My Dad can beat up your Dad

It’s official: the republican base is in a panic.

Those reading the political tea leaves are all calling John McCain the “front runner” now for the GOP nomination heading into Super Tuesday. Rudy bowed out of the race and threw what little support he has behind John McCain (hoping for a VP nod, who knows?)

Real conservatives out there are in a quandary and conniption (both words I spelled wrong… thanks spell checker…). They hate McCain. A lot. In fact, many would rather vote for a Democrat than McCain.

My main problem with McCain is that he trashed my guy, Mitt. Sure Mitt did his share of attack ads, and is seen as cold and unknowable by the others in the republican field, but McCain is an attack dog with a temper. Mitt stuck to the issues, while McCain just lied about him and made personal jabs.

I currently hate McCain because he’s smarmy. I hate his pretend grin. I hate the way that he calls everyone “my friend,” especially in a moment when they aren’t being very friendly. I hate his haughty, glib attitude that can only come from serving for as many years as he has in the US Senate.

In my opinion, Romney is still the best guy for the job, and with the economy continuing on a crash course, he’s the only one on either side I would trust to pull us out of this financial disaster. McCain has admitted his strength is in foreign policy and not on economic matters. Duh… it’s really easy to be the world’s biggest saber rattler! But try being a good economist… not so easy.

So what happens if there’s no Romney Rally on Super Tuesday? What will I do? I have been thinking about this question since Tuesday evening. Could I in good faith support a McCain candidacy? I do claim to be a moderate, and so I shouldn’t have too much to hate McCain over, besides my bruised ego from him beating my guy up.

So the conclusion I came to is: taxes. Whichever candidate I feel like will keep my taxes the lowest, I will end up voting for. As I wrote earlier this week, we’re all pretty much agreed on the problems our nation faces, but I want the government to provide market-based solutions and to tax me as little as possible to make them happen.

And I’m no idiot… no politician would be caught dead saying they would raise taxes in an election year and during this economic uncertainty. So it’s back to the tea leaves and crystal ball, I guess.

So whether that candidate is a republican, democrat, independent, green, libertarian, or even whig, they are getting my vote this fall.

Idol does Omaha

Let’s talk about Chris Burnheisel. Wow… he is like a little nuclear reaction ready to run out of control at any moment. He actually reminds me of Ross the Intern from the Tonight Show. All I can say is poor Fox 42 who now has to put up with his dumb whiny voice.

Some great quotes from last night’s AI episode:

RossTheInternWannabe: <geting more and more exicted> “I would do it in a heartbeat. Oh and I gave them gifts. I GAVE THEM GIFTS! OHHHH and THEY LOVED THEM!”

Simon: <after being given a present> “Can’t we just have money.”

Paula: <getting ready to arm wrestle a Nebraska girl twice her size> “My God, your skin is so beautiful!

Randy: “No… completely not right… … wrong.”

Simon: <to Paula> “You go be insincere for five minutes so Ryan can be a judge.”

Ryan: <under his breath> “This is the easiest gig ever.”

Simon: “What would your friends say about you entering American Idol?”
Rocker dude: “Well, they obviously want the best for me..”
Simon: “No friends ever do…”

So… after they lambasted Ryan for telling the girl to stop fidgeting, Paula says, “One thing I wil say is that your showmanship need a bit of improvement.” And Simon says, “yeah, that’s a good comment.” Poor Ryan. He’d make a good judge. Maybe me and Ryan can take Randy and Simon’s place in 2 seasons.

Oh and… nice jazz hands and gold lame sparkles. uhhhhhhh

Overall, Oh-maha was unimpressive.  Just a bunch of copycats and wannabes.  No real original voices or personalities.

“Other door”

The State of Our Union

seal-presidential-color.jpgLast night, President Bush gave his last State of the Union speech. The pundits and politicians are abuzz with how it did or didn’t meet what is expected of such a speech in an election year, where much of the public’s attention is turned to candidate promises, and not as much on congressional action.

