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America and The New Divide

This morning I woke up and didn’t recognize my country.

This election cycle has been one if the most divisive in my lifetime. The incumbent, Barack Obama, ran one of the nastiest, most un-presidential campaigns that I have ever seen. Both guys threw blows, but one candidate was much more presidential in his tact and delivery.

Unfortunately for us he was also unwilling to attack the President’s performance when it mattered most, during the Foreign Policy debate. Libya was the most obvious, most successful route to undermine the Press’ reporting and the President’s own words. Romney, however, was unwilling to go on the offensive in the third debate because he had momentum that should’ve carried him through the election (turnouts from his last few campaign stops verify this); that is until Sandy hit the NE and the media largely ignored FEMA’s horrible ineptitude on the ground (It’s just as of yesterday being called the “Cold Katrina”).

A lot can be said for Romney and his campaign. That he was an “uninspiring candidate”, “too conservative”, “too rich”, that the “demographic of the electorate was wrong”. At the end of the day, though, his and his PAC’s GOTV movement failed miserably.

It’s not the candidate that failed conservatives in America, though. What we’re experiencing is the new Divide in America, an America where the majority of youth have always been handed everything. As children they were given trophies, as teenagers they were given endless tests where they weren’t ever challenged, and as young adults they were given easily accessible college tuition and education.

These young adults, ages 18-30, have been given everything and are in a “Hakuna Matata” phase of their lives, to borrow from the Lion King. They have abandoned the America their ancestors left for them because they grew up so much differently and don’t know any better. They need to see Mufasa fall from the proverbial cliff, be mired in and experience the pain that causes, and then realize that in order to restore Pride Rock to the place they and their parents grew up in that it will require hard work and dedication on their part.

We’re not there yet and I don’t know what will trigger it for everyone, some of us have already experienced it and are starting to do our part. I pray for the sake of this great nation that its not something catastrophic and that we can all come together to rebuild this great country as a nation united behind hard work and integrity when it does happen. Because if the majority never get out of the “Hakuna Matata” phase, I fear what will become of our great history.

May God bless you and our Great Nation.

Filed under : Politics
By dhert
On November 7, 2012
At 5:37 pm
Comments : 0

Bengals: Marvin Lewis vs. Chad Johnson

This offseason has been full of jabs between Marvin Lewis and Chad Johnson (Ochocinco). You could say that it started in Week 17 when Chad sat out of the Ravens game and Lewis challenged his commitment to the team (after Chad had visibly been playing injured since the Monday night game). After that there was a ton of drama through January and Chad talked a bunch of trash even going as far to say that he wanted to fight Lewis in a “cage match”.

Since then the back and forth between the two has been minimal, everyone has been focusing on Carson Palmer and all the changes taking place around Paul Brown Stadium. That is, until today when someone asked Lewis what he thought of Chad’s MLS tryout. Lewis went on to slam Chad by saying:

“How does he do at anything? What has he ever done that he’s completed? What circle has he ever connected in any way?”

Way to be an adult, Marvin Lewis. Rather than say something productive, encouraging or just simply “no comment” you go and blast him on a national stage. Aren’t you supposed to be a leader on the team, setting good examples for everyone in the organization? Instead you yourself help create more distractions and drama for the Bengals.

Remember the old proverb: If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Both you and Chad could learn from those words of wisdom.

Its no wonder Carson Palmer would rather retire than play another season with this team, they’re literally self destructing in front of our very eyes. Certainly there is someone on the team who is willing to step up and be an adult, set an example and lead this team. It almost seems as if Carson has been the only leader on this football team all along.

Filed under : Sports
By dhert
On March 22, 2011
At 3:00 pm
Comments : 0

NFL Draft – Veterans vs Rookies

There’s a lot of talk out there since the lockout about if incoming rookies should even attend the draft. Some veterans say that they should skip it altogether to show a unity with the veteran players while others say that they shouldn’t miss out on this once in a lifetime event. Personally I think these new players should attend the draft and participate as normal, any further distancing by the NFLPA from the NFL and its functions is only going to turn the fan base further against their cause.

Both players and Owners have expressed a desire to continue negotiations and bring the lockout to an end. Mike Vrabel (of Ohio State fame) stated the other day that he and others would like to deal with the Owners directly without a third party (the NFL labor board) involved. The problem with this argument is you still have representatives for all players negotiating with Owners you still essentially have a form of a third party since not every player would be in attendance. This is not a fair means of negotiation, then.

The alternative to that is for neither side to have third parties involved and for each Owner to come up with agreeable terms then approach their teams separately. This would effectively cut out the middle men and allow each individual Employer to work with each individual Player and allow them all to find terms that they agree with. This would essentially make the NFLPA non-existent or at the very least just an organization that would collect the funds and manage all of the finances of the player’s pensions and other benefits.

