Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

This will be my final post in 2009 and I want to wish my readers a happy, healthy and safe New Year in 2010. Thank you for a great first year and I look forward sharing my thoughts and feelings about the days events in the next year to come.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mike Leach

Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach was accused of locking Adam James, the son of former SMU star and current ESPN analyst Craig James, in a shed because he claimed he had a concussion and thought he should sit out practice. He was promptly fired and will not coach in the upcoming Alamo Bowl game. Texas Tech University claimed it was blatant insubordination but I am sure it was a zero tolerance act.

My thoughts, the circumstances as to why he wanted to sit out or whether he should are questionable but this is borderline uncivilized punishment. We are not in the colonial days, tomorrow the calendar will turn to 2010. There are other more appropriate ways to discipline. This also questions how Leach was taking concussion concerns as there has been a serious crackdown on how to medically treat and handle players with head injuries.

Update: He got canned and the lawyers are getting involved. This dispute is going to be a cirucs!

Real World Washington

Tonight the "Real World-Washington" will be premiering on MTV. It was filmed at a house not too far from where I work. They even brought the crew to a charity happy hour that I attended. Although the focus of the show is on the talent, it will be interesting to see how much of the Washington influence/atmosphere takes place in the the show. I discuss this in an earlier post.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pats in the Playoffs

The Patriots clinched the AFC East Title today with a dominating 35-7 win over Jacksonville at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. While I did not see the game itself, they looked like the Patriots of old and a team trying to get into playoff form. It was important for them to clinch this week because they are going to need to rest players in the regular season finale against the Houston Texans. Also, Houston is still in the playoff hunt and they could be playing them in the wild card round and the Patriots would not want to show them too much. The Super Bowl is in Miami this year- Mission Miami!!

Holiday season

I had a wonderful holiday back in Massachusetts with my family. Wednesday was my mother's last day of school as she has decided to retire so I visited her there (I actually surprised her) and we went out for a nice dinner after that. Christmas Eve we had our tradition lobster dinner and we had one of my father's cousins over for after dinner drinks/coffee/dessert. Christmas morning we had breakfast with my grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins followed by seeing extended family in the afternoon. I really value this time of year since this is the only time I see people I know, particularly distant family. I also met a friend of mine (whom I have known for ten years) in Boston for a late lunch. It always seems like the holidays go by too fast but at least they come around every year. There is a lot to look forward to in 2010 anyway.

Terrorist on flight to U.S.

On Christmas Day there was a Nigerian terrorist who attempted to start a fire and explosion on a Northwest/Delta flight from Amsterdam bound for Detroit. Luckily, a bunch of passengers/crew subdued him before a casualty took place-congrats to them for their efforts. There are two questions that remain from this:
-The flight originated in Amsterdam, would he have gotten on the plane if it had originated in the United States. This calls into questions the security procedures of other nations, particularly allies of us in Europe. Since the United States has little jurisdiction over that, it makes this whole ordeal an international problem as opposed to just a domestic security problem.
-The man in question was on the terrorist watch list but not a no-fly list. I think it is time to combine the two of them.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Senate passes healthcare reform

The Senate passed their version of health insurance reform this morning before taking off for Christmas..not a bad Christmas present! It will be interesting to see how the final bill come out in conference committee. Joe Biden even presided over the session realizing the historic nature of the vote.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

I am sitting in the Baltimore Washington Airport writing this post getting ready to head back to Massachusetts for Christmas-my favorite holiday of the year. As you have seen it has been a very exciting year and I want to thank friends and family for all of their support through good times and stressful situations. I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday with family and friends (as I plan on doing) and hope all of your hopes and dreams come true in 2010!

I just want to give a heads up on upcoming attractions. It looks like their is a guest post in the pipeline for Boston to Washington. Stay tuned!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Health Care on the cusp of passing

The Senate has voted to avoid filibuster and will go ahead with a vote on the health care reform bill with a vote of 60-40 (to go to cloture). They plan on doing on Xmas Eve, talk about creating theatre. After it goes to conference committee, it will be interesting to see the outcome of the final bill that the House and Senate will have to vote on again, especially with the public option in the House bill but not the Senate.

Day off of work

The snow was so heavy in DC the Federal Government shut down for the day on Monday giving me a day off of work. This rarely happens that I get a snow day so I am enjoying it. I caught up on a lot of stuff and even got my bags ready to go back home on Wednesday-you can see I am eager to be home for Christmas! We have to go back tomorrow but it should be quiet at least.

