Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Is Barack Obama Really Person of the Year?

In what is perhaps one of the most overhyped stories of the year, Time Magazine named their 2012 Person of the Year on Wednesday. With all of the compelling stories that happen on a yearly basis, there are always going to be plenty of candidates to choose from, but this year’s winner ended up being President Barack Obama. It marks the second time that he has captured the honor (the magazine seems to have a thing about calling it an “award”), having also done so in 2008 when he became the first African-American elected President.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Newtown Shooting: Obama Speaks, And a Coda on Mental Health

"No matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a nation.

“And in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Newtown Shooting: The Time for Action Is Now

Normally, I try to avoid using first person pronouns whenever I write up a blog post, but today, I feel compelled to abandon that practice. Rather than writing as someone who is potentially practicing for a future career as a journalist, I am writing today as a citizen not only concerned for the future of our country, but also concerned about the state of the world that I am likely going to be bringing children into within the next few years.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Great Performances, Timely Reminders Make Lincoln an Instant Classic

Around this time of year, you are going to inevitably get an influx of movies that are designed with only one purpose in mind: gaining Oscar nominations and wins for their stars and directors. A few years back, you had "Atonement", a movie that wouldn't have found release at any other time of year. You have also had movies like "Dreamgirls" (Eddie Murphy) and "Push: A Novel by Sapphire" (Mo'Nique) that featured comedians dirtying themselves up for dramatic effect in an effort to win statuettes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Papa John's Stance Against Obamacare: Worthy of Praise or Derision?

Ever since President Barack Obama was re-elected to a second term last Tuesday, we have been getting all sorts of reactions from those who opposed his candidacy. Whether it is the slew of secession petitions that have flooded official White House websites, or people like Charles Krauthammer and Rush Limbaugh who seem to think that the Republican Party need only tweak one or two things to right their ship, you have seen the gamut run from smug confidence to full blown panic among Obama’s opponents.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Future and Past Blend for a Great Ride in "Skyfall"

Author's Note: When I first created this blog earlier this year, I did so with the intention of flexing the various writing tools in my arsenal. Movie reviews were supposed to be part of the gig, but this is actually my first one, so I beg and plead with you to be open with criticism, but also forgive me if the piece isn't exactly a great piece of writing. :) 

Before Daniel Craig took over the role of James Bond in 2006’s “Casino Royale”, the common assumption about Bond was that he was a globe-trotting, martini swilling, gun firing debonair with a passion for women, fast cars, and always getting the mad genius that he was after. Whether it was Sean Connery or Pierce Brosnan, the character of Bond was about cleaning up nicely and dressing to the nines.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Yay or Nay: Examining Positives and Negatives of a Top-Two Primary

With all of the attention that has been lavished on dark money pouring into the election system, as well as the voter suppression efforts taking place in states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida (and rightfully so), comparatively little attention has been paid to the benefits that early voting has been bringing into this year’s election.

Early voting is such an integral part of our democracy now that President Barack Obama became the first candidate for the office to ever cast his ballot early, doing so in Chicago during a recent stop-over on a cross-country tour promoting his re-election bid.

Here in Arizona, early voting by mail has also had a great benefit, because a voter can sit at home in front of his or her laptop and fill out the various propositions and judicial retentions without feeling rushed in the voting booth, or being forced to bring a slate to the polling place to keep all of their votes straight on each measure.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Comin' Out Swinging: Thoughts on Joe Biden's Approach vs. Paul Ryan

Much like the man in “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” who protests that he is, in fact, not dead yet, reports of Mitt Romney’s demise were “greatly exaggerated” before last week’s first Presidential Debate with incumbent Barack Obama. He ended up winning in the eyes of many in the debate, and the poll numbers since then have shown that result has really turned the race around. According to Nate Silver’s blog, Obama’s chances of winning the election have dropped from 87.1% on October 4th to 66.1% as of Thursday. Granted, this still gives him a two-thirds majority to win, but with polls showing Florida and Colorado starting to swing toward Romney, that percentage could decline further.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Obama vs. Romney: The Good, The Bad, and the Debate Over Victory

If you’ve been following news coverage over the past few weeks of the Presidential election, there are a couple of things that you certainly would have noticed. The first of those is that President Barack Obama is pulling ahead in the polls in several key swing states, including Ohio and Florida. In fact, Nate Silver’s blog has given him about an 85% chance of winning the election according to a summation of all the polling data available, so things were starting to look bleak for the president’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

Just as emphasized as the widening gap between the two candidates was the narrative spun by both sides in attempting to paint themselves as the underdogs in the Presidential Debates, which began on Wednesday night in Colorado. The Romney campaign released a memo asserting that the president would focus on undermining his challenger rather than presenting a clear set of objectives for his second term in office, while Obama and crew said that he didn’t consider himself the front runner and that he expected Romney to win. This posturing definitely resembled that of any major sporting event, where both teams are trying to grab the underdog mantel and run with it so that they have that motivating factor behind them as they attempt to get psyched up for a game.