In short, this whole year will be a basic waste of time for our government.

So what is the real state of our union? Frenetic.

We are all running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We have a serious economic situation, but rather than having a ‘come to jesus’ moment and accepting the losses and bursting of our housing bubble, many just think the government should just fix it.

You don’t fix a leaking bubble by just pumping more air into it. You have to fix the leak.

The most convincing part of the speech for me was somehting he has had a lot of practice with: explaining and reinforcing his unpopular foreign policy stance. He convincingly stated our world role in defeating radical Jihadists and promoting moderate governments in middle eastern and Islamic countries. His rhetoric about the current state of the middle east, with the wind of the successful Iraq surge in his sails, was actually optimistic and forward looking. In a way it was a challenge for the next President, “Don’t screw up the gains we’ve worked so hard to achieve.”

But despite our recent success in this area, the frenetics in our country still won’t shut up. “Pull out!” “Pull out!” they scream from their easy chairs, when they have no idea what that even means. America, get used to the idea of us having a large presence in the middle east for a much longer time. Even if we take our military off the streets and take our posture from an offensive one to a defensive one, we will still have thousands of troops in Iraq for many years to come. Get used to that idea.

Strangely, I observed much less partisanship on the basic issues than there has been in the past. I think most everyone agrees we have to do something about the cost of health care, the future bankrupting of social security, illegal immigration, and even global co2 emmissions. Everyone seems to agree that these things need solutions, but the actual solutions are what we can’t seem to agree on.

Part of this is, again, due to frenetics in our politics. People are more concerned with being right than doing right. Some of these problems are so complex and their ramifications are so deep that there is no clear ‘best’ solution, but there are certainly good and better ideas that could be tried.

Making no decision is oftentimes worse than making a less than perfect decision.

With so much focus on the election and primaries, I almost forgot President Bush was there. But last night was a good opportunity to reflect on what he’s done in the last 7 years. While I don’t agree with every policy of his administration, and some of the tactics and secrecy, I still admire him for his strength of character. It is extremely lonely at the top, and he has handled himself gracefully, on principles, despite his abysmal approval rating. You always know what you’re getting with President Bush.

I only hope that our next President is someone with similar principles and integrity. Because mostly, I just want to know exactly what I’m getting into for the next 4-8 years.

With the time we’re given

For the past three nights I have been watching each installment of “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy. It’s such a masterpiece of film for every reason: writing, design, directing, acting, and special effects. It’s an epic. My favorite part, though, is that it retains many of the literary themes which are the heart of what makes the books so beloved.

One such prevailing theme comes up when Frodo is lamenting the fact that he had received the ring. Gandalf explains, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

Frodo and Sam were just little Hobbits. They weren’t great warriors, extremely skilled with the sword or cunning; but they were pure in heart and true to each other. Even when dealing with the greatest evil of their time, it was that essence of their soul that saved them. Their relationship was tried to the limit.

They weren’t necessarily extraordinary people, but they accomplished extraordinary things.

We are all responsible for the “time that is given to us.” It has been said that time is the great equalizer. Everyone gets exactly the same number of hours in each day, and all we can decide is what to do with that time.

Great men and women have come and gone from this world, leaving indelible legacies on the history books and in the hearts of mankind. Most were just ordinary people, doing extraordinary things.

The Tale of the Tragic Salad

My brother is the assistant manager in a grocery store meat department, and yesterday he had the unfortunate experience of firing an employee.  This particular employee had worked for the store for over 20 years, and was a little lady who had a propensity for taking the five finger discount on random things in the store.

Apparently, the assistant store director caught her stealing and eating a salad for lunch yesterday, and decided that the hammer must fall; and of course, my brother had the luck of being the supervisor at the time.

He was reluctant to have to fire an employee, but as he put it, “you just can’t steal.”

So the lady lost her job of 22 years over $1.42 salad.  Kind of tragic, no?

