New Maroon 5 song. I like it.
New Maroon 5 song. I like it.
Hi folks. About three years ago I decided to try my hand at poker for money. I bought into Full Tilt Poker (FTP) for $10 and within four months I was all the way up to a cool $200. I felt like, “Wow maybe I can do this for a living?!”, and then I came crashing down and lost it all. Over the next couple of years, I’d buy in for about $30 and win and lose. In all, maybe I lost about $100, not a ton but I still had pipe dreams of making it big. I decided to switch my game to PLO, and found much more success than with NLHE.
I still play about 4-8 hours a week, still with hopes of becoming a poker star. If anything, I just want to play in the World Series of Poker Main Event once in my lifetime. For those that don’t know what that is, about 6,000
suckers players make their way to Las Vegas each summer and play in a 10,000 buy-in event. The winner gets millions but there are plenty of losers who walk away with nothing. I just want to try it one time, one time!
Wish me luck!
Republican presidential candidate, Newt Gingrich, is not the ideal husband. Affairs litter his past and who would be surprised if new revelations appeared in the tabloids news? But does this invalidate Gingrich for the presidency?
From a purely objective standpoint, it does not. In my opinion, there have been many great leaders of men who were horrible husbands of wives. They were unable to correlate their leadership abilities with their marriage responsibilities. It’s a sad and unfortunate fact – an issue worthy of study to be sure. Yet, I do not believe personal mistakes or the lack thereof are predictors of presidential accomplishments.
Having said that, Gingrich is in a slightly different situation. He was the one who led the charge against former President Bill Clinton and talked ad nauseum about family values. In instances where a politician stands for X publicly and seems to do Y privately, that definitely matters. It matters because it speaks to the honesty of the man running for president and how honest they will be with the American people. Are they able to rally the family values troops all the while conducting an illicit affair? That’s different than having the same affair while asking North Korea to halt their nuclear weapons program.
Catch the difference?
So as Gingrich’s ex-wife talks about his indiscretions, Gingrich needs to take care in his response. Because in this case his lovelife does matter.
As I said the other, I like Tom Brady. And yesterday he showed why. With a steel and coolness he & the Patriots destroyed Tim Tebow and the Broncos. I can hear some folks today saying, “where was Tim’s God in that game?” and “I guess God likes Tom Terrific better than the Mile High Messiah”.
I’ve also heard things like ‘God doesn’t care about a football game.’ I’ve been intrigued by comments such as this as they show a different understanding of God than the one I have. I see God as a parent, one who has allowed us to build this world as we see fit. It’s like being a parent of a teenager and you give them the keys to your car to go out on their first date. You give them directions but when rubber meets road they are the ones making the decisions.
God as parent is interesting in everything that happens to us, in my opinion. That ranges from the mundane decisions all the way to major ones that affect alter the course of our lives. There’s only one reason: love. When you love someone or something they interest you and you take time to get to know them. I tend to think that with God He’s very much interested in all things human and seeing what new and interesting ideas we come up with.
So what’s His position on sports? Does God love Brady more than Tebow? Hardly, instead people need to remember how much freedom God has given us to determine our own future. We often blame God for the bad and forget about Him when things go well. And, in my opinion, we often eschew responsibility in either case. I believe it was Paul who said, “I give thanks to God in all things” – good or bad. Paul understood that good and bad times were temporary, the only constant was the goodness of God.
I believe Tebow understands that winning/losing isn’t the important thing but that how he conducts himself after a win or loss is. So while Brady’s Patriots move on to the AFC Championship, Tebow’s relationship with God is unaltered. And that’s the way it should be.
Count me among those considered Tom Brady fans. Don’t get it twisted though, I grew up in South Jersey and am a die hard Eagles fan through and through. But outside of that, I love players who are counted out and who show the resolve to come through in the clutch. What I love most about sports is that moment, the moment when it’s all on the player to make or not make a play. And in many of those moments throughout his career, Tom Brady has come through. I respect that and I like to watch it.
I recall back in 2001 when Brady took over the Pats starting job and he looked pedestrian, a game manager. I remember many people calling into talk shows saying the Patriots couldn’t win long term with Brady and the return of Bledsoe couldn’t come soon enough. Yet, as the wins mounted the tune of those same fans began to change.
11 years later we’re witnessing this decade’s Tom Brady. This one has the same drive, confidence, and competitive spirit. The difference. Tim Tebow praises God publicly and uses every opportunity do so. With Cranston’s prayer banner controversy in the background, it’s interesting to see how Tebow is showing the anti-Christian bias that exists amongst some media members. 11 years ago, Brady didn’t get panned for being a young 24 year old who believed in his skills and abilities. I didn’t see Charles Barkley calling him a ‘nightmare’. No, Brady’s worst critics said he couldn’t throw the long ball and that he was slow of foot.
