Sunday, December 25, 2011

At Work: Merry Christmas or Not?

Its been a little while since I've posted a blog, in fact, its been a long while. Now, I work for an online bank and take a large number of calls on any given day. One such day was Christmas Eve this year.

Now, I'm not one of those people who hesitate to say Merry Christmas on my own time. In fact, I understand that the vast majority of American citizens celebrate Christmas over Hannukah or any other Christmas time celebration. However, I wasn't answering calls at home, I was at work representing the bank. I also understand that there are a fair number of people who use our bank who likely celebrate Hannukah, or no holiday at all.

Now, I chose to wish people the best of weekends, and if they wished me a Merry Christmas, I returned the greeting. If they wished me a happy holidays, I returned that greeting. Frankly, I let the customer decide how I would represent the holidays.

Although I understand that the same groups who are angry about xmas over Christmas, or happy holidays over merry christmas are going to be upset about a decision like that, that's fine. Honestly, the same people who are upset about xmas over christmas also incorporate santa clause and Christmas trees which ultimately have nothing to do with Christmas either.

No, I'm asking those of you who have a slightly open mind on the topic. How do you handle situations like that at work? Do you let the customer or client decide, or do you decide for them? I'm sure people have a plethora of opinions on the subject and I'd love to hear them. Let me know.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Reason, Faith, or Both?

You know that feeling of being torn?  Its one of those moments where you believe two things to be true or valid, but you just aren't sure how they fit together.  Our world views are important, so its imperative to examine them and evolve them when necessary. 

I've been having one of those moments as it pertains to faith, reason, and politics.  Reason and observation tell me that Minnesota (my home state) spends 37% of its general budget on welfare services.  This is a higher percentage than any other state in the country.  Observing people abuse this, I've witnessed what was once a safety net be transformed into  a hammock.  Subsidized housing, energy, food, and even cash are now a permanent fixture in many people's budget. 

What about the wealthy?  Is it fair to tax a higher rate based on "ability to pay?"  What amount is fair?  Is it 50, 60, 70, or even 90 percent of ones income beyond a certain point?  This brings the question that if its not willfully done, is it stealing to take from one segment of a population to give to another?    

I've heard many people of faith, some of whom I respect say that these are good things.  At times I have wondered myself if supporting this was something a person of faith should desire.  Is a nanny welfare state in the interests of my faith?  Does the outcome matter if the spirit of giving and self sacrifice are present? 

Its probably no secret to you, but I enjoy the works of Ayn Rand.  Being an outspoken atheist, by reason alone, she arrived at the significance of liberty.  Her philosophy essentially said that if men have equal value, government should not punish one segment to reward another.  Man should rise and fall according to his ability.  He should not sacrifice himself for another who is of no greater or lesser value than himself. 

Now, that being said, there are limits to Rand's philosophy.  Rand encouraged charity, but I don't think that encouragement would be very effective with her world view.  Although she effectively addressed many of the economic and social problems of a welfare state, her philosophy doesn't truly inspire personal charity and the reward to be found in it. 

As I continued to think on it, it became apparent to me that both faith and reason have a part to play in this. 
"faith without reason (religious fanaticism) and reason without faith (secularism leading to materialism) are dangerous paths for humanity.". --Pope Benedict XVI
 Faith addresses problems that government never could.  A person going to their family, church, or community and asking for help cannot happen within the government.  Within government, programs are created and budgets are allocated.  Money alone cannot alter the mindset of a person, but charity can.

Rand is right to think that government cannot fulfill this function.  However, she underestimates the significance of faith.  Faith empowers people to give of themselves in a way that is both discerning (reason) and focuses on the needs of the individual. 

People of faith, have at times embraced the welfare state out of a sense of compassion.  However, compassion must be accompanied by reason.  A welfare state only grows because it does not have the power to transform people's lives.  Although it has the power to meet immediate needs, it has left our poor and needy unwilling to go to "people" for help.  Over time, this is debilitating to the individual. 

Although the heart matters, we cannot and should not ignore outcomes.  The results of our actions matter, and we should continually be learning from those things.  I say, let our hearts be filled with all the good things the Lord has bestowed upon us, but when we act, let our actions be reasonable.  Lets consider the outcome. 

If you have a different opinion, I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment at the bottom of the page.  Thanks!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sports Too Important?

Is the importance of sports crippling us? Entering the break room at work, ESPN can always be heard.  Men huddle together to discuss recent box scores and fantasy numbers.  Some people even schedule work around games. 