Then on my way to work today, I learned of an investment banker in France who made fraudulent trades amounting 7.1 billion dollars in loss from Societe Generale.  Apparently he was a rank and file employee, earning less than 100,000/yr, who might singlehandedly bring down an enormous financial institution.

I think he’ll get fired.  He might face charges.  A similar case in England landed Nick Leeson in prison for 6 years. You’d think a plummeting porfolio… you know… down by say… 7 billion dollars, would have thrown a red flag somewhere.  Heck, if I lost 1 billion, I think I would want to know about it.

So whose crime was worse?  Are both simply crimes of gross negligence?  Or is there more to the story?
Surprisingly (to myself) I don’t have much commentary on either of these situation… except to say, “how tragic.”

Everyone’s Looking at Me

I work with the young women (girls ages 12-18) in my ward.  (church group in our neighborhood)  There are actually only 18 of them which is quite a small group.  They are all beautiful and talented and lots of fun to be around.  I have been doing this work acutally for 5 years now.  I love it.

Lately, though, there has been something that has been driving me nuts about teenagers.  It’s the “EVERYONE IS LOOKING AT ME!”  phase.  I am sure that all teenagers, even boys, go through this to some degree or another.  They are all so paranoid that someone is looking at them all the time.  They can’t stand in front of a group of people with out feeling self conscience, uncomfortable and awkward.  Many of them even forget completely what they were going to say. And hurry to sit down. Or worse…

Once when I was a teenager, about 14 probably, one young man, about my age, got up to give a talk in front of the ward.  Only about 50 people were there.  He got about 2 sentences into his talk and froze.  He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t move.  He just stood there looking horrified.  All the sudden, just as the people sitting behind him began to get concerned and began to move to stand up to tell him “It’s okay, we’ll try another time.”  He fell over.  KERPLOP!  Right on the floor in front of everyone.  He was fine.  Just a short faint that he woke right up from. But I remember being amazed at his incredible stage fright.

I guess fear of people and their judgments of us is very common.  And very understandable.  For heaven sakes, even adults get stage fright.  We all may fumble for the right words and feel self conscience in front of a group.  So I guess that’s human nature to want to put your best foot forward.

However, it’s this same group of girls — that would rather eat worms than have someone look at them–  are the exact same girls that are constantly vying for attention over any given matter.  If it’s about boys it’s a competition about who has more boyfriends.  If it’s in FRONT of the boys.  They are all talking over each other to get the boy’s attention.  If it’s about grades, they vie for who made the best grades.  If it’s about friends it’s about who has the most friends, is the most popular, or has the closest friends.  If it’s during a lesson it’s the greatest thing to be chosen to read for the teacher, to stand up and write on the chalkboard, or to be the focus of a game to play.  I am amazed at human nature.  We all want to be noticed, loved, appreciated and special, but yet no one wants to step up, lead out, speak alone, or be focused on.  Why is that?

I originally didn’t intend to turn this political, but ’tis the season.  I guess that is why (and this is unbiased by WhiteEyebrows opinion of him) I like Mitt Romney so much.  He is not afraid to put himself out there and say I am willing to put myself in the public eye, be derided because of my past, present and future.  Be ripped apart because of my religion.  And he’s willing to say I want to be in office for the common good.  Politics is like that. I had someone say to me not long ago that they didn’t want Romney to run or win becasue they were worried about what people will say about the church.  They were worried about having to hear their religion bashed.  I recount with this…

I read in the BYU magazine a couple of months ago  related to this.  It was talking about being politically active.  The article was saying that we shouldn’t be scared to pick someone for office.  Too many people and members of the church take the “official church position”  (including my husband to some degree) to not take a side.  They figure since no one’s perfect and it would just be picking between the “lesser of 2 evils”  then they shouldn’t get behind a candidate at all.  Perhaps, not even vote.  The article pointed out that SOMEONE has to fill the spot. And SOMEONE is going to win the election so we shouldn’t be afraid to be involved and be active in seeking out and even promoting or campaign actively for the best choice.  If we are AFRAID of what people will say about our religion then maybe we don’t know enough about it, or believe it enough. We need to step up, step out of our comfort zone, and ‘let our light shine’ .  We must not be afraid of what others will think or say, as long as we are right with ourselves and our value system we can stand, lead, and be confident.  And stop worrying that everyone is looking at us!

