Archive for the ‘people’ Category

Health Care Politics

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2012 in culture, leadership, life, people, society, thoughts

So with one decision by an unexpected source we now have mandated health care.  My point is not to add another voice to the goodness or badness of that decision (there are far more brilliant minds than mine who can’t figure it all out), but something else all together.

Conservatives are up in arms over this decision and have tried to blame Chief Justice Roberts’ vote on everything from epileptic seizure medications to putting the perception of the court on a higher pedestal than his principals.

Other conservatives are praising Roberts’ in a back-handed sort of way saying that he has now paved the way for a Romney victory in November.

Hasn’t Roberts’ done exactly what conservatives have always said should be done within the courts (and especially within the highest court in the United States)?  But it is funny how by Robert’s doing exactly the thing conservatives want they have casted him as someone who does the complete opposite of what he should be doing and the only reasons they have to say this is because he didn’t vote the way they think he should have voted.

Isn’t it possible that Roberts’ voted in favor of the health care law not because he liked the law himself, personally.  But maybe, just maybe, he voted for it because he didn’t see it as unconstitutional.  He heard the arguments, he weighed the evidence, he consulted law books, and drew from his vast knowledge of law and history and came to the conclusion he did with a sound mind and rational thinking…is this possible?

Would it have been in our best interest, as a nation from what we expect from our courts, for Roberts’ to simply vote along party lines?  Why would I want a Supreme Court judge to vote along party lines?

Roberts’ did the unthinkable…he thought.  He pondered.  He weighed.  And in the end, contrary to the voices that I hear around me, he didn’t play in the legislative arena.  He stayed well within the bounds of judicial prudence.  He voted whether a law was constitutional or not.

Roberts’ is not perfect.  So was his decision (or any of the other judges) completely neutral?  It is impossible to know for sure.  When it comes down to it….only he knows what and how much outside influence, or party politics, or whatever goes into any of his decisions.

Some liked his vote.  Other did not.  I am not saying I like the ruling.  I am not saying I am completely opposed to the ruling.  But I think one judge did what he was appointed to do and I think for that he needs to be commended.  It gives me hope that people can see beyond their own agenda’s, their own interest, or the interests of those that “got them there”.

So thank you Judge Roberts’ for thinking deeply, coming to your conclusion and then voting how you did even though you must have known the reaction that would come by way of your decision to do what you were called to do for our country.

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The 30 Million Dollar Problem.

Posted: Saturday, February 19, 2011 in culture, people, sports, theology, thoughts

If someone offered you $25 million dollars per year for the next 8 years….what would you do?  I know that if I had a skill that someone thought was worth $25 million dollars I would jump at the opportunity.  But let’s be honest up front….nobody has a skill worth $25 million dollars.  People have an ability that generates much more revenue for their employer than the $25 million dollars they are receiving in salary.  But nobody has a skill set worth $25 million p/year in and of itself.

Unless, of course, you happen to be Albert Pujols.  Let me rephrase that: unless you actually, truly, happen to be Albert Pujols determining how much you are worth.  And then $25 million per year isn’t good enough.  $30 million per for 10 years should be adequate.

According to the Global Issues site: 80% of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day.  And the poorest 40% of the world’s population  account for 5% of the world’s income, while the richest 20% of the world’s population accounts for over 75% of the global income.

I can now certainly see Pujol’s position that $25,000,000 p/yr. for 8 years of playing baseball, you know, a game, isn’t quite worthy enough of his talents.

Let me see if i can break down his $30,000,000 request just a little bit for us:

At $30,000,00 Pujols would be making – $8, 219 per day (and remember that is for every of the 365 days of the year regardless of whether he is working or not).  So: $8,219 per day.  Most of us work 8 hours a day so that would be like earning – $1, 027. 37 per hour.  But, of course, baseball players don’t work that long per day…let’s say about 3 hours per day (on game day).  This equals, roughly, $2,739.67 per working day for Albert Pujols.  Around $342 p/hr. which is 46X higher than someone who makes minimum wage!  It breaks down further to around $5.70 per minute and about 9 1/2 cents per second.  So here are the statics for ease sake just listed from day, to 8 hour work day, to 3 hour work day, to minute and then to second:

– $8, 219 p/day

– $1027.37 p/8 hour work day

– $2, 739.67 p/3 hour work day

– $342 p/hour

– $5.70 p/minute

– $0.095 p/second

I’m starting to get an eerie feeling that Pujol’s contract (and so many other sports stars and celebrities – Billy Ray Cyrus was “working for peanuts” on his daughter’s show, Hannah Montana, because his salary was only $15000 per week) is not so much about whacked out thinking (someone is really going to balk at a contract nearing the QUARTER BILLION DOLLAR mark!?!) but, rather, a spiritual issues, a moral issue, a, YES I WILL SAY IT, Social Justice issue.

A team that offers 1 person  $200 million dollars, a person who rejects that because they want $300 million…this isn’t just bad stewardship on both parts….this is an outright moral failure.  Forget Pujols rejecting the Cards offer, if he is quibbling over $5 million p/yr he has really lost touch with reality and where a lot of people who live in this country are at and, also, certainly those who live in other parts of the world are at financially.

Let’s just start with the basic offers to begin with: Pujols asking for $300 million over 10 years and the Cards negotiating to $200 million over eight years.  Are we kidding ourselves?  When did contracts like these ever become serious offers?  Forget the nostalgia of former players playing for a lot less…. even their contracts for their respective eras were more often than not….on the high side.

People are without food, sanitation, water, education, immunizations, medicines, etc. and we have a baseball contract being offered for close to a quarter of a billion dollars….to one person.  This is ridiculous!  And as a Christ-follower this type of behavior should be addressed and called out.  I know it isn’t one of the hot button issues of abortion or homosexuality but at the end of the day it is, also, a life issue.  A moral issue.  An issue that shows just how backwards we have things.  And perhaps because of the lack of outrage about this issue it shows us just how deep this problem runs.  Why is the issue of homosexuality regularly preached and taught about and against from pulpits every Sunday but a moral issue that reflects our greed, our personal involvement in the dismantling of financial stewardship (where do you think teams get a lot of the money to pay these crazy contracts?), and how this one contract could, according to statistics over at Charity Water, bring clean drinking water to 10,000,000 people world wide, either swept under the rug or not addressed as if it had no bearing on our spiritual lives (or lack thereof) or no bearing on the lives of those around us simply trying to make ends meet in this country and simply trying to live in other parts of the world (and, yes, in our own backyard as well).

This isn’t a sports issue/problem.  This is a moral/social justice issue.  Contracts like these need to stop.  And they have to start with us.  By boycotting the games, the merchandise, etc.  I understand most won’t.  But this is what the kingdom of God expressed through the church looks like:  radical, counter-cultural, bold, passionate about the lives of others.  The lives of others who are poor, needy, and without some of even the basics for living.  I cannot believe God is neutral about billions of people starving, dying, sick, unjustly in prison or beaten, or thirsty all the while one person is upset that instead of making $30 million dollars per year he was only offered $25 million.

Unless you are TBN, or Glenn Beck, this is a problem at a most profound and spiritual level.

Shake On It.

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2010 in culture, faith, jesus, life, people, politics, theology, thoughts

So Rand Paul won’t shake his opponents hand because his opponent took shots at his religion. Rand Paul says, “run a race like a man”. Interesting. How much of a man does it take not to shake another persons hand because that other person has attacked your religion?

I have no idea what Paul was involved with 30 some years ago or how that affects him today. But while driving home I listened to Dennis Miller and Miller was praising Paul (Oh Dennis….why?) for not shaking hands with his opponent. Paul said that he would not shake hands with someone who denigrates his religion/faith because his faith is so important to himself, his wife and his family.

That is great. I am truly glad that faith is important for him. But what faith does he follow that he wouldn’t shake another man’s hand who has attacked his religion verbally? I mean if it is “orthodox” Christianity than having our faith made fun of, attacked, etc. is part of the territory. But what I understand of my faith is that I am to love others when attacked, to treat them well, to speak kindly to them, to offer them help and love and grace and forgiveness….that probably means, for our culture, beyond those things listed above that I am to offer my hand in the form of a handshake to show my respect and grace for another person who is also made in the image of God who has just ridiculed my faith.

