Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas 2007

These are my awesome children! Jack, Amanda, Chris (the boss), Megan and Cam the man.

Sitting around our front yard fire pit dressed in black by their mother, they have called a peace treaty for 30 seconds and appear happy and content. This picture gives me hope.

From right to left here's what's happening with these wonderful youngsters:

1. Jack - Jack is 11 and is a sharp young man in school and out of school. He just finished up playing fall soccer and was more aggressive on the field than ever before. He's a real Boy Scout now and will soon be in his Uncle Tim's troop and things will really start moving forward in his scouting endeavors.

2. Amanda is our angel and we are blessed by the Lord to have her in our lives. It is difficult at times to have to live a "normal" life with someone so unique in our home. We could spend our entire day catering to this little girl, but life is constantly calling each of us with its cares. What a pleasure it is to push the rest of the world aside for a moment and only consider Amanda. She is potty trained and in school this year which is HUGE. She loves to swing and to collect items from all around the house and bring them into one central location - her room! If you are missing something you just go to Amanda's room.

3. Chris is 16 and as mentioned in a previous post is now an Eagle Scout. Katie and I are proud of Chris and his accomplishments in Scouting - he is his grandfather's eighth Eagle Scout. This year his cross country team took home the state championship and I think I've got him talked into running his first marathon in March on Catalina Island. He is a huge college football fan and cheers for the Irish every Saturday. He studies hard and sleeps hard!

4. Megan is our big girl in a little package who gets your attention in a hurry! She loves her cousins (the female ones), her friends and horses. Somehow Dad has to figure out how to get her on a horse this year. We could stable one on the property but I don't think we're really "horse people." It would be better to find a riding program for Meg and see how things go from there. Megan is the little girl we always wanted to have!

5. Cam rounds out the group and is finishing up 8th grade this year. He is an excellent student and is doing very well in scouting. He's in Uncle Tim's troop and will be our next Eagle Scout! Cam played football last fall but is taking it easy at the moment - Cam is a special young man and I believe will be a giant like a number of his cousins.

Well that's it... Katie and I are happy and healthy and working on the most important job we've got right now - our family.


Monday, December 11, 2006

"Obama finds Osama!"

I would vote for this guy for President of the United States just for the outside chance he could catch Osama bin Laden. If he could - this would be the coolest newspaper headline since "Expert Says Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash."

Here it is...

"Obama Finds Osama!"


When I was a freshman in high school Barack Obama was a junior. I don't know if he was popular or an athlete or anything else about him because we didn't attend the same school...

So what's the point? My point is this guy is too young to be the next president of the United States of America! At 45 he still puts streaks in his underwear and forgets to brush his teeth occasionally. What does he know about foreign policy, the military or how things work inside the beltway?

I know he went to Columbia and Harvard (like the rest of us), but he he doesn't know jack about too many things a potential POTUS needs to know - and he knows it! Check this out from today's USA Today article:

Obama said it is "a little surprising" to him and completely baffling to his wife that he's become a media darling. He's either full of crap or needs to attend another Ivy League school to get a clue! Mr. Obama knows exactly what he's doing and he's not surprised... he's working his plan.

The real challenge I have with Obama is that I could vote for him (and not because of the potential newspaper headline), he's got the mojo... he's thoughtful, articulate, well educated and sharp looking. Unfortunately he's a democrat and so at some point he'll have to support the following whether he wants to or not to get his parties nomination:

1. Abortion on Demand
2. Limiting the 2nd Amendment
3. Raising my taxes, your taxes and his taxes
4. Demonizing current republican leaders and anyone who supports the republican platform
5. Anything else it will take for him to get elected within democrat circles and enough penetration into republican circles...

This guys seems too good to be true, but if he can prevent Hillary Clinton from getting that parties nomination, I'll send him a few bucks...


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

The News Media and Politics

It's tough getting non-biased news today. Everyone knows that Fox News is leaning to the right and CNN is leaning to the left. The time has never been more critical to be an independent thinker, because if you watch network or cable news thinking your getting "the news," think again.

The truth is you'll be getting the networks slant or the hosts slant on the issues. In some time slots you have a liberal bias and in the next slot you have a conservative bias. Except on Fox. Alan Colmes is the loan liberal talking head. Your best bet... do your homework, weigh every issue and make up your own mind.

As a conservative, I can think of a few biased republican program hosts - Bill O'Reilly and Shawn Hannity are the most extreme. When these two guys start going overboard everyone sees it, including conservative republicans. Of course it's even more obvious when liberal hosts tee up their ball of crap. Here are two that rub me wrong the most:

Keith Olbermann - This guy is the worst person hosting anything. Although ESPN is a better network since he left, I can't say the same for MSNBC, their ratings are in the toilet and Olbermann appears to be a self righteousness liberal blow hard. His daily "special comment" in which he gets to say whatever he wants about anyone without backing up his assertions is lame. Listen to him and you'd think George Bush is Satan and Dick Chaney is... well Satan. They are both evil to the core according to Blolbermann.

