New Jersey’s Sham Election……..

Allow me, if you will, to rant for moment about this travesty and absolute sham of an “election” we are having today. For those of you who do not know, today is primary day in New Jersey where we will pick the candidates to run in October to fill out the remaining term of the late Frank Lautenberg.

It should never have come to this.  What any other governor would have done would be to name a person of their own party to serve out the remaining term.  Yet NO!  What does our Obama-loving, RINO of governor do?  He picks one of his lap dogs to ACT as Senator, for four months (!), until a special election can be held. Which is where we are today.

Now anyone who follows NJ politics knows that one of our two Senate seats has been, practically by divine right, all but set aside for Newark Mayor Corey Booker.  So in a sense what our governor has done is hasten Booker’s promotion to become New Jersey’s “Senator for Life” because ain’t nobody gonna stop him now or defeat him in the future.  That is until such time as he decides he wants to be President, which if he follows the Obama model will be sometime in early 2015.

What about the Republicans you might ask?  The who? Well that’s interesting because no sooner had Lautenberg been laid to rest than in marches the delusional and hapless Don Quixote of New Jersey politics Steve Lonegan.  I guess you have to admire the guy’s chutzpah if nothing else but this schmuck has lost every election he’s ever been in outside of his town of Bogota.  This putz thinks he is going to defeat of the most popular politicians in NJ.  PLEASE!  Mayor Lonegan don’t go away mad just GO AWAY!

Why don’t we just swear Booker in already for goodness sake and be done with it?  He’s doing to win the primary by double digits and might win the general election by TRIPLE digits!  In any event I’ve had enough and will not be party to this charade!  Thank you for your attention.

Advertisements

Sports – R.I.P. 2011-2012 New York Rangers….

So I have had a couple of days to digest the Rangers devastating, season ending  game 6 loss, in the Eastern Conference Finals,  to the um, um… Devils (that was a hard one!).  I want to make a few observations before turning my attention to football (J-E-T-S).

First, as much I hate to admit it the two best team, in this year’s playoffs, will be playing for the Stanley Cup.  The Kings are an awesome 12 and 3 in playoffs while the Devils are an impressive 12 and 6.  While they may only have been the 8th and 6th seeds respectively going in to the tournament they have certainly proved that they deserve to be where they are. Now can I get a “KINGS IN FOUR”?

Second, while the Rangers had a remarkable run getting this far they finished the post season 10 and 10.  Larry Brooks in The Post had it about right when he wrote yesterday that while watching the Rangers this post season you never got the feeling that you were watching the best team in hockey and one destined to win the Stanley Cup.  I think the reason the Rangers were eliminated is because when all is said and done their overall level of talent was not where it needed to be.  They were the hardest working team in the playoffs and throughout the regular season but that need to fight for your life each and every shift ultimately took its toll.  Fortunately for them Lundquist was able to steal more than his share of games for his team.  Unfortunately, his teammates were not able to return the favor.

Lastly, what makes Friday night so difficult to swallow is that it represents a missed opportunity.  As happy as I am about their run this year there is no guarantee that they will be able to duplicate the effort next year and win The Cup.     On paper the future should be a bright one.  They have the best goalie in the league.  They have a young and extremely talented defense. They have some promising players on offense (just not enough of them!)  and they have a good coach. Added to which I think they will look to improve in the off season (I think Zach Parise would look good on our number one line).  So while the pieces should be in place for another run and Ranger fans should be full of optimism for the future the unfortunate truth is that has not been their pattern.  This was the first time in 15 years they’ve made it this far and they have won a mere two Stanley Cups over the past 72 years while the Devils might be on the verge of their 4th in 18 years.

I will do something uncharacteristic for me and that I think the Rangers will improve their team in the offseason, that they will make another deep run into the playoffs and that in a little over a year from now Captain Ryan Callahan will raise the Stanley Cup over his head in front of the Madison Square Garden faithful!  Until then LET’S GO RANGERS!

“Gabriel’s Redemption” a Great Sci-Fi Techno-Thriller…..

I just finished “Gabriel’s Redemption” by Steve Umstead.  Before I talk about the book I want to say a thing or two about the author.  I first encountered Steve via his Twitter feed and then through his blog.  He is very much a guy I would like to be; a regular guy with a family and a 9 to 5 job who had the dream of becoming an author.  Yet unlike so many of us mere wannabes he actually took the plunge and wrote.  I am glad he did because the result is one of the better sci-fi books I’ve ever read.