If Jesus is who I follow, and if it is who Paul follows, then it is hard to ignore Jesus saying, “Forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing” as he hung, dying on the cross.

Could it be that Paul’s example is a milder version of Islamic Jihadists? I AM NOT saying he is one so nobody go off. But here is my point: Jihadists will attack (physically) those whom they feel are making fun of their god. Paul will not shake an opponents hand whom he feels is making fun of his faith. Is his a civilized holy war?

The other day my daily source of frustration and humor (Quinn and Rose) had this to say about taxes for the wealthy…

WHICH BY THE WAY – the death tax was planned by Bush 43 to “expire” in 2010 but then come back in 2011.  This was not done by Obama and the democrats…..this was done by Bush years ago.  Look it up.

Anyway, Rose had this to say….if tax cuts for the wealthy are not enacted that she and others won’t be able to afford a hair “coloring and salon blow dry 4 to 5x p/year.”

Now assuming that the “average” cut/color/style for a women runs about $80-90 p/time….that is about $400 per year on “hair care”.

Are you sure THIS is the example you want to use on why there should be tax cuts for the wealthy?

This is not a necessity.  This is pleasure.  This is not life or death.  This is your hair.

How about this?  Go two times per year instead of your 4 or 5.  Who wants/needs all the chemicals in your body anyway?  I mean who other than the wealthy can afford to go get a cut/color/style at $90 a pop 4 or 5 times per year anyway?  I know that it would put you on the level with just “normal” people (the same people that you accuse the democrats/liberals for not wanting to be around).  But this is life in typical America.  People have to make concessions during the recession (sounds like a slogan huh?).

Or how about this…before you spout off that if tax cuts are not given to the wealthy that people like her and others will not be able to get the color/cut/style thing done as often…maybe you should differentiate between need and want.  Some people don’t have the luxury of making the decision between going 4 or 5 times per year and having to drop down to 2 or 3.  Some people have to make real decisions.  Do i buy extra milk this week or another coat for my kid?

I am sorry Rose if I don’t really care if you have to go 2 or 3 times per year instead of your normal 4 or 5 times.  That is not real life.  As much as you proclaim the “elite” to be out of touch….I would say that if this is your example for why there should be tax cuts for the wealthy than dare I say that you, ma’am, are completely out of touch with the majority of Americans.  Stop criticizing others, stop your complaining against the liberals, just stop.  You have no concept of the “average” American and what they are going through…contrary to your daily shrill voice that wants to convince others otherwise.

“I Dig It, I Dig It.”

Posted: Saturday, May 1, 2010 in life, people, politics, thoughts

Could this man be, perhaps, the single most important voice on the radio?

I have literally been forcing myself to listen to conservative talk radio recently.  Not because I buy into the hysteria and fear tactics.  Nor am i buying into the “half-truths” that the right likes to throw around (and believe me the left have their own issues!).  I am listening so i can hear things straight from the people themselves, know a little about what they think about it personally and not be accused of not trying to listen to other people’s opinions.

I really can’t listen to much of Quinn and Rose – their shrill voices of doom, gloom, and hysteria just plain bother me.

But I do try to take in a little Beck and Limbaugh.  But the funny thing is, is that Beck and Limbaugh while presenting some truth and provocative ideas are just as good at creating a culture of hysteria and fear as Quinn and Rose.  Beck and Limbaugh would go a lot further if how they said things took a turn for the better.  But I really don’t see that happening.  It is a lot easier to get angry, be angry, create a climate of fear and anger than it is to be kind, polite and grace-full to those who you are engaging in conversation (especially those who disagree with you).  But conversation is not really what Limbaugh and Beck are after.  If “ditto” is the ultimate praise than all we have is a culture of non-thinkers.

