Monday, February 19, 2007

An Invitation to Politicians - Let Me Interview You

Over the last few years, the news - particularly the Internet media - has made a big deal about the impact bloggers are having on political elections. At this point, I'd like to humbly point out that I'm a blogger, and I'm politically aware.

Mr. Politician, I am your worst potential nightmare, and your greatest possible helper. I am non-partisan, but involved. I am willing to listen, but am not without opinion. I hate the current political climate, but hold a tremendous amount of respect for individuals who speak their minds, not the party rhetoric.

Last weekend, John McCain came to my little corner of the world to speak. I don't agree with everything he says, but I do have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He was humorous, engaging, interactive and I believe he spoke from the heart (despite periodically referring to the crib notes in his hand). This is what I've long appreciated about McCain... his willingness and ability to speak his mind.

With that said though I realize that we're barely into the game, and I'm keeping my mind open. I will be listening to what all of the candidates have to say, and I will be listening keenly. Are you interested in courting my vote, and the votes of people like me? Let me interview you. I am not one of the powerful media outlets that will get your word out to millions of people in one fell swoop, and I will not whitewash your message.

What I will do though, is listen to what you say. I will give you a fair shake, with no preconceptions. I will probably ask you a question or two that you aren't expecting, but I will also report my experience on my blog.

By the way, my comments about Mr. McCain are not indicative of what you can expect from an interview with me. You can expect a semi-professional interview, part human interest, part politically oriented. I will post my questions and your answers, and I will use the interview as a base for my personal assessment. Be forewarned though, I've got a pretty good nose for bullshit, so I will probably be able to tell if you're giving me your own personal thoughts or if you're saying something that your advisers tell you to say.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Fool Me Once...

According to the Associated Press, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is claiming that we have "pretty good evidence" that Iran is providing weapons or technology to Iraqi resistance fighters. Gates was quoted as saying "I think there's some serial numbers, there may be some markings on some of the projectile fragments that we found..." as his evidence. (Note that he says "I think" and "there may be.")

My gut says it's a no-brainer that Iran could be providing this assistance to Iraq. At the same time, I distinctly remember the crap we were fed as our rationale for invading Iraq in the first place. After Bush's last "Wag the Dog" ploy, anything coming out of his mouth is highly suspect.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Did Anyone Mention that they're Black?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re no doubt aware that the Super Bowl was last Sunday. I know, I know… you’re thinking “Oh shit, another idiot thinks he’s a Monday morning quarterback.” Let me set your mind at ease right now. I’m not a hard core football fan, so I’m certainly not qualified to spend a lot of time dissecting the game. Instead of talking about the game, I’d like to discuss the coaches… you know, the two guys that coordinated the teams… the two guys that happened to be black.

Based on what I read on the internet, heard on the radio, and saw on TV, it’s my understanding that this is the first time a black coach has made it to the Super Bowl, and it’s cert-diddly-ertain-ly the first time that two black coaches went head to head in the Super Bowl. Gentlemen, congratulations on your achievement.

That said though, who cares if they’re black? Look, from my perspective, these guys are two brilliant coaches who happen to have to have skin that’s darker than mine; they’re not black guys that happen to be much better at coaches than me. This is America folks. We shouldn’t be spending all of this time crowing about how the black man has come so far in society that he can coach a Super Bowl team. We shouldn’t need to celebrate Black History Month, and we shouldn’t need Affirmative Action laws. We shouldn’t need these things, but we do.

As I say this, I will concede that I’m aware of racial differences. I’m aware when I’m talking to a black man that he’s black, just like I’m aware when talking to a woman that she’s female, just like I’m aware that my boss is Korean. Being aware of it doesn’t change how I react to that individual. What matters is the person, not the attributes that make up that person.

I think this is what people like Martin Luther King were looking for. I don’t think they want me to forget that they’re black (or Hispanic or whatever). In fact, I suspect they’d think I was a little odd if I didn’t notice. They just want the same chance to live the American dream that I have. One day, I hope that Black History month goes away. I hope that heartwarming stories about minorities overcoming immense obstacles disappear. I hope that Affirmative Action evaporates. I don’t want this because of a desire to preserve the status quo; I want it because I hope that one day racism, like the buggy whip, will become obsolete.

Remember, the coaches were not black men who happened to be great coaches, they were coaches who happened to be black.

Monday, February 5, 2007

It's COLD Inside!

After a great Superbowl party, the family went to bed with warm bellies, only to wake up to a COLD house this morning... it was 45 degrees inside. Apparently the heater decided to go on vacation last night without giving us any advanced warning. I looked at things and didn't find anything obviously wrong, so it's a call to the heater repair folks. It's going to be a chilly wait, but fortunately my coffee pot and fireplace still work.

... a little later the same day...
It's started warming up in the house. The furnace guy was in and out in ten minutes. I felt like he should have stayed a little longer, considering how much I got charged. Here's what was wrong...

The furnace has a safety switch that cuts off the heat if the furnace gets too hot. This usually indicates an airflow problem. I had seen this switch once before, when the furnace guy was out a couple of years back, but I forgot where it was located. After hitting the reset switch, he asked me if I changed my furnace filters regularly, and I admitted that I wasn't very good about it.

He opened up the ductwork and showed me that my Air Conditioning coil was plugged. He said this frequently happens if you don't change your filters regularly -- especially if you have pets (and I have two dogs). He kindly offered to clean the coil for a mere $150.00. I declined his offer, pulled out my vacuum cleaner and cleaned it myself.

So, for all of you homeowners out there, change your furnace filters regularly. If you don't, you'll clog the a/c coil, which will reduce the efficiency of your heating and cooling system. The fix is easy, but trying to tell you how is something I'll leave to the professionals.