Thoughts on Trump vs. Hillary Round 1

Like 80 million other people, I was tuned in to the epic debate last night between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. I found the debate to be somewhat entertaining although it basically consisted of the same old talking points that we have been hearing for the past several months. I think Mrs. Clinton had a copy of the progressive playbook hiding somewhere on the podium. A robot could have done just as good of a job standing there. And Trump was his normal self, presidential at times, loud and seemingly out of control at other times. I am not one of these media types who go to great lengths in analyzing this debate, I am just a normal citizen who will be voting in the huge election on November 8th. Here is my take on this first debate.

1) Several missed and blown chances by Trump. It began early on when Trump failed to follow-up on Clinton’s ridiculous claim that our economy is struggling because the rich are not paying their fair share of taxes. Trump should have given Hillary a little lesson in Economics 101 at that point. In 2015, the federal government took in a record amount of revenue and the GDP continued to be mostly stagnant.

He should have went after her and her party when they started discussing racial and inner city problems. What party is running those high crime cities such as Baltimore, Detroit and Chicago? He could have further elaborated about Chicago’s problems and the policies that are not working.

And lets not forget the golden missed opportunity when the topic of cyber security was brought up. Trump should have mentioned that Hillary is in no position to even consider talking about security when she is foolish enough to put classified government documents on a private server.

2) Most presidential debates have a line which people will remember for days after the debate. The statement by Trump about Hillary being there for 30 years and why she is just starting to think about her plans really hit home with me and many others. It was a very powerful and effective line.

3) The birther issue.  In my mind, there are far more important issues to talk about than wasting 15 minutes talking about some issue of the past. I was very disappointed that this was even brought up.

4) The moderator.  I actually thought Lester Holt did a decent job. It really drives me crazy when some moderator is constantly reminding the candidates about the time. Holt did a good job of letting the candidates explain their answers even though there were many times when that 2 minute limit was broken. He didn’t take over the debate like some moderators have in the past. My only problem with him is that he seemed a little bias towards Clinton. No surprise there considering he works for NBC.

5) A lot of people have been proclaiming winners of this debate last night and today. My take is it was a draw. No candidate really gained any advantage going forward from this debate. I actually thought Clinton did a masterful job of putting Trump on the defensive at times. She deserves credit for that. Trump made some nice attacks as well and as I mentioned, had numerous opportunities to score some major points but failed. For those reasons, I consider this debate to be a draw.

In about 12 days from now, round 2 will be held and I will be sure to tune into that one as well. I think this debate was somewhat of a warm-up for more spirited and lively debates coming up. The stakes are very high and the next debate should be full of even more fireworks. Get ready, it should be great!

 

 

 

Lots of passion and anger in Charlotte, not so much in Chicago

While doing some channel surfing last week, I happened to come across a cable news network’s live broadcast of the protests and riots going on in Charlotte. A very brave white reporter along with his cameraman were right there in the middle of the protests interviewing the protesters. The passion and anger of these protesters could be felt right through my television screen. I can certainly understand, to a certain degree, the anger that these people are feeling. They want answers after another police involved shooting of a black person. This anger is not limited to Charlotte. Throughout the past couple of years, groups such as “Black Lives Matter” have held countless rallies to bring about awareness of so-called police brutality against minorities, particularly African-American people. I find it rather interesting that these groups and protesters seem to have so much anger and rage over police shootings and want to draw attention to them, yet they remain awfully quiet about the increasing problems of crime in many inner cities across the country.

Lets look at what has been going on in Chicago during the past year. In the first 3 months of this year, the murder rate has gone up 72 percent and shootings by 88 percent compared to the same period last year. That city is on pace to set all sorts of crime records. Many of the victims are young black people in the early years of their lives. Some are young children who just happen to get caught up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I find it ABSOLUTELY disgusting and appalling that this alarming increase in crime does not get anywhere near the attention that a police shooting gets! When was the last time that the “Black Lives Matter” group held a protest in the streets of Chicago demanding an end to the violence and crime. None that I can recall! I do not see people marching in the streets of Chicago holding signs and demanding that officials clean up their city. I highly doubt that many of the out-of-town protesters who are in Charlotte right now will travel to Chicago after they finish and protest in the streets of Chicago. Why not? Don’t all black lives matter? Why are people cherry picking what to get enraged about?