Its playoff scenario time

As the days get closer to Christmas, we are getting into the portion of the NFL season where we figure out who will make the playoffs and who will be staying home and the complex permutations that require statistical knowledge to figure out. While the Patriots do not look like the Super Bowl contender everyone thought they were, they have won two hard fought games in the past two weeks and with Miami and New York Jet losses yesterday, find themselves in a position where they need a loss by Miami or a win in one of the final two games to win their division and make the playoffs. It does not get much simpler than controlling your own destiny and as long a Bill B is the coach they should have no problem doing that in their last two games-no knowledge of stats or permutations needed.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow time!

Washington is having a snowstorm of historic proportions. They are getting more than a foot of snow and it is probably going to paralyze the city for at least a day. Some school systems are already closing on Monday. They are having such a difficult time cleaning up so it really is not worth it to leave your place. It is sure nice to be inside and essentially catch up on a lot of indoor stuff and watch the ubiquitous coverage on the local TV news. However it isn't the same as watching the local news in Boston. I remember Shelby Scott was the consummate snowstorm reporter on WBZ TV in Boston.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Even more Tiger fallout

Tiger Woods has decided to take a break from golf to focus on his family and personal life. It will be interesting to see when he comes back to competitive. It is amazing the coverage this is getting partly because it is the holiday season and that Tiger Woods is clearly the greatest athlete of our time. I am sure he will use the time to get help and come back strong to golf. Sponsors have also been pulling Tiger from many of the ads. I feel this is a personal matter that should not get too much scrutiny. However this is the 21st century media so that is a wish that will not be granted!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

MA Senate Race

Today Massachusetts voters went to the polls to select a Democratic and Republican nominee for the Senate seat once held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy. The Dems had MA Attorney General Martha Coakley, Congressman Mike Capuano, Non-Profit Exec Alan Khazei, and Celtics partner Steve Pagliuca. The Republicans had State Senator Scott Brown and Businessman Jack Robinson. As of this writing Scott Brown has been declared the winner of the Republican primary and Martha Coakley has built a sizable lead in the Democratic primary. The general election will be January 19. Voter turnout was low. For the general election, please get out and vote if you live in Massachusetts. We are talking about Ted Kennedy's seat and both sides will contest this race aggressively as it is highly coveted.

Update: Coakley does win the Democratic nomination

Friday, December 4, 2009

More Tiger Fallout

It looks like the car accident was only scratching the surface. Instead he has been fooling around with a few women-gee what celebrities have not been doing this. This comes during the week of one of the "silly season" tournaments that benefits his foundation. He has had to miss that as he is instead home in Orlando attending intense marriage counseling. At least this did not come out during the week of a major!

Monday, November 30, 2009

White House party crashers

Last week a Michaela and Tareq Salahi crashed the White House state dinner and even got to meet President Obama. They did it as they were looking for fifteen minutes of fame and fortune. First of all, how did the Secret Service let them get into the dinner. Confirming guests is basic protocol for any event at the White House. There was serious potential for them to orchestrate a catastrophe of major proportions.

Secondly, how stupid can this couple to do this to try and get fifteen minutes of fame when the consequences are not exactly a slap on the wrist and a $5 fine. They could face federal charges and many years in prison. So much for the slow news time around the holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tiger Woods gets into an auto accident

Early Friday morning Tiger Woods got into a car accident right outside his home-and I don't believe he was leaving for early morning shopping. He was treated and released from the nearby hospital. However, he has yet to sit down with police to tell them what happened. While he is not required by law the reputation is crumbling day by day and this guy is not a trashy celebrity. Even if there was any foul play, please just fess up and take your punishment appropriately. The media should be focused on you winning tournaments not tabloid stuff like this.


I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family, food, conversation, and a lot of catching up. Let the holiday season commence! I came back and had a quiet weekend at home catching up on some stuff-I hope I caught up on everything! I watched some football too. Now a few weeks of parties and end of the year stuff at work before the longer Christmas break.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

I am off to Massachusetts for Thanksgiving. I would like to wish everyone a wonderful day full of food, family, football and being thankful for everything that you have.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

big football weekend

Both of my teams this weekend had big wins this weekend. Ohio State defeated Michigan 21-10 on Saturday. The key was Michigan QB Tate Forcier's 4 interceptions and the inability of Michigan's much maligned defense to stop Ohio State. As much as I enjoy winning this game, it is almost shocking to see Michigan play so poorly in it as it is such a big game every year. Penn State won their season finale and hopefully will get to go to a BCS bowl.