What can you say about Keith that's nice? "He reads like a champion." I've never seen anyone say everything so precisley since CJ Craig and the West Wing left NBC. What does he do best... he throws a mean paper wad to end his show - and it is a show. It's not news people.

Chris Matthews - Mr. Paper wad (I mean Hardball), Matthews comes across as very sharp and also very biased. He leads guests with direct questions that fit his agenda. Chris seems like he is... well... stuck up. That's it - he's stuck up and he knows more than you and I about everything political. We're lucky he's there to tell us how to vote.

Get informed... then take the best and leave the rest.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Help! I'm addicted to my TiVo

I hesitate to write even the first seven words of this post... because I am not a huge fan of network television shows. I have one that I really like (Lost), and one that I used to like a lot (The West Wing), but I haven't planned my entire evening around a TV set since I could not miss The Hulk, followed by the Duke's of Hazard and topped off with Dallas.

When my oldest son was just four or five years old I found him watching TV in the middle of the night and I turned off cable the next day. Since then, I've had an on again, off again affair with television. Cable, Satellite - you name it, we've had it, and gotton rid of it, multiple times.

Then came TiVo.

Now I am previewing all the new fall shows and picking the ones that I like the best. CSI, CSI Miami, CSI New York, CSI Salt Lake City... It's all possible thanks to TiVo or similar DVR devices. It's sick.

Some of my favorite shows to record...

The Colbert Report - Comedy Central - Liberal slam on the O'Reilly Factor - hilarious
Charlie Rose - PBS - Throw back to the old days of television interviews - some of the guests are fantastic
Lost - ABC - CANNOT WAIT for Season 3 - this is the best show on television
Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip - NBC - Took the place of The West Wing - I like it so far but they take A LOT of shots at Christians... what's up with that?
Arthur - PBS - I don't have to put on a DVD for Amanda - queuing a show up is faster than a DVD
60 Minutes - CBS - I can fast forward through all the crappy stories (usually 2 of the 3)
Decorating Sense - HGTV - Keeps me up on all the trends in decorating so I stay sharp... NOT - This is Katie's show

That's a pretty accurate list.

I watch these shows at various times, preferebly not during the hours they are actually ON which is what makes TiVo the cool technology that it is. You see when these shows are actually on, I should be playing catch, helping with homework or something else more important.

But back to TV... I'm not going to add any new programs until 24 comes back for it's new season. I hope Jack goes to Iraq and cleans up that mess up. That would be an awesome 24 episodes!


Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Law of Attraction

After months of someone recommending I check out a website that featured a presentation entitled The Secret I felt I had a reason to find it and took action.

It offered a DVD that would "show me the secret" to all of the happiness and success that humans enjoy. I was pretty sure I knew that secret and that it had more to do with religion than anything else, but when a claim like that is made who can wait for a DVD? So I bought access to see it online and for the next 90 minutes I didn't move.

This presentation was put together very well, never mind that it did outline the secret to all human success, I wanted to watch it! After I watched it I purchased several copies and gave them to a number of friends and associates as gifts. I kept one copy for myself and have recently committed to watching it once a week.

What's the secret? Well along with embracing Jesus Christ (which is NOT part of this presentation), the secret to having everything you want in life is The Law of Attraction. Much to my frustration this was not anything new to me. Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale had already taught me this principle of success.

However neither of those two gentlemen had digital production! The Secret is put together so well that the concepts that make up the law of attraction are more understandable and thus the opportunity to apply the law is greatly increased.

What's the Law of Attraction? Simply stated, the Law of Attraction implies that the thoughts that we hold in our minds become our reality. In other words, we create our reality in our minds first and then experience them second. Thus in this law lies the explanation for all success and all failure.

Now it is quite apparent to me, having known a large amount of very successful people and a number of unsuccessful people that this law is true. It is also apparent that some people use the law consciously and some use it unconsciously. For example many people I know who are successful have goals, plan regularly and read success oriented books all the time. I believe these people are conscious of the Law of Attraction.

I also know people who think that personal development is for other people and they just get things done. No matter, these people simply apply the Law of Attraction in an unconscious manner. They have always done so and so it just seems like common sense to them or they don't even want to take the time to think about it.

Let's not focus on those rare individuals and let's focus on ourselves. I love personal development. I believe it has changed my life for the better, but it has also left me with no excuses for poor results. Like my religious beliefs, my standing with God is in my own hands and will be a product of my own thoughts and actions. The Secret is much the same...

It is in my own hands to manage my thoughts and take action on positive thoughts and push out negative images. I like that. No excuses and no regrets that don't rest squarely on my shoulders. I dig it.

I highly recommend this DVD and I recommend you watch it often. Then take the major step of using it. It will change your life.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Abortion, Adoption and Hope for Humanity

One of the most disgusting images your eyes can ever come upon are the remains of a human fetus that has been aborted.

