Friday, May 29, 2009

EPL and European Football Was Fun

Another long year of English Premier League and Champions League in the bag. Long being the key word.

It started in August 2008 and ended this week with the Champions League final in Rome with Barcelona dominating Manchester United (a team whose many players and manager I despise) and the FA Cup final on Saturday between Chelsea and Everton at Wembley.

I closely followed the Premier League this year. I did so by playing fantasy soccer, specifically Fantasy Premier League. I did quite well, I think, in the various challenges and overall positioning. Of the 1.9 million register teams, I finished in the top 0.43 percentile (8400th place). Pretty good for one with no cable or satellite TV (though with Liverpool live audio streams and video streams from Asian Web sites).

My favorite team, Liverpool, had a decent season but did not win a single trophy. Nothing in Europe, no FA Cup, no Carling Cup, and second place, behind ManU (whom they beat twice) in the Premier League.

European football, especially English football, has its problems, especially financial. They spend money they don't have, try to stick it to their fans with high ticket and paraphernalia prices, and are loaded with looser, on-the-field shenanigans and personality tirades.

Team relegation and no team salary cap mean the rich get richer and the poor stay poor. One does not need to be a genius to know that ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal will be at the top and qualify for the high-euro Champions League. The only real questions are a) which teams will qualify for the Europa League (the old UEFA Cup) second best grouping, b) which teams will be relegated (West Brom, Newcastle and Middlesborough this year), and c) which teams will be promoted to the Premier League from the second tier Championship League (Birmingham City, Wolverhampton and Burnley this year).

The Premier League finish is very often anti-climatic, unless you feel the battle of the worst is exciting -- who gets related and who get promoted from a lesser league.

I follow the EPL because I think it is the best league in the world. No disrespect to La Liga, Serie A, or Bundesliga. In 2 months, it starts all over again. And you thought Major League Baseball was long.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

California High Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban

The California Supreme Court upheld a ban on same-sex marriage, ratifying a decision made by voters last year, despite several state governments moving in the opposite direction.

The constitutional amendment did not dissolve the unions of 18,000 gay and lesbian couples who wed before the measure took effect.

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I believe in the rule of law. I believe that constitutions help define the law and should not be changed by activist courts.

I feel same-sex couples do deserve many of the same civic privileges as married couples, just not the status of being married. Civil unions, sure.

It is a moral issue. Just because people have gay tendencies does not mean they must be acted upon. Unfortunately, as a society, we will see same-sex marriage become the national norm. Societies disintegrate for a number of reasons, loss of morality is always present.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sonia Sotomayor: A Battle Worth Fighnting?

One must always pick the battles to fight, especially as a minority. Some probably feel the Republicans should go all out against Obama's Supreme Court nominee: Sonia Sotomayor. I don't. Why? Because it is a battle that cannot be won.

She has been confirmed twice: first as a U.S. District Court judge for the Southern District of New York and then as for her current role on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York (since 1998). First, nominated by GHW Bush (despite the circumstances) and then by Bill Clinton. Why would senators that confirmed her one or twice before, not confirm her a second time? They wouldn't unless some huge skeleton appears. They don't have the votes to even make it close.

As a Latina of Puerto Rican decent, raised in a Bronx housing project, educated at Princeton and Yale Law School, she'll be a slam dunk.

A similar Republican cannot get away with race, upbringing, education -- there's a long history of that prejudice.

At best, the Republicans would be best served if they spent bulk of the nomination proceedings focusing on the role of the Supreme Court: constructionism vs activism.

Lose the battle this time. Save the ammo for the next one -- one that is winnable.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Liberal Fascism: Obama Taking His Pace in History

Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism is one of the best, non-fiction, political books I have read. It was so good, I read it twice.

It provides an excellent history of fascism starting with Rousseau, Robespierre and the French Revolution, and going through traditional, violent fascists Mussolini and Hitler, and into American fascist icons, namely Woodrow Wilson and FDR.

It tosses out traditional understanding of fascism and the violence that is often associated with them. American fascists are all from the liberal political branch. They espouse the religion of the state. God, family, personal liberty must take a back seat to what is "best for the country."

I could not help think of the position Barack Obama will take in the annals of fascist history. He meets all of the requirements of a true fascist. He might be one of the best when it is all said and done.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Under The Sea 3D: Global Warming Propaganda

Watched Under The Sea 3D at the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City today with a group of family members. Certainly nice photography but with a political agenda.

First there's Jim Carrey narrating and then the whole man-caused global warming message.

Species have disappeared for millennia and new one's are created. Survival of the fittest is a sound principle. If a plant or animal cannot survive warming water or greater acidification, is it one nation's responsibility to fix it, provided it could be fixed? (They blame it on the U.S.)

I get so sick of the propaganda the left spues on the young and ignorant. They get it at school, from Hollywood, from TV, from all over. The earth warms and cools. Man interacts with the environment. He needs to do so in sound ways, not in lunatic ways the left would have us think we need to.

