What's My New Year's Resolution?

on 12/31/08

I've decided to try something a little different this year.

Instead of thinking of what I think I should change about myself and trying to fix that in 2009, I'm asking my friends and family what they think I should change.

In reality, whatever I change will have almost the same impact on my loved ones lives as will it on my own day to day life. So why shouldn't they get a voice in the decision?

So, what do you think I should resolve to change in 2009? Be honest with me, I can handle it.

(Leah told me that I should wake up before she leaves the house each morning.)

Finalists for Worst Parents Ever Award

on 12/17/08

Heath and Deborah Campbell are 2 of the worst parents in the world.

They are in the news because the local supermarket would not print their 3-year old son's name on his birthday cake.

The child's name is Adolf Hitler Campbell. (not an actual picture of the child)

They have 2 other children with peculiar names also:

JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell.

The parents are of German dissent and say they named their son after the 20th century German dictator so that "no one else in the world would have that name."

I'm not sure why parents keep doing these stupid things, but it keeps adding fuel to the fire that everyone should have to pass a competency test of some sort to have kids.

It's just $1.40!

on 12/11/08

Here's the situation:

A buddy of mine is having a hard time paying his bills, I want to be sure that he can stay in his house and get him self back on the right track, so I give him $70 to get him in a better situation.

Now, I have another buddy of mine who is also in a bad way and is just as important to me. He doesn't need as much, probably only $1.40, should I give him the money?

Of Course! If I was willing to give my first friend 70 bucks why would a dollar-forty be a big deal when my other friend needs some help?!

Congress approved giving the big financial companies 700 billion dollars a few months ago, that's a lot of cash. But now they are arguing over giving the big 3 auto companies 14 billion. *Still a lot of dough, but when compared to 700 billion it is very small.

Why are there so many idiots that make these decisions?!

The only difference I can see is that one decision occurred right around an election and the other is not...

10%....That's a Crisis?

on 12/5/08

MSNBC has a "breaking news" article on their website today about a new record that 1 out of every 10 homeowners is at least one month behind on their mortgage payment.

I am not an economist, but I feel like if 90% of us are doing this right, then we are in pretty good shape.

Some other numbers that are closer to being considered a crises in my opinion:

25% of males have a felony on their record.
14.2% of 8th graders have smoked marijuana.
66% of adults are overweight.
17.5% of 6-11 year olds are overweight.

Let There Be Lights

on 12/3/08

It is only the 3rd day of December and I already feel like we all need a bit of a reminder in Christmas Light Etiquette. Here a few ground rules you should abide by, if you need further instruction or clarification then just don't put up whatever you aren't sure about.

1. No inflatables. This is the most disturbing new trend in outdoor decorations. It is quick to set up and tear down, so it would seem that it is the perfect decoration for the hectic holiday season. But, no one needs to see Winnie the Pooh and Tigger riding in Santa's sleigh with Oscar the Grouch in tow with a big bag of presents. Not to mention how sad they look in the daytime when they aren't plugged in. The children of this generation will need counseling due to seeing a different deflated baby Jesus on each street of their neighborhood.

2. Less is more. I am as guilty of being tempted to keep adding to a good display as the next guy, but most things are better off in moderation, and Christmas lights are no exception.

3. Not a melting pot. Just because Garden Ridge carries icicle lights, led lights, C7's, C9s, minis, and whatever else, doesn't mean you need to buy and use each kind. Find what you like and use that.

4. No light shows. We've all scene the video of the house that is all tricked out to the music of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it's awesome. But, that's not your house and no $19.99 box of "light show" lights will make your house look like that.

5. Don't be stupid. I am all about using the natural lines on your roof and the trees and bushes in your yard. But, just because you have a truck permanently parked in front of your house that won't start does not mean that you should draw attention to that.

I am sure I will be adding to this as the Christmas season progresses and more people use the month of December as an excuse to turn their front yard into an electric array of tackiness.

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 11/17/08

Soy Sale?

on 11/12/08

The state of California has passed a law that forbids schools from having bake sales for fundraisers. No longer can little Billy or Sarah bring their mommy's cupcakes and snicker doodles to school and sell them for 25 cents so that the math club can afford graphing paper.

