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Charleston, SC, United States
"Fear is a stranger to the ways of love. Identify with fear, and you will be a stranger to yourself." -ACIM

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Best part of Obama's Speech

There were a lot of good points in Obama's speech last night, but I think the end of it is worth reprinting here. Most people I'm sure had glazed over by the end after hearing all about how bad things are and how our government "hopes" that through legislation they can fix the problem. But the close of his speech was great and I feel the need to put it out here again...

Those of us gathered here tonight have been called to govern in extraordinary times. It is a tremendous burden, but also a great privilege, one that has been entrusted to few generations of Americans, for in our hands lies the ability to shape our world, for good or for ill.

I know that it's easy to lose sight of this truth, to become cynical and doubtful, consumed with the petty and the trivial.

But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places, that inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of ordinary Americans who are anything but ordinary.

I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn't tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, "I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. I didn't feel right getting the money myself."

I think about -- I think about Greensburg -- Greensburg, Kansas, a town that was completely destroyed by a tornado, but is being rebuilt by its residents as a global example of how clean energy can power an entire community, how it can bring jobs and businesses to a place where piles of bricks and rubble once lay.

"The tragedy was terrible," said one of the men who helped them rebuild. "But the folks here know that it also provided an incredible opportunity."

I think about Ty'Sheoma Bethea, the young girl from that school I visited in Dillon, South Carolina, a place where the ceilings leak, the paint peels off the walls, and they have to stop teaching six times a day because the train barrels by their classroom.

She had been told that her school is hopeless. But the other day after class, she went to the public library and typed up a letter to the people sitting in this chamber. She even asked her principal for the money to buy a stamp.

The letter asks us for help and says, "We are just students trying to become lawyers, doctors, congressmen like yourself, and one day president, so we can make a change to not just the state of South Carolina, but also the world. We are not quitters."

That's what she said: "We are not quitters."

These words and these stories tell us something about the spirit of the people who sent us here. They tell us that, even in the most trying times, amid the most difficult circumstances, there is a generosity, a resilience, a decency, and a determination that perseveres, a willingness to take responsibility for our future and for posterity.

Their resolve must be our inspiration. Their concerns must be our cause. And we must show them and all our people that we are equal to the task before us.

I know that we haven't agreed on every issue thus far.

There are surely times in the future where we will part ways. But I also know that every American who is sitting here tonight loves this country and wants it to succeed.
I know that.

That must be the starting point for every debate we have in the coming months and where we return after those debates are done. That is the foundation on which the American people expect us to build common ground.

And if we do, if we come together and lift this nation from the depths of this crisis, if we put our people back to work and restart the engine of our prosperity, if we confront without fear the challenges of our time and summon that enduring spirit of an America that does not quit, then some day, years from now, our children can tell their children that this was the time when we performed, in the words that are carved into this very chamber, "something worthy to be remembered."

Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Tattoo and astrick on your A**

(WARNING: I will ramble during this post. Be aware and read at your own risk)

I can no longer justify being a professional sports fan. College sports are still cool in my book for now, but only time will tell if even the kids who play “for the love of the game” are still in it for just that. I just can not bring myself to cheer for these guys the way I used to. With the wide spread use of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) in just about every sport, I don’t know who I’m cheering for; the athlete or the scientist that came up with that new designer drug to help you run faster and jump higher.

I will always be a baseball fan though. It’s America ’s game and one of the only sports that I can truly say makes me emotional. In fact, the last time I cried (yes I’ll admit; truly cried about anything) was when John Smoltz threw his 3,000th strikeout. I’ve watched him pitch for my whole life; he was and still is one of my heroes. He and Tom Glavine will always be, in my eyes, two of the greatest of all time. And, they are (as of now) 100% clean of any steroids allegations.

However, with most pro sports now, I feel like I am rooting for a band of criminals fighting in the Coliseum. Win at any cost and we will remember your name for ever.

With that in mind, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Alex Rodriguez:

"When I arrived in Texas in 2001, I felt an enormous amount of pressure. I felt like I had all the weight of the world on top of me and I needed to perform, and perform at a high level every day," Rodriguez told ESPN's Peter Gammons in an exclusive interview in Miami Beach , Fla. "Back then, [baseball] was a different culture," Rodriguez said. "It was very loose. I was young. I was stupid. I was naive. And I wanted to prove to everyone that I was worth being one of the greatest players of all time. I did take a banned substance. And for that, I am very sorry and deeply regretful."