Before we start having a discussion about so-called minority oppression in this country that the likes of Colin Kaepernick and some high profiled athletes want to discuss, we need to start with the bigger problem of crime in our inner cities such as what is going on in Chicago. There are areas of Chicago and as a matter fact, areas of my city here in Minneapolis, St. Paul that are pure hell holes. You could not pay me to visit this places; it would be safer to visit Iraqi and other dangerous foreign countries than these areas. That  is totally unacceptable in our country. Unfortunately, these problems get shoved under the rug. Why is that? Maybe the policies and politics that cause these problems will get exposed.

We do have a problem with minorities being oppressed in this country. When a young black child cannot go out and play in their neighborhood for fear of being shot, that is a huge problem. It is extremely sad that people cannot realize the bigger problems facing minorities in this country. Police shootings of black people is NOT a huge epidemic problem that many seem to think. For every black person that is killed by a police officer, there are perhaps thousands saved by some officer who is willing to go into these high crime areas to restore order and peace.

I just wish that people would recognize and be passionate about solving bigger issues facing minorities such as what Chicago is going through. I could fully support any effort involved in doing that as could most Americans. Unfortunately, it is all about those evil police officers. Let’s start having equal or greater passion about ridding our streets of those dangerous gang-banger thugs and making our cities safe for everyone.

Finding love at an older age, a remarkable story

Being single for some folks is a painful situation. Everyone dreams of true love and finding that perfect soul mate to spend the rest of their lives with. When that soul mate is suddenly taken away and one becomes single again, that pain is only compounded. Especially at an older age. You begin to wonder if that is it, my one and only hope for true romance. I will grow old and have to spend the rest of my live alone. Well it doesn’t have to be and my own mother ‘s story is a perfect example of finding love at any age.

About 13 years ago, my mother suddenly became a widow one night. It was a devastating and very sad time for our family. My father really meant a lot to us and we still really miss him. My mom was a few years away from retiring and they had big plans for retirement. Suddenly, it was all taken away. My mom was alone and single.

A few years after my father’s death, my mom retired and moved to a town to be closer to her grandchildren. She also bought this huge house which has given our family so many great memories during many family gatherings. I knew deep down that she had this desire to meet some gentlemen but she seemed to be pretty content with her role as a grandmother.

My mother was deeply involved in her church and volunteered on numerous occasions. It was on one of those occasions that she met someone who would turn out to be someone very special. She was volunteering to help at a Sunday afternoon worship service for nursing home patients when she met a younger man who was the pastor of the said service.

During a family gathering last Christmas, my mother summoned everyone together for a big announcement. She announced that she was dating this wonderful man. That announcement took me and the rest of our family by surprise.

A few months ago, they announced plans for a wedding and next weekend, they will become husband and wife.  My mother who is in her early 70’s will be getting married for the second time! It just goes to show you that true love can find you just when you least expect it. It is very fitting that a couple of individuals who have a compassion for volunteering and helping others would meet and eventually get married. Yes, you can find love at an older age and without the use of an online dating site! Getting out and helping out other people can lead you to perhaps something more than you expect!

Farewell to KG

It seemed like just yesterday didn’t it? A tall skinny high school kid from Chicago was drafted by our local NBA team, the Minnesota Timberwolves. My initial reaction was that of disbelief; here you have a struggling franchise in desperate need of talent and they go out and draft some high school kid. Why? Well he soon proved us doubters wrong in a short time. Kevin Garnett went on to have a hall of fame career and is no doubt one of the 50 best players the game has ever seen. Very few big men his size had that kind of versatility. If he had any faults, it could have been that he was too unselfish. He was the ultimate team player and could guard nearly every position on the floor.

My biggest memory of Garnett  occurred during one of the few good years the franchise has ever had. It was game 7 of the 2004 Western Conference semi finals when Garnett had a monster game, 32 points and 21 rebounds. After the Wolves won the nail bitter of a game, Garnett jumped on the scorers table and saluted the fans. The building was going absolutely crazy. It was just very unfortunate that Garnett didn’t have more moments like that one. Near the end of Garnett’s tenure here, the Wolves were downright awful and it was time for him to move to greener pastures. He got his much deserved championship ring after being traded to Boston.