Remember, the NFLPA was dissolved between 1989 and 1993 due to a CBA negotiation breakdown in 1987 and a new CBA was not reached until 1993. The best case scenario here is that Owners establish a cap the players can agree to, that contributes more to pensions and future/veteran/retired players medical care and that they can come together and get a deal done. Some think both sides could reach out to each other before the April 6th date on the Anti-trust lawsuit, though I see that as a bit optimistic.

Filed under : Sports
By dhert
On March 19, 2011
At 2:47 pm
Comments : 0

I need an Adult.

I always knew the parenting gig was going to be a tough one. For some reason, though, I thought I was ready for it (while at the same time thinking that no one is ever ready for it). After my second night alone with our 12 day old Daughter I can safely say that I was not ready, astoundingly so.

The first night is what I’m going to say was “a breeze”. She pooped, she peed, she ate and she slept. Done and Done. The second night was nothing like the first. She screamed, she ate, she ate some more, she ate EVEN MOAR, she screamed some more, she refused to sleep and she SCREAMED SOME MOAR.

By the 3rd hour I was pretty much at my limit, and I was only half way through the night. So what did I do? I acted like a baby myself. I screamed, I cried, I threw stuff (thankfully shes not at that stage yet, though I do believe she threw her binky in her crib). In the end, I’m a wreck that is just now eating dinner at 11:20pm and ready for bed. The baby is now asleep and Amy is looking over her.

Chances Amy gets sleep tonight are better than last night, though.

A couple pics of Ms. Audrey Bryn:

Filed under : Family
By dhert
On March 9, 2011
At 11:26 pm
Comments : 2

The Achievement Points of Parenting.

So I was thinking today that being spit up on was like 50 “parenting points”, but then realized that this was probably an inflated value and that I should sit down and figure out a points system completely. What did I come up with? See for yourself:

Spit Up – White: 10
Spit Up – Yellow: 10
Spit Up – Greenish: 10
Spit Up – Clear: 10
Spit Up – Brown: 10
Spitting Up the Rainbow (spit up all colors): 50
Getting Spit up on twice before grabbing a towel (Double Kill): 25
Brown/Mustard poo: 10
Yellow poo: 10
Green poo: 10
Black poo: 10
Orange poo: 10
Pooping the Rainbow (poo’d all colors): 50
Crawling: 25
First steps: 50
Babbling: 25
First words: 50
Sleep in swing: 10
Sleep in bassinet: 20
Sleep in Crib: 20
Slept through the night: 100
Finished Newborn diapers: 10
Finished Stage 1 diapers: 10
Finished Stage 2 diapers: 10
Finished Stage 3 diapers: 10
End of diapers: 25
Potty Trained: 50
First day of School: 100
First ‘play date’: 25
First haircut: 10
First baby food: 25
First solid food: 25
First nightmare: 25
First aspiration: 50
First book read on own: 50
First ‘I love you’ said to parents: 50

Totaling 1000 points, just like your common Xbox game. 36 “achievements” for 1000 points, to be exact. So far I’ve got 10 achievements for 135 points.


Filed under : Uncategorized
By dhert
At 9:33 am
Comments : 0

Saudi Revolution, coming to a Middle East near you.

With most all of the Middle East on fire one of the last bastions of stability has been Saudi Arabia. So far at least there has only been minimal protests and demonstrations, and those were largely related to the Governments response to flooding. Well, it seems that a Saudi revolution is being scheduled through facebook.

If this revolution actually gains any traction I fear we may wish for the days of Jimmy Carter. A day when even far left Presidents would use force to protect our access to oil in the Middle East. Or even days when we could have started drilling at home to get our dependence on foreign entities down (they say the process would take around a decade).

Back in December an ex-Shell Oil boss was predicting $5 a gallon gas by 2012, but that didn’t include this sort of unrest in the Middle East. If this trend continues we could see $4 a gallon gas by early Summer and $5 a gallon gas by Winter of this year, and that is a hopeful prediction that doesn’t account for an actual uprising in Saudi Arabia. If a real uprising happens in Saudi Arabia then all bets are off, our gas prices could double or triple and gas could likely become a very rare commodity.

Filed under : Politics
By dhert
On February 22, 2011
At 9:55 am
Comments : 0

Ohio Senate Bill 5

Ohio Senate Bill 5 is the bill against Collective Bargaining for Local and State Government workers Unions. The debate has heated up and theres a lot of misinformation on both sides of the court. The best thing I can recommend to anyone before they take a stance on this bill is to read it. There is also good balanced reports on the bill at the Columbus Dispatch, WLWT, and Yahoo!.

The bill will help to fix pensions (which are currently so absurd that they will soon be unfunded liabilities) which will help Ohio get its budget under control for the future. It also awards teachers based on merit rather than seniority, which in turns helps school throughout the state become better as it will help to weed out those teachers who are unsatisfactory.