"Can I have an edge just to get out there and play every day?" he said to himself. "You basically end up trusting the wrong people. You end up, you know, not being very careful about what you're ingesting."
Rodriguez added: "I am sorry for my Texas years. I apologize to the fans of Texas ."

What he should be most sorry for is the Texas Ranger’s record during those three years from 2001-2003. The Rangers finished 4th in their division all three years going 73-89; 43 games back, 72-90; 31 games back, and 71-91; 25 games back. Granted they had some of the worst pitching in baseball those three years, and Rodriguez did hit a combined 156 HRs, 395 RBIs and averaged .305 in those three years. (Well worth $25mil to a general manager.) Hence my dilemma…

Why is it that we hold these athletes to such a high standard anyway? They are just men who want to make money. They will cheat, steal, and lie to do it. (Sound familiar AIG, GOP, CitiBank, Enron, Madoff?) I no longer expect these guys to be role models for kids. Why should we? There are a few out there that are worth looking up to, but as a whole, professional athletes should not be considered heroes, role models or even upstanding citizens.

American (hero) Michael Phelps smoked a little weed. Lance Armstrong dominated the world by cheating and a lot of the athletes in the Olympics are on something. Every NBA player whom you’ve ever heard of has either had a DUI, beat his girl friend or even worse rapped a girl in Colorado (Don’t think I’ll ever forget about that or let you off the hook Kobe Bryant! MVP or not, you’re an asshole.) NFL players do coke, steroids, get in fights in bars, shoot people (or themselves), organize dog fights and straight up kill people! (See OJ Simpson and Ray Lewis). There was even a story about some NASCAR redneck doing steroids last year. (If I had any clue what goes on with those guys I could remember who it was, but to tell you the truth I don’t care what happens to that sport and pray everyday that it will end our gross overuse of fossil fuel.) Boxing? Let’s just leave that one alone Tyson fans. And Baseball players are no exception. Steroids or PEDs, DUIs and a wide range of other crimes are all over baseball.

Why am I not shocked that the player I wanted to cheer for (A-Rod) is dirty? That apology was bullshit plain and simple. He felt pressure to justify his millions and he wanted to become the greatest player (statistically) of all time. I hate Barry Bonds. Always have and always will. So when Bonds broke Aaron’s record I became the biggest A-Rod fan in hopes that he would pass Bonds and knock the bad taste out of my mouth. Now, I may have to wait till I’m 90 years old before I see a dirty record get broken by a clean player.

Rodriguez, who joined the Yankees for the 2004 season after a trade from Texas , said his years as a Yankee "have been clean." "I've played the best baseball of my career since," he said. "I've won two MVPs since and I've never felt better in my career. Of that I'm very proud of."

Uh Huh… I bet you do feel good. Since 2001 he has made $192.9 million dollars! Playing Baseball! And, I still don’t believe you. Yeah, you never did another PED after you left Texas just like Michael Jackson never touched those kids and R Kelly didn’t pee on that teenager.

104 players supposedly are on this list of guys who tested positive. 104! That’s about 3 teams worth of guys. I have to side with Curt Schilling on this one: "I'd be for all of the 104 positives being named, and the game moving on if that is at all possible," Schilling wrote recently in his blog, "38 pitches." "In my opinion, if you don't do that, then the other 600-700 players are going to be guilty by association forever." Schilling added, referring to A-Rod, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens, "One hundred and four players made the wrong decision and it appears that not only was it 104, but three of the greatest of our, or any, generation appear to be on top of this list."

Amen Brother! I’d love to move on and hope that we can all just put the steroids era behind us. Problem is A-Rod is still in the league and Bonds and Clemons stand at the top of a lot of record books. Until we know who every single player on that list is, I won’t be happy. Who did it, when did they do it and where? For example, A-Rod’s use of PEDs did nothing for his team only his individual numbers. But, if say the Yankees had Clemens, Pettit, Soriano, and Williams all on the Juice during their run of Championships I would have to call into question those pennants. Remember Aaron Boone? He had that one breakout year with the Yanks and I am in no way accusing him (yet) but what if that little guy juiced up for that year and the homerun he hit to send them to the World Series was all a product of some injection? That would mean one of the greatest moments of the past decade was all just a snapshot of a crime. So sad.

I seriously don’t know where I’m going with this tirade. I’m just frustrated with Baseball and all these athletes that will tell any news anchor “I never took steroids” and then, six months later… “Sorry for doing steroids.” I just don’t know who or what to believe anymore.

Liars when they speak the truth are not believed.