It was about football.
Yet with Tebow it’s often not about football but about his Constitutional right to exercise his religion as he sees fit. I doubt if Tebow was an atheist the media would place such a focus on his religious beliefs or lack thereof. He’d simply be a football player – we’d judge him by wins & losses, by his skill set or lack thereof.
But, it’s always something else when someone professes a religion in a way that is outside the mainstream. I’ve often heard the phrase – keep your religion in your back pocket. What i hope Tebow is illustrating is that for some of us, our religion is what defines us. To secularize it and make it provocative, being a christian is like being gay for some – a key part of who we are. Perhaps seen in that light people may start to understand Tebow, but unlikely. I suspect he’ll continue to be a polarizing figure.
And if he keeps winning, a polarizing and well paid figure.
Justin Katz discusses a judge’s decision to declare a 46 year old prayer hanging on the walls in Cranston West unconstitutional. The text of the prayer is as follows:
Our Heavenly Father,
Grant us each day the desire to do our best,
To grow mentally and morally as well as physically,
To be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers,
To be honest with ourselves as well as with others,
Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win,
Teach us the value of true friendship,
Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.
It’s interesting that if you remove ‘Our Heavenly Father’ from the text there’s no religion in this at all. But obviously removing three words from the text does have meaning. According to Katz:
On one hand, atheism is treated as if it were a religious belief in its own right so as to gain standing; the plaintiff, in this case, is “an avowed atheist.” It undoubtedly is such, but the mindset with which the First Amendment is treated in the courts transforms atheism into the default religion of the state by affirming its central principle of negation. A Muslim might understandably “experience feelings of exclusion and ostracism,” as Lagueux says of the young atheist’s response to the prayer, by his school’s endorsement of Christian concepts of God, but an atheist might respond thus to a school’s broad suggestion that a deity exists and may be worth petitioning.
I wonder if the point Katz is trying to make here is that ‘atheism’ is a religion and that it is seeking to dominate public policies at the detriment of all other religions. If your religion is that there is no God and the state declares everyone has a right to profess any kind of religion they so chose, you can make an easy argument that religion should not be a part of the communities’ discourse. Why? Because any mention of a ‘god’ is in direct conflict with the religion (atheism) you espouse.
The concept of separation of church and state continues to become more and more broadly defined each year. If you’re an atheist and reading this, separation of church and state existed at the time In God We Trust was printed on all coins in this country. Were those officials ignorant to the fact that Thomas Jefferson wanted religion completely outside of government? Did they forget? I don’t believe so.
We live in a world where most people are trying very hard not to offend anyone else. We’ve tried to remove racism, sexism, and other isms from everyday parlance. Nothing is wrong with that, but the trade-off has been issues like these popping up. And, in my opinion, as we lose these battles America loses a bit of its soul. Perhaps more than just a bit.
Many people who have fought for freedoms have been inspired by their religious beliefs. Today, such inspiration might be viewed with skepticism and disdain – take one Tim Tebow for example. Many wish he’d just stop talking about God so much, but in response to such criticism he said (paraphrasing) “Are you going to tell your wife you love her only once or are you going to take every opportunity to let her know how much she means to you? That’s how much God means to me.”
I wonder if atheists respect that perspective and I wonder if many would defend it as vociferously as they seek to remove any mention of ‘God’ in government. Who knows, but if the school does decide to appeal this decision I suspect they will lose. Further, I’d place a significant wager on mentions of God being gone by 2030. That would be a tragedy akin to removing the names of black people in history and their contributions. It would be a way to forget and belittle the accomplishments of a particular people because a minority of people think differently.
JS Mill talked about the tyranny of the masses, what about the tyranny of the minority?
My little guy is now eight years old. His demeanor is much like mine, he’s pretty calm & often is perfectly fine stepping to his own drum beat. I watch him and his mannerism and I stand in awe at how much his personality is like my own.
Long gone are the days where he couldn’t respond to his name and had almost no ability to interact with others. He still flaps, will sometimes make a mad dash to the door, and his ability to conversate is not the greatest. But as I sit on my couch watching him appropriately play on a laptop, I can’t help but be filled with joy and sadness. Joy in how far he has come and sadness with how far he must travel.