The Patriots rebounded and defeated the New York Jets 31-14. Jets QB Mark Sanchez threw four interceptions (see a pattern here) and Tom Brady figured out the Jets defense this time around. While they have not wrapped up the division, this should give them a little more breathing room as they are not out of the meat of their schedule yet.

The Indianapolis Colts also improved to 10-0 after ea king by the Baltimore Ravens. While it wouldn't be a big deal if they lose, I would love to see them go 16-0 and deal with the pressure of that in the playoffs-although the Pats might have to go back to Lucas Oil Stadium, they would be a lot looser that an undefeated Colts team in a potential playoff game.

Misuse of stimulus funds in Massachusetts

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his administration approved of allocating $9 million in stimulus money to build a footbridge across US Route 1 next to Gilette Stadium, the New England Patriots home stadium, in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

I think this use of stimulus funds is a complete joke. While it does create jobs, the Patriots owner, Bob Kraft, has the financial resources to build this infrastructure if it there is necessity for it. Past history has said it would keep fans going to and from the bars on the other side of the highway safe, however the state should insist that Kraft pay for this himself considering that all of the other construction related to the fairly new complex was funded by him. This money needs to be put towards job creation in places where it is needed, like inner city areas in Lawrence or Lowell. I hope this begins to shed light as to how stimulus money is being used across the nation.

Healthcare goes to debate

The Senate voted along party lines this weekend to go to debate on the health care reform. This was after several calls by constituents and citizens to undecided senators. If nothing else I can appreciate the grassroots movement that the whole health care reform is taking which was not the case in past attempts to get health care reform going, at least not on this level. Keep the calls, letters, and office visits to our senators coming and we will get this passed!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sarah Palin back again

Sarah Palin is back in the news with her book "Going Rogue". She was also interviewed today on Oprah. Democrats want her to go away but she isn't going to be. She developed star power where she is going to be an intriguing character for years to come in politics.

I do have a few thoughts on her running for President and getting the nomination in 2012. Quite frankly, it scares me. She has the base behind her to get the nomination. As a candidate in the general election, she has the celebrity power and persona that people do like. If you think people do not vote for a candidate with celebrity like status, look who is sitting in the Oval Office. Also, there are many feminists who might think this will be the last chance to elect a woman for a long time and why not give her a shot. Everyone says Obama against Palin would be like getting to the World Series and deciding to play the Nationals but be careful what you wish for.

Football weekend recap

Talk about elation and despair. On Saturday Ohio State defeated Iowa 27-24 to earn a trip to the Rose Bowl. Despite being heavy favorites and having a two touchdown lead in the 4th quarter it came down to the final play-which did not surprise me as the game was for a trip to the Rose Bowl. While the BCS makes the title game the ultimate goal going to the Rose Bowl is college football's longest standing tradition so this is quite satisfying. The last time they went I was a freshman in high school and there were no blogs or text messages!

On the flip side, the Patriots lost an important game to Indianapolis on Sunday night football. They a 13 point lead with four minutes left and lost. The key play was going for it on 4th down late in the game when they should have punted. Belichick would have become a Boston goat if it was the playoff. Indianapolis stays undefeated and this loss cripples their chances for home field throughout the entire playoffs.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Family feud

In addition to catching up on stuff, I watched the Ohio State vs. Penn State game which is also known as the family feud as my uncle attended Ohio State and his children (my cousins) attended Penn State. It is one of the few times I get to root for both teams, however I usually lean one way depending on where each team was in the Big Ten/national title race. This year the slight edge went to Ohio State in rooting, as they control their own destiny for the Big Ten title.

I was correct too, they dominated defensively and Terrell Pryor made big plays (and did not make mistakes). They have two games against Iowa, for first place in the Big Ten and then against arch rival Michigan. They play Iowa at home and then Michigan isn't playing at a high level for November. This time of year we that is thrown out the window especially in rivalry games and the trip to the Rose Bowl at stake.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One year ago

One of the greatest nights of my life.

