Saturday, January 31, 2009

My Claim to Fame

So I frequent a lot of blogs, I think a lot of people know this. I especially enjoy Yahoo's sports blogs. Well, one of the best thing that the pro basketball blog, Ball Don't Lie, does is a segment entitled "Create-a-Caption". They find some goofy picture (actually sometimes they're reasonably normal) and post it and have people create captions for it. It's brilliant really. So occasionally I get involved when I actually have something decent to say. Recently I was rewarded for my good efforts. On Tuesday, January 27, this picture was the one to create a caption for:

That's Philly Guard Royal Ivey taking a little break.

So I came up with my own caption for this, it was: "You know what's better than watching the game? Watching me watch the game." And lo and behold, I was awarded with co-runner-up. Yes, it was very much exciting and that's why I figured I would share this with the whole world. I'm really surprised I was recognized because those other guys had far better posts (the Popeye's is based off of this). My favorite will still be the first one I participated in (read the intro and then check out comment #20). But yeah, feeling like hot stuff right now, can't deny it. Maybe I should start driving a Dodge Stratus.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

My Dating Life

So for a while now I've been wishing I could give you all (all of you my non-existent readership whether that be on my actual blog or you Facebookers) an in depth look at my dating life. It's really one of the most bizarre and hilarious things ever. I've enlightened many with a lot of my history as far as that and such and I usually get a good laugh. My best friend Catherine always tells me just how weird my dating experiences are and funny. I really believe they would make for a good book. It's kind of funny though because I really don't go out on that many dates yet I seem to have such weird and ridiculous things happen in my dating life. And I would proceed to give you a beautiful in depth look at it all, but I'm afraid I might offend some people and such because it has happened once before when I've done something similar, so at this time I will withhold that. But seriously, it's so funny and ridiculous all rolled into one.

On a similar note though, I do have a fantastic story I was reminded of recently. I had a past roommate who was a semi-recent convert to the Church. He was originally from Canada and he seemed like he had probably sampled some interesting substances before his conversion to the Church (ie he was permastoned). So apparently he went on a date to the dollar theater with some girl. I guess he had to use the restroom at some point during the movie. However, when he went to the restroom he heard a really loud crowd off in the distance. It turned out that there was a BYU Football game going on. So like a moth drawn to a bug zapper, he went for the bright lights of LES. Yes, his date was still in the movie theater. So at some point either the movie ended or she began to wonder where he was so she left the theater and gave him a call. She asked him where he was and he informed her that he had gone to the football game and proceeded to ask her if she would like to join him. I can imagine she was thoroughly disgusted and declined his ever so generous offer. Then he asked her if she would like a ride home, which she also (I can imagine ever so gracefully) refused and informed him that he would find a ride home. Yeah, I couldn't believe it when this guy told me this story. It just didn't even cross his mind that this was an improper thing to do or maybe imprudent. He simply decided to do what he would like and didn't give her a moment's consideration. Amazing! So funny.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Actually, I'm a Big Fan of Yo-Yo Ma

Ok, so I lied in the title of this post, I'm really not. But I didn't want this to seem like another trite, boring post about the inauguration. My reasoning for that is I didn't really want to write about the inauguration itself much. It was a great occasion and I'm happy I was able to view it. A lot of what interested me were the things surrounding the actual inauguration though. As I was viewing the ceremonies, I think I was most taken with the beauty of the performance of the quartet. They played some absolutely gorgeous music. Of course the lead in was a bit funny. When I watched it the first time, I was chatting with my roommate Jordan on Facebook. It had stuck out to me that a lot of the crowd cheered quite heavily when they heard the name of Yo-Yo Ma. Maybe it's just me, but I really don't think anybody who is a true fan of Yo-Yo Ma would be cheering for him. Classical music just doesn't typically get that kind of cheering. So really I think this was just a case of the mindless mob recognizing a name and cheering because that's special. Of course I did notice the first time they also cheered a bit for the pianist (I didn't recognize her name) and on a second viewing, I noticed they cheered a fair bit for Itzhak Perlman (but still neither compared to Yo-Yo Ma). The cheering of the mindless mob really seemed to sum up a lot of the Obama election for me.