When I saw the headline for this story online I tried to think of a reasonable cause for this new law...

Maybe a kid got sick from some undercooked pastry item?
Some teenagers slipped in some "special" brownies as a prank?
Maybe this law is aimed at small businesses not operating with the proper licenses for selling food?

No. None of those are the reason. They passed a law that prevents school children from having bake sales to prevent childhood obesity.

First, I have a huge problem with parents that let their 10 year old tip the scales at 100 pounds. I don't care if it is in their genetics to be obese. Get them outside, skip the trip to McDonald's, and feed them a more balanced meal with fruit and those hated veggies.

Unacceptable. I applaud the California lawmakers for stepping up and realizing that this is an issue, but is outlawing school bake sales really the answer? I'll answer that, it's not. That is idiotic.

Better things to change:

  • kid's meals that aren't healthy
  • kids not participating in PE (if running makes you out of breath, that's more reason to keep running!)
  • video games that will not automatically shut-off after one hour

Obama's China

on 11/6/08

President-elect Obama now has under 2 months to fill out his cabinet. The importance of having a wise and balanced group of advisers around the most powerful man on the planet cannot be underestimated. I have 2 men that I would like to see in Barack's cabinet.

Secretary of State
W's: Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice

My Choice: Bill Richardson

I would love to see Bill Richardson in this position. He is the governor of New Mexico and was Bill Clinton's US Ambassador to the United Nations and also Clinton's Secretary of Energy. He has a track record of negotiating with adversaries abroad (such as North Korea). Richardson would also supply Obama with a much-needed Hispanic in his Cabinet-recognition that the president-elect owes a good part of his victory to the Latino vote.

Secretary of Defense
W's: Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Gates

My Choice: Chuck Hagel

It is widely considered that Robert Gates will stay on for an undetermined amount of time to provide a much needed amount of continuity to the situation in Iraq while Obama's administration gets up to speed. Chuck Hagel, the Nebraska GOP senator who has been alienated from his own party over his opposition to the Iraq war and harsh criticism of Bush, sees eye to eye with Obama on many issues. Hagel, a Vietnam veteran highly regarded for his political courage and sober views of military restraint, could well end up being Obama’s token Republican in the Cabinet.

And how can you not like a guy that dresses up like other politicians for Halloween, and goes to meetings like that?

Election Day

on 11/4/08

I am very pleased to report that my polling location at McMillen Junior High (Go Marauders!) in Wylie ran very smoothly and efficiently. I was in and out in roughly 20 minutes and they had the "I Voted" stickers. (I was bummed in 2004 that my polling location didn't have the stickers...)

If you can find a few moments in your day today, please join me in saying a prayer for this election. Not for the results, or that your candidate wins, but that it is controversy free. The winner is clear and this nation can move on. The last thing this country needs is to be further divided with court cases about voter fraud, hanging chads, and the like.

The sun will come up tomorrow even if your candidate does not win. I encourage you to put aside feelings of fear and worry regarding this election, God is bigger than the presidency and he will most certainly take care of his flock.

Why 11/04/08 is a Tough Choice

on 10/30/08

I have gone back and forth multiple times over the past 2 months as I attempt to decide who I will vote for on Tuesday. My rotation seems to go like this: Barr, McCain, Obama, McCain, Obama, Barr, to not even sure I want to vote.

OK, I know I'm going to vote, I just don't have the confidence that I would like that the person I vote for will be the best for the job according to my values.

I have some non-negotiable issues that I believe are morally right and because of that I require my candidate to agree with me. Here are some of the "big" ones:

  • Foreign Policy - I am not an expert on all the different cultural forces at work in the world, but I do know that there is no such thing as "acceptable civilian casualties". And that is not exclusive to American civilians. I believe that every life on the planet is one that was made in the image of God and should be treated as such. Military force should be utilized as a last resort in dealings with other nations/groups/religious extremists, etc.

  • Poverty - I have found some stats recently that are somewhat alarming to me. You may have heard similar numbers in the past: The top 1% of American wage earners are sharing over 30% of the nation's wealth. The bottom 40% of American wage earners are sharing 1% of the nation's wealth. I have always been a proponent of letting John Q Public decide how he wants to give his money for charity, but the problem of poverty (in the richest country in the world) is reaching epic proportions. If we aren't of good enough moral fiber to take care of it as public citizens through charitable giving, the government needs to step in.