The film maker spends an inordinate amount of time, especially at the end, with the cute, cuddly sea lions frolicking in the kelp as the "if man does not does something, these creatures will no longer exist" message resonates with the viewers.

Save the sea lions. Save the planet. Man is bad, everything else is good. Enough to make one heave. I was thinking Al Gore would be making some concluding remarks. Pure rubbish.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Digital TV Conversion Not Easy for the Elderly

Technology may be second-nature to many people, but for older people (>65), it is a challenge.

I spent a few days this past weekend with my dad in northern Arizona. We were talking about the transition from analogue TV to digital. He does not have cable or satellite TV, just over the air with an outside antenna. He said he was not going to worry about it; says he probably watches too much TV any way and this will be a good excuse to watch less (just VHS and DVD movies now, he says).

His friends have bought the converters but have had problems installing them. He did not want to bother with buying one and installing it. Thought it would be a waste of money as the unit would not actually be installed. He has heard about the $40 coupon federal government option but going on-line and ordering it is not something he wanted to do. The toll-free number option was not much more appealing to him.

We went into his nearest town and stopped at the local Radio Shack. They were helpful, showing him his convert box options and their prices ($60 average). He is now thinking he will get one, with the $40 coupon. They gave him the web site and toll free number but it will not be on the top of his list of things to do. I order him his coupon online and he'll get it in about ten days. (Interesting, the site makes you enter an actual street address -- something he does not have. A P.O. number is not good enough. So I made one up and it was accepted.)

He'll probably buy the box sometime after the 12 June switch-over, when his picture disappears. He'll probably have to ask a "technically savvy" ward member to help him connect the unit up.

Something that seems simple to some of us is not simple to those who grew up in a different era.

Love you dad.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Two Utah Self-Defense Laws Go into Effect

Two important 2nd Amendment laws take effect in Utah:

Senate Bill 78 will protect your right to lawfully transport and store firearms in your privately-owned locked motor vehicle while parked in publicly accessible parking lots controlled by your employer or a business you frequent.

House Bill 357 will make it easier for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves without the need to obtain a concealed weapon permit. HB357 fixes the clearly unintended aspect of existing law that makes it illegal to carry a concealed firearm in or on a person's residence, property or a business under the person's control without a concealed weapon permit. The bill clarifies and simplifies the currently vague and inconsistent law by allowing law-abiding citizens to choose how they carry a handgun for self-defense (open, concealed, unloaded or loaded) in a vehicle without the need to obtain a permit.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why Must Michael Savage Fight Alone?

Love him or hate him, Michael Savage is a force for conservatism. When Britain placed him on a national "banned from Britain" list, along with known criminals and racists, one would think fellow conservative would have rallyed to the cause.

I have listened to Savage on and off for the past 7-8 years. I don't always agree with his methodology and his treatment of callers, but he is true to his beliefs. I have read four of his books; all great reads. He sticks to a solid foundation of borders, language and culture. He is not a racist. He has never espoused violence.

His banning has found a welcomed rallying point for British conservatives. With the problems with Labour, this migh help the Tories might find their way back into parliamentary leadership.

However, what really angers me are the other conservative talk show hosts in America. There must be some unwritten rule that say they cannot comment on a "competitor." This issue is core to the freedom of speech argument, assuming there is one.

Where the MSM will spend an inordinate amount of time on Miss California's statement that marriage should be between a man and a woman, they are quite absent with blatant mis-characterization of Savage and attempts to silence the opposition. I am embarrassed and disappointed in Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hanity, Michael Medved, Glenn Beck for lack of coverage.

Each of these conservatives has taken a a step back in my eyes. I have always known that Rush is one of the more selfish men on radio, but I did not think the others would join him.

Way to go Savage. You are not alone. Now we know who are those loyal to the conservative cause.

Social Security and Medicare Bing Drained

I get sick every time I hear about Social Security and Medicare. Bernie Madoff was a criminal for running an investment Ponzi scheme, but the federal government has gotten away with it for decades.

We don't need to read the New York Times to know that the funds going into these massive entitlement programs is going in at a smaller rate. they will run out of money sooner than expected.

Certainly my parents are benefiting from the programs today -- they spent a life time working and contributing. But for me and my children, very questionable if we will get out what we put in.

I get more cynical every day. I just don't know why anyone thinks bigger government is better. They ruin just about everything they touch. I have given up on them years ago.

The sad thing is that in my older years, provided I make it to them, I just may have to select between treatment or no treatment. Better stated: the government will make that decision for me if I cannot pay for it myself. That's the way it works in every other nation in the world.

Socialized health care, by definition, means rationed health care. It becomes second rate.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Domestic Extremism Lexicon

If you disagree with any federal government policy or program, you most likely qualify as a domestic extremist.