Monday, September 3, 2012

An Essay on Platforms and the Hypocrisy of Barack Obama

Last week in Tampa, Florida, the Republican Party held its Convention (you may have heard some reports about talking to chairs, or something), and they adopted a platform that was, frankly, viewed with disdain by liberals and some independents.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

We (Kind of) Built That: Five Thoughts from Day One of the RNC

Every night of both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, I am going to do some type of recap of the events that transpired both on the convention floor, as well as in the media surrounding the event. I’m going to try to call out both party’s on any shenanigans that they pull, as well as praise them if they deserve it, but from the word “go”, understand I’m a liberal, so some bias might kick in.

Did You Really “Build That”, GOP?
The theme of the opening night of the Republican National Convention was the term “We built that”, a reference to a speech made by President Barack Obama in Virginia earlier this year. The GOP has seized upon this quote and made it into a rallying cry about how the President believes that the only road to success is paved with government succor (and yes, I deliberately used this metaphor to emphasize the stupidity of the whole thing), and there are a couple of moments tonight that really hammered home the absurdity of the whole spectacle.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts on Coarsening of Discourse, and What I Plan to Do About It

If there is one narrative that is dominating the 2012 Presidential Race in the United States, it is that of the deterioration of our public discourse. Yes, there has been plenty of talk about women’s rights issues, a surprising lack of talk about the economy, and a fair amount of discussion about the social safety net, but the main overarching theme that has united all Americans in a state of pained anger is the one concerning the thought of “do these guys have a fucking clue as to who they’re supposed to be representing?”

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Personal Post on Struggling With Writer's Block

For those of you who are familiar with my work, there are several things that I hope you have noticed. Whenever I have an opinion, I try not only to make every effort to express it in thought-provoking ways, but also to make reference to the opinions that run contrary to mind. This fair-minded approach especially comes in handy when it comes to my political polemics, and even if I feel passionately about something, I take great care to emphasize that my opinion is mine, and not necessarily the “correct” one.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan: A Match Made for All the Wrong Reasons

“They got the ticket in the right order.”

Those words were uttered by Vice President Joe Biden on numerous occasions, but for the purposes of this blog post I will cite them to Jonathan Alter’s excellent book “The Promise: Year One”, his account of the first year and change of the administration of President Barack Obama.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Obamacare Upheld: Why This Bill is Better than You Think

On Thursday, the Supreme Court handed down one of its most important decisions in recent memory. In a stunning 5-4 vote, they elected to uphold the Affordable Care Act, which has been arguably the biggest piece of legislation that President Barack Obama has helped shepherd through Congress.

The bill, controversial thanks to many provisions including the requirement that all individuals buy health insurance or suffer fines, was saved by a vote from Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush who stunned observers by changing his vote at the last minute.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Scott Walker Wins, But What is the Real Lesson Here?

It all started out so well for opponents of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Over 900,000 voters in the state signed petitions to initiate a recall election, and the protests that have rocked the state over Walker's scaling back of union rights seemed to indicate that there was a groundswell of support for a regime change at the top of the state government.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Thoughts on What a Scott Walker Win Would REALLY Mean

Even though the elections of 2012 are still five months away, arguably the second biggest electoral battle in the United States will take place this Tuesday. In the state of Wisconsin, known as a fairly reliable bellwether in terms of predicting the political mood of the country at any given time, a recall election will pit incumbent Republican governor Scott Walker against Democratic opponent Tom Barrett, the current mayor of Milwaukee.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Thoughts on NATO, and Reactions to the Protests

Author's Note: It feels tremendous to be posting something on this blog again. It's been nearly two months, but I love having this forum to air my beefs, etc. Thanks for reading! 