Of course I also noticed the repeated cheering of "O-bahm-mah" over and over. It really got me to thinking about how perfect of a name he really has for the crowd to chant incessantly. Just kind of one of those lil "That's interesting" things I noticed.

As a final note, more on par with the inauguration, the New York Times had a blog post about the actual inauguration itself. In it they mention the rather botched nervousness possessed by President Obama and Chief Justice John Roberts. I guess, although mostly to Chief Justice Roberts' blame, President Obama never recited the actual oath as recorded in the Constitution. I guess there's some "Lame Duck" Amendment or something that supposedly automatically transfers power, but according to the original Constitution, I'm not sure he's actually president. Of course then I'm not sure who is.

UPDATE: Obama redid the oath. Case closed.

UPDATE PART TWO: Biden takes a shot at John Roberts for messing up on the oath.

UPDATE PART THREE: The oath was performed the second time without a Bible. Guess that might make some of the people that didn't like the idea of it happy.

UPDATE PART FOUR: Some media backlash occurred because of rather limited access for the redo of the oath. I don't think is going to be too big of a deal though.

UPDATE ON YO-YO MA: So apparently the quartet didn't actually play the music live, it was prerecorded.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Well I already discussed Roland Burris, and so this might seem a bit backwards discussing Governor Rod Blagojevich now, but here it goes anyway. In case you haven't gotten most of the background information about the circumstances, Governor Blagojevich is accused of attempting to sell Barack Obama's Senate seat. It looks like it should be a rather open and shut case. The FBI has been investigating Pay-Rod for quite some time and has many audio recordings concerning his dealings. Frankly, the guy doesn't seem like a particularly good guy in general and kind of a jerk. Immediately after he was charged, many called for him to step down and resign as governor. Of course he emphatically refused to give up the fight and insisted he would continue forward as the governor. One of the big issues as well was the potential of Barack Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, having conversations with the governor about the Senate seat, which of course turned out to be rather innocuous. Impeachment talks began shortly thereafter but certainly took a decent while to come to fruition. Before any real action was taken against Blago, he appointed Roland Burris to Barack Obama's Senate seat. Shortly thereafter he was finally impeached by a landslide 114-1. Currently he is still awaiting trial both in front of the Senate and the federal courts.

So I would typically say this is a rather quick open and shut case, but there are a lot of things that seem a bit fishy here. First of all, the Federal Prosecutor seemed to leave the state legislature in the dark concerning a lot of the proceedings. He didn't seem to give them much in the way of assistance in helping them to get the man out of office. I guess there was some talk about him being concerned he might hurt his own case, which is logical, but it seems like if he's really done something so wrong, that shouldn't be too big of an issue. We'll see. Also, the legislature sure took their time to get up the gumption to finally impeach the guy. I mean they let him beat them to the punch by appointing somebody before they could do anything. According to Burris' representatives, Blago and Burris really have no relationship, so this only makes Pay-Rod look innocent. Brilliant move by him to attempt to save his hide. Finally, this guy seems really confident that he will be exonerated. Most individuals that seem to get caught up in something like this resign. Maybe he's insane, I definitely have read some things stating that he is a different guy to say the least. Then again, maybe he knows something we don't all know. Maybe he has that ace up his sleeve. Maybe his lawyers have done their homework and have found some sort of loophole or maybe he never really committed a crime. You would expect the Federal Prosecutor and the FBI to be on the right track as far as their actions, but you never really know. As I stated earlier, I would expect this guy to go to prison for what he did under normal circumstances, but the oddity it seems to be playing out with is incredible. I guess we'll find out pretty soon what really is going on.