As usual, I Googled images that have something to do with the topic I'm writing about to give the post a little pop, and to drive home a point if needed. I just could not post what I found online. It is offensive. It is humanity at its worse conceivable level. Please don't go looking for those images...

My personal stand on abortion is simple... I believe abortion is a medical procedure and should not be used as a form of birth control. There are instances in which an abortion would be medically preferred to an actual birth. The examples usually given are rape and if the well being of the mother is in jeopardy.

I agree with those. There is no way I would lose my wife for my baby. We posess the power to create another child and I could not survive without her and neither could my children. I believe God would sort out the ramifications of our choice. That's the same position I would take in the case of a rape that results in pregnancy. It may be best for the health of the victim to terminate the pregnancy and again, I believe God would sort out the ramifications of those human choices.

It is clear that abortion is now accepted in the United States and that it is a hideous form of birth control.

Mother Teresa said "The greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion, which is war against the child. The mother doesn't learn to love, but kills to solve her own problems. Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want."

In my own life I have seen examples of where unwanted pregnancies carried to birth are positive experiences in the life of the mother and the child. I have also seen couples spend close to $15,000 to adopt a child from another country because they cannot find babies for adoption in this country.

I believe there must be negative psychological effects on a woman having an abortion. I cannot imagine carrying a child or childbirth, and I also cannot imagine being responsible for ending the life of a human being for no reason other than inconvenience.

Every evening in America there are tens of thousands of couples begging a Heavenly Being for a baby. When we can celebrate the choice to put a baby up for adoption instead of stigmatizing young mothers and focusing on their mistakes, we can lift the humanity of this country.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

JFK and Defending Democracy Around the World

John F. Kennedy said some amazing things during his life time. When I was in college I became fascinated with JFK and found a book on the speeches he gave during his adult political life.

Now there are speech writers and then there are people who give speeches - I believe Kennedy may have been both. If you go to his presidential library in Boston you can see written speeches that looked as if they were final drafts... only to have Kennedy personally make changes in the margins. A word added here, a new phrase there, but the changes would make the statement perfect and the ideas come to life.

During his 1961 inaugural speech President Kennedy made two remarks that lay the foundation for defending democracy around the world.

Quote 1
"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans, born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage, and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world!"

Kennedy layed the ground work for American political and military interest and intervention in other parts of the world that were free or pursuing freedom. "... and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today, at home and around the world."

The man most democrats would choose as the most influencial member of their party in the last 50 years clearly stood for pursuing democracy around the world. Almost every current democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate would stand against John F. Kennedy today, including his own brother.

Quote 2
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty."

We shall pay any price and oppose any foe to assure the survival and success of liberty. According to the first quote, not just in this country but around the world.

It amazes me to see how many democrats idolize JFK but don't agree with his politics and the things that he beleived to be right. Iraq is a serious challenge and our troops must come home quickly, but what we've tried to do there was worth pursuing. Read Kennedy's writings and you'll see that he would have agreed.


Friday, August 04, 2006

Endless Summer...

I didn't write once in July on - it was vacation month. Our trip to Imperial Beach, Cam's trip to Camp Geronimo and just general down time at the compound took up the entire month.

As August rolled in, its been very warm here in Scottsdale, almost too warm for man nor beast. The pool has been a wet and welcome respite from the heat. When the pool isn't enough I reach for a Dryers Tangerine fruit pop... and the world is right (for about 180 seconds until the thing has been inhaled.)

California was a great trip. We stayed in a beach house for two weeks that was just killer. Brand new and decked out. Amanda loved it and was contained and safe upstairs. When she got to the beach she was in heaven. Is she beautiful or what?

Cam and Chris turned a room without any windows into their official game room by taking my projector and playing xBox on an entire wall. Katie and I enjoyed the sound of the ocean all night. Megan enjoyed torchering the boys.

Jack really had a thrill over in Sea World. On the way in to see the Shamu show we stopped to ask someone if we could get some special seating for Amanda. The person we asked was in a wet suit and she was just looking at Jack the entire time I was asking her for help. Turns out she was the trainer designated to find someone for the Shamu Show... someone to star in the Shamu show.

So out of the blue she said, "how would you like to meet Shamu?" What do you say when someone asks if you want to meet a celebrity? "Heck yes." So not only did Amanda get special seating, but Jack was the star of the Shamu show and actually got to throw fish in the beasts mouth! He was brought down in front of the tank and got to touch Shamu and then toss him (or her) some chow.

Jack then proceeded to get really wet. He said the water was VERY cold. How exciting for Jack. He was the star of the show, I don't remember much about the whale - it was black and white I think. Jack even had a line in the show. The head trainer asked Jack, "who did you come to see today?" Jack, being coach in his lines delivered a firm answer - "Shamu" and things really got moving after that! Mo (short for Moses, which is a nickname Jack has had since being born) had his picture thrown up on these huge rotating jumbo-tron screens. The music was pumping through the place and there was Jack - rotating 180 degrees on screen. Amazing.

