Thursday, March 31, 2011

Educate Yourself Fool


This is an excellent article on potential energy independence for the United States and the future of domestic oil production. Set aside a few minutes at lunch and take it in. You'll feel smart and stuff.

I know a few people in the mitten that will dig what this article has to say. Here is the link:

http://nyti.ms/emJ2bS

(Photo: NEW SOURCES Oil sands pipes in Alberta, Canada, which has the world's second largest crude reserve. / Jimmy Jeong/Bloomberg News, via Getty Images)

Do You Know The Type?


Holy shit, who else is excited for the weekend? Someone dosed the water of all the people I deal with at work this week, I'm sure of it. 

I get so sick of dealing with holier-than-thou corporate douche customers. Yeah, yeah, without customers there would be no job, I get it, I get it. But a corporate douche is a special breed. That tone they use on you. The complete lack of appreciation for anything your company does for them, day in and day out. The childish avoidance tactics used to dodge unwelcome subjects. These people would blow a knee out falling off their high horses.

The corporate douche is always cut from the same mold too. Either holed up in a cubicle farm or some stuffy wood-paneled office built in 1964 - this soft, pasty, key fob wearing, hunched-over-from-years-in-front-of-a-monitor cretin is completely deprived of a sense of humor. They're usually only a person with the power to say no. Their total lack of negotiation skill quickly becomes apparent when their only answer to a price threat is to shop the business. Typically under 45, they have been brought up in the new office culture where friendly relations with sales people is either frowned upon or strictly forbidden by corporate policy. This lack of an ability to carry a professional relationship rears it's ugly head when they realize no one is ready to jump and help them with anything. Whether trying to execute an internal goal or begging a supplier to move up a ship date, its tough for them to go calling in favors from people who quietly joke about their ineptitude behind their back.

So tomorrow night I'll be cracking one and making a toast to you, Mr./Mrs. Corporate Douche, and to all of your efforts to spread the miserable feeling of your hollow existence onto everyone you touch.

Cheers!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Love Is Blind


 Isn't that the old saying? I always took it to be referring to a very attractive person being involved with an ugly person. Over the past four years I've learned that's not the case as all.

When one is involved with another, it is the blindness of love that allows a relationship to last. Looks have nothing to do with it. Think of the sleepless nights, tears, emotional scars, screaming fights and the couples still together that continue to turn a blind eye to these things as they persevere. People go to extraordinary lengths to maintain their relationships and this wouldn't happen without love - plus love's terrible eyesight. Some people that shouldn't be together any longer will usually hang on much too long because love has lost it's eye-glasses. It is that over-riding glue that holds them together in a prolonged status of tortured love.

Even during a break-up period and the subsequent flirtations with coming back together, it is love blindly walking into walls that allows people to ignore the pain of the past. Not to mention the high probability of said pain being re-lived in the none too distant future. In the aftermath of a particularly bad break-up the personal torture can read like the side effects of a prescription drug:

WARNING - TAKING A BROKEN HEART MAY LEAD TO:
  • Sweaty Palms
  • Loss of Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Rapid Weight Loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Bad Circulation
  • Depression
  • Rapid Alcohol Intake
  • Repeated Anxiety from Hang-overs 
  • Crippling bouts of regret
  • Night Terrors 
  • Sweaty Feet
Why would an individual with free will sign up for such a prescription? They are blinded. Love can't read - love is illiterate! The perfectly rational fear of once again exposing one's self to the very pain they've just gone through goes right out the window. Lacking this logic, the wounds are opened afresh.

Unfortunately, we of the human condition are particularly prone to this behavior. Whether in a relationship or recovering from one, it is the blindness of love that allows us to carry on. Despite the possible side effects, there really isn't a feeling in the world that can compare.

As time ticks by and the experiences stack up, I hope to not be so quick to judge myself or others as we grapple with our relationship issues. In the end, love is worth it. Its not the individual's fault anyway - they just can't see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

As The Roster Turns


 Another blow to the Spartan basketball team this week. This wasn't Chris Allen getting the boot for (supposedly) banging a teammate's girlfriend or Korie Lucious following him to Iowa State after being dismissed from the team for (supposedly) failing multiple drug tests. No, this was just little used Sophomore Center, Garrick Sherman, opting to transfer.

