Thursday, October 25, 2007

Cheaters Really Do Prosper

Lance Armstrong. Barry Bonds. Mark McGuire. Floyd Landis. And last but not least, the latest and greatest cheater, Marion Jones. And let’s not forget major-league pitcher Mark Byrd.

All big sports stars. All multi-millionaires. And all, if reports can be believed, users of illegal performance enhancing substances.

Asterisks after records, denials, disgrace, stripped of medals and reputations. And, let us not forget the most important consequence, the loss of millions in endorsement deals.

It seems to be rampant. In cycling, track, baseball. These days I wouldn’t be surprised to hear about it in professional bowling or NASCAR.

What should we do? The answer is easy. If athletes want to use performance enhancing substances…let ‘em. That would even the playing field, save millions of dollars in testing, and eliminate the need to debate whether records are legitimate or not.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It's All A Dog and Celebrity Show

RE: Ellen Degeneres

It's good know we've been able to get back to all the celebrity hyper-stupidity after 9/11, Iraq, Katrina, Darfur, etc...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Yes, We KNOW Genocide is Bad

The Democrats seem a spectacular job when it comes to screwing themselves (and thus our country) up. Here we are again with their latest and greatest feat of self-immolation, the Armenian genocide bill.

First of all, let me note that I, and most everyone reading this, believe genocide is a bad thing. Genocides are savage atrocities that should never happen again, yet they do. Going from that point, however, this is a knuckleheaded stunt of biblical proportions.

I cannot believe the United States House of Representatives is wasting our tax dollars and time on this bill. The United States hardly has the credentials to lecture other countries when we systematically committed genocide on the Indians and officially (and unofficially) oppressed blacks for centuries. (Neither, incidentally, do those European powers that were busy slaughtering and enslaving whole continents while enriching themselves at their victims’ expense.)

Does Wounded Knee ring a bell with Ms. Pelosi and the rest of the Democratic leadership? Does Birmingham jostle their memories back to the time of black oppression?

Why are the Democrats harming relations with yet another Muslim country, and one friendly to us at that? Aren't they convinced our reputation is bad enough in the Muslim world as it is?

Ms. Pelosi says that in her 20 years in Congress, it’s “never been a good time for this bill.” She’s probably right on that one, but there’s never been a worse time for it, either.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gone Too Soon...

My niece, Celina Joy was born July 20, 2007. She died on August 25th, after a scant thirty-five days on this planet. It hardly seems fair. She spent her entire brief life in the NICU, hooked up to machines that fed her and breathed for her. She kept rallying but in the end she succumbed, her body too frail to keep fighting.
“She’s gone to a better place” is the platitude I keep thinking of. And she has. She’s no longer suffering. But we’re selfish. We don’t want to give her up, not yet. It’s human nature after all to want to hang on, and we imperfect humans can be selfish creatures.

My sister Lori and her husband Glen spent many months trying to get pregnant. Lori is forty and has no children, and the ticking of her biological clock was growing louder by the minute. She knew the risks. After all, my sons are both autistic, and our brother’s son has Downs Syndrome. Despite that she wanted a child of her own more than anything in the world.

None of us, however, were expecting anything like this. We grieve not only for today, but for all those things Celina won’t be here to experience. The birthdays, the Christmases, her first steps, first words. Her laughter, her tears. The three AM feedings, skinned knees, the fevers, the temper tantrums.

I keep thinking of the story of Abraham and Isaac. If you remember the Old Testament story, Abraham and Sarah had been waiting many years for Isaac, patiently waiting for God to fulfill His promise that their descendants would be as numerous as the stars. And then Isaac was born, the promise fulfilled. But when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, he didn’t hesitate. We can, perhaps now, understand better how he felt as he walked up that mountain with his boy – the fear, sadness, confusion about what God wanted of him, the worry he’d lose his son. In the end Isaac was spared, and Abraham rejoiced.

We didn’t get to experience that joy. Celina is gone. But we did have the joy of seeing her, touching her. We have our memories, the good and the bad. And we had the blessing of experiencing her presence, a presence still with us. A presence that will always be with us. In the weeks to come, we’ll cry again as we remember. Eventually our tears will dry. But we will remember.

Celina Joy was all her name meant and more. She was the hope and dream, the beauty that we wished. And only thirty-five days later, she’s no longer with us. Her life, so short, touched so many I can only conclude God placed her among us to bring us closer to Him and to each other. We’ll thank God she was in our lives, no matter how short her time with us was. And we believe one day we’ll see her again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thar's lead in them thar toys!

I don’t buy baby or toddler toys at the dollar store. Why? Because I don’t trust that they are safe, even if the label says they comply with standards. Frankly, I don’t trust them.

I have bought toys made by Fisher-Price because when I saw their brand name I, like other consumers, felt confident that the quality and safety of the toys they produced were consistent.

But now we find that in the case of 1.5 million of them, it’s not. And now we've got another million or so more.

Just about every toy I’ve bought says ‘made in China’ on it because it’s cheap to make things in China, and we’re starting to find out why. Health and safety standards seem to be an afterthought with Chinese manufacturers, even for toys that are used by the most vulnerable members of society.

Shouldn’t Fisher-Price ensure the safety standards on their products? I regularly see children put toys in their mouths. I regularly see toys with paint missing. If consumers can’t be sure that even name-brand toys are safe, what are we supposed to do? Who is ensuring the safety of children? It doesn’t seem to be the toy companies. Again and again we’ve seen toy recalls for parts that can choke and lead content. Toy jewelry for children isn't even regulated for the amount of lead! While it's heartening that Mattel went back and looked for more violations, it doesn't absolve them of the resposibility of not enforcing their own standards to begin with.

The Fisher-Price division of Mattel alone reported revenues of $410 million in the second quarter – not the whole year, just the second quarter – of 2007, and that’s before the yearly Christmas madness. That’s a lot of money. Maybe they need to start spending some of it to ensure their contractors in China are really following safety regulations.

If Mattel and the other toy companies won’t do it, then the government should. And if the government won’t, then consumers should by boycotting their products.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

And I’d Like this Pope to Go Away…

Benedict XVI seems intent on rolling the Catholic Church back to the middle ages – or at least back before those heathens at the Vatican Council convened. First, he’s bringing back the Latin mass, including the statement that Jews are ‘blind to Christian truth.’ Then, he issues a statement essentially calling non-Catholics heretics, decreeing the Catholic Church is the one true Christian church.

It’s ridiculous that Rome is issuing these edicts. It’s one thing to respect tradition, but Benedict seems to be going back in time to the bad ol’ days. I’m really getting tired of my church.

What’s next? Crusades?

Monday, July 2, 2007

I'd Like Paris to Go Away

We seem to be back to the pre-9/11 world of news regarding some famous person - particularly those famous for merely being famous - interrupting the real news for some ridiculously stupid story. Paris Hilton, Anna Nicole Smith, David Hasselhoff. I actually heard our local all-news radio station interrupt the news for a 'special report' about Hilton being released early from jail.

Can news organiztions please please PLEASE get back to reporting real news and leave this stupidity for Access Hollywood?

Monday, June 4, 2007

Why Me? Well, Why Not?

My life so far has been extraordinarily ordinary. I have no major accomplishments, awards, recognitions or fame.

But I’ve always wanted to be a columnist in a paper somewhere. I don’t see any particular attribute of most columnists that fits them for the job – I’m just as intelligent, just not well-known to any editors.

I hope I can put my two cents in regarding the issues of the day (either that or just vent) in a thoughtful manner and with a little dignity. So here goes; I hope you'll read and react.