So what will Garnett’s legacy really be about? I can pretty much sum it up in one word, intensity. He had this intensity about him that very few pro athletes can match. Not only in the games, but in practice as well. If any young player wants a good role model to look up to, Garnett is the guy to follow. It is no surprise given his work ethic and intensity that he reached the hall of fame level.

The NBA could really use more players like Garnett. He will sorely be missed on the court and I hope he stays involved in the league. He was huge positive for the league and I can’t thank him enough for the many memories that he gave us NBA fans here in Minnesota. Best of luck, KG, with any future endeavors.

 

Please do not post this on Facebook

Like millions of people around the world, I have a Facebook page. The last time I checked, I believe I am up to about 5 friends on my friend’s list! Well not really! Anyways, I really enjoy logging onto that site and seeing what is going on in the lives of my friends. Some of my friends are not shy about posting ever little detail of their lives on Facebook. Others are really missing in action. I wonder if they are still alive! Regardless, Sometimes I really cringe when I see certain things posted. I don’t want to know about all the little details of your restless night last night for crying out loud! I have put together a list of certain things that should be off-limits for Facebook. Of course, everyone has a right to post whatever they want unless it is a nude picture of themselves, but for the most part, Facebook is pretty tolerant towards most stuff that people post. People should think twice about posting the following.

1) Details of your recent illness. I have no problem with people who post that they are sick. Sometimes it is good that they tell us so we can pray for them and offer up words of encouragement. The problem is when folks start going into every little detail of what is wrong with them. Like one of my friends started discussing his diarrhea problems in a recent post. That is a little more than I need to know!

2) Misleading or incorrect political facts or political talk in general. A friend of mine on Facebook posted something about what a good job a certain political in our state was doing. A few months later, he posted the same item and did it again several months later. The problem in his post was that it was written by a partisan hack and contained a lot of inaccurate and misleading info. You see a lot of that these days on Facebook. In order to prove a political point, people will post something that is just not correct or only half-true. I generally try to stay away from any political talk at all on Facebook. It is a great way to upset people and lose friends.

3) Sexual talk or images. Not everyone will share your enjoyment over posting something that is extremely sexual in nature. It is best to keep those things to yourself.

4) Constant bickering about your life. I get the impression that some people on my Facebook page are completely miserable with their lives. If it is not their job, it is a medical condition. Or some person is treating them like crap. Different day, new negative post. Overly constant whining and complaining is not something that I want to read or look at on Facebook. 

5) Too many pet pics. I think some folks would be happier if they were married to their pets than their spouses, seriously! I enjoy viewing a cat video or picture just as much as anyone else, but after a few pictures, enough!

6) What you are having for dinner. Unless you are having me over for that Spaghetti dinner, don’t give me all the details! My stomach can’t take it!

I personally love to see people posting positive stuff on their feeds like they are getting married or something exciting is happening in their lives. Or post something funny. One of my Facebook friends has a great ability to make me laugh when I read her posts. Sometimes I come home after a hard day at work and her posts produce a warm feeling in my  heart. I want to be entertained on Facebook and sometimes those who post stuff from the above list make me want to log off Facebook as quickly as possible.

 

 

 

Potential consequences of the anthem protests

A few weeks ago, I posted my thoughts on the Colin Kaepernick protest of not standing during the playing of the national anthem. Since then, more players have joined in this disrespectful act. There have been reports that even some high school players are now not standing in protest of what these players view as oppression towards minorities in this country. Some folks out there feel that the actions by these players will finally bring much-needed changes that our country really needs. I see things totally different. In fact, sports in general could be facing a huge PR nightmare in the future if more players become a part of these protests.

The comeback by people who support these protests is always that the player has a constitutional right to not stand during the anthem. I totally agree on that point. But isn’t there a better way to show your displeasure at a particular part of  society that may be unfair towards minorities? Do these players not realize that these protests are insulting towards thousands of people who may be watching your games either in the stands or on television? These men and women have served our country so you can go out and play some game and make millions of dollars. Is it not too much of an effort to take a moment to honor these people who have made your life so much better? That also includes many other generations of soldiers who have fought and died for this country. That flag represents what these people have fought for.