While it is nice to have size on the bench, the 6'10" second year man averaged just 3.1 points in 12 minutes per game this past season. It seemed like Izzo lost faith in him as the season went on, even with the early season absence of Nix creating opportunities for Sherman.

The troubling trend here is the continued flow of talent away from the team. Izzo cannot be taken to task because of his long recruitment and tournament successes, but the trend should be pointed out. From what we are to understand, both Allen and Lucious were bad apples. When you combine players like that with silent Senior leaders like Lucas and Summers, you can see how a situation could go bad. This is pure theory, but Lucious seemed like a kid with an ego out of touch with his talent level. That kind of outlook works well for last second shots against Maryland but can wear a team down over time.

Izzo has stepped up his recruiting and has been targeting bigger names in recent seasons. Keith Appling was the first McDonald's All-American in some time and next year's class features a second consecutive one in Branden Dawson out of Gary, IN as well as the third consecutive Mr. Basketball from MI.  Let's hope this top level talent learns the ins and outs of playing as a team better than the pretenders did.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Surprising Story of the Day

"Liberal Bias at NPR?" in today's WSJ.

Given the headline (above) and the source of it (the WSJ) one could easily leap to conclusions about the points made in the content of the piece. However the article is fair and enlightening. Well worth the read and a welcome surprise given the parent company is Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

I will state for the record that seeing NPR stripped of it's federal funding by the knee-jerk GOP Congress is both troubling and predictable. On the bright side, this will force NPR to stand on it's own and not have to worry about such negative exposure in the future. On the down side, partisan politics have struck a blow to one the last true news agencies and made it a victim of the 24-hour news cycle. I guess NPR better order more tote bags to give away because they're going to need a donor drive.

The real silver lining in all of this is the outrage - OUTRAGE - the right shows towards any day's given subject. It never gets old waiting to see what will make them hyperventilate.

(cartoon via)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Glenn Beck to Start His Own Channel?

 
Check it out.

Bwahahahahaha! Can you imagine a 24 hour channel featuring faux history lessons, Cash-4-Gold commercials and 1 Millions viewers between 40-70 scared shitless by half-truths? Well if you can't, you may be able to very soon.

Somewhere, truth is rolling in it's grave.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

3 Wars


Despite many's reservations, the US and the UN ran off over the weekend and got engaged in the third theater of war involving a Muslim country. The involvement in Libya begs us to ask many questions.

What are we defining as success?
When will the US relinquish the brunt of responsibility?
What are the Arab League nations contributing?
Will they stand with the US and UN when public opinion wavers in their countries?
Why Libya and not Congo, Chad, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Bahrain, or Yemen?

And on and on.



Predictably at home, the GOP has spun this to be a negative for Obama - supporting the mission but not the man. While I disagree with Obama on engaging in this war, the shamelessness of the GOP never ceases to amaze me. Imagine one daring to disagree with a Bush war doctrine and what they'd be called - traitor, soft, treasonous, etc.

The really sad effect of all this is is the costs everyone ignores. Since Saturday, we've already fired off more money in Tomahawk missiles than the Tea Partiers in Congress have proposed in their discretionary spending cuts to the 2011 budget. But don't count on Republicans to call for military spending cuts or tax hikes, that's not their bag. Unfortunately for us we now have two party's completely complicit with an on-going, never ending military conflict. The costs be damned.

I just pray we don't commit ground troops and pull back our engagement in the next 48 hours.

Photo 1 - The US F-15E went down near Benghazi in eastern Libya
Photo 2 - (Photo by Mario LaPorta/AFP/Getty Images)
Photo 3 - Airstrike: Vehicles belonging to forces loyal to Gaddafi are destroyed in Libya

Catching Up on the NCAA Tourney



Apologies for the delay between posts. Funny how the day job can rear it's ugly head and kill one's desire to compose coherent thoughts outside of whatever work issues are swimming around in one's head. Damn you employment!! (shakes fist)

Not a real surprise to anyone, but the Michigan State basketball team was dispatched from the NCAA tournament in the 2nd Round this year. Yes you read that correctly, they technically made it to the second round because of the new play-in format. Why the NCAA decides to bestow '1st Round' status on eight teams playing four relatively meaningless games and screw over years of historical terminology is beyond me. However, it is what it is and this weekend's sweet sixteen in actually round 4.

