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Category Archive: Politics

Dec 29

Top reasons why it’s time for 2011 to end

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.?And next year’s words await another voice.?– T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding”

For the past two years at the end of December, I shared with you my top ten reasons why I was ready for that year to end. And here we are again at the close of another calendar year that was filled with just as many jaw-dropping, ludicrous, important events or not so as the year before.

I imagine you are ready for the year to end, too.

It is always fun to look back, however, so here they are: my top ten reasons why it’s time for 2011 to end.

10. The 2011 designation I give to ‘too much of someone or something’ goes this year to the media circus surrounding two high-profile legal cases, Casey Anthony and Conrad Murray’s in particular.

Cardiologist Conrad Murray, convicted of killing Michael Jackson, is now being vilified to Hannibal Lector status, according to the New York Daily news. And meanwhile, Casey Anthony who has never been seen since she got off with a wrist slap in her murder trial, is now the subject of fun-filled parlor games, a Facebook page, and movie sure to come all asking the burning question “Where in the World is Casey Anthony.

9. The ‘Pits of a Sports Moment’—NFL lockout and NBA lockout.

8. One word—Bieber. Yes, Bieber wins this one-word distinction once again this year, but it is not his hair that put him in the headlines this time. No sirree, it is an alleged paternity suit from a groupie, although he still looks 12 to me.

7. Two words—Rally Squirrel. Actually, I love Rally Squirrel’s antics and look forward to him reappearing in 2012, perhaps in Kansas City this time?

6. Three words—This is a tossup between ‘Occupy Wall Street…or whatever’ and Charlie Sheen’s Tweets.

5. The ‘Fall from Grace’ winner this year goes to the ‘Not-So Fashionable Dead Dictators’ and the unfortunate loss of the comic relief their fashion choices once provided:

  • Kim Jong-Il – could be one of the most poorly dressed emperors on the planet. However, he never lost his swagger, always decked out with giant sunglasses, his signature brown jumpsuits and fav platform shoes.
  • Muammar Gadhafi—This dictator had some crazy and colorful clothes, hats and makeup, and I am sorry to say, his fashion statement will be sorely missed. He has been deemed, in some circles, the Lady Gaga of the evil dictator crowd.
  • Bin Laden – wore sheets and there really isn’t much else to say about that fashion statement.

4. Movies—the end of Harry Potter and the almost end of Twilight. However, 2011 could be deemed “The Year of the Movie Sequel” with these summer blockbusters hitting the silver screen: Scream 4, Pirates 4, Mission Impossible IV, Cars 2, Transformers 3, Spy Kids 4, Hangover 2, and my personal favorite Kung Fu Panda 2. I am tired of some of these but not Kung Fu Panda, huh uh.

3. Fashion—itty, bitty thin feathers clamped into hair to make hairdos look better? Enough said.

2. Food trends—although 2010 could be considered the year of the organic, 2011 has to be the gluten-free-everything year. Gluten-free labels are turning up on many foods that are already naturally gluten-free, such as coffee? So what is this all about? Gluten is being blamed for a host of maladies with some people saying going gluten-free has changed their lives for the better and others reporting no difference whatsoever. Guess we could say the jury is still out on this one. We will stay tuned.

1. My number one reason for wanting 2011 to end has to be Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the Kardashian hype, the wedding, the divorce, the family 3-D Christmas card, and their book ‘Kardashian Konfidential’. If you are not in the Kardashian know, simply search the Internet for “Who are the Kardashians” and you will find entertaining blogs with all the answers. One of these is my favorite because it gives a humorous answer to the burning questions, why are the Kardashian sisters famous and why have they been cluttering up my television?
What could possibly top all this in 2012, you may wonder? An election year perhaps? Hold onto your hats New Year’s Eve revelers, it could be quite a ride.
Happy New Year!

Feb 17

On Presidents Day, two still tug at our hearts

“Associate with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for it is better to be alone than in bad company.”—George Washington

On Presidents Day, two presidents still tug at our hearts; it is almost romantic.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln remain as respected and revered today as they did before they entered office. I guess you could say America is in love with them.

And, their reputations do not tarnish.

I say this despite the fact that Thomas Jefferson wrote in a letter in 1976 that “No man will ever bring out of the Presidency the reputation which carries him into it.”

These two former presidents did.

If this were a question on Family Feud, the survey would say George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are inarguably the most venerated of presidents and continue to hold our high esteem.

