Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lent for Protestants

Even though I am not a Catholic, I have decided to give up something for Lent. No more sodas (even though I usually only have a diet coke at lunch) for 40 days (without replacing it with ice tea - just water). We will see how that goes and how I feel after Easter.

Shameless Plug For My Son's High School Band

On Tuesday evening, February 24, 2009, the Brentsville District High School Concert (intermediate) and Symphonic (advanced) bands gave a performance in order to practice for an upcoming music festival competition. The first three songs were performed by the combined Concert and Symphonic bands (the 8th grade band from Marstellar Middle School also performed three songs in the middle of the concert) and the last three songs were performed by the Symphonic band alone.
My son plays trombone - he's the second from the end, back row, right side of the stage (who does not sit up straight so you would otherwise see him better!)
The first (combined) piece was "Peace March Jubilee" by Karl Kung (arranged by Swearingen)

The second (combined) piece was "Prelude and Dance" by Elliot Del Borgo

The third (combined) piece was "Decennium" by John Edmondson

The first (advanced) piece was
"Medal of Valor" by Steve Hodges

The second (advanced) piece was
"Chant and Jubilo" by Francis McBeth

The third and final (advanced) piece was
"The Gathering of the Ranks at Hebron" by David Holsinger

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

State Schools for Students from the State

When my daughter, now a freshman at George Mason University, was considering her options for colleges, we were surprised to learn that outstanding students from our own state (Virginia) might have a tough time getting accepted into its premier four-year institutions, in particular the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and Virginia Tech. As a recent Washington Post article points out, our state representatives have finally noticed and are considering what they can do to improve the opportunities for Virginia high school students with exceptional academic credentials for acceptance in public colleges and universities closer to home.
It is hard for anyone to justify to me how, when all things being equal between two applicants, one from in-state and one from out-of-state, to UVA that the student from out-of-state would get the nod simply because they would provide the school with more income due to the higher tuition rates.
"We are opposed to a specific hard cap, particularly when the budget is the way it is," said Fran Bradford, associate vice president for government relations at William and Mary. "To take away that source of revenue and, frankly, to take away some of our finest students is a little bit of a challenge."
Now, I know that the schools have to be concerned with ensuring they have sufficient funds to operate, but the above comment clearly indicates that the school administration is more concerned with revenues - the schools are turning away some of their finest students for the sake of cash flow. Hopefully, the Virginia legislature will be able to level the playing field in order to permit Virginia's finest students the opportunity to benefit from the exceptional educational institutions in their home state.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Dr. Anne Wortham - Great American

I received an email copy of a brilliant essay by Dr. Anne Wortham that I am compelled to share with whomever may trip across my rants. (I was able to quickly google it!) Titled "No He Can't," Dr. Wortham's open letter to America is both brilliant and sobering and should be widely read by one and all. What I take away from her essay is that it does not and should not matter what skin color our president has; what matters is his vision for our country and his plans to achieve that vision and she does not support him (neither do I). The beauty of the American Experience and Experiment is the opportunity to succeed and liberals are clueless and are recklessly destroying our way of life.
By the way, Dr. Wortham is a self-described liberal and she's black too (obviously a women too - my proper use of the pronoun "she" ought to be a good indicator).

Media Bias Plus Racial Bias Equals Crap

The Reverend Al Sharpton ought to have a nice steaming cup of "shut the fuck up" and shame on the New York Times for apologizing for a political cartoon that no more equated President Obama to a monkey than there is a man in the moon. Where was the uproar when artist Chris Savido parodied President Bush in a painting that was later reproduced above the Holland Tunnel for all to see? In my opinion, it is Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the rest of the "black leadership" that sustains the notion that racial problems continue to be widespread and national devisive. Without the continued misconception that we are a nation that is racial divided, they are out of business and out of their positions of power and influence. I say it is about time!

Hillary Scores One For The Home Team

Those who know me know that there is no way in heaven or hell I could even remotely be considered a Clintonista, but at least this Reuters article suggests that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is willing to be direct in attending to the problems that persist between the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (North Korea) and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). It is about time we told Pyongyang to quit behaving like a petulant child and grow up.
"North Korea is not going to get a different relationship with the United States while insulting and refusing dialogue with (South Korea)," Clinton said in Seoul, the third stop of her Asia tour.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New Joke - Londoners

Here's a link to the latest joke I posted on my web site. Particularly funny (to me, at least) because of my wife's passion for her red rocket Porsche.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

It Pays To Pay Attention

When I first heard of the proposal to implement a limit on the salary paid to an executive of a company that received federal assistance (bailout money), my immediate thought was "good idea." The version that I heard indicated that direct compensation would be limited to an annual salary of $500,000 (quite a bit more than I make!) and any additional compensation would have to be in the form of shares of company stock. Since there would be restrictions on the shares regarding value and when they could be sold (hopefully for a profit), there would be considerable incentive to improve the performance of the company thereby increasing the value of the stock - for the executive as well as the average shareholder.
But then the specifics have begun to come to light, where it is harder to withstand the proper scrutiny it deserves, and it is apparent to me, at least, that the whole proposal is just more grandstand politics. As Jim Jubak aptly explains, the salary cap is a joke! That horse has already left the barn! The cap will not be applied retroactively thus having little to no actual value to the shareholders of these companies let alone the taxpayer. Pay attention people, there is going to be a quiz and you will need your wallet instead of a number two pencil!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shame on you, Michael Phelps

I know that there are a few potentially embarrassing episodes from my past that might cause me to blush now, but then again I have never had nor will likely have the level of opportunity, fame, and income as Olympic Champion Michael Phelps. What a knucklehead! Even though he is technically an adult according to the law, where are his parents and why are they not keeping a closer eye on the obviously still maturing swimming prodigee? Thank goodness there are at least a few of us out in the mass of (formerly) adoring fans that are not willing to give him a pass. Simply expressing a heartfelt mea culpa is not enough, as this Washington Post article by Michael Wilbon so succinctly explains. Don't forget - he made the same sort of prostration for mercy after his DUI four years ago!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pearl Harbor Redux - Part II

Thank goodness that there are still some reasonably sane people in charge of part of our military. At least the current Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughhead, recognizes the importance of deploying our aircraft carrier forces in order to reduce the probability of catastrophe of keeping all of them in one location (Norfolk Naval Station) and is willing to fight for moving at least one carrier to Mayport Naval Station in Florida.

Where's The Change We Can Believe In?

There's already one cabinet level position that has been filed in the new Obama administration wherein the nominee, Timothy Geithner, somehow got a pass on failure to pay taxes and was confirmed to be Treasury Secretary. But that pales in comparison to what is going on now with former Senator Tom Daschle, Obama's nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary. IMHO, So far, the only thing that has changed is the Obama family mailing address. Apparently, the Democrats do not see a problem with raising taxes since they do not pay them anyway.