Archive for August, 2008

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Issues and “character”

August 29, 2008

I have heard it said that if presidential elections were decided solely on issues, the Democratic candidate would win every time. The reason that Republicans often do win is because they always try to make the election about something else: Character. Perceived character, I should say, because the odds of getting an accurate assessment of someone’s character through observing a political campaign is about as likely as finding mystical enlightenment while watching a rerun of Gilligan’s Island.

I haven’t seen any recent polls, but I believe the American people prefer Obama’s health care reforms over McCains. I think they also prefer his Iraq strategy, his economic plan, his tax reforms, his views on reproductive rights, and so on. If elections were chiefly about issues, Obama would have a 20 point lead over McCain right now, and he’d keep that lead right through November, winning a landslide victory.

What do you think? Which party’s policies on health care reform, education, taxes, the economy and Iraq are more in line with public opinion? Which party is sewing the most doubt about the other candidate’s character?

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McCain and Obama: Tax policy proposals compared

August 27, 2008

Democrats are going to raise your taxes, blah, blah, blah. Let’s have a serious look at what the candidates are really proposing. Here’s a link to an informative graphic. Below is CNNs discussion of a non-partisan report on the candidate’s plans. Tell me honesty: Which policy do you prefer?

So. Who are you personally going to get the best tax deal from? Whose policy do you figure is more responsible with regard to the record-setting deficit spending of the Bush administration?

I expect i’ll hear from the Libertarian “I want to shrink the size of government to 1842 levels” crowd who will knee-jerk favor McCain’s plan simply because it lowers taxes for everyone, including millionaires. But for the rest of us–those of us who aren’t advocating radical changes in the scope of the federal government–who would honestly support the McCain plan over the Obama plan?

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We’re 77!

August 25, 2008

Good news for Marquette. The university’s ranking in US News & World Report went from 82nd to 77th in the nation.

My guess is that there are over 4000 colleges and universities in the United States. (Anyone know for sure?)

For the record, I received my masters in education from Marquette in December of 2002, the university has been my employer for ten years, I am an adjunct faculty member in the college of professional studies, and my oldest child is a freshman this year. That makes me an alum, an administrator, a teacher and a parent. I’m pretty sure if I were to take a class and become a student, I’d probably break some very important computer system by having too many roles at the institution.

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Bullying

August 25, 2008

“You will encounter situations where parents will tell their kids, ‘If you are hit, I want you to hit back.'”

Experts point out it is important for parents to keep emotions in check and to not encourage a child to hit back or retaliate.

And apparently you will encounter “experts” who advise kids to be punching bags for bullies.

Look, I’m all for kids going to their parents with this stuff. Obviously. And I’m all for parents talking to school authorities. I’m all for calling up the parents of the kid (something else that the so-called experts warn against).

But I’m also for striking back when you are struck. I went to grade school in Los Angeles. I was skinny, introverted, and, truth be told, kind of funny looking. Unsurprisingly, then, there were sometimes bullies. What I remember most about these encounters is that the only thing that ever helped was bloodying the nose of my antagonist.

Bullies don’t like fights, you see. They like pushing people around. Fighting is work, and–win or lose–fighting can be painful.

I carried on with this strategy well into middle school. Sometimes it got me in trouble. Sometimes it got me hurt. But I never, ever had to suffer endless torment at the hands of some smirking bully.

Kids, if a schoolmate hits you and there’s no one around to help, hit back.

“You… yeah, you. Sick of some jerk shoving your head down the toilet? Well, you know what? Maybe… you should lift some weights, or uh, take a karate lesson and the next time he tries to do it, you kick him in the balls.” – Donnie Darko

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Wrass Builders

August 14, 2008

Running Feldstein Photography this past year has really opened my eyes to the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs and small, independent businesses. Once source of continuing inspiration and guidance during this process has been my friend and neighbor, Adam Wrass of Wrass Builders.

Let me not mince words: If you want to build a home, or if you want to remodel your existing home, there couldn’t possibly be a more enthusiastic, honest and hardworking person to turn to than Adam. Give him a call. You’ll see for yourself.

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Evil

August 12, 2008

Some of us tend to look at bad or evil people and think “we should all be on the lookout for these kind of people!” Which is admirable as far as it goes.

Others of us look at bad or evil people and dare to consider how much we are like them. This, I think, is even more admirable–and a lot more rare.

Just a thought. What do you think?

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Olympic video

August 11, 2008

I don’t watch TV, but I am interested in the olympic games in China. So naturally I went to the web to find video of the events I want to see. If you don’t know where to go, try NBC. Scroll down to “Search video” where you can select the sport of your choice and see all the relevant videos below.

I’ll probably watch some of the judo and–when it appears later this week–the taekwondo. I might sneak a peek at beach volleyball, too–not that I know a darned thing about the game.

UPDATE: Whoa, I’m not the only fan of beach volleyball!