We did a lot of other CA things with our friends Jeff and Angie and their girls. I got away for eight of the days before heading back to work. Those were eight awesome days. I needed the rest and the chance to rejuvenate. Mission accomplished.

Katie, Chris, Cam, Jack, Meg and Amanda has a great summer. As it winds down I thank each of them for making my life incredible.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Chris Kauffman - Eagle Scout!

This is my oldest son Christopher and my newest Eagle Scout! You can tell by that huge grin that two things are for sure... one he's had braces and two he's VERY happy to have that Eagle Pin on his chest! I see true joy in this picture.

Chris received his award shortly before his 16th birthday which is an achievement we are very proud about. Sixteen is that magic number in a young man's life where young women and fast cars become more important than anything else... and that includes Scouting.

This is quite a young man. He has endured the challenge of being my first son where the expectations have been high and can be extremely heavy. Just as he as learned how to reach and carry those expectations on his shoulders, I have learned to be a better father. Its not easy parenting in today's society and I appreciate Chris and his patience with me as I have figured out what to do and not to do.

Luckily for Chris he has an incredible mother who keeps us both on track! Katie and a whole lot of other people deserve a big thank you from Chris and from myself for moving him forward in the Scouting program. I'd like to thank everyone who helped along the way. David Price, Alan Lothson, John Dahl Ed Packard and a special thank you to Danny Meyer for pushing Chris over the goal line!

In a world where young men can become so confused, I'm thankful for the Scouting program. The Eagle Scout Award is one of the first opportunities our youth can learn to set and achieve goals. This one skill, setting goals, is the difference between successful people and everyone else. I thank God for the Boy Scouts of America and the people that serve in this great organization.

The Badge of Honor...


Sunday, May 28, 2006

Memorial Day 2006

This week I listened to an interview given by a soldier who had been injured in Iraq… in fact he’d been wounded twice. Shot in the face the first time, lost both his legs the second time if I recall correctly.

His name is Sgt Major Brent Jerguson and he’s at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It was amazing to hear someone speak so articulately and boldly about what he believes – especially about a topic that is becoming more divisive every day. Even more unbelievable was the “matter-of-fact” style he used to describe his injuries.

When he was first injured, a round ricochet off his M-16 and hit him in the face. He fought for 30 minutes after he was hit. After the fighting subsided he was attended to and got the heck out of where ever he was. 4 months later he CHOSE to rejoin his unit. 3 weeks away from the end of his tour his patrol was hit by an RPG killing one and taking off both of Sgt Jerguson’s legs.

After this second injury he still says he’d go back. He has no regrets. His family supports him. Sounds pretty matter-of-fact doesn't it. That's called conviction.

He believes the United States public has attention deficit disorder. Most of the country was supportive of the efforts of the military after 9-11. Emotions were high, but now people are ready to give up because the press is bad and the fight is growing long.

On Memorial Day weekend 2006 I think it’s appropriate to remember the sacrifices our soldiers make on behalf of their country. Politics aside, good things happen when people sacrifice themselves for something other than themselves.

If a military man or woman live up to the oath they take at induction, they aren't interested in politics. General Douglas MacArthur reminded cadets at West Point during his last visit that the military man shouldn't be interested in the politics of the day... others will debate the issues. His (or her) job is to do his duty.

Thank you every military man and woman for your service. God bless those families who had a loved one not return from any war, engagement or assignment wherever it may have been.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Cigarettes are Litter... Butt-Head

It is amazing to me that there are people in this country that still smoke cigarettes. How many more people have to die before tobacco is banned from human consumption? Duh. When a product has this on it's label:

"This product will kill you" I suggest that you not smoke it or chew it. Enough said. The fact is millions of people smoke. Despite the warnings, the social stigma and the SMELL millions of people are still smoking. Fine - die.

There is another more insidious challenge associated with smoking. Litter. Yes those little cigarette butts are litter... BUTT-HEAD.

Have you ever been driving behind or along side of someone and they flick a butt out their window? Have you ever wanted to RAM their car and push them off the road. Maybe their car would fly over a cliff, do a few twirls, and the nasty smoker would meet their fiery death? (Can you tell this bothers me? Not the smoker - the litter-er.)

Have you ever pulled up into the left-hand lane at a traffic signal only to look down and see this on the ground:

Disgusting huh... how is it that people don't think that throwing this crap out of their window is not littering? The fact is they know it's disgusting - that's why smokers who smoke in the car have the window down even when no one else is riding with them. They don't want to smell it and they don't want the nasty little butts in the car either.

I had my roof replaced recently and the roofers were smokers... guess what they did when they were done smoking up on my roof? Yep - they tossed their butts all over my front, back and side yards. They didn't throw their Burger King wrappers in my yard - just the cigarette butts. Guess what I wanted to do with all of those little gems I found on my property? I can't write it here - my wife reads this once and a while...