(Picture from Getty Images)

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Roland Burris

So I realize this is almost to a point that it's practically blown over, but I still think it is a rather interesting topic for discussion and such. If you're even remotely up on your news you should know a little something about the political scandal in Illinois with Governor Rod Blagojevich. If you don't, I'll have a link to a blog post I plan to do about it sometime soon. The key issue at heart of the scandal is the prized Obama Senate Seat. Illinois law currently dictates that the governor makes that choice and through some rather odd circumstances, that man was Roland Burris. Now I'll admit, I'm not particularly up on Illinois politics and such and I'm not terribly aware of Mr. Burris. I have read some things here and there about his political experience, which seems reasonable enough. Of course a variety of issues have arisen as far as the seating of Mr. Burris.

1. Pay-Rod is dirty. Really that is the core issue here. Federal authorities arrested the governor for attempting to sell the Senate seat. That really is where everything runs from there. You have a guy who is rather sketchy who tried to sell the Senate seat originally, which if he were to make an appointment would be sketchy. So sure enough, when he decided to appoint Burris it was a questionable move to say the least. The Illinois legislature finally impeached Blagojevich, but that wasn't until after his seating of Burris as the new Senator from Illinois. The simple placement by a dirty governor definitely makes people ask questions though.

2. Is Burris clean? Since Burris was the eventual choice of a man who allegedly sought to sell the Senate seat, it seems like Burris might have somehow enticed Blagojevich to give him the seat. More than likely if it was actually sold, the federal authorities would have caught onto that and they both would be on trial right now, so that probably didn't happen. However, it is possible that Burris pulled some sort of unethical/illegal strings to earn the seat. I think this is a rather far fetched theory, but it is a possibility given the history. It does appear from what people have looked into as far as things that Burris is clean though.

3. Democracy. This really is my biggest beef with the whole system of it. Why do we have a vote only to turn around and appoint somebody instead? This is an office that is typically done by election, why does it change when somebody decides to leave their office mid-term? I do understand that logistically it does make sense to have somebody in the seat to enable the state of Illinois to still have that vote in the Senate, but frankly it seems like it's a bigger deal that the state of Illinois is represented by the person the people want to represent them. Maybe they could have an interim appointee that is placed while the election is conducted to make sure that they don't miss out if it's really that big of a deal (Yes, arguably that is the system that already is in place, but I'm talking about something VERY short term). It seems like an election is vital. Maybe I'm being a bit ridiculous, but it just seems like it puts too much power in the hands of the governor and the person who is appointed to that seat. Incumbents win elections rather easily and so it seems like the appointee would quite likely win reelection if they so desired, so it seems like the democratic process is circumvented even more. Of course, prudence is certainly needed in this matter altogether. I do feel like it is important that we have individuals in the Senate working. Of course we have a similar issue (minus the scandal) occurring in New York, but the governor there is dragging his feet. Caroline Kennedy, or some other individual, has still not been seated there. That seems ridiculous because the needs of the state must be looked after, they need to protect their interest in the Congress. The state has a lot of issues, but this is a quick one to fix to make sure the state can have a say on the federal level. Of course here's a lack of democracy yet again, which I still don't like.

4. The Senate. This is somewhat of a non-issue now, but for a bit, Harry Reid insisted that he had the authority to deny Burris the Senate seat. Of course it became rather apparent that assuming he had the proper credentials, he was good to go. Currently it appears that he will be in fact seated. Frankly, it seems like this was a ridiculous notion by Harry Reid because the Senate should not have this kind of ability, especially if there is no criminal investigation into such a person. If they were to have "free" reign over the ability to seat Senators they could freeze out any opposition whatsoever. It would create an absolute mess.

So all of this has certainly created some interesting drama around Washington. I think my conclusions to all of this are not quite that simple. I won't approach the Blagojevich topic here, look for it in another post, that really is part of the equation, but unfortunately because of the nature of Illinois state law and the slothfulness of the Illinois state legislature to block Blagojevich, I think we just have to accept that an appointment was made and we can't change that. It looks like from everything I've seen, Burris seems like a reasonably good choice for the seat. He seems like a decent individual and politician. I'm sure there could have been better choices out there, but I don't think he'll disappoint. I must say I wasn't the most impressed with his handling of asserting his seat, rather than being a bit more cooperative. He has to know that he was given the post by a rather dirty individual, so asserting so heavily that it is basically his possession seems unfair and unwise. Of course I can understand why he pushed so hard, but hopefully he hasn't made any enemies through the process. It would be a sad thing if the state of Illinois had a severe handicap while dealing with the federal government due to this issue.