As the title indicates “Gabriel’s Revenge” is the story of a disgraced Special Forces soldier who has been plucked from his self-imposed exile and given a chance to redeem himself if he and his team survive.

I don’t want to talk too much more about the plot.  I want to talk about what I think Umstead does exceptionally well in this book.  The book is set in the year 2,176 and Umstead does a great job of creating a fascinating history of the future.  The trouble with many sci-fi novels is that the authors create such an elaborate future that it appears all but unrecognizable.  Not so with Umstead.  He creates a future that is advanced to be sure but at the same time still feels familiar.  This is one the best aspects of the book.

The other thing the author very well is to do something I do not think I’ve seen before.  To be sure military sci-fi is a staple of the genre.  Yet what Umstead does  I think is unique is to create a sci-fi techno-thriller.  He merges the political intrigue and action of a Tom Clancy novel with sci-fi. At times it reminded me very much of the best of Babylon 5 and the movie “Aliens”.

“Gabriel’s Redemption” is an outstanding debut by what I hope becomes a widely read author.

Faith … Charity Begins with Each of Us

This past Sunday my church along with churches throughout the United States of America participated in “The One Great Hour of Sharing”  (http://gamc.pcusa.org/ministries/specialofferings/one-great-hour-sharing-offering/). This is a special offering taken each year, on Palm Sunday, and is sent to the Presbyterian Church USA to be used for charitable purposes.  This offering always gives me cause to think about the need for each of us, but especially people of faith, to be charitable and I want to discuss three reasons why.

The first reason is that private charity works.  Though it has been nearly seven years since Hurricane Katrina caused a humanitarian disaster along the Gulf CoastI think it’s valuable to review some of the lessons from that event.  While public institutions, at all levels, were paralyzed by the sheer weight of their bureaucracy private charity acted.  Christians from 41 states and the Salvation Army combined to serve over 20 million meals; they assisted in cleanup and continue, even today, to help with reconstruction.  So profound was the effort that a British atheist was forced to admit in the British Guardian Weekly newspaper “it is impossible to doubt that faith and charity go hand in hand”.

In addition, some of America’s biggest corporate names were a major force for good; Pfizer provided needed drugs, Budweiser delivered truckloads of water and ice and Ford provided vehicles for search and rescue.  Furthermore, CNN Money estimates that corporate donations to aid victims of the storm could ultimately top $1 billion.

Private charitable efforts were also a major part of helping the Gulf Coast recover from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in April of 2010.

The clear lesson is that while public institutions may sometimes fail private charity always delivers.

The second is that it is our Christian duty.  The New Testament contains numerous references to money and stewardship.   Jesus himself spoke often on the topic.  Matthew 6 verses 1 to 4 speaks of how we are to give anonymously to the needy; Mathew 25:40 “Verily, I say unto you, inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it to me”; Mark 12: 41-44 records the parable of the poor widow.  The message we see unmistakably time and again is that we have individual mandate to be charitable.  It’s not the job of the church across the street, the guy next door or for that matter the government. It is OUR responsibility yours and mine to help where help is needed.  This is especially true if, like me, you believe in smaller government.

Lastly, being charitable, especially through collective efforts, allows each of us to make a profound difference.  A single drop of rain has little effect yet when enough are combined together it can fill oceans.  Similarly, our individual efforts when combined with those of all the others can bring hope and comfort to many we will never know.  To me, that is very exciting, rewarding and is one of the things that is at the heart of what it means to be a Christian!

I leave you with I Corinthians 13:13, as recorded in the King James Version, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”

 

Politics …. Obama-care On Trial

The Supreme Court has wrapped up three days of oral argument on the Constitutionality of Obama-care and the individual mandate.  While no one know how the court will rule I want to make a few observations.

First,  regardless of the outcome it will be a mixed blessing for Mitt Romney.  If the court strikes the law down it will benefit Romney by taking the issue of the table.  He will not have to spend as much time defending Romney-care.  This is a good thing since Romney-care is Obama-care version 1.0 of and one of Romney’s biggest liabilities.  However,  since the healthcare law is the number one unifying issue for almost everyone on the right its absence as an issue might make some feel it is ok to vote third party or not vote at all, assuming the danger has passed, thereby increasing the chances that Obama will win a second term (GOD FORBID).  Conversely, if the law is upheld those on the right will correctly assume that their only chance of ridding the nation of Obama-care is to rally behind Romney and get him and as many Republicans as possible elected in November. Yet there will still be Romney-care to defend.