I own some real estate in Scottsdale with my friend and business partner Ron. We paid well over a million bucks for prime property in a very exclusive part of the valley so our investment would do well and our team members would have really nice "digs" when they came to work. One day I was walking to my car and someone who had been smoking used the hand railing on the second floor to put out their cigarette and then just sat the butt on the railing... like they were going to come back for a second hit later in the day. Butthead.

What's the answer? Prosecution. Hard Time. Torture. Sounds tough? Look at those pictures again... or better yet, just look outside on the ground.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

West Wing Ends...

Sunday marked the end of seven seasons of the West Wing. This was a great television program. Why? Because it obviously had a liberal spin and I’m a conservative republican... and I loved this show!

Here are the Top Ten Reasons I enjoyed the West Wing:

1. It seemed VERY REAL. The set, the issues etc. They spared no expense making this show look right.

2. Martin Sheen. Despite his liberal bent, Sheen was very presidential and it worked – he’s the president liberals haven’t had since JFK... and never will have again.

3. The dialogue. The script writers for this show were awesome. Again, I didn’t agree with the politics, but the dialogue was quick, intelligent and thought provoking.

4. The situation room. This was war game heaven and full of smart people who always knew what to say and what to do. It was perfect for our form of government. The Commander in Chief, a civilian, democratically elected official, telling career soldiers what they would do next.

5. Toby – I hated Toby and I watched just to see what he would say or do so I could hate him even more. He was the epitome of everything I despise in liberal thinking. I really liked the episode where his ex-wife, who was pregnant with twins (by him), didn't want to live with him (in a house he just mortgaged his life for), because he was too depressing. BINGO.

6. Air Force One. What an incredible plane. I enjoyed every episode that had Air Force One in it… the ending was a strong and thoughtful way to bring the show to a close.

7. CJ… she made the job of every future press secretary in the White House almost impossible. No one, not even CJ could speak that well without a script. How did she get the second to the last send off in the series. (If she didn’t work in the White House what was she doing in there?) Liar!

8. Donna – is this a great country or what? She goes from a temp who wasn’t getting paid a dime when the show started to the chief of staff of the first lady. This show was so real...

9. Only one left after this… Hmmm. Let’s say John Spencer. I really felt something special (seriously) when Jed pulled out the napkin. Leo was a tough manager and I liked that… he knew what his mission was and he attacked it every day. I liked this character and I liked Spencer as an actor.

10. DVD. I watched every episode of this show on DVD until the closing episodes of this season. I just purchased season six at Best Buy and cannot wait to watch it. When I needed quality entertainment (on my time), I put in a disk of the West Wing. As each season came to a close I was truly bummed out.

11. Okay Bonus Reason – I loved the way Martin Sheen put on his coat. That was cool.

This show really was something special. For me it ranks up there with shows like St. Elsewhere, Hill Street Blues, and LA Law. Like West Wing – all NBC programs.

Perhaps the best proof I have that this show was a hit with other people came to me after I decided to put Season 1 through 5 up on eBay… One night around 1am I had all of the episodes posted. Before Noon the next morning every boxed set was gone.

Enough said.


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Give George Bush his Props...

W. has done good and he deserves his props for picking Tony Snow as his new press secretary - Helen Thomas watch out! I don't want to brag (too much), but Tony Snow is exactly the type of person I wrote about last month when calling for change in the press secretary position.

This guy is sharp... in fact, look at this picture and tell me who looks like the President of the United States? Yep - Tony Snow is THAT sharp. Politics is a very funny game and perception is reality when it comes to complex issues where there is no ONE answer. Tony will bring the perception of professionalism and intelligence to the White House by simply looking and speaking well.

Hopefully Snow will do more than just put the right face on for the Bush Administration, but ALSO help them think and act differently. Well let's see Tony in action... only then will we know if he deserves HIS props.


Thursday, April 20, 2006


Picking up USA Today I was shocked, but not surprised that Scott McClellan had resigned as the White House Press Secretary. In my March 14, 2006 posting I suggested that Mr. Bush replace Mr. McClellan and replace him QUICK if he wanted to get a positive message out to the people of this country.

I’m not surprised this has happened, but shocked that it is obvious that the President reads TOMKAUFFMAN.COM. I guess I can now call myself a “Presidential Advisor.” Incredible!

There are people running the White House that are sharper (all be it slightly), than I am when it comes to Washington politics. If I called for McClellans replacement... it was long overdue. I believe Mr. Bush can really make a positive move here if he finds someone that fits the description I outlined last month.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink, and just because the White House made a change doesn’t mean they will get the FNG right.

I’m hoping this move is not without impact – find a winner W!