GOP Sweep in Virginia

The GOP swept all three top statewide positions in Virginia's election yesterday lead by Bob McDonnell winning over Creigh Deeds with 59% of the vote. The Republicans also made gains in the House of Delegates.
This was not a referendum on President Obama as much a response to the lackluster candidacy and campaign of Creigh Deeds. He did not present himself as a real Democrat and that alienated a lot of activists from volunteering, and, for that matter, voting. He did not go after the first time voters that came out to vote for Obama last year, particularly youth and African Americans. These are the ones that carried Obama to victory in Virginia and Creigh needed to do the same.
I am sure the Democrats will learn from this and come back stronger in 2010.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

World Series

New York Yankees Vs. Philadelphia Phillies. This is an East Coast grudge match between two pro sports rivalry cities. Lots of story lines in this one. Philly took Game 1-and the home field advantage and Pedro Martinez is pitching game 2. He has a history with New York as many well know. Everyone is expecting it to be an exciting Series and that is what I am hoping for myself as well.

Five days to go

There is just one week to go until the Virginia gubernatorial election between Democrat Creigh Deeds and Republican Bob McDonnell. Honestly, this election has generated little to no buzz particularly among the Democrats. Deeds has not run a strong campaign which came stumbling out of the gate with a theme of "This is Deeds Country," not a way to appeal to Northern Virginia, one of the fastest growing areas in the country. He also never really came out with a transportation plan, another problem when trying to appeal to Northern Virginia voters, except if you count riding around in a flat bed pickup truck. As a result poll numbers are not encouraging to volunteers.

Deeds does not have the same appeal to bring out voters that came out to vote for Obama either, and he took Virginia in a close election which included many first time voters.

However, what was most disturbing was that he did not present himself as a strong and solid Democrat, this alienated a lot of regular activists and when you do that, the campaign is in big trouble particularly when it is not as high profile as the '08 election and you have to rely on the Virginia rank and file to organize volunteers, make calls and door knock to get the job done. I have done more volunteering myself than a lot of these people (and I cut down on my hours).
I am sure the Democrats will regret getting behind a moderate when he could not really rally the party. However, politics is more "unpredictable than sports" and anything can happen over the final four days. If you live in Virginia, knock on some doors or make phone calls. It isn't like Democrats haven't won in Virginia before!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Patriots in London

The Patriots defeated Tampa Bay today 35-7. It was important they took care of business against one of the worst teams in the league as the meat of their schedule is coming up.
They played the game in Wembley Stadium in London, United Kingdom. It is amazing how many fans of the NFL there are despite the lack of background with American football. There is talk of an NFL putting a team there as well as having Super Bowl. I think it would be difficult to have a team there but the Super Bowl would not be out of the realm of possibilities. The only drawback I see would be playing it at a different time of the day! It is not like London does not know how to deal with big events (2012 Olympics). It is good to see the interest in the game expanding to other nations. Maybe Spain next??

Balloon boy is a hoax

The mother of the "Balloon Boy" in Colorado came out this past week and said that the whole story was a hoax. The father was looking for some publicity for an appearance on an upcoming reality show and thought this would be the way to do it. This guy should be in jail for using resources tied to national security to orchestrate this!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

WaPo endorsement

Creigh Deeds has been endorsed over Bob McDonnell in the Washington Post this past weekend. Hopefully this will give some momentum to what has been a lackluster campaign and turn the tide in the last few weeks. The race has not brought out the same volunteers as the Obama campaign did and if they cannot bring out close to that voter turnout I believe the Democrats are going to come up short. Obama is planning another visit on October 27th so hopefully that is one of the last minute stops the Deeds campaign will deploy.

wild weather

I always say the Red Sox tanking means winter is on its way. I did not mean it in the literal sense. This past weekend we had cold rain and temperatures in the 40s. In the Northeast, they actually had some snow and I broke out the winter coat for the first time. This is a sure sign that winter is right around the corner.

Of course people are saying there is not such thing as global warming but it really is not a matter of global warming but rather climate change. This type of extreme weather cannot go unnoticed.

Balloon Boy

The top story this week was the balloon boy in Colorado. Originally people thought the boy had floated away in a weather balloon and it turns out he was hiding in his attic. Most of you know all of the details so I will spare you those. Here are my thoughts:

-I think they were looking for some more face time, after all the family used to appear on Wife Swap

-The reports also said they called the local TV station before 911. They also called up NORAD and flights at Denver Airport were delayed too. This is another recipe that they are trying to create a story.