But Miller is different.  I actually enjoy listening to Miller.  Now to be fair, Miller is probably not the most conservative voice on conservative radio.  Yet, he is still a conservative.  And i think he is a voice worth listening to.  He is hilarious.  But if funny was the only reason to listen to him, he might have well stayed on SNL.  But it is through his humor that he begins to break down walls and creates an atmosphere of true dialogue.  He does have some kooky people who call in and disagree.  But he shows a true caring attitude towards people who disagree.  He doesn’t yell, scream, rant or rave.  He uses humor to diffuse and put others at ease.  If the right is wanting to get the message out – there our two very divergent ways happening right now.  The road of Beck, Limbaugh, et. al….and the road of Miller.

I think it truly is Miller Time and if conservative radio wants to do more than just preach to the choir and get high-fives from people who already agree with them rather than engage in what “talk radio” seems like it should be about, they would do well to listen to and laugh with Dennis Miller.

When You Have No Real Substance

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 in life, people, politics, thoughts

you call and/or liken President Obama to Hitler and his supporters as Nazi’s.

I don’t get this when it comes from Christ-followers.  I really don’t.  This is what makes me embarrassed as a follower of God in the way of Jesus and what makes my life harder in the world in which I am to be salt and light.

You may not like his policies (i don’t like all of them), you may disagree with him (that’s a good thing – it encourages conversation), you may be trying to vote him out of office in 3 years (go for it)…but to say that he is Hitler incarnate (or a Nazi or a socialist or a communist) is just non-sense rhetoric aimed at preventing real dialogue and showing that people can’t come up with legitimate concerns.

The argument tends to go like this:

Person: “Obama is a socialist”

Me:  “Why?”  “How?”

Person: “Because he is”

Me:  “Says who and based on what?”

Person: “You should listen to Fox News.”

Me: “Why?”

Person: “Obama wants to ‘spread the wealth'”

Me: “What does that mean?”

Person: “Redistribute the wealth”

Me: “What do you mean, first.  And, second, how?”

Person: “He wants to take my money and give it to people who don’t deserve it.”

Me: “Who doesn’t deserve it”

Person: “People who don’t/won’t work.  People on welfare.”

Me: “Why do people on welfare not deserve it?  Who says they won’t/can’t/don’t work?”

Person: “Fox News.”

Okay, so the conversation is hypothetical and a little slanted.  But this is what I run up against all the time.

Please, if you are going to be upset with President Obama then have legitimate, well thought out arguments rather than just playing off fear and inflammatory language to make your point. And to be fair, maybe many of these people have great points to make but they lay hidden and obscure because of the rhetoric.

Obama is a hitler and his supporters are nazi’s just shows ignorance, not information.

His 2 cents (or $50 million)…

Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2009 in culture, life, people, politics, thoughts

So i listened to a few minutes of Rush Limbaugh today…don’t ask why.  It was a moment of weakness and bad judgment.

Of course he was doing his usual bit of running his mouth against the president and everything left.  What started off as a mildly humorous joke turned into something that i could hardly believe.  He was talking about President Obama’s speech tonight concerning Afghanistan.  And he said that Obama was ruining another tradition by preempting A Charlie Brown Christmas (of course the irony of that was he had just praised former President Bush when he (Bush) gave his speech defending Preemptive War Policies – so apparently preemptive war is cool, preempting a cartoon is, albeit, jokingly, bad). 

But here was his comment:

Obama has big ears so maybe the kids won’t notice, maybe they will think it is snoopy.

What?  And he gets $50 million per year to do this?

Yup.  $400 million dollars for 8 years.  The right’s “savior”, the man full of wisdom and insight…and he comes up with that?  Obama’s ears are as big as snoopy?  Maybe I should get paid for writing on my blog.  Shoot, i would even take 40 million per year.

So here is my question/problem.  First, nobody is worth $50 million p/year.  No athlete, no celebrity, no one is worth that much.  Second, how is Limbaugh any better than the “leftist” celebrities that he criticizes?  They, celebrities, have questionable morals and ethics…but how is taking, whether someone has it to offer or not, $50 million, especially in light of the last several years economic situation, any morally or ethically better than what hollywood celebrities do?

Left, right, in the middle….you take $50 million dollars and then say that you are a “conservative”…is just a joke.  In fact, it is a much funnier, and unfortunate joke than the one Rush said about Obama.