My key conclusion about the whole thing though is certainly democracy. I just can't fathom why on earth we can't have elections for this kind of thing. Yes, elections aren't the easiest things to stage and they certainly cost a bit of cash. But isn't democracy worth it? Isn't it worth it to make sure that the people have a voice in something like this? I understand there is the argument that our elected officials (i.e. the governor) have been put in place to handle situations such as this, but why do we have elections in the first place for this particular position of Senator if democracy is so callously circumvented? Hopefully we learn from this debacle and come up with a better system, especially one more true to the tenets of democracy.

UPDATE: Politico just ran an article this morning about the difficulty of Burris assuming his Senate seat. The Dems aren't too happy with how everything went down and the GOP sees him as a symbol of what is wrong with America. He makes a perfect target. The Dems claim they will be okay with him if he will fall into party lines, which seems like a childish thing to say, but is probably rather true. He isn't likely to receive support from his party if he seeks reelection and he will probably always be seen as somewhat of an outsider and his legitimacy/the legality of his appointment will always be questioned. That of course coming from the questionable appointment from Governor Blagojevich. Money Quote: an advisor from Burris' staff when questioned on Burris' relationship with the governor stated that Burris "really had no relationship" with the governor and opposed his 2002 gubernatorial bid. If that's really the case, why on earth did Pay-Rod appoint him? I understand the "political wisdom" in severing ties with a man that is so dirty, but claiming that you have no ties to the man who appointed you whatsoever seems like something fishy is going on. We'll see how this plays out.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

New Year, New Ideas

OK, so maybe my title is a little misleading. I make it sound like this post will be about New Year's and resolutions and other goofy things like that and honestly, it won't be. Actually what this post is about is first and foremost me neglecting my blog. I haven't written in a decent while, although I did attempt a doomed dabbling in my sports blog. I think the problem there was it was technically too generalized, but at the same time all I was speaking about were bowl games. Also, I was a bit too lazy with it. I'm thinking about changing it over to a BYU sports blog, but we'll see. Also, I need to get cracking on the 203 blog, but I guess we'll see how that goes because I'm not planning on putting anything more into that than anybody else does. So that means if I start posting and nobody else contributes, I will probably just let it die. Pretty pathetic on both accounts, I know.

But there is reason for me to hope. As I think everybody knows by now, I really like the news. I keep up on it heavily and am always posting articles to my wall on Facebook and such. Well, over the break there was mostly a dearth of news (I wrote a status update about it). I mean seriously, the most exciting thing was what flavor of shaved ice was Barack Obama's favorite. That's really started changing for a large part more recently. Now there's Blagojevich, Burris (which is partially the same thing, but there is more to it than that), Israel-Palestine, and various other topics. Something I see different about a lot of these types of topics: They are great for discussion. I love posting quirky news but a lot of that comes at face value. Also, certain topics are so politically loaded (e.g. abortion, the environment, and presidential candidates) that I feel like the sides are drawn and no useful discussion is really going to flow from it. However, I feel like in a lot of these cases (maybe not Israel-Palestine as much) things are a bit more neutral or most people are on the same side (or maybe neither and it's more of a fence-sitter kind of thing), but there are still interesting ideas to be discussed. So with this I'm going to start exploring these topics in posts and hopefully getting some good discussion going. I guess that's probably all presumptuous because that would require a reading base and I really don't have one. I guess there's always potentially hope and no harm in trying. But we'll see how it goes. I'm going to approach topics in a particular order, but that's mostly because of the time in which I see the issue as either falling out of the news or being resolved. So really it's not because I value one more than another or find anything more interesting. I find them all very interesting and this was mostly sparked by a good discussion I had with my good friend Jordan about some of these topics. But we'll see where it all goes from here.