Monday, April 03, 2006

UCLA Basketball Tradition

UCLA lost tonight to Florida in the NCAA Final Four Championship game. It was a strange game to watch... The Bruins were down most of the night and after holding LSU to just 45 points in the semis, Florida had their way on the court offensively.
Florida shouldn't have made it to the Final Four. Why? Because they are a FOOTBALL school and it was just weird watching them advance in each round. Oh well, they won it all, and congratulations to them and all of their players.

Let's make something clear... UCLA IS COLLEGE BASKETBALL. Florida is the champion this year and may not appear in the Final Four again for two or three decades. UCLA has won ELEVEN championships and has only lost twice in the final game (tonight unfortunately.)

UCLA Coach Ben Howland sounded professional tonight after the loss and was complimentary towards the Gators effort... and complimentary of his own team members. He also mentioned one of my heros and one of the greatest figures in college athletics - John Wooden... Coach Wooden went into the hospital today in Los Angeles.

Coach Wooden is 95 years old and I imagine he has lived what everyone would agree is a full life. His teams won TEN national championships and he coached some of the greatest basketball players of all time. More than great basketball players, he made them great men, and I have heard him say that the latter was more important to him.

If you want to renew your faith in college athletics read a book about John Wooden (check out He's the real deal and his ideas and life experience can still impart wisdom, even if he no longer paces a basketball court.

Best wishes coach.


Saturday, March 25, 2006

My New Friend - A Democrat

I met the most interesting person this weekend... via eBay. That's right - eBay. I was selling all my "West Wing" DVD sets and she was buying. Like me, someone recommended the show and she got hooked. Once addicted to good television you've got to have the next fix of the next season if it's available.

She found me and since she lived in Scottsdale we met at a Barnes and Noble and completed the transaction. She got to save $15 in shipping costs and I got to meet a fabulous person who is into politics and just happens to be... a democrat.

She was articulate and very intelligent regarding geo-politics, Washington politics and even what is happening locally in the Scottsdale, Arizona area. It was the nicest conversation I've had in some time, and definately the nicest conversation I've ever had with a democrat.

One of the topics I wanted to bring up to her was John F. Kennedy. I find it intersting that many of Mr. Kennedy's political positions are nothing like those of the democrats holding office today. President Kennedy is a democrat that I could support politically. Perhaps I wouldn't vote for him, but once in office, I could support him.

My new friend and I talked briefly of Arlington Cemetery. She lived in the Washington DC area and covered politics for the BBC. She mentioned she had friends buried there... having walked the grounds of Arlington for hours I know how sacred a place it is for those who visit.

One of my favorite spots is the grave of JFK. Opposite his grave and facing the Lincoln Memorial are a series of panels that quote President Kennedy. They are faded now and hard to read (this picture makes them clearer than I've seen them in person), but never the less relevant. They are standards this country should be shouting to the world and living up to every day.

When you read these panels they sound like they were thought of and endorsed by a man who had an agenda to bring freedom to every American and to every human being. In deed, the quote on the panel above not only speaks of America and its citizens, but of the world, and what will other nations do to help America bring freedom to the citizens of planet earth.

What side of the conflict in Iraq would JFK have been on? It sounds like he would have been fighting for their freedom instead of fighting President Bush. Now let me be clear, I'm not flip flopping on Iraq. The US Military needs to cut back and turn things over the the people in Iraq, but how easier would a US pullback be if the entire free world was backing the new Iraqi Government?

Could this conflict be over by now if the world would have backed the United States in it's move to free the people of Iraq of a murdering dictator? I believe the answer is yes. Often we here the argument that "hey, we can't bring freedom to every country... what about North Korea?" Blah blah blah. One at a time people - one at a time.

I didn't get an opportunity to talk about this with my new found friend. However, I believe we can have constructive dialogue between political ideologies and find the common ground. We must discover the common ground in this country. Our politics have become too hateful and too demonic. We should demand that our party leaders start speaking like statesmen (and women) and stop trying to get the right sound bite covered by the news media.

We must remove the fringe groups - on both sides - from having too much influence in our debates. Their extreme but loud views (living on the edges of reason), leaves the quiet majority in the middle. We must find the common ground and reason together.

I heard reason today... at Barnes and Noble.


Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Bush Analysis - The McClellan Mistake

This is Scott McClellan. I didn't know his background before I wrote this entry... but I've seen too many White House press briefings to believe he was the best man that President Bush could find to represent his White House.

Just as Helen Thomas shouldn't be reporting the news from the White House, Mr. McClellan shouldn't be dishing it out. The face of the White House is too important. THE BEST QUALIFIED individual should be doing the job.

I am not attacking Mr. McClellan... he's just a mistake. Here is his bio from the White House website:

Scott McClellan
Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary

Most recently, Scott McClellan served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy Press Secretary. (Would that make him like... Rob Lowe?) Before joining the White House staff, he was the traveling press secretary for the Bush-Cheney 2000 presidential campaign. Scott began working for Governor Bush in early 1999 as deputy communications director. Prior to joining the Governor's office, he served as chief of staff to a Texas state senator (that's getting him closer to that White House job), worked on grassroots outreach for lawsuit reform in Texas (give me a break) and managed three successful statewide campaigns. (For what?) Scott is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. (In what?)