  • Abortion - I believe abortion is murder, it is a sin, and it should be stopped. Will making abortions illegal help stop abortions? Yes, and that should be done. But, I think a bigger step towards reducing abortions in America is dealing with the cause. Most abortions are a result of the mother being concerned about her future with a baby. Will she be able to afford food and health care? Will she still be able to work at all? The government needs to address these issues. But even still, why is she pregnant? Schools need to go further than teaching abstinence only. Students need to be made aware of proper and safe methods of contraception. That is a controversial opinion among most conservatives, but I feel like kids are gonna have sex. The option is uneducated, unprotected sex or safe sex. That's a no-brainer to me.

I think you can see why I am torn. The are other issues that I feel strongly about including immigration, health care, the federal budget, etc. But I don't think those are non-negotiable the same way that the three above are.

Good luck on Tuesday making your decisions and remember, the sun will rise again on November 5. (and if it doesn't, none of this will be a big deal at that point)

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 10/20/08

No Candy from Sex Offenders

on 10/17/08

It is very possible that this post will cause some differing opinions, but here goes:

In the state of Maryland, if you are on parole or probation for a sex-crime, you now have to post this poster on your door for Halloween:

The reason, according to the Division of Parole and Probation, is "because Halloween is a holiday in which large numbers of children interact with strangers, the concern among parents and other community members about sexual offenders in their neighborhoods is naturally intensified during this time of year."

Fair enough. I understand that parents are concerned about their children interacting with strangers. That is justified. My problem is this:

The Division of Parole and Probation goes on to say, "Our goal is public safety, and in keeping with that we need to make sure that the individuals under our supervision are provided with the enhanced supervision that we're committed to."

If these sex offenders are deemed to still be a risk to children, then why aren't they still in prison? Why are they on parole/probation if they are possibly going to harm another child?

I know that you can never know 100% whether a person will commit a crime again when they are released from prison. But why don't we make car thieves put a sign in front of their home that says, "Don't Park Here, I Might Steal Your Chevy!"; or make people convicted of driving drunk wear a shirt whenever they go somewhere with alcohol that reads, "I Might Drink Too Much And Then Drive Home The Wrong Way On The Highway!"; or should we make a shoplifter walk into a store and tell the stock boy, "Keep An Eye On Me, I Might Steal Some DoubleMint!"? Does anyone else see the double-standard?

What's the difference?

To be totally clear, I don't think kids should trick-or-treat at someone's house if that house is occupied by a child predator. The difference I have with this legislation, is that the child predator shouldn't be out in public to begin with!

The story on foxnews.com is here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,438725,00.html

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 10/13/08

Count Every Vote

on 10/8/08

Sorry, no cartoons in this post.

I have never understood the logic behind the electoral college system. If you can explain it to me, please do.

There is a somewhat new idea gaining some steam that will hopefully be enacted for the 2012 election. It is the National Popular Vote (NPV) system.

Currently, Texans have 34 electoral votes for president. If McCain wins by 1,000,000 or 1 vote in the state, he still gets all 34 electoral votes. That doesn't make sense to me and it also disenfranchises many non-republican voters in Texas that know they don't have much of a chance to overthrow the Republican candidate in the state.

Under the NPV system, the 34 electoral votes would not be decided solely by the Texas popular vote, but by the national popular vote. If McCain wins the national popular vote than he gets all 34 Texas electoral votes, and vice versa for Obama.

If/when this legislation is passed in all 50 states, then every vote will matter. Even, democrats in Texas and republicans in California. Doesn't that make sense?

If you want some further details on this legislation, go here: http://www.nationalpopularvote.com/index.php

Okay, maybe just one cartoon:

Bottom's Up

on 10/7/08

I got this email forward from my Mother and haven't really fact checked any of it. But, it's probably pretty close to accurate:If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Delta Airlines one year ago, you will have $49.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in AIG one year ago, you will have $33.00 today.
If you had purchased $1,000 of shares in Lehman Brothers one year ago, you will have $0.00 today.
But, if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drank all the beer, then turned in the aluminum cans for recycling refund, you will have received $214.00.