-Local authorities announced that charges would be filed. I did not go to law school so I cannot pinpoint them exactly but we are talking about possibly compromising national security so this cannot be taken lightly

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Tough sports day

Tough day for sports in New England. The Red Sox were eliminated by the Angels in a 3-0 sweep. They were leading in the top of the 9th inning 6-4 and then Jonathan Papelbon gave up three runs and they lost 7-6. I did not have really high expectations of them since they limped into the playoffs but it is always a let down when they end their season. It usually means a long, cold winter is right behind.

The Patriots lost today to Denver 20-17 in overtime. The are not off to the fastest start particularly for Super Bowl contender. Tom Brady and the offense still have a lot of work to do as they did not score in the second half. Hopefully they will get their problems figured out to make a run at the playoffs and we will see what happens from there.

In better news, I ran my first 10K today along the Tidal Basin area/Potomac Park. When you do it for the first time, the goal is to finish and that is what I did!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Obama gets Peace Prize

This was a surprise to many, including the President himself. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today. It was surprising because he has not had a lot of accomplishments. It left the White House looking for a way to try and spin this-especially since they did not create the news. They did the best they could by saying it was a call to serious action for America to engage in diplomacy to solve the world's problems. A lot of it had to do with the fact that his policies were different from President Bush. He also said that he will donate the money to a charity. There is always the option of keeping it with the promise of starting a foundation after his presidency is over.

Red Sox fall in Game 1

Red Sox lost the opening game of their best of five ALDS against Anaheim 5-0. I did not stay up for most of the game, however, the game breaker was Torii Hunter's 3 run homer in the 5th inning. There were also two controversial calls by the umpires. The Angels still have to two more games, however you never know when the momentum swinger is going to come in a playoff series and that one hit might have been all the Angels needed to turn the series their way, especially in a best 3 out of 5. Game 2 is critical for the Red Sox otherwise they would have to make a return trip to the West Coast to win the series. If I played for an East Coast team, I would dread having to play a series against a team from the West Coast, especially with the cross country trips. It does not both the Red Sox as much because they are a veteran team and have had enough success against the Angels.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Its Rio!

Rio de Janiero was selected to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Surprisingly Chicago went out in the first round. Madrid got to the final so at one point I was giddy with excitement about a possible return to the place I lived for four months. At least I won't have to wait that long. While it was not my top choice I am pleased that a barrier was broken and the Games will head to South America for the first time as the early part of this century has seen a lot of barriers broken down such as this (and I expect more).

Unfortunately, the conservatives were actually pleased that Chicago did not get the Olympics because it meant a setback for President Obama. I thought it was somewhat unpatriotic to be supporting Madrid and these people are happy that we did not get it. I think the Olympics transcends politics and this is going to new lows. I also would not be cheering if Bush had done the same for New York four years ago and the result had been the same.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Olympic decision tomorrow

Tomorrow the International Olympic Committee will decide the host city for the 2016 Olympic Games. As someone who studied in Spain, I would be thrilled to see Madrid get them. However, I have visited Chicago twice and believe it would make an extraordinary host for the Games. The other two cities are Rio de Janiero and Tokyo. Rio would break a barrier and Tokyo is a world class city as well. President Obama made a last minute decision to over to be part of the final bid presentation. Critics are saying that he should spend more time on health care and Afghanistan. However, it is a short trip and should Chicago get awarded the Games, it would be one of his major accomplishments to date. Also the other candidate cities have heads of state as part of their presentations. Because of this, if Chicago did not get the Games he would be criticized for not going. May the best city win! Opening ceremonies will be here before you know it.

Red Sox in the playoffs

The Red Sox clinched their wild card berth in the playoffs when Texas lost to Anaheim on Tuesday night. It was a muted celebration as they clinched it on a five game losing streak. Having said that, since the MLB playoff field is so small, there is really no way you can just "back into" the playoffs. They went on a hot streak from mid August to mid September so they earned their berth. It should be interesting to see if they can go on yet another run this year. The Angels feel they will get them at some point but many experts feel they are the second best team in the American League. It will be exciting to see it all play out. Go Sox!

Earthquake/tsunami in the Pacific

There were two earthquakes this week in the Pacific Ocean, one of which created a tsunami that devastated the islands of Samoa and American Samoa. Having the two earthquakes near each other seemed like the TV miniseries 10.5, about a huge earthquake that destroyed the entire West Coast. The other one was in Indonesia near where the 2004 tsunami struck. It is a "double whammy" to many of these parts of the world because they are so poor to begin with. It is also difficult to predict/evacuate when there is a possible tsunami or not.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September sports

The Pats went down to the Jets this past Sunday in week 2. They were not ready for the defense that the Jets brought against Tom Brady. Hopefully they will make some adjustments for the next time they play them in Foxboro. It would have been helpful for them to get an early jump on the division, but at least it is only September.