Sounds like he's from Texas... hmmm. I wonder if his parents know the Bush family? Mr. McClellan could be a genius and that wouldn't matter. What matters is how he looks and how he sounds when representing the President. I think President Bush can do better.

Do you remember Ari Fleischer? Why did he leave and where did he go? I liked Ari - he was a press secretary cut out of the mold of say... CJ Craig.

I believe the press secretary is just too visible to not have someone who is 6'3" and slim. Tan would be good too... most importantly, they need to be one of the sharpest people in the room. They need to be witty and able to go head to head with reporters who sometimes have an agenda and at other times just "get stuck on stupid." They need to speak well and command respect. They need to be in charge. Is Scott in charge?

President Bush has a few opportunities to communicate his strategy for the remainder of his presidency. Every hint of what that strategy is, will go through Scott McClellan, and the message is going to be diluted... McClellan is a mistake.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Iraq - It's Time to Go

The world is a dangerous place and Iraq has to rank among the most frightening on the planet. I have supported the Bush Administration in the past on the push to find and terminate terrorists. I will support that endeavor in the future in almost any place at any time, but in Iraq - it's time to go.

Now I don't advocate flying in C-5's, C-141's and C-130's and abandoning the place... but I do believe we must make our intentions known that we are departing and tell the Iraqi people to get ready to take care of themselves. If they truly care about their country and what we have done for them, then they will answer the call and begin rooting out the insurgents that are causing the chaos and death.

There are those in the media and those outside of the media that despise President Bush and thus their objectivity of evaluating the circumstances in Iraq was compromised long ago. I on the other hand feel that my initial support, and possible future support, of the president and his policies is more objective. I have seen what has taken place and have evaluated the facts and the mood of the country (from my perspective), and again - it's time to go.

The Bush Administration has made some serious mistakes since taking office, and they have made some great decisions too. No details offered on either assertion - but you cannot be POTUS and have a little of both.

Iraq was a slippery slope from the beginning. The American public had been delivered a preview of what should have happened in Iraq... The Gulf War - sterile and quick. Of course that has not been the case the second time around. Unforeseen events have presented themselves and worse yet, the press went negative... what a shocker. The overwhelming perception delivered 24/7 from the meda... things are out of control in Iraq and American's are dying for no good reason.

Joining most media outlets - practically every member of the Democratic Party. Partisan politics is such a mind blower, and that goes for Republicans who "partisan-up" for their own pet projects and platform standards.

Nothing of true value (i.e. love, respect or DEMOCRACY) ever comes from demand. The Bush White House cannot demand democracy for Iraq. The American Military cannot demand it for Iraq. It has to be earned by the people... OF IRAQ. They have to want it, fight for it and die for it. Every nation must go through this cycle. The world won't recognize it any other way.

It's time to make these things clear to the people of Iraq, and then, it's time to go.


Friday, February 24, 2006

Lost Marathon Weekend

Have you seen this show? This is what I call quality television - seriously! There is so much bad crap on TV that when you come across something that is this intriguing you've got to watch it.

Not since 24 have I seen a program format that is this good and so innovative. (If you have not seen 24 DO IT. The concept in 24 is that there are 24 episodes in the season and that each show is one hour in a 24 hour day. Very cool and of course 24 has received all types of rave reviews.) That's a lot of 24's in one paragraph...

Lost is just as good so far... I say so far because we are not done watching season one and it's in season two. Thanks to my friend Ron Marks who gave me the entire first season on DVD for my birthday, Katie and I are watching it all weekend in San Diego. Seriously.

With "Lost" there is this airplane that crashes on a deserted island and the plot follows the events that follow. What is cool about the format of the show is that each of the characters take shape "on" the island and "off" the island.

Time for dinner... more to come later tonight!

Okay we're back (we went to Lou and Mickey's - awesome filet) and we've now watched 16 episodes and there are only 8 left to go. I bought the first 8 episodes on iTunes and watched them on my laptop... the DVD's are much better.

7 episodes left and it's 10:42pm.

Okay at some time during the night we fell asleep and I don’t recall what episode we were on when we passed out, but we picked things up at 7am. What drama… someone died, a baby was born, a former Iraqi Republican Guard hooked up with a swim suit model (who was in love with her step brother and was conning him for money – lucky for him, he’s the dead guy.)

Well we have four episodes left. I feel exactly how I’ve felt every time I’ve gotten to this same point with “The West Wing.” I know it’s almost over and I don’t want it to end. That’s happened to me FIVE times and I don’t want it to happen again. Luckily, I have already purchased the first 14 episodes of Lost Season Two on iTunes and have installed TIVO at home. Within one week Katie and I will be caught up and watching the show LIVE (when we want to thanks to the DVR.)