I think I join many millions of fans who are completely turned off by these acts of disrespect towards our country. It is people like me who support these athletes and help them make their astronomical amount of money. The more these protests go on, the more I feel like just turning off the television or not buying a ticket to the game. Hey, it is your right to protest and it is my right not to support some league who supports such disrespectful behavior towards our country. If more fans like me get turned off, the league will face a huge decline in popularity and lose a lot of money.

If a player is upset about police brutality, they should do what any normal citizen should do and contact the law enforcement agency that is involved. Sitting down during a national anthem is not really going to accomplish much in my opinion. It will further polarize people on this social justice issue. Maybe ESPN can lead the charge and hold a special where players can hold a town hall meeting to address these issues. While they are discussing these so-called acts of oppression towards minorities, another discussion about why so many minorities are losing their lives in these inner cities (see Chicago) should be included. Funny how many of these athletes do not touch that subject!

So these athletes want to have a talk about social justice for minorities? Cherry picking issues of justice and disrespecting people in order to get that discussion will not work and only make matter worse. It is time to stop the silly juvenile behavior of disrespecting our country.  All this will eventually backfire in the player’s faces when the fans tune them out.

Memories and thoughts of 9/11

This Sunday marks the 15 year anniversary of that fateful day when nearly 3000 innocent people lost their lives at the hands of 19 cowardly terrorists. Nearly everyone has their own personal story of what they were doing on that horrible day. For me personally, I remember that day like it was yesterday. There will probably never be any event in my lifetime that tops the pure tragic and shocking nature of what took place on September 11th, 2001.

It was a pretty typical Tuesday morning at work for me. I had just arrived and was getting prepared to attend a meeting when one of my co-workers ask me if I had heard about the news from New York. Apparently a plane had just flown into a building at the World Trade Center. I just thought that it was another tragic news story and more details would come out later. It did not immediately dawn on me that it was a terrorist attack. Nevertheless, I turned on my radio at work to hear some more horrifying news; another building at the World Trade Center had been hit. Before I could catch my breath and process what was going on, the Pentagon building had been also hit. And to add to the chaos, reports were coming out that another plane was hijacked and unaccounted for. Who knows were it was headed! I gathered with many of my co-workers in the break room to watch television. Needless to say, it was a day that I will never forget at work. Absolutely nothing got done that day. I tried extremely hard to stay focused and get a few things done, but that became a real challenge. I can remember an exchange I had with one of my co-workers who was upset that the airport was shut down and one of our products could not ship. I told her that her little package getting there on time is completely meaningless at this time. Nothing else mattered right now except for the security of our nation.

For days after this horrible event, I kept picturing myself being stuck in one of those doomed airliners or being a worker trapped in those burning buildings. How would I react if my death was increasingly imminent? Those are situations that nobody and I mean absolutely nobody can prepare for. It is everyone’s worst nightmare. 3000 innocent lives taken. It would have just as easily been you or me in those burning buildings that collapsed.

Even though this was indeed a horrific event, there were many acts of selfless bravery that really touched me. Who can forget the heroic acts of those firefighters who gave up their lives to help save the lives of other people? Those firefighters and first responders are true American heroes. And lets not forget the brave act of those passengers who fought with the hijackers on the missing plane. The plane unfortunately crashed but those everyday Americans probably saved many lives.  Those individuals will also go down in history as true American heroes.

15 years have passed since that unforgettable day but it still seems like just yesterday doesn’t it? The big question I have is will there be another 9/11? How can we be sure that it will never happen again. Sadly, we cannot. This event should serve as a serious reminder that we are definitely vulnerable as a nation. The next event could make 9/11 look seem small in comparison. Another question I have to our government and political leaders is this: what are you doing to make sure this does not happen again? If we let our guard down just an ounce, it will happen again and you or I could be the next victims. All of our thoughts and prayers need to continue go out to the victims of that horrible day. It was a nightmare that will forever be etched in the history of the United States.