Flip on the news and you will find that prime time coverage goes to local sports teams and players.  Although the country faces a debt crisis, the disintegration of liberties, and a corrupt/stagnant political system, networks still love to cover sports.  Who can blame them?  Its lucrative and promotes the networks that broadcast the games.  Furthermore, people are entranced with sports!  

Don't get me wrong, I love sports.  Although the baseball season is long, I grew up listening to the majority of my favorite team's games every year.  No one loved the local baseball team more than I.  Getting satellite TV in high school was a dream come true for a sports fanatic like myself.  However, something happened to me after that. 

I began to grow up.  Developing concerns for civic responsibility, my church, and my family began to take root.  Although I still loved sports, devoting energy and time to other priorities forced me to disengage from sports a little.  I consider it maturing or growing. 

However, as I look to many of my peers, I see in them the same enthusiasm for sports that I had as a kid.  Sadly, some of my peers never seem to discuss anything significant at all.  I am slightly concerned I may be misunderstood on this topic.  Recreation and entertainment can be healthy distractions when the challenges of life weigh too heavy.  However, no distraction should be permanent.  Entertainment ought to be something that enhances our lives, but not something that drives it. 

The recent Vancouver riots after the final game of the Stanley Cup are a current and vivid illustration of sports being taken out of perspective.  Recent sports related riots also include the cities of Los Angeles, Denver, and Boston (Source).  It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the valuable lessons sports once existed to teach us are much harder to find.  Perspective has been lost. 

Taxpayer funded stadiums are built for teams so that more money can be collected by the league, the owners, and the players.  However, there is little to no economic benefit for the taxpayer.  Taxes collected should provide a specific service to all those paying in.  This is not the case with publicly funded stadiums.  Even if you choose not to participate in sports,  most states force you to fund stadiums and thus subsidize the industry.  Player contracts and owner's revenues can stay at the current and staggering levels thanks to publicly funded stadiums. 

However, more concerning is what we fail to observe while continually being "entertained."  My blog has previously focused on the gradual corruption creeping into government.  Corruption is becoming an enormous problem and probably most notably at the executive level.  While these problems were growing, did we take to the streets through peaceful demonstrations and protests?  Did we rebuke our public officials and demand accountability?  No, we have been contented with our distractions. 

Sports are not innately evil.  Lets simply keep them in perspective.  They are recreation, entertainment, and a temporary distraction in life.  They are games meant to teach us to win and lose with grace.  Let's take some time to focus on the things that are truly important. 

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Keeping Us Fearful

 **Update 3- May 27, 2011- Obama officially signed and extended the PATRIOT Act early this morning.  It is now apparent to all that the Obama and Bush foreign policy are one. 

 **Update 2- May 26, 2011- Today it was announced that both the house and senate passed the three provision PATRIOT Act extension.  All that stands in the way of the zero accountability 4 year extension is Obama's signature.  While Obama campaigned vehemently against the PATRIOT Act, he now stands behind it and is likely to sign it in the early morning on May 27, 2011.

The Associated Press credited Rand Paul and his vocal dissent of the extension with prolonging the Act's passage to the deadline (Source). 

 **Update 1- May 26, 2011- I want to apologize for failing to mention the three provisions set to expire at midnight tonight.  These three provisions are among the most flagrant in the misnamed PATRIOT Act.

First, roving wiretaps that allow broad electronic surveillance from the FBI on any phone line or communications device. Second, the ability to access business, medical or virtually all other records of any suspect, regardless of the relationship to terrorism.  Because of the clause "regardless of the relationship to terrorism," anyone's records can be accessed for any reason.  Three, the “lone wolf” provision to allow surveillance of people with no ties to a terrorist group.  This last provision essentially gives laws unrestricted power in terms of surveillance (Source).

This will be a relatively short post.  A brief article from titled "Why There's No Need to Renew the PATRIOT Act" lit the fire that's burning inside me tonight.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is quoted saying,
 "We cannot let this Patriot Act expire. I have a personal responsibility to try to get this bill done as soon as possible...The time has come for me to take some action."
Another statement from the Hill echos Reid pleading,
"The expiration of the law before the passage of an extension would create an upheaval in the law enforcement community, which relies on its authority to track suspected terrorists."
 Have you noticed how dramatic politicians are?   Whenever the powers that be don't wish to procure an honest debate about something, they hype the consequences of not passing the measure immediately. 