A group within the Department of Homeland Security created and leaked a "Domestic Extremism Lexicon" that covers ideologies across the spectrum. If you have strong views on abortion, animal rights, border security, homosexuality, ethnicity, environmentalism, patriotism, gun rights, taxation, war, etc., there's an extremist definition for you.

The report was "retracted" by the Department claiming it was issued by a maverick group within the agency. House Republicans, not to be typically silent on issues like this, asked Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for details on how and why the report was compiled.

The definitions in the Lexicon are politically slanted to poison the law enforcement community against millions of Americans who might be called out and who might identify themselves as political, social, and religious conservatives (tThough traditional left wing issues are also included).

The government bureaucrats seem to be setting up a government vs the people, not realizing they get their power and positions from the people. Another sign of a government going beyond its constitutional mandate.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Colin Powell is Not the Republican Party

Why doesn't Colin Powell join Arlen Specter and join the Party he has always affiliated with? How does a Republican justify making statements like: "Americans do want to pay taxes for services" and "Americans are looking for more government in their life, not less." What rock did he crawl out from under?

The Republican Party was founded on conservative political principles -- less government, fewer taxes, strong military and capitalism. Where it has gone wrong is trying to out liberalize and socialize the Democrats.

McCain tried to go down the middle of the road. That was a failure from the get-go. Today's middle of the road is no where near the center; it is way left.

Left is the way of the Democrats, right is the way of the Republicans. The left side of the road is presently quite a bit wider than the right. The way to align the road is for the Republicans to stick to it root core, not to lean further left. That's a losing recipe.

He also mentioned that Gov Palin was polarizing. It was the Democrat Party and left-wing media that did a great job at polarized her. She was and is very mainstream America.

Historical Republicans, like me, have left the Party because it lost its footing. Republicans have failed on the conservative front. Until they return, they will be a minority party. They will never win with the current batch of Republican leaders either. There's no redeeming value in McCain, Romney, Bush, Gingrich, Palin, Graham, Kyl, Steele, Hatch, Bennett, etc. They are has-beens or politically spent.

Only the Democrats promise to give people something for nothing. The Democrats appeal to the selfish and ignorant.

The Republican Party needs to stick to core conservative principles while not ostracizing social moderates. It needs to hammer home the short- and long-term value of these principles. Until they do this, they will lose elections.

Obama After Foreign Earnings

Like any good bureaucrat, finding more money to spend on more and more government programs is a birth right. On the heels of "excessive" executive pay and perks, Obama is now after large multinational corporations that attempt to avoid the high corporate tax rate on American firms' international earnings.

Obama is safe in attacking big business, because he's for the "little guy." Big oil, big corporations are free game; big government gets to trump them every time in his world.

Why do firms play games with these loop holes? Because they can. American corporations, and as a result, its citizens, continue to suffer from over-burdensome taxes. If a firm earns money in another nation, what is best for those proceeds? Giving them to some government -- the host or the parent nation -- is not on the top of their list.

Higher taxes on American corporations impact their abilities to compete -- to invest and grow their businesses. Repatriation of the foreign-earned money is not in the best interest of the corporations or their stakeholders because of the tax penalty.

Obama continues to show his anti-business hand as he continues to implement his government-is-good-only-if-it-controls-all policies.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Obama Infatuation -- Phooey

I do not get the infatuation people have with Obama, his wife, his cabinet. I have heard some stating that he's the best thing that has happened to our country in generations.

Sure, Democrats have got to be happy. He's pushing every major government program that has been lying in wait. He is implementing a 100% socialist form of government.

I am not sure why people think we are better off as citizens with Obama and with what he has done in his first 100 days from CNN and from the Conservative Oasis. There's no doubt he has done lots. But I do not feel better, more free. Quite the opposite. I know there will be much less money in my pocket and much more government involvement in my life. I do not like the fact that he has nationalized many large players in key industries. I do not like the debt he continue to pile up. His monetary and fiscal policies will bankrupt this nation. Not sure how that's good.

With his 59, going to be 60, majority in the Senate, he can do anything he wants. He can appoint his wife to the Supreme Court, Hillary Clinton, any liberal of his choosing. He will appoint a liberal, not a so-called moderate. Why would he?

When you have an electorate that feels capitalism is better than socialism by only a slight margin, you know where we are heading. There is little to stop it.

Only the shallow will give politicians rock-star adulations. It is in the Democrats favor to keep the masses ill-informed. (Our public school system is doing a good job at that.) Ignorance is our nation's worst enemy. The lack of understanding of economics, business and history continue to gnaw at our heels to our national detriment.

I approved little of what George W. Bush. He presided of the death of the Republican Party (I left it during his tenure). He was a failure as a president on so many fronts. As the libs hated George Bush, I have a great distaste for Barack Obama and his administration. I have to turn off the news when he speaks. I really dislike him.

Everything he does and stands for is in complete opposite of what I believe and hold dear. He is a sheep in wolf's clothing. I do not know when an anti-Christ will manifest itself on our national stage, but he has all of the characteristics.