The Red Sox are just a few games away from clinching the wild card berth and as I have said, it is all about getting into the playoffs in some fashion and then letting things happen. I remember last year when there were not expectations and they came one game away from the World Series. The October magic is not too far away.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Week in Review

Sorry for the lack of posts, it was a busy week for me. Anyway, a recap of events that went on this week.

Kanye West: What were you thinking, this isn't the first time that you put your foot in your mouth. Who can forget the first time?

Patriots: Exciting win Monday night, that was stupid for the Buffalo player to take the ball out of the end zone. That is what separates the haves from the have nots. As expected, Tom Brady and the Pats took full advantage of the turnover.

Red Sox: They are getting hot in September, which is the right time to get into form. Looks like they are in good position to make a run in October.

Yale grad student: Really sad, she was supposed to get married now they are going to be burying her.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Weekend heartbreak

It was a difficult week for my teams as both lost to two teams that I do not like in the final minutes of the game. Ohio State lost to USC and Notre Dame lost to Michigan. While it does not derail national title hopes for either team, it would have been good to see them make a big statement especially for OSU to win a big game against a non-conference opponent. At least they lost in September so there is a chance for them to get back into the picture. Michigan also looks like they are going to be a factor as they have won almost as many games as last year.

Teabaggers and NPC 5K

Who would have ever thought I would include politics and personal interests in the same post. Yesterday I ran the National Press Club 5k in downtown Washington in 25:40, another personal best for me. However the excitement came with the large teabagger protest right in Freedom Plaza on Pennsylvania Ave. The crowd was cooperative in staying out of the road but it was one of those "only in Washington" moments where you can get up and run a race and there is a sideshow going on around you.

When the race director was advising us to be aware of the "other people celebrating the first amendment" it was comical to see him do it with a straight face. Talk about liberal main stream media at its finest.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

We will never forget! I was beginning my second year of college at the time. Given the large Jewish population and there were a lot of student from New York/New Jersey, there was a lot of fear and sadness that day. I wish there was more unity like there was that day but we know the "cause will endure" like the late Ted Kennedy said.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Football is back

The NFL is back! Tonight Pittsburgh and Tennessee are opening up. The Patriots open up Sunday against the Bills. Destination Miami!

College football has begun as well. Go Ohio State Buckeyes and Penn State! Destination Pasedena-either for the Rose Bowl or the BCS Championship Game.

President Obama's healthcare speech

President Obama delivered an address to Congress on Wednesday night discussing the basic principles of the health care bill that he hopes to pass. He stressed the importance of this bill for our nation and called on both parties to work together and make sure that this is passed. Most importantly he stressed the importance of establishing a government health care plan for those that cannot afford or do not want a private plan. This was a point of contention that a lot of supporters of health care reform were concerned he was not supporting-mainly because it might jeopardize passing the bill. However, Obama and the Democrats realize the importance of having this as part of the plan. It was a very evenhanded presentation of the issue and he made an all out attempt to rally Congress to do this-whether it happens remains to be seen.

The most significant moment of the night was Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina heckling the president during the speech. It is a microcosm of the attitude of the GOP as they only want to be an angry opposition and not come to the table and play. If they do not show up to play, they will have to "forfeit" so this is the time for them to begin working to get this done.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Weekend in New England

I just got back from a wonderful Labor Day weekend in New England. I got to see family and enjoy some great weather. I took a day trip to Marblehead, a town on the North Shore as well as Ogunquit, Maine. I actually ate fried clams both days! I also had my last meal at Cedar Crest, a restaurant in Lawrence, MA that I would go to often when I was growing up. Now it is back to Washington for what promises to be a very busy fall. The holidays will be here before you know it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Schilling for Senate?

I read today that former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was considering a run for the late Ted Kennedy's open seat. As a Red Sox fan, he will always be a hero in New England as part of the Red Sox two World Championship teams. However, filling Ted Kennedy's seat should not be taken lightly and we need a politician that has knowledge on the issues and is qualified to represent the state and Schilling is not that person. We are in unprecedented times and Massachusetts needs an experienced leader to guide us through these waters. Additionally, a failed campaign could ruin his reputation among Red Sox fans across New England.