We needed TARP or the economy would fail. Raise the debt ceiling now, or the consequences will be catastrophic.  Now, the intelligence community will be greatly impeded if we do not immediately pass the PATRIOT Act for the next 4 years. 

Remember, ten years ago the PATRIOT Act was a controversial and "temporary" piece of legislation constructed in the wake of 9/11?  Its astounding how casually it can be renewed today.  Reid is speaking of the PATRIOT Act as though its business as usual, just one more item on the docket.  

Its disheartening how in 10 short years the 4th Amendment can be eroded so effortlessly.  Its simple, its called the PATRIOT Act, and they say we need it or else...(fill in the blank). 

Does anyone else feel a pair of hands sliding the wool down over your eyes?  Can I make a suggestion?  Don't relinquish one more damn freedom because you've been frightened into it.  Fear is a powerful motivator, and our government plays on our fears far too often.

Monday, May 23, 2011

A Little Piece of Humanity

 **Update 2-The death toll in Missouri has now risen to 122 people, a number that is sure to rise.  Over 1,500 people are still unaccounted for.  In the 2011 tornado season, 480 people have already died.  Firefighters and volunteers continue to sift through the rubble in hopes of rescuing anyone who may still be alive (Source).  

 **Update 1-The Missouri Governor released an updated number for those killed in the devastating tornado that swept across Southwestern Missouri.  A record setting 117 people lost their lives in the massive E5 tornado.  The tornado was half a mile wide and carried 200+ mile per hour winds.

Deviation.  Deviation is what I'm doing today.  Its been over three weeks since my last blog and nothing in the headlines has inspired me to write.  Although there have been numerous interesting stories ranging from the president's lack of congressional consultation on Libya to the proposal for pre 1967 Israeli borders.  Furthermore, with the 2012 election just over a year off,  there have been numerous updates concerning potential Republican presidential candidates.

However, going through the motions of the last few weeks, none of that seemed interesting.  None of it seemed ground breaking.  Nothing struck or inspired me as something that needed to be dissected and broadcast.  News just felt like white noise and hub bub for things that simply didn't seem to matter.

Don't misunderstand me. Economics, politics, and peace treaties are certainly worth writing about.  My attitude spoke more of my outlook/mood than anything else.  Then some news filled my twitter feed that twisted my stomach a little.

At least 89 people dead with many more injured, 2,000 buildings damaged, and highways/roads were closed due to tornado damage.  According to the Associated Press, more than 68 tornadoes were reported across the Midwest on May 22, 2011 (source).  However, by far, the worst of the damage occurred in Southwestern Missouri.  A tornado half a mile wide and traveling 6 miles plowed directly through Joplin Missouri. 

Joplin, a town of 50,000 people saw a third of the city damaged or destroyed.  Buildings in the path of the tornado included a Home Depot hardware store and the local Hospital.  The Hospital was housing approximately 2,000 patients at the time.

Being a big picture libertarian, I often focus on national politics and maneuver around the more emotive stories.  So, you may be wondering why I bring up the tornado story when there are tragedies befalling people every single day. 

Especially for big picture realists like myself, it is important to take a little extra time with the stories that move you.  You know, the stories that remind you that you are human.  The stories that evoke empathy and grief.  For me, embracing the feelings evoked in even tragic events is an important part of balance.

If I could impart one thing to my friends whom also enjoy political op-eds, cling to to that which brings out your humanity.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

The War On...

 Beginning this blog I wanted to discuss the war on drugs and the digressive viewpoint concerning their legalization.  However, as I began writing, it seemed prudent to broaden the discussion out and discuss the "presidential wars" first.  I will save the "War on Drugs" for another time. 

Can you count how many times you've heard "The War on..." throughout your lifetime?  Regardless of what generation you come from, you've likely heard those words often.  The War on poverty, drugs, tyranny, and terrorism.  One fact is certain, our leadership is not shy about declaring war. 

You see, declaring a war on something initiates multiple things. First and foremost, the word "war" immediately elevates the circumstance to a crisis level.  Presidents will declare a war on something because the term "war" suggests a situation is pressing or urgent.  It is a situation that demands every one's immediate attention.  Often these wars become a distraction for the media, for you, and for me. 

Second, because the situation is a "Crisis" requiring immediate action, all funds necessary for carrying out the "war" must be allocated.  "Emergency" circumstances alleviate the pressure for balanced spending.  Therefore, presidents have been able to spend on these wars without concern for the sources of these funds.  Presidents declaring war on something applies a high level of political pressure on congress to fund the war as being "essential." 