I'm also troubled by the decision to make two of the play-in games non 16 seed based, instead having an 11 and 12 seed match-up. First - what was the logic of one 11 and one 12 game? Second - since office pools ignored all four games (as did the viewing public) this really downgrades two potential bracket busters from gaining any deserved attention.  In almost every past season an 11 or 12 seed has advanced to the first Sat/Sun game and this year was no exception. Look no further than VCU, the winner of the 11 seed play-in, they are now playing in the sweet sixteen and no one knew about them. In fact, due to the way office pool software such as cbssports.com is setup, it is highly likely most people didn't have the opportunity to pick them in the 'second round' at all. So please, NCAA, make all four play-in games for 16 seeds only. This way you can still rape and pillage advertisers for TV spots across four games no one will ever really watch and the general public can go back to not having to focus on anything more than the traditional 64.



Returning our thoughts to MSU, I've come to the realization that the 2010-11 team was like an old, sick family dog. Sure we loved it and wanted it to stick around longer, but it was probably best for everyone involved (the dog included) that they were taken out back and put down. Don't worry though kids, we'll get another dog! And this one will be younger and faster and we can train it better so that it doesn't have the same bad habits as the last one, I promise. You won't have to deal with:

  1. Making messes in the house (turnovers)
  2. Chasing his own tail (Lucas riding high, then hurt, then recovering, then riding high)
  3. Abusing his chew toys (Lucas wearing white shoes for the tourney and then deciding to suck)
  4. Leaving the yard frequently (Summers refusing to drive to the hoop or remove himself from the corner. Come back Durrell....DURRELL COME HOME!!! DURRELL??!?!! BAD DOG!!!)
  5. Not performing tricks in front of friends (the whole team this whole season after preseason #2)
  6. Excessive barking (Draymond's incessant yapping - oops! He's back...again)


 Come next fall there will be a new puppy romping around the house and you'll forget all about Old Yeller. You'll see.

One last note on Kalin and Durrell. As tough as this season was, they delivered as a class and I commend them. One sweet sixteen, Two final fours and a national title appearance. I've heard people say they were overrated or Izzo's worst class and to those people I say: give me a break you spoiled rotten babies. Why don't you go over there and practice falling down for a while? We'll be over to help you in a minute.

Be grateful you have realistic high expectations for our program every year and especially be grateful for our coach. We're lucky we have Izzo and the players he attracts, year after year he delivers. Remember, no four year class of his has missed a shot at the final four. Try and enjoy it. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Michigan State Basketball, Exposed



The basketball season is over, and our spoiled run of consecutive second weekends ends at three in row. More to come tomorrow. For now, let's wish Kalin Lucas, Durrell Summers and Kebler bon voyage. 20/20 hindsight, but Summers should have left last year.

We had no business making it a game, but the Spartans did so down the stretch. Instead of bitter disappointment, I feel like I was punched in the stomach. Why would you betray my expected disappointment? Why?!?!?!?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dumb Story of the Day


 While eating the 'healthiest' options I could at the Embassy Suites, Downtown Cleveland - let's just say Ohio doesn't cater to healthy food - I took in this gem of reporting from USA Today.

"With NFL Fields Shuttered, Players Left To Train On Their Own"

Oh my, what a shock! Who will take in these wayward warriors and allow them access to physical training equipment? I certainly don't have the answer and it appears it is up to them and their own resilience. One thing is for sure, Peyton Manning already locked up the three year sign-on discount at the Bally's in Carmel, IN in case of a prolonged lockout. Meticulous planner, that Peyton.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look! Up In The Sky!

It's not too hard to notice the growing theme amongst the right wing media regarding Obama's foreign policy approach recently. He is absent. He is dithering or too quiet. He is not doing enough. He should really be more busy fixing anything and everything.

Pardon me for a second, but let's take a quick glimpse at what is going on out there.