Paying respects

I went to see Senator Kennedy's motorcade arrive at Arlington Cemetery over the weekend and it was amazing to see how many people were out to watch it, many of them were not even his constituents. He was truly one of the greatest leaders in American history that made a huge impact on the way it is today. The family seemed also supportive of all the people that came out to pay their final respects. It shows how committed the family is to public service and the nation has always looked to them for leadership no matter what side of the aisle you are on.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Town Hall meeting

I got my first taste of a health care town hall meeting on Tuesday night (it just so happens it was my birthday too). Personally, I was glad to make it out in one piece. What a rough crowd at these things! Many of them do not know the issues and just want to get on their soapbox to preach their extreme agenda. I feel that something has to be done, but the issue is so complex you do not know whether it will solve the problems or if it is too broke to fix. It does not help when those that are extremely against it are saying that the plan would be tyrannical in nature (i.e.) death panels. It may sway those that are on the fence to not support it. Who knows, maybe Ted Kennedy's passing will provide some motivation to get this done.

RIP Ted Kennedy

Ted Kennedy, the senior Massachusetts senator, died Tuesday evening at age 77. He was the last of the four Kennedy brothers and the only one to die of natural causes. He was always considered the black sheep of the family but wound up being its patriarch and family leader. While he had his problems, one can say his record of accomplishment in the Senate will leave a legacy that may never be matched by any politician, even our current president. It does help when you serve for 47 years.

I was watching coverage of the motorcade in Boston today and it was amazing to see the amount of people who came out to watch. It makes me proud to have one of our great leaders from my home state. Saturday's funeral is scheduled to be on national television and President Obama will be giving a eulogy. He is going to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery next to his brothers. I am going to make a point of visiting his grave site there to pay my respects. My condolences to the family and all that knew him personally, which there were many.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

County Fair

Thursday night I volunteered with Arlington Young Democrats at the Arlington County Fair. It is a far cry from the County Fair in Massachusetts, as there was lack of agricultural displays and activities (no sheep shearing, horse pulling contests, or oversized pumpkins). However, it seemed like a good time was had by all. Also, there was not a whole lot of healthy food there so I ate before going. The expo portion was also inside so weather was not an excuse to show up to that portion.

Barney Frank

Three cheers for Barney Frank for shouting down this speaker at one of his town hall meetings. I understand that politicians are responsible for listening to all opinions but this is ridiculous, especially since he is Jewish. It is scary that people in Massachusetts can have such strong views about the health care debate, especially alluding to Nazism.

Brett Favre

Apologies for not posting this week. I was doing something almost every night. Anyway, Brett Favre is back in the NFL. Honestly, him deciding every year whether he is going to retire and then change his mind is a great story for ESPN, however, fans are getting tired of it. All bets are that something will happen (injury, losing season) where he will regret his decision to come back. He will be playing for the Minnesota Vikings, his former arch rival. It is fairly obvious he is trying to settle some personal vendettas. I would like to see the reaction if it all blows up in his face and whether that will convince him to hang it up.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Y.E. Yang wins PGA Championship

Y.E. Yang, a Korean-born player who has only one victory on the PGA Tour, chased down Tiger Woods today at the PGA Championship to win his first major. This is the first time Tiger Woods lost a lead after leading for 54 holes and, more importantly, the first Asian player to win a major championship. This is incredible for the global game of golf and proves that Tiger Woods is human after all.

We expected that one day Tiger would lose a lead on a Sunday and an Asian player would win but not this week. This was truly an unpredictable year in golf where none of my top picks second tier list made it into the winners circle. This year showed that golf is the ultimate parity game and any player that tees it up in any tournament has a chance of winning. The PGA was the exclamation point on that with Tiger not coming through after leading for 54 holes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Healthcare post

Check out this note from a friend of mine who is researching health care policy at The George Washington University. This gets to the basics of health care reform when it seems everyone else just wants to talk about the loud screaming protests. You may want to take a look at it before you develop questions and form opinions, especially if you go to a town hall meeting.

Fight night

Tempers reached a boiling point last night when the Boston Red Sox were playing the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. Kevin Youkilis charged the mound after a number of batters on both teams were hit by pitches and a bench clearing brawl ensued. The YouTube clip is below. It is amazing how much bad behavior baseball tolerates for a non-contact sport. In the NBA, if you go out on the court during a fine, you are ejected and given a suspension. Considering the Sox are fighting for their playoff lives, hopefully this will get them fired up for an August and September surge into the postseason.