Third, declaring war quickly erodes liberties and enhances executive power.  As someone who has worked closely with law enforcement, I know that red tape is frustrating.  Imagine being as powerful as the President of the United States is, and you are bound by the Constitution.  As the president, Article II of the constitution has some formidable restrictions for you. 

Declaring war on something seems to make a great many of those restrictions go away.  Also, people are willing to give up numerous freedoms during war time.  Many of you have probably noticed that war has been perpetual since World War II.  When the United States has not been engaged in Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, Libya or the multitudes of other countries U.S. forces are now in, we've always had domestic wars raging. 

Of course the War on Terror is the most recent and one of the most obvious forms of unending expansion in executive power.  Prohibition and the war on drugs began decades earlier and has cost countless lives, dollars, and of course time.  Important issues like border control, fiscal balance, and preservation of liberty for future generations have all been brushed aside. 

We are allowing ourselves to be distracted by the next "War on...(fill in the blank)", while our country is in deep need of major reforms/repairs.  The presidents I respect the most are the ones reluctant to use the words crisis or war. 

Is Libya really a crisis for the U.S.?  Alcohol was once a "crisis" in the states., is marijuana?  Can the government adequately fight a war on poverty?  Is Afghanistan more a national defense interest than the violence erupting along the Mexican border? 

My thoughts are, be cautious when you hear a politician declare war on something.  Because of constituents, there are many pertinent issues that politicians are unwilling to face.  Don't become too distracted by "their" wars.  For the politician, fighting wars are much easier and have far fewer political repercussions than attempting to manage things like entitlement reform.  However, the costs of these wars to us are staggering.  Costing more than dollars, these wars also cost us liberty. 

As always, I would love to hear from you.  Feel free to comment and thanks for reading!

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Illusion of Choice

Today I read an article titled "Paul Ryan's Plan a perfect target for President Obama?" from  The article began by describing the scatter of GOP presidential hopefuls, the eleventh hour budget deal, and then shifted toward focusing on political strategy.  Because of the absence of a strong front runner for the Republicans, the Democrats have had no one to smear.  According to the article, that may have now changed.

I quote,
"“The Ryan proposal could be the foil Obama needs,” said former Bill Clinton adviser Paul Begala, who could not sound happier at the prospect. “I hope every vulnerable Republican in Congress signs on to the Ryan plan to kill Medicare, because we will beat ’em like a bad piece of meat.”
Let me begin this by saying that the Paul Ryan plan isn't perfect.  For those of you who don't know, the Paul Ryan budget plan aimed to slash 6.2 trillion dollars in a decade and reduce the federal deficit by over 4 trillion dollars.  Its aim was to reduce the deficit through entitlement program reforms.  A massive overhaul of medicare was a part of the proposal.  Some of its claims about its own ability to massively slash unemployment are not only untested but probably falsities.   However, to date, its the only proposal we've heard from either side that actually moves toward reducing the federal deficit. 

Now, please take the time to go up and read that quote one more time.  Does it make you a little angry, frustrated, or discontented?  Do you get the feeling when the parties talk like this that they aren't taking things seriously enough?  Worse yet, I read that quote, and it feels like the whole thing is just a big game. 

The games played in our two party system became apparent to most of us a long time ago.  However, quotes/articles like this will always strike a nerve in me.  One could argue that the fiscal state of the United States is the single largest issue impacting national security, and yet the two parties seem to be only concerned about their consolidated powers in 2012.  Remember, the former Clinton adviser "could not have sounded happier."  Happy?  The fiscal crisis is dangerous and growing exponentially more so every year.

This led into me thinking about the illusion of choices.  One week Pepsi's on sale, the next week its Coke, AT&T or Verizon, and Republican or Democrat.  After all, the rates, sales, and options are all worked out.  You feel like you are getting a choice right?  However, in the end, you are paying about the same price, for the same service, regardless of which one you choose.  In fact, the differences have become so subtle and minute, that in some ways your decision isn't really a decision at all. 

This is true of politics as well.  It seems, we are being given the illusion of choice, but its all part of the power sharing game.  The pertinent issues are merely avenues by which politicians skirt and make minor tweaks to.  Those minor tweaks are then heralded as major political victories.  In the quote, the pertinent issue is medicare reform.  The former Clinton adviser laughs at the Republican Paul Ryan  for trying to tackle the issue.  Notice the critic offers no medicare reform solution of their own.  Ryan's own party then distanced themselves to avoid association with a budget that would be viewed as cutting medicare.   So neither side will tackle the issue? 