Based on the above, the best current investment plan is to drink heavily & recycle. It is called the 401-Keg.

A recent study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found that Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means that, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon!

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 10/6/08

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 9/30/08

Just a little late on these this week...

Palin was the Wrong Choice

on 9/24/08

If you don't like Electoral College projections and Electorate math than just skip this post.

Historically, Presidential nominees pick a running mate that will help deliver a state that they might not get otherwise. I think McCain missed a big chance at winning this election by picking Sarah Palin. She is an interesting character and has certainly energized the GOP supporters, but she won't deliver a state to McCain. Alaska votes Republican. No Democratic candidate has gotten more than 35% of the vote in any of the past 4 elections. Alaska is Red, period.

So, who should McCain have picked?

Rudy Giuliani.

Rudy is certainly not going to energize the conservative base the way Palin has, but those supporters will vote Republican no matter who McCain picked. Rudy leans left on certain issues (abortion, immigration) much like McCain (on other issues...). That gives McCain/Rudy a big edge in gaining undecided voters over McCain/Palin.

Additionally, and most importantly, Rudy is a superstar in New York. I'm not positive he could convince NY state to vote red in November. But, he at least would make it interesting.

New York has 31 electoral votes. 3rd most in the country. When Obama gets those 31 electoral votes, it will put him over the top and he will be the 44th president.

Even if you give every other state that is currently considered a swing state (Ohio, Virginia, and Florida) to McCain, without NY he can't win.

If you want to play with electoral college outcomes, you can make your own map at this site: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/maps/obama_vs_mccain/?map=1

Top Grossing Movies by Rating

on 9/23/08

This post really is just the result of me being bored and finding some interesting information on the world wide interweb. Here are the top 3ish money-making movies for each rating.


1. Finding Nemo $339,714,978 (my wife's favorite)
2. The Lion King $328,541,776
3. Monster's Inc. $255,873,250
9. Gone With the Wind $198,676,459 (highest G-rated non-animated film)


1. Star Wars $460,998,007 (the 1977 original)
2. Shrek 2 $441,226,247
3. E.T. $441,226,247 (really?! ET?)


1. Titanic $600,788,188
2. The Dark Knight $521,890,027 (the only 2008 film on the list)
3. Pirate's of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest $423,315,812


1. The Passion of the Christ $370,782,930 (3 very different movies in the R category)
2. The Matrix Reloaded $281,576,461
3. Beverly Hills Cop $234,760,478

It appears obvious that PG-13 is the way to go for the big money makers. There are 7 PG-13 movies that made more than The Passion (R).

And if you are curious, making NC-17 movies is really not a good investment. Showgirls is the highest grossing ever, and it only made $20,350,754.

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 9/22/08

America's Budget

on 9/19/08

I really don't understand why the government can get away with spending so much more than they earn every year. It seems like a simple concept. If you don't have the money, you can't spend it. This seems like a logical break down of the country's budget:

For this little expirement we will use last year's revenue:

2007 Taxes:

$2,568,000,000,000 (2.5 trillion dollars)

The government's spending can be broken down into 3 categories:
Mandatory (53% in 2007)
Discretionary (38% in 2007)
Interest (9% in 2007)

Mandatory Spending includes items that, by law, must be paid to individuals who meet certain requirements. (Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.)

Discretionary Spending includes all other items on which the federal government spends money. (Military, Congress, Highways, Education, etc.)

Interest is simply money paid on the national debt.
So what should it be in 2009?

Assuming the taxes stay the same and the government has about 2.5 trillion dollars to work with...

Mandatory Spending
Social Security 24% $600 billion
Medicare 16% $400 billion
Medicaid 8% $200 billion
Other Mandatory Programs (disability, veteran's, unemployment) 12% $300 billion

Discretionary Spending
Education 4% $100 billion
Transportation 1% $25 billion
Defense 10% $250 billion
Government Salaries .5% $12.5 billion

Interest Payments
National Debt 24.5% $612.5 billion

Maybe that is an oversimplification, but I think we generally overcomplicate things.