Now if only 24 would post its shows up on iTunes I could catch up and find out what terrorist cell Jack’s been whacking!

Just in case you think that we’re really boring people, we’re not, well I am, but Katie is certainly not. We had dinner with Jared and Sylvia, we hit the Hotel Del and we shopped at Nordstrom. What else is there to life…? LOST baby. Lost.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

King Funeral Hijacking

This is a picture of the late Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. who passed away earlier this month. As a white male, I can only appreciate Mrs. King (and Mr. King) from my own perspective. They were not symbols of any personal cause of mine. I have known no racial wars and have not been the victim of a single racial incident. So it may be a bit odd that I had always been impressed with Coretta Scott King.

Mrs. King always seemed so poised and beautiful when she would end up in the spotlight of the news, usually around February and usually tied to the cause of civil rights. That's it, there is not much more that I can say about her. What a wonderful life she must have had after enduring the incredible tragedy of losing her husband. May her family be comforted and her good works truly do good for other people.

Now to the hijacking...

In my life I have had the opportunity to participate in over a dozen funerals. Babys, children and many older men and women who lived long lives. Everyone of them was a spiritual experience. Everyone of them had two key and identical attributes: 1. They addressed the life of the departed loved one and 2. They addressed the plan of salvation and the concept that there is life after death and that there is opportunity in death, an opportunity for the living who remain to be better men and women.

I listened to President George W. Bush give his eulogy at Mrs. King's funeral and it reminded me of the great burden and difficult task it is to speak at a funeral. He did well. In his less than six minute talk he spoke of Mrs. King's strength and contributions. I learned something about her and her family. I knew she was a Christian woman and that Mr. Bush was a Christian man.

Somehow a sacred service that should maybe last an hour, or perhaps an hour and a half drug on for 6 hours... and turned political. Some of the comments from the people who spoke (including former President Carter) were totally inappropriate, not only for a funeral, but inappropriate when directed at President Bush who was in attendance, sitting directly behind the podium. Zero class on the part of many of the speakers.

If my mother was being laid to rest and this type of crap was going on I would blow a gasket. I wonder which of the King children will be on CNN with Larry King to complain and that their mother's funeral was no place to be talking politics.

Shame on everyone who walked up onto that stage with an agenda or a desire to have attention drawn to themselves in place of Mrs. King.

RIP Coretta.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Amanda Update

Recently our family held a fast for our daughter Amanda and I had a number of people ask "how is she ?" Here is some feedback... As you can see from this picture she is beautiful and continues to grow stronger everyday. We attribute her strength to the fact that she is in constant motion... imagine doing aerobics 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. This girl is rarely not moving and it is difficult to keep up.

Her autistic characteristics continue to be lack of speech, doing repetitive tasks and limited comprehension. That is not to say she doesn't make sounds, understand what you are saying to her or respond to you - it's just in her own unique way. Thankfully she is still very loving and is open to hugs and kisses.

The most challenging aspect for our family is that with the busy "going ons" of the other six members of the household Amanda can get lost in her own little world. To truly know her you have to go to that world and "pull her out" by engaging her and understanding her. If you aren't willing to work at it - you won't get in.

She has all of our love, but she needs more of our time. Other than Katie, our entire family needs to work at this... we owe it to ourselves to know our youngest daughter and sister. She is such a riot. Her favorite pastimes include:

Watching Arthur DVD's
Getting Dressed
Doing therapy with Roseanne and our other fantastic therapists
Going to Ms. Angie's house
Streaking (you get the idea on the streaking - it's a common thing)

Every evening is an adventure with Amanda. Many times I'll ask "is she asleep" and when the answer is yes my heart jumps, knowing that Katie will be sleeping with me rather than on a bean bag, couch or the floor with Amanda.

Katie is so incredible and as I have mentioned before, she makes our experience with Amanda a blessing and a learning experience.

We love this little girl.


Monday, January 09, 2006

Thank You Curtis...

This is my nephew Curtis and his new wife Alisha who were married this past week. I so am inspired by this picture and by the possibilities that lay before them. These are truly awesome people; however, they are not unique in our family. They are in fact part of a legacy of incredible young men and women and I want to thank Curtis - again.

You see I already thanked him right after he was married. I thanked him for being an example to my children. For being an Eagle Scout, for serving a mission for his church and for being married in the right place at the right time.

I knew exactly what I wanted to say to Curtis because I said the same thing to his brother Chad, and his cousins David, Spencer and Jared. Each Eagle Scouts, each missionaries and each has made their mark on the lives of my children.

There is nothing so powerful as a positive example... so I say thank you to each of the nephews and nieces of my wife Katie and I... thank you Christine, Catherine, Chad, Curtis, David, Spencer, Kristin, Chelsea, Nicole, Jared, Jeremy and Justin.

Thank you so much.