Goodbye Thompson, Hello Recession, Goodbye Heath Ledger

Yesterday was a crazy day!

First, Fred Thompson finally dropped out of the race. Well… I can’t say “dropped out” really… I mean he was barely even running. He was more walking, skulking, or sauntering. Maybe he was mozying. Yes. Mozying. And now he’s undoubtedly back in his overstuffed armchair watching old Law and Order reruns (like the rest of us)…

Also, Bernanke announced that the Fed would cut interest rates by .75% yesterday, one of the biggest cuts in over 20 years. Way to show no one’s panicked in this country, especially in the financial sector… whoa! Big write downs again today by Bank of America and Wachovia… awesome. More correction…

BRING IT ON! I’m not trying to tempt the fates. I don’t want good hard working Americans to lose their jobs or retirement money, but I’m OK with some of those billion dollar hedge funds and executive bonuses to be brought down out of the sky. But there’s another, better reason for wanting our economy to slip… it’s the only way a republican will get elected this fall — and by then, we’ll have probably pulled out of this bagel anyway.

And who better to lead the republican party and the nation during a financial crisis than the man who made a fortune making turnarounds for a living. Americans will be desperate for an aggressive economic policy, giving President Mitt Romney the Carte Blanche he needs to clean house in our federal government and give us our tax dollars back. Every percentage point that slips off the Dow is one more for Romney.

Lastly and sadly, Heath Ledger died yesterday from an apparent overdose. He was a certainly a gifted actor, but it wasn’t his death that shook me… it was the fact that he was less than 2 years older than me. Talk about making you feel mortal… Sadly, Ledger will now only be remembered for playing a gay cowboy, (who incidentally is one of the most tragic characters in all cinema) rather than for the great body of work he had yet inside of him. Perhaps it is that loss that we should grieve most of all.

People’s Silly Names

Have you ever noticed that some people’s names seem indelibly tied to their work or life story in some way? How do these people’s parents do it? Are they clairvoyant as to what the child will grow up to become? Does your name determine how nerdy or cool you will be?


Last week I got a notice in my email that they were going to be doing electrical work on the first floor here at work. Who was it from? Buzzy Garrison, campus electrician.Yes, buzzy was destined to work in the electrical field. His name begs it.

Bronco Mendenhall, another good example, is the head football coach for my alma mater. With a name like Bronco, this man HAD to be a football player or coach. Could you imagine walking into your financial planner’s office and saying, “Hey Bronco, how is my portfolio going?”

So maybe I’ll have kids one day, and I can determine their fates by the names I choose. I’ll name one Crusher… he will be the athletic one, maybe even go into pro wrestling. I’ll name one Mortimer. He can be nerdy and rich. I’ll name one Striker. That is a celebrity’s name.

Seems like a fool proof way to control my children’s future.

Any weird names you run into lately?

Some thoughts on Race

I’m pretty much as white as they come. Other than being related to Karl Malone (through marraige), I pretty much have no smatterings of color in my family tree, so every time the issue of race comes up, I fit squarely into the “White/Caucasian” category.

In other words… it’s all my fault.

Yes, my ancestor’s ancestors were members of a culture who participated in the awful practice of buying and selling human life. They created centuries of human oppression and perpetuated such an awful practice.

But guess what: I didn’t. It wasn’t me. I don’t believe in that. I didn’t do it. And punishing me for it is just silly.