Has our two party system lost its steam?  Although the free market has its criticisms, I think its principles apply here.  Maybe a lack of competition in the two party system has resulted in a stale/stagnant government that fails to function?  It makes no difficult decisions but simply continues with the status quo regardless of necessity.  That sounds like failure to thrive to me. 

As always, your thoughts and feelings are appreciated in the comment section. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

"American Exceptionalism" - My Response

"American Exceptionalism" generated some interesting comments shared.  Although each of you had something valid and important to share, I feel as though my blog's purpose was unclear.  This is not the fault of the reader, but rather the writer.  While dialogue in person allows for questioning and clarity, other mediums do not.  Texts, blogs, books, podcasts, and the like require the broadcaster to be clear.  I wasn't.  For that I apologize.

For those who felt "American Exceptionalism" to be anti-American, that was not my intent.  Reading through the blog multiple times, I felt the tone was a little more pessimistic than I originally intended.  Near the closing I stated, "Reading those verses doesn't inspire me to feel American exceptionalism.  In fact, it doesn't make me feel exceptional at all."  This may have led some of you to believe that I don't believe in patriotism, love of country, or the significance of cultural values.  This could not be further from the truth.

The United States has characteristics that are not present in any other country in the world.  The U.S. Constitution is an incredible document that has made a tremendous impact wherever it has been embraced. Furthermore, it protects rights and freedoms in ways that are indiscriminate and invaluable. 

"American Exceptionalism" was primarily written to address foreign policy blunders that have resulted from "blind patriotism" since the conclusion of WWII.  Some would contest that 1945 is when American foreign policy transformed from a less interventionist stance to something else entirely.  The United States Military is now present in more than 110 countries.
If I am not a patriot for being angry with an executive branch that declares war without approval from congress, and knows no accountability, so be it.  If I am not a patriot for desiring fiscal responsibility as it pertains to an unsustainable interventionist foreign policy, let that be.  If I am not a patriot because I question the motives and actions of my government,  then again, let that be.

The United States certainly is an exceptional country.  Who can argue that?  However, the American Exceptionalism I was referring to was the sort that allows presidents to enter conflicts because its the "right thing to do" without telling congress, you, or me exactly what makes that decision so right.  I believe in accountability and integrity in government.  That is what "American Exceptionalism" meant to say.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

American Exceptionalism

I, along with millions of Americans, listened to the President's address concerning Libya on March 28, 2011.  Although the speech was clearly being given by President Obama, the message was one I've heard numerous times from every administration I can remember.

Steve Benen of Washington Monthly noted Obama saying, "the United States isn't like other countries; ours is a country with unique power, responsibilities, and moral obligations."

Regularly throughout the President's address I remember hearing the words responsibility, calling, greatest country, etc.  It became certain to many who may not have believed it before that the president does indeed believe in American exceptionalism.   Administrations have long been using such rhetoric when addressing the American people, especially as it pertains to foreign policy.

At this moment a pertinent question needs to be asked, is this belief in American exceptionalism limited to government officials, politicians, and the president?  Or is it a prevailing belief in the United States transcending race, gender, politics and religion?  A Gallup poll from late last year found that 80% of Americans believe their country "has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world."  If that statistic is even marginally accurate, the chances that a group, organization, or assembly you belong to have this as a prevailing veiwpoint are strong. 

Glenn Greenwald, a blogger whom I've come to respect and follow states,
 "The probability that I happened to be born in the greatest country on Earth -- or, even more so, the greatest country ever to exist on Earth in all of human history -- is minute. Isn't it far more likely that I believe this because I was taught to, rather than because it's true?" (Source)
Greenwald focuses on the foreign policy consequences of holding the exceptionalist viewpoint.  Exceptionalism can take different forms and result in different consequences.  Stephen Walt argues,
"The only real difference between neocons and liberal interventionists is that the latter insist on legitimizing their wars through the U.N. while the former don't care to."
 Moving away from foreign policy, I want to bring this issue a little closer to home.  Although the Gallop poll mentioned earlier is merely a poll, what if that number is true?   What if that is the prevailing viewpoint in our churches today?  Is it wrong to believe the United States is the greatest country in the world?