Unions do not fight for the rights of these workers, this is a fallacy that has been purported for decades. Ohio has had civil-service protection laws since 1912, of which all of these jobs are covered by. Below are some highlights of proposals in the bill from the Columbus Dispatch article.

Proposals in the bill:

State workers

  • Eliminates collective bargaining for state workers, including higher education employees.
  • Requires the Department of Administrative Services to develop a merit-based system of pay.

Local workers

  • Removes the requirement that deadlocked safety forces go to binding arbitration, instead extending the prior union contract for one year.
  • Requires mediators to consider wages of employees who are not members of the union and does not allow them to consider future tax increases as part of an entity’s ability to pay.
  • Allows employers to hire permanent replacement workers during a strike.
  • Removes health insurance from collective bargaining. Management will pick insurance policies, and employees must cover at least 20 percent of the cost.
  • No longer requires that once a subject is included in a contract that it becomes a mandatory subject of future bargaining.
  • Defines an “impasse” as a lack of agreement after 90 days. After that point, it requires each side to make public its last, best offer.
  • Prohibits public employers from picking up extra employee pension contributions.
  • Eliminates from state law automatic pay increases for experience and education.
  • Eliminates from state law leave policies and automatic 15 sick days for teachers.
  • Prohibits school districts from bargaining away certain management powers, such as the ability to deploy teachers to certain buildings.
  • No longer makes longevity a deciding factor when management is deciding to make layoffs.
  • Requires a public employer to publish on its website any changes in the union contract that impacts compensation of workers, including wages, length of service payments, and insurance coverage.
  • Requires the employer and the State Employment Relations Board to publish the parties’ offers on their websites before and after fact-finding is complete.
  • Allows schools or local governments in fiscal emergency to terminate or modify a collective bargaining agreement.
Filed under : Politics
By dhert
On February 21, 2011
At 6:09 pm
Comments : 0

Watson still far from perfect.

As has been displayed on Jeopardy the past couple of days, Watson is not quite perfect. The problem is quite complex, but I’ll do my best to describe it. Watson takes a question and determines keywords then returns an answer. Depending on the keywords that are picked it will gauge how strongly the answer can be trusted.

This is sort of the system most people use with Google. Take a question you have, take keywords from that question and then plug it into the Google search engine. You can actually get some of the same results from Google with the full questions from Jeopardy, though certainly not all of them. The reason for this is Google obviously only uses keywords and won’t take full text then determine keywords on its own.

IBM still has a few things to tweak, and possibly quite a few more things to program in, before Watson will be completely ready. I have a few ideas in mind, though I’m sure its stuff the brains at IBM have already thought of. Off to draw up flowcharts with the ideas already in practice vs my idea, just for fun.

Filed under : Computers,Technology
By dhert
On February 16, 2011
At 3:30 pm
Comments : 0

Middle East unrest spreads.

Egypt style protests are now happening in Iran, Bahrain and Libya.

Iran comes as no surprise, given the protests they were having after the “rigged” elections of 2009. The Green Movement is working hard again in Iran and the government there has already started forceful shutdowns of shops and demonstrations. At least two people have already been killed.

Libya should also come as no surprise, given its proximity to Egypt. Bahrain is a bit more concerning considering its proximity to Saudi Arabia, though it may not have much effect on the Saudis given the island’s small stature.

Given that protests have already come Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Algeria, and Morocco it may be time to zoom out of the region a bit and keep a keen eye focused on Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the Southern European countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea. If this is all tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and like-minded groups we could be seeing the start of a Islamic Caliphate, just as Glenn Beck had warned and the New York Times affirmed.

Filed under : Politics
By dhert
On February 15, 2011
At 9:29 am
Comments : 0

What will become of Egypt?

Only time will tell us exactly what the outcome of the revolution in Egypt will be. Personally I’ve heard everything from 1791 America to 1979 Iran and everything in-between. The true nature of the “new democracy” will show its face to everyone once the dust has settled on the streets and their new leaders are voted in.

The one comparison I haven’t heard is 1933 Germany, most likely because that was a “democratic” take over with Hitler being voted into power. However, with the Islamic fascists running the uprising in Egypt would a comparison to early 30s Germany be that far off? I estimate that it would not be too far, specifically if the Muslim Brotherhood is able to take power in the country.

History has a tendency to repeat itself, whether we notice it or not. Its usually when we least realize it that something important has happened that somewhat mirrors a prior event in history, when its something major like this we tend to over-analyze and miss the major storyline that truly should be noticed. In this case, the fascists in the Muslim Brotherhood and their propping up ElBaradei.

The next few months of Egypt’s political scene should be interesting to watch unfold. They should be paid attention to much like a scientist would when testing a major theory. What happens with the elections and in the time after, depending on which group takes power, will point us in the direction that Egypt is headed… hopefully that is not in a 1917 Russia, 1933 Germany or 1979 Iran path.

Filed under : Uncategorized
By dhert
On February 12, 2011
At 3:47 pm
Comments : 0