In fact, Washington and Lincoln were so revered when I was a child that schools honored their birthdays on two separate occasions, one for each president.

Things were different before 1971, the year that Presidents Day became a federal holiday. Schools and banks did not close prior to that, and the post office delivered mail.

The president in 1971 was President Richard M. Nixon who issued a proclamation stating that the third Monday of February would honor all past presidents of the United States.

There was a glitch, however.

A federal statue was already on the books designating that day as Washington’s birthday, and a presidential proclamation, although weighty, was not the same as an executive order.

No one split hairs, and eventually the holiday simply came into being. Thereafter, Presidents Day became the term commonly used.

But long before the federal holiday was proclaimed, the country celebrated Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th , his actual birthday, and Washington’s on his, February 22nd.

Their birthdays were met with great fanfare in most elementary schools and featured elaborate classroom decorations, the singing of patriotic songs, the telling of legendary stories, the recitation of poems and the consumption of yummy cupcakes with white icing and red sprinkles.

We imagined Lincoln living in a log cabin and learning to read by candlelight and Washington chopping down a cherry tree and never telling a lie.

Yes, I suppose one could indeed call it romantic.

Our school celebrations were not quite as exciting as on Valentine’s Day, however, but they were close.

Pupils cut out head-size construction-paper silhouettes of Washington and Lincoln. The artwork, usually on white or black paper, was then pasted onto red paper or white doilies with messy white paste from a jar. The presidential likenesses were hung on classroom walls just above the blackboards.

It occurs to me that the reason schools made such a big deal over Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays had a lot to do with teaching about character and reputation.

Washington and Lincoln did not waiver. They were principled, rock-solid individuals with unshaken courage, strength and determination.

Charles Francis Adams noted about George Washington, “More than all, and above all, Washington was a master of himself.”

And of Abraham Lincoln, David Lloyd George observed, “If you look at his portraits they always give you an indelible impression of his great height. So does his life. Height of purpose, height of ideal, height of character, height of intelligence.”

As we prepare to officially honor all presidents on the third Monday of February, it is just fine with me that Washington and Lincoln still tug at our hearts. It is for a good reason.

Dec 30

Top reasons why it’s time for 2010 to end

“Ring out the old, ring in the new,?Ring, happy bells, across the snow:?The year is going, let him go;?Ring out the false, ring in the true.”?–Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

Last year about this time I offered my top ten reasons why I was ready for 2009 to end. The year passed so quickly as they all seem to do, and now it is time for another year to come to a close.

Here are my top ten reasons why I am ready.

10. Too much 3-D. Although Avatar was released at the end of 2009, it was in movie theaters for half of 2010. Agreed, it is a good movie with great visual effects, and granted, 3-D was cool the first time around. However copycat 3D movies flooded the theaters soon after Avatar was released making some movie-goers perpetually dizzy and the rest of us wondering why.
9. The pits of a sports moment–Vuvuzela noisemakers at World Cup soccer. Thankfully we won’t have to listen to this for another four years. If you missed the controversy over these loud plastic trumpets, imagine the sound of a swarm of bees combined with a monotone bullhorn that never stops blasting and you’ll get the idea.
8. One word–Wikileaks.
7. Two words—Lady GaGa.
6. Three words—Justin Bieber’s hair.
5. Fall from grace:
•Tiger Woods– sadly, a continuing fall
• Brett Favre–smart quarterback with no clue about text-messaging
• Jesse James—Sandra Bullock married him because?
• Hollywood stars Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, Charlie Sheen and Mel Gibson—in trouble again and this year it was worse than a bad sitcom rerun
• John Edwards—self-explanatory.
4. LeBron James’ live television announcement, “The Decision.” James: “I’m taking my talents to South Beach”. Come on, man.
3. Jersey Shore, Snooki and “The Situation”–enough said.
2. YouTube video: The confused referee at the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans football game on September 26th. On second thought, I don’t want this one to end. It’s so funny I’ll be watching it well into 2011.
1. My number one reason for wanting 2010 to end–the Kansas City Chiefs will be in the playoffs in January of 2011, and I can’t wait for that day to arrive. Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star describes exactly how we Chiefs’ fans are feeling right now: “Kansas City deserves this. You deserve this. We deserve this…The Chiefs are in the playoffs for the first time since January 2007 — back when Herm Edwards still had hope and Bob Barker still had a TV show…Kansas City finally has a football accomplishment to celebrate.”

“Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”–Oprah Winfrey

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