My personal opinion is that I hope the Supreme Court rules the mandate Unconstitutional, rules it unseverable from the rest of the law and throws the whole piece of garbage out the window.

Second, it is basically assumed that the courts four liberal justices (Breyer, Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayor) will vote in lockstep to uphold Obama-care.  However, no such assumption is made that the courts five conservative justices (Alito, Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Kennedy) will vote to overturn. This sad fact backs up a point Ann Coulter made some time ago.  Liberal justices rarely, if ever, are a disappointment to those who nominate them.  So-called “conservative” justices, however, enjoys no such distinction. Consider this list of Republican Supreme Court nominees/justices that have disappointed us time and again:  David Souter nominated by George H.W. Bush, Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy nominated by Ronald Reagan, William Brennan nominated by Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Blackmun (author of the Roe v. Wade decision) nominated by Richard Nixon.  The list could grow longer but I think you get the idea.

Third, if the Obama-care is thrown out by the court don’t think that the war has been won.  Far from it.  In some respects I think liberals are playing the long con here.  The court might be doing the left a favor in striking down the healthcare law because it gives them another opportunity to go after what they really have always wanted since the New Deal which is a full blown, European-style, single-payer, socialized healthcare system.  Don’t think they won’t try it.  It probably won’t happen under Obama but the left is patient.

As I said at the outset who know what the court will do when they announce their decision in June.  They might vote to uphold the law, they might throw it out entirely or they just might rule against the mandate.  We only have to wait two months to find out.

Sports …. Huge News Out of Florham Park

Huge news today out of FlorhamPark!  The Jets are putting the finishing touches on a trade that would send a 4th round draft choice to the Denver Broncos in exchange for QB Tim Tebow.  While I am not a huge Tim Tebow fan I think that this is a good move for the Jets.

First, the acquisition of Tebow gives the Jets and Mark Sanchez, in particular, something they have both needed which is a credible backup. Up until now Sanchez has not had to watch his back. Now he does.  Competition is a good thing and the arrival of Tebow should spark some healthy QB competition during training.  Also, Tebow was renowned for his work ethic and character which could and hopefully will rub off on his teammates.

Second, Tebow give the Jets offense new options.  When Brad Smith was still a Jets he would from time to time be brought in to run the “Wildcat” offense which is favored by both Rex Ryan and new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano.  When Smith left to sign with Buffalo the Jets lost this ability.  Tebow reopens and most likely expands their options in this area.   It also give opposing defenses something to think about knowing that the Jets could bring in Tebow with his unorthodox style at any point during the game.

Third, the acquisitiuon of Tim Tebow is a much needed addition of character and class to a locker room which RB LaDainian Tomlinson called “one of the most dysfunctional” he ever saw.  Don’t get me wrong not every player needs to be an angel (after all this is football not tidily winks) but there has to be a balance.  In seasons past the Jets had players like Leon Washington, Alan Faneca and , my favorite, Tony Richardson.  These were all class guys and solid citizens.  Tebows presence will hopefully restore some of that. Not to mention his reputation as a “winner”.

Lastly, do not take any of what you just read as a lack of confidence in Mark Sanchez.  Mark is and still should be the incumbent and I firmly believe everything I wrote in my earlier piece.  I merely think that this is a good fit, it gives the team enhanced flexibility and can only make the Jets better for this coming season.

Notes and Asides …. Random Musings

Just a few random musings to tide you over:

  • You probably already know this but I will say it anyway. Now I am not a Ron Paul supporter (his foreign policy is insane) but for anyone wondering why he has such a following I will give you an answer.  In a country where you have the likes of; Al Gore telling you what to drive, what light bulbs to use, etc;  Michelle Obama and Michael Bloomberg telling you what to eat; and on the GOP side people like Rick Santorum sounding like he’s running for pope more than president is there any wonder why the guy saying “LEAVE US THE HELL ALONE” has a following?
  • Has anyone seen Jon Corzine lately?  Has anyone seen his picture on the side of a milk carton?  The former governor of my beloved state, former head of the now defunct MF Global and supposed “financial genius” has gone missing.  Billions in client money goes “missing” and Corzine disappears?  Where’s the outcry?  Where are the investigations?  Anyone besides me think that if this were a former Republican governor it might get more attention?
  • The news last week was greeted with much celebration and fanfare on the right that Obama’s approval numbers were tanking.  To this I respond IT’S MARCH!  I don’t care what his approval numbers are nine months before the election.  It’s certainly nice to see but it’s completely meaningless at this point.  If you want me to get excited tell me he’s at 41% come mid-October.  Then you will see me care.