1) Libya - No Fly Zone

NeoCons and warhawks alike would like a no fly zone implemented by the US immediately, allies be damned. Do they even care to consider the cost (estimated at $15 Billion per year)? Of course they don't, these are the same people that used our children's credit cards to fund the invasion of Iraq. Speaking of Iraq, have they forgotten our current military commitments there and in Afghanistan just because Libya has taken over the headlines? Our troops are already more than a little busy in two unfunded, on-going wars - I'm not so sure taking on yet another endeavor to unseat a dictator is the best idea. Bottom line is the Arab League has endorsed a no fly zone but neither NATO nor the UN have followed suit. Despite the fact the Arab League is perfectly capable of enforcing it on their own, all thanks to US monetary and military equipment donations, it just makes Neocons and warhawks feel better if America is doing something, anything about the current matter at hand. Besides, the last time we listened to them and got involved with enforcing a no fly zone, it worked out so well

2) Japanese Tsunami

The ongoing humanitarian and ecological crisis in Japan has also apparently escaped Obama's very limited attention. This despite the fact the US had an aircraft carrier on site by Saturday morning to serve as a hospital and desalination plant to provide clean drinking water. Would the critics rather have that carrier in the Mediterranean serving as a launching point for a no fly zone over Libya? What else should the US be doing in Japan? Sending rescue teams? Check. Offering nuclear advice on a power generating technology we have all but abandoned since the 80's? Don't make me laugh.

The bottom line is the breathlessly critical right easily contradicts itself over and over. If Obama were on Air Force One right now - between a stop in Libya to personally fly an F-18 over their airspace and on his way to conduct a bucket brigade to the nuclear waste pools in Japan to stop the spread of radiation - they'd be reporting the cost of the fuel used for the flight and how it affects your pay check. For them to endlessly advocate US intervention in any foreign event repeatedly exposes them as fiscal frauds. I truly believe they have lost touch with the fact that the department of defense and foreign aid are tied directly to tax dollars, the very existence and hypocrisy of the Tea Party proves that. No cuts to defense! Screw Foreign Aid! Lower taxes! And on and on and on.

The world is no longer us vs. them, with two dominant political forces (democracy and communism) guiding the way. Events are becoming regional and more disconnected from our influence. In their hearts, I believe NeoCons are simply insulted that such major events could take place without having somehow involving us. This fact drives them crazy. While the Arab revolutions may be our chicken's (and every other Western, oil based economy) coming home to roost following decades of policies to prop up oil-export friendly despots - in reality there isn't much we can do to alter the events as they unfold. An educated and sober argument can be made that we shouldn't try either. Whether it is our already over-stretched military and how it relates to national security or the costs we'd incur against a growing deficit, Americans are going to have to get used to sitting the next few out. We can't be everywhere at once.

So relax NeoCons, maybe he's got a spot or two in his foursome?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Geography Failure

Peter King catches enough gruff from Kissing Suzy Kolber with Drew Magary's weekly take down of his MMQB column, but he touched on a specific pet peeve of mine this week with this:

"McGuire is two months into his third and final tour of the Persian Gulf, this time in northern Afghanistan, and the other day the USO winter tour of former players Merril Hoge, Matt Millen and Anthony Munoz stopped at his base."

I know Pete is groggy from inhaling too many steakhouse dinners while stalking Roger Goodell and NFLPA representatives all weekend, but give me and the 4 other Americans that care about geography a break. Afghanistan is neither in, nor on the Persian Gulf. It is a land locked country in Central Asia. We've had soldiers there since 2001 and largely funded a covert war against the Soviet's there from 1980 to 1989 - you'd think we could accurately describe where it is located.

For instance, here is a "Map of the Middle East". 


Notice what is missing? Afghanistan. It is the white, land locked country on the right edge of the picture. It is not highlighted because it does not belong to Middle East, where the Persian Gulf resides. The Persian Gulf is the body of water on the eastern shore of Saudi Arabia, also bordered by the UAE, Kuwait, Iraq, Qatar, Bahrain and Iran (hence 'Persian' - no, Iranians are not Arabs). I know schools don't bother to teach geography anymore, but if we can't rely on Sports Illustrated anymore, who can we turn too??!?

That's SO MEDIA! Some Rambling.

As the launch of this blog has garnered some buzz amongst family and friends (Mom was super-hyped about the wine story), I find myself taking a step back and taking a look at the way life is changing. Over at Steelface Addiction, my pal and blogger Sharp is quickly expanding his offerings to his readers. Just as soon as I took inspiration from him to start here, he brings in two more writers - very impressive. The evolution of media and the ever-lowering barrier in which to get into it is staggering.