How do we define greatness?  Do we characterize greatness by military might, economy, freedom, democratic tendencies?  Are we really better and our foreign endeavors more just?

John 18:36 (NIV)- Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Matthew 5:3-10 (NIV)- 
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are those who mourn,
   for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
   for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
   for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
   for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
   for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Reading those verses doesn't inspire me to feel American exceptionalism.  In fact, it doesn't make me feel exceptional at all.  What do you think?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Leader's Lesson to Us

For those of you reading this who are World War II buffs, you will probably connect with this writing the most.  If you are not, I hope you still enjoy it.  

Recently I read a book on a historical leader I have always admired.  Although it is disputed, the Soviet Union may have at least partially owed victory over the Germans to this man. He conducted continual bombings on German production sites thus limiting supplies to German troops in the East.  He was also a faithful husband, painter, architect, soldier, career politician, prime minister, writer and maybe most notably an orator. He was also incredibly kind and never held a grudge.  The man I am talking about is Winston Churchill.

I'm not going to dispense every detail on Churchill's life because that would take far too long and I'm not that knowledgeable.  I merely want to focus on one aspect of his life.  Oddly, his failures.  As successful as Winston Churchill was, both as a leader and his many other trades, he was also an incredible failure. 

That seems a strange place to focus, I know, but I feel that's where I've gleaned the most from Churchill.  At a young age he was discounted by his parents because of poor grades in school.  The man also had several failed elections, policies, and campaigns.  BBC News ran an article reflecting back 70 years on the failed Churchill campaigns in both World Wars I and II which cost thousands of lives. 

Later Sir Churchill, was extremely forgiving.  He was forgiving not only of himself, but others.  One of the first to embrace the German civilians who had suffered so much because of the bombings was Churchill himself.  He wanted the German economy to be revived and he was saddened by the suffering he saw. 

I now want to quote from Paul Johnson's "Churchill," pg. 164
"...Churchill never allowed mistakes, disaster-personal or national-accidents, illnesses, unpopularity, and criticism to get him down.  His powers of recuperation, both in physical illness and in psychological responses to abject failure, were astounding."
Another excerpt from pg 164
"Churchill wasted an extraordinarily small amount of his time and emotional energy on the meannesses of life: recrimination, shifting the blame onto others, malice, revenge seeking, dirty tricks, spreading rumors, harboring grudges, waging vendettas.  Having fought hard, he washed his hands and went on to the next contest."

Understandably it is hard to appreciate Churchill's resilience without reading the book, which I highly recommend.  However, I confide this is extremely difficult for me.  Withe each failure, I know that I thrash myself and often quit trying. It is easy to have a defeatist attitude, especially concerning the many problems in the world that feel so far beyond our control.  

Churchill said, "Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm."  Are we doing that day to day? What do you guys think?  I want to hear from everyone and thanks.

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Commencement of a New Type of Blog

How does one genesis a blog?  Well, I've never blogged before and I'm not entirely certain how to answer that question.  I'll begin by explaining my reasoning for writing and thus make it easy for you to decide whether this is a complete waste of your time or not.  I hope it is not.  Time is valuable.

First of all, I will tell you what this blog is not.  There are many blogs with pictures of animals, babies, families, homes, etc.  This is not one of those blogs.  This is not to say that I have any dispute with those who write blogs in such a manner.  In fact, my wife is one such person and I appreciate her blog immensely.  All of those subjects are worthwhile and are everybit worth being written about.  However, I am warning you for the last time, this is not that type of blog.

Second, I was once told never to stop writing.  Although I have dabbled from time to time, I have years ago relinquished my ability to share thoughts and ideas through the written word.  This blog is an attempt to break that cycle.  My hope is that my interest in the subjects we will discuss will spur me forward in critical thinking by use of the written word.   Therefore, I freely admit that this blog is selfish in that it is for me foremost, and secondly it is for you.

However, I need you.  I need your feedback, criticisms, thoughts, but most of all, I need your dialogue.  You see, as I stated, I am not a great mind nor a great writer.  I believe in borrowing from far greater minds than my own.  Therefore you will find my blog to be full of quotes, articles, and references.  Through your comments and feedback I hope we can have edifying discussions. 

Third, and probably the most exciting point, I'm looking forward to hearing from all of my friends on a regular basis.  I see and speak with many of you far too infrequently.  I'm excited to hear from many of you on a variety of topics.

Last, as you have indeed sensed by now, this is an experiment for me.  Be patient as there are sure to be hiccups in the process.  Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!