Mark Cuban's Response

Mark Cuban has a blog (blogmaverick.com) that he uses to address various issues. He has posted a long list of emails he has received in response to the Josh Howard/National Anthem issue. It really opens your eyes to see how ridiculous many people are and also serves as a reminder that e-mail and the Internet are not an excuse to act like an idiot. Someone might just post it on a blog for everyone to see.

http://blogmaverick.com/ (contains quite a bit of foul language in the emails)

"I don't celebrate that ****. I'm black."

on 9/17/08

The Star-Spangled Banner's going on right now and I don't celebrate that s**t. I'm black.’’ – Josh Howard

If you would like, you can see the YouTube video of the Mavs forward, Josh Howard, at Allen Iverson's celebrity charity softball game this summer saying the above phrase to a camera during the pre-game playing of the National Anthem. Link here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O1llOTCAyf0 (Warning - it's graphic - Josh is at about the 1:40 mark)

There are numerous ways that this statement is idiotic. Here are just a few:

  • Josh needs to know that at his level of celebrity, you just can't act like an idiot. In the past 4 months Josh has repeatedly voiced his "right" to smoke pot; participated in street-racing on public streets during his youth basketball camp; disregarded his bosses orders to not throw a party during a playoff series; and now this comment during the National Anthem.

  • If Josh was trying to be funny, he needs to know that comedians have a few unwritten rules they must live by. 1) They must be funny. 2) Some people can tell certain jokes that others can't i.e. Chris Rock can tell jokes that Jay Leno can't. Right or Wrong, that's just the way it is. 3) Some topics are just off-limits. i.e. 9/11, abortion, etc.

  • Josh seems to be playing the dis-enfranchised black man card. I have no doubt in my mind that there are people in this country that have suffered because of their skin color. Racism does exist. I don't know if Josh has personally encountered this, but for him to not respect the one song that is meant to represent the freedoms that have allowed him to provide for his family seems a little misplaced. Josh Howard has used his gift of basketball skills and hard work to earn a 4 year college education from Wake Forest and a professional career that will pay him over $100 million dollars when it's all said and done. I'm not saying that rich people don't have problems, but it is obvious to me that the freedoms this country has, have given him the opportunity to provide for his children, grand children, their children and grandchildren, and their grandchildren. And also, allow him to street-race on publicly funded roads, avoid prosecution for smoking illegal drugs, and not be fired for disregarding a boss' direct orders.

I won't voice my opinion on what the Mavericks should do with Josh as far as a trade goes right now. But, they definitely need to sit him down and discuss a few simple steps he can take to not be an idiot. I'll do it if they want me to.

Monday's Political Cartoons

on 9/15/08

This is the first installment of Monday's Political Cartoons. I'll search the entire interweb and find what I think are the funniest/most relevant political cartoons and then post a few here. Enjoy!

That one's a little tricky to read, but it's a gift basket from Osama Bin Laden to W Bush, as opposed to the threatening video he normally sends around this time of the year...

A jab at Obama and his main campaign message that would like to make you think that McCain is politically aligned with W Bush.

More lipstick on a pig here, additionally this cartoonist wants to be sure that everyone is aware of the tactics McCain is using in his campaign.

Define Mandatory

on 9/13/08

The news coverage for a much of the last week to ten days has revolved around Hurricanes and the destruction they create. Both Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana and Hurricane Ike here in Texas have resulted in mandatory evacuations for citizens in the path of these storms. Most people listen to this order and get the heck out of dodge. But, of course, there are those that refuse to respect the authority of the government and the authority of the storm heading their way.

Then, emergency response crews have to head in to the area before it is safe and try to rescue these idiots that thought they were invincible. By refusing to evacuate they have put themselves in danger, the rescuers in danger, and force the government to waste resources that could be used getting the gulf coast back to normal quicker.

Just to be sure, I looked it up:

Mandatory = permitting no option; not to be disregarded or modified

When the next hurricane comes and it is a mandatory evacuation, don't be an idiot.

Working Clothes

Leah and I have a blog together at wideawakewilliams.blogspot.com but she won't let me get all political there, so here is my own blog. I try to approach things from a common sense perspective and consider all parties involved when I make decisions. I don't get everything right and am usually open to other's thoughts and advise.

"Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson