the baby I guess he finally had to come clean.

But even his so called confession is lacking in honesty. He says he did sleep with her but ended it long ago and isn't the father of the baby, as if that makes it okay. But the question remains if he ended it so long ago why was he still sneaking into her hotel room in the middle of the night just a month ago?

Furthermore, to justify his earlier denial of the story he said the following: "When a supermarket tabloid told a version of the story, I used the fact that the story contained many falsities to deny it," Edwards said. "Being 99 percent honest is no longer enough." So it's okay because he only lied a little bit. When he denied it he was being honest because they didn't get every detail right, only the fact that he was cheating on his wife. What a jackass!

The only redeeming thing to come from this story is that hopefully the country will be spared having to listen to this vapid man speak at the party convention. But then again it is the Democratic party so maybe they will give him a primetime slot to talk about family values.