While there are positives to the expansion of voices in media, there are also dangers in the niche format news gathering and reporting has become. People are much more likely to seek and find news that is agreeable to their point of view. Reporting and story angles become an echo chamber very quickly - whether its politics or sports. Most people who read the Sunday New York Times will not tune into the evening news hour on Fox News Channel, or vice versa. With most news sources catering to their respective audiences, a neutral, steady voice like the evening news on ABC, CBS or NBC has been marginalized. I hope you'll appreciate an effort here to challenge the norm on both sides of the political spectrum. Please explore the blog roll to the right of the page, I've tried to provide contrasting voices to bring a spectrum of views to this site. As we find new ones, that list will grow.

The media revolution also reminds me of a book I recently read, 'Super Sad True Love Story'. In the not too distance future, everyone either works as 'Media' - constantly broadcasting their lives into the ether, a combination of blogging and reality television - or 'Credit' - because America is deeply in debt, your credit score is public knowledge and the dollar is pegged to the Chinese Yuan. Sound too far off? It's a great read and it provides a disturbing dystopian vision of where we most certainly could be heading. It's on Amazon here.

Speaking of debt, here is the foremost House Republican authority on the budget, Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), chiding his new Tea Party colleagues on their assumptions of what it takes to balance the budget:

"They literally think you can just balance it, you know, (by cutting) waste, fraud and abuse, foreign aid and NPR (National Public Radio)," Ryan said. "And it doesn't work like that."

This is a nice step towards acknowledging reality from the House GOP - entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid will have to be addressed now if we are ever going to be serious about getting out of debt. The next obvious step from them would be admitting income tax rates need to go up, but hearing that from House Republicans would be akin to Ryan flying to Egypt and parting the Red Sea.

Fact is, everyone will feel the pain when the shit hits the fan for the US fiscally. Unfortunately our current leadership is not doing a good enough job of making this evident due to the political cost, but anyone with half a brain and an internet connection can go connect the dots on what we're up against. When the time of reckoning comes, those that are crying the loudest will have had their head's buried the deepest.

Whether it was up their ass or in the sand is a discussion for another time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Coming Up

Don't be scared off by the EMO posts today, I'm sure to be fired up very soon about one thing or another. Whether its that curd-choking WI Governor stripping people of their general right to collective bargain in the name of corporate tax cuts or the pending 2012 election cycle, there is much to rage about in the coming months.

On the sports front we have the NCAA tourney, NBA playoffs (yes, believe it or not, I watch) and the NFL Lockout. Oooohhh, the NFL Lockout - nothing like Sportscenter featuring video of people walking in and out of buildings in suits and then cutting to talking heads in suits to analyze it - much better than Championship Week highlights, right?!? Not to mention the NFL writers, who for months guaranteed a lockout, acting shocked...SHOCKED...that either side took the course of action they did today. I'm sorry, but if you think we're dumb enough to swallow every "BREAKING STORY" just so you can fill your 24 hour news cycle, you're sorely mistaken and mortgaging your integrity with each new column.

Ah! See? I already got off on a rant there.

Until the next post....

Some Background

I thought I would post this email I sent out to my family and friends announcing the blog as additional insight to my reasons for beginning this space. Hopefully you find the CIA-style editing entertaining.

- - - - -

Hello Friends and Family,

I'm writing to announce my new blog - Mental Ramblings of the American. Please go and check it out, I have posted a few items to get things rolling and hopefully give people a general sense of what I am after. I am excited to expand my writings and very open to links, suggestions and opinions to feature in my space. I expect the layout and design to change over the coming weeks as I settle in, along with the content. Thanks to a recent trip to Utah and some inspiration from REDACTED and his blog (linked on my site - Steelface Addiction), I've decided to try this blogging thing again. You thought I was converting to Mormonism with that Utah reference, didn't you? You wish REDACTED.

You may recall REDACTED - a short lived, initial attempt at blogging. Well, that domain has expired and technology has advanced, so this version should be easier to maintain. Plus I am now 30, very wise and have much to offer the world in the way of advise and opinion. Clearly.

Please bookmark the page, follow me on twitter and forward to friends if you find it interesting. Dad - don't worry, I'll add it to your bookmarks on my next visit, just keep this email handy. Mom - there is a very endearing story of you featured in one of my first posts!

Below, you'll find the link, my twitter handle and my salutations.

http://mentalramblingsoftheamerican.blogspot.com/
Follow me on Twitter: @REDACTED
REDACTED

Oh, and.....GO STATE! It's March, this is our month, bitches!! It's nice to see our lil' bro scUM show up too - see you Sunday for the Finals, Uncle REDACTED.