RIP Eunice Kennedy Shriver

Eunice Kennedy Shriver died this past week at 88 years old. She was responsible for starting the Special Olympics, her husband, Sargent Shriver, was the founder of the Peace Corps. It is amazing the contributions of the Kennedy family to all aspects of American life. She will be missed by all of those that admired her and her work for those with special needs.

Monday, August 10, 2009

PGA Championship Week

This is the week of the PGA Championship, the final golf major of the season. It is at Hazeltine National outside Minneapolis, MN. It has always been the red headed step child of the four for a number of reasons. It doesn't have something that truly identifies it, course selection has been questionable, and people are starting to think about pennant races and football season when August comes around.

Having said that, it has gone up in stature over the past decade. They have both selected to have the championship at more well-known courses that have previously hosted the U.S. Open. The PGA has always found new courses which have become very successful venues (Valhalla, Whistling Straits). It has probably had more dramatic finishes/ playoffs then the other majors in the past decade. There have been a few seasons where Tiger Woods has come to the championship needing it to get one major win on the season and because he has made it meaningful, it has gotten more attention from golf fans.

Here we go with the picks. The standard is that I pick five that have very good odds to hoist the trophy and five "second tier" players that would not surprise me if they are in the mix/on top on Sunday night.

1. Phil Mickelson-This is a course that overwhelmingly favors a long hitter and since it is not a U.S. Open setup, longer hitters will have more of a green light to hit driver. I expect him to add one more Masters and one PGA to his resume and given the next few venues for the PGA this maybe one of his best chances to get a major.
1A. Tiger Woods-I could not make him the favorite solely considering his performance at the British Open and his performance in majors this year. I also could not make him a number two pick as he is at the top of his game coming into the championship. He also played well at this venue the last time the PGA was here. Now that I questioned Mr. Woods' ability to win majors he will probably win by five shots!
2. Padraig Harrington-He has not had the best year, but he had a strong showing the WGC Bridgestone event this past week until the crackup at the 16th hole and still holds the trophy.
3. Stewart Cink-It is not uncommon to do a British/PGA double in a calendar year. I am sure he will have a lot of confidence this week coming off the British Open win.

Five that could surprise
1. Sergio Garcia-He would be on the favorites except he hasn't had the strongest year. One of these days he is going to win one and I want him on the list when he does.
2. Justin Leonard-He played well the last time the PGA was here until a Sunday fold. He has always given himself opportunities to add a PGA to his British Open title.
3. Jim Furyk-He hasn't one is a while but it always seems like he has lightning in a bottle and not only will he break out of his losing streak he will do it at a major.
4. Ernie Els-My favorite player who I still think has one more major left in him and I want him on the list should it happen.
5. Lee Westwood-He had made runs in majors coming agonizingly close, expect him to break through at some point as well.

It all begins Thursday. Should be exciting.

Very hot in DC

It is going to be a very hot week in DC-almost 100 degrees. I am having mixed feelings about taking this week off. While it is good not to be working, it is difficult to get outside and do a lot of stuff except if you do it in the early morning. Then again, I guess I can't complain about not being at work. I am starting to remake the apartment slowly but surely as my last roommate took a lot of the furniture that we had.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Sotomayor confirmed

Congratulations to Sonya Sotomayor, the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, who was confirmed this past week and sworn in today. A great moment for the Latino community and America in general.

Red Sox sinking ship

Red Sox are playing the Yankees this weekend in the Bronx. This series will go a long way to determining their playoff prospects. However, they are looking very bleak right now. They have lost four straight (two to Tampa Bay and two to New York) in every way possible. Both of these teams are playoff contenders and the Yankees are in first place at this point.

The biggest issues are the adjustment of Victor Martinez to the Red Sox pitching staff, the lack of hitting (particularly from David Ortiz), and the lack of reliability of veterans such as Tim Wakefield and John Smoltz. This week the Sox solved the latter by cutting Smoltz. Right now the hope is to get into the playoffs somehow but at this point they do not look like a playoff type team. At this point they need to avoid a sweep in New York to right the ship and then be sure to take care of business against those that are out of contention. Otherwise, they will be home in October.

More thoughts on David Ortiz and his steroids issues later