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

When the Founding Fathers gathered to sign the US Constitution in 1787, it was done with the knowledge that they would quickly add a Bill of Rights as amendments to that document. People like Thomas Jefferson had wanted it inserted into it even before it was ratified, but the fact of the matter is that they got it in there quickly, and rights like the ones above, listed as the First Amendment to the Constitution, were added in short order.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Round-up of My Latest Posts Around the Web

Figured I should update this blog since I've been posting more often for all of my writing gigs.

Here's a quick rundown of where I am right now in my journey towards becoming a professional scribe:

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Even in Apology, Limbaugh's Hypocrisy Renders His Words Absurd

If an average American citizen was to name a mascot for talk radio, they would inevitably mention one of two people: Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. If that definition were narrowed to "political talk radio", then Limbaugh would be the winner going away. With an audience of tens of millions hanging on his every word, a legion of followers who willingly and gleefully refer to themselves as "dittoheads", Limbaugh may not hold an elected office in either Congress or the national Republican party, but there are few if any folks on the right side of the aisle who have the breadth of influence that he does.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Hockey Writers: Thoughts on Joel Quenneville

As an unabashed Blackhawks fan in my personal hockey life, I am still in a state of shock at the team's recent losing streak, as well as the rumors flying about the possible firing of Joel Quenneville.

As a hockey columnist for The Hockey Writers, I take a more neutral viewpoint of the situation, focusing not on what Quenneville has meant to me as a Hawks fan, but instead where he will end up should Chicago can him.

You can check that out at this link:

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Political Musings: Obama Backs Super-PAC, Illustrates Need for Reform

Four years ago, President Barack Obama ran on a platform of "change we can believe in". He kept hammering home the point over and over again that Washington, and that we should trust an outsider like him to fix what was ailing our country and our government. The American public by and large bought into Obama's campaign, and they elected him by a huge margin over Republican nominee John McCain.

With the 2012 election looming, most experts are pointing to it as a referendum mostly on the economy, so the Obama campaign is already revving into high gear to highlight the positive things that the president has done in that regard. Whether it be bringing jobless rates down to their lowest levels since 2007, helping the stock market to its highest levels since before 9/11, or the successful killing of Osama bin Laden, the president and his campaign are already putting their financial ducks in a row in order to ensure that the American people know full well everything that Obama has done in his term in office.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Political Musings: Gabrielle Giffords A Symbol We All Must Emulate

On January 8th, 2011, a little known United States Representative named Gabrielle Giffords went from being just a Democrat in a hotly contested district to being the victim of an atrocious act of violence that had the potential to reshape the civil discourse throughout the country.

A gunman opened fire at a shopping center in Tuscon, Arizona on that fateful day as Giffords was addressing voters at an event, killing six people and wounding thirteen others, including the Congresswoman. She was shot in the head during the chaos that followed, and her prognosis looked bleak as newscasters across the country laid out the shocking details for a stunned public.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Sports Bank: A Look at Some Cubs Prospects

I took a look at some of the prospects that President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein and General Manager Jed Hoyer have to work with in the Cubs' minor league system today over at The Sports Bank. I focused on position players today, and will have a post up about some pitchers on the rise tomorrow.

I'm also working on getting another post up at either The Hockey Writers or The Golf Writers, but nothing definitive yet. See, that's the beauty of the blog: I don't always have to have the answers. :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Political Musings: Thoughts on Scott Walker's Recall and Rick Perry's Demise

For two of the more controversial governors in the United States. the last few days have been particularly eventful. They may be in the headlines for different reasons, but Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) and Rick Perry (R-Texas) both are worthy of examination, and seem to make a fine pair to kick off this blog's political coverage as we gear up for yet another election year (it certainly feels like these happen more than once every two years, right?).

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Introducing the Blog

Since I'm an incredibly lazy person with little money or initiative, I decided that instead of going through the hassle of buying a domain name and setting everything up with great care, I was going to set up a Blogspot account and post some stuff on here.

The only question worth asking here, of course, is what you can expect here. As you probably know, I write for a bunch of different websites, so I'll be posting the links here to those pieces, along with a little background information if the situation calls for it. I'll also be posting some unique stuff on here, whether it's a travelogue, a movie or book review, or something political that will likely get me ostracized from most of my circles of friends.

Unfortunately, I don't have much to write about tonight, but with the weekend ahead of us, I'm sure that I'll get serious about this and post some stuff. Until then, au revoir, and thanks for stopping by what hopefully is the start of a really cool side project.