Please watch your raunchy 'reply all' comments to this email, my parents and people's work emails are on this.

Thank You and Regards,
REDACTED

Big Ten Fever......Catch It!

Penn State - 36 Wisconsin - 33

Ugh....what a game. Bring on the Nittany Lions, who only outscored Kalin Lucas by 6 tonight. 

http://scores.espn.go.com/ncb/boxscore?gameId=310700275

St. Patty's Day Eve

As I sit here trying to behave myself on a Friday evening ahead of tomorrow's big festivities, I find my mind wandering.

My number one love, the Spartan basketball team, just exorcised a season's worth of demons by knocking off Purdue in the B10 Tourney. It's been such a long road from preseason #2 to holding a 17-13 record just a week ago. Thank God for Tom Izzo, because his team's continue to deliver in March and make the weekends of us lay people that much more meaningful. The fact that we have a game tomorrow in the middle of one of the best days in Chicago is like a cherry on top of the weekend.

Tomorrow the Chicago River will bleed green and thousands of people will drink themselves silly. I can't say I will be exempted. As we round into the thick of 2011, I am reminded of where I was a year ago and where my life was heading. This particular weekend marked the beginning of the end of the most meaningful romantic relationship of my life. Following some arguments with my ex-girlfriend last St. Patty's, a long and gruesome process began to unfold towards our ultimate break-up two months later.  There are a lot of things I wish I could change about the way things went, but in the end I don't regret a thing. She is still a person I love to this day and I wish her happiness. I'd wager we've both been better off on our own, finding our individual way, but God knows things could have worked better in many ways. That is life I suppose.

Two years ago, my Mother visited on this same weekend. It also happened to be her birthday weekend. I'll never forget my ex and I taking her out to celebrate in the big city along side St. Patty drunkards. In classic 61 year old form, my poor Mom had one too many red wines trying to keep up with us kids and ended up puking on my carpet! A night that lives in infamy. A few months later as we prepared to move to a new apartment, there was my Mom applying a cleaning solution only a Mother would know to the stain that still remained. Some baking soda and water brought out what we couldn't for months. Bless Mom's! I'm pretty sure she saved me $200 on my security deposit and exorcised some demons of her own.

Three years ago I was just returning from an amazing week long trip to Arizona with my ex while visiting friends. We didn't even live together yet, let alone in the same state. It would turn out to be a trip that pushed us towards a cross-country move for her and my first live-in girlfriend for me. Funny thing is, we almost broke up just before that trip - travel and warm weather is quite the aphrodisiac - just ask the other guests that heard us in our bedroom that first night at my host's home. The night I returned, I stopped into a bar a friend owned at the time and noted the exhausted drunks. They are definitely the constant to this weekend year after year.

I'm looking forward to what tomorrow will bring. Plans are in place and people are geeked. A day that continues to deliver memories will surely do so again tomorrow. I'm supposed to lay low tonight in order to save my energy. No promises though, it's only 8:30.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Welcome!

Welcome to the Mental Ramblings of the American.

A little bit about me. I am a thirty year old single white male living it up in Chicago. I hope to use this space to shed some light on what it is to be young, working, striving and most of all living in America today. We'll discuss our country, politics, sports, lifestyle and any other subjects that are important at the moment.

The feeling amongst most people these days is a fear of change. Economic upheaval, America's changing face on the foreign policy front, an aging population, debt, unemployment and a general departure from business as usual has upended what people expect as the norm. These are definitely troubling issues. However, there is plenty to be positive about and many improvements we can make to turn things around. Hopefully our discussions here will focus more on that. That will be my goal, but I'm a cynical bastard at times, so no promises.

A few disclaimers, up front. I most certainly lean left but I am not a registered Democrat. I value football first, basketball second and the other sports are there for general time filling/wasting. My team allegiances are still with my hometown Michigan teams, but I can't lie about my growing affection for the Bulls. As much as it pains me to admit it, they play too well together not to take interest. Michigan State basketball and football are my only non-negotiable loves.

So please join me for the ride as we explore and expand this space. Who knows where we'll take it? I highly encourage and welcome comments of both dissent and support. I'll even steal a page from Andrew Sullivan and feature well thought responses within the blog. Until the next post...