Yes, my grandfathers and great grandfathers lived in the United States during a time when we tried our hardest to keep races separated…

But guess what: I didn’t. I don’t believe that. It wasn’t me. I didn’t do it. And punishing me for it is just silly.

There has been a long history of racial oppression in the world. The Egyptians built their monster pyramids with slave labor. Slavery has been a major component of every eon of time. The concept of slavery is the same across all ages: the forced oppression and captivity of the weakest members of a society.

Slavery continues until today, in the form of economic slavery. High interest credit cards and loans are made to the weakest in our society, putting them at natural disadvantages and binding them for life to creditors they will never be able to satisfy. This slavery knows no race, gender or creed.

But it’s not my fault. And I don’t owe you anything. During my lifetime, I have worked to give those I have come in contact with every benefit and opportunity I have received, no matter their race or culture.

mlkdraw.gifToday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day here in the United States. Certainly, Dr. King’s incredible contributions to our country deserve to be recognized. And this is why… he had the courage to stand up. He inspired a movement of people to identify with their culture, take pride in their heritage, and to take a moral stand against their countrymen and government to say, “What is going on here isn’t right. We are not second class citizens.”

In this spirit, I celebrate Dr. King. I celebrate his dream and vision, and the power of the movement he led pull up his race by their bootstraps to say, “we’re not taking it anymore.” I have, in part, seen his dream realized during my lifetime.

I was raised without prejudice for race, gender or creed. I value all people equally as children of God and members of the same human race.

The biggest problem with race today is not white suppression, it is self-supression.

African-Americans have adopted the hate language of the 1960’s Caucasians to define themselves and even casually refer to each other. What would Dr. King think to walk through our schools today hearing black people refer to each other as “nigger”?

African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, etc have more money than ever to go to college, and yet Caucasians still make up the majority of those going to college. Affirmative action has been set up in the workplace to give more than due opportunities for people of minority ethnicities. The ‘white establishment’ has done everything possible to give every minority in this country a shot at a good education, a good job, and a productive life.

And yet it’s never enough.

One day I’m going to create the WhiteEyebrows scholarship fund for white male white-eyebrowed freaks…

I think Dr Bill Cosby is right. Read some of the startling statistics from his recent book on the state of the black community and it quickly becomes clear that there is cultural disease festering.

  • In 1950, five out of every six black children were born into a two-parent home. Today, that number is less than two out of six
  • 70 percent of black babies are born to single mothers in the United States each year
  • Homicide is the number one cause of death for black men between 15 and 29 years of age and has been for decades.
  • Of the roughly 16,000 homicides in this country each year, more than half are committed by black men. A black man is seven times more likely to commit a murder than a white man, and six times more likely to be murdered.
  • Ninety-four percent of all black people who are murdered are murdered by other black people.
  • Although black people make up 12 percent of the general population, they make up nearly 44 percent of the prison population.
  • At any given time, as many as one in four of all young black men are in the criminal justice system—in prison or jail, on probation or on parole.

(source: NBC’s Meet the Press Interview with Tim Russert)

Now to another group, Latinos & Mexicans, who seem to have the complete opposite problems from the African-American community. The history of the African-Americans is tragic… they were drug here to work for nothing. Today, Mexicans come here at any cost, to work and be a part of our 12 trillion dollar economy, and all we can talk about is how to keep them out. What irony! For much of the country, it’s still not politically incorrect to be racist toward Latinos, even though they come here to work the hardest for the lowest wages, and sacrifice their quality of life for their families both here and where they come from.

Where is the Dr. King of the Latino community who will stand up and say, “We demand to be equal partners in this American dream”?

It’s such a complicated issue, but perhaps the reason why the American experiement continues to work is because above all else, above our race, religion, culture, background, hair style, or fingernail length, we are Americans. We subscribe to the American dream and believe in freedom, liberty, and human decency.

So for this day of commemoration, let’s put aside the divisiveness of race and remember our common American race. There is room for all races in the American dream.