Yet, after another late night at work, I thought about something I have told my wife about Donald – he’s God’s gift to us because God surely knew how much love he would receive in our home. I truly thank God that He saw fit to give us Don and trusted us with that responsibility. As we traverse his challenges in education, his hindrances with communicating with others, his penchant to isolate himself, and his various medical needs they never seem a burden to me.
Instead, I feel like a defender, an advocate, a hero called upon to help someone who needs a little help. And that’s pretty cool if you think about it. Sure, Don can’t flash a bat signal towards Noni & I but he doesn’t have to.
This upcoming week is important for Don. He’s getting a particular evaluation that could shape the next 3 years of his education. If you’ve dealt with any autistic child, I’m sure you’ll understand that early treatment/education is critically important to long term success and this evaluation is make or break for Don. In the upcoming months, I’ll share what’s going on in this journey, but for today I see a kid playing Zoodles on a laptop…and it makes me proud.
Union leaders are now saying that Rhode Island’s wealthy need to pay for the broken pension system. According to the Projo:
Union leaders proposed raising the income tax on wealthy Rhode Islanders Thursday as a means of offsetting the burgeoning cost of retiree benefits crippling cities and towns.
Really? So let’s get this straight, bad pensions negotiated by previous legislators should be paid by wealthy people who are most likely not part of a union….and this is what is called fair?
I don’t think so.
Union leaders juxtaposed raising taxes on the wealthy against the state reneging on contract pension benefits of union employees. Ok, let’s go there. Would a multi-millionaire be significantly hurt if they paid an extra 1-2k per year in taxes? No. Would a typical union retiree who isn’t getting double/triple pensions significantly be harmed if they lost 1-2k in pension benefits? Possibly, but certainly more likely than a rich person paying an extra 2k.
However, what union leaders are forgetting is that is not the paradigm. The paradigm is can the state and its cities and towns afford to support the current pension system as is? That answer is a big he– no!! So, go ahead raise taxes on the rich today, you’re going to continue to have to raise them again and again and again if the system is not fixed. Adding an influx of cash today only delays tomorrow’s pension liabilities.
Thus, the solution is not to further tax the rich. The solution is figuring out how to ease the burden on the state and easing that burden will likely require change in benefits.
Because the real paradigm is not who can afford a tax increase versus a benefit decrease. No, no my friends, the real question is will the state and cities and towns be able to pay 1 dollar of pension costs if the system goes unchanged? I’m sure retirees would rather receive 95% of their benefit today versus zero, no?
I think union leaders need to come to grips with that likelihood. If they don’t they’re in for a rude awakening.
Alright, I have to admit that I am clearly a Maroon 5 addict and have a bromance with all members of Maroon 5. Sorry, honey, but I think I go all girlie for just about every song of theirs. Some are a bit more raunchy for my general tastes, but here’s a recent one that didn’t chart so well…but one I still like:
This is what happens when authority is abused, when it exceeds the charge we citizens bestow upon our leaders. I’m not reporting news here that the govenor, through the Higher Education Board, forced the state’s university’s to offer in-state tuition to illegal immigrants.
When I heard the news, all I could do was shake my head. Those on my side of political spectrum talked about the additional costs passed onto to the taxpayer as part of the reason this is a bad idea. I’m a bit more practical.
Say you’re an illegal immigrant and you graduate in 2015, what are your job prospects? Say you’re deported in 2013, what’s the point of having for the last couple of years an in-state tuition cost basis while on your way back to you home country?
Unfortunately, the Governor is putting the cart before the horse. Until and unless there is immigration reform such that the millions of people who live here and have for years are integrated into the system, all in-state tuition does is offer a low cost education that will reap about zero economic benefits for the state or the student.
Because the illegal immigrant will be unable to get a job..because he/she is in the country, well, illegally. I struggle with activists who have fought for this, are fighting for driver’s licenses amongst other items, but continue to ignore the fact that people here illegally are almost by definition 2nd and 3rd class citizens. The rights conferred to them are almost exclusively basic human rights such as the right to hospital care in an emergency or help from the fire department if their house catches fire. Being here illegally forces them to constantly look over their shoulder, take on jobs where employers can only pay under-the-table, and need a Governor to give them access to education at a price they’d receive if they were here legally.
It’s exhausting just to write! Immigration activists need to take a hard look at what’s happening to their constituents and join forces with folks like me who want to make the process of becoming legal less burdensome. Encouraging policies such as this one doesn’t serve anyone, it only creates a false sense of equality. I say false because, the illegal immigrant will be able to pay the same tuition as the legal immigrant…with the caveat that the illegal will NOT BE ABLE TO GET A JOB!!!
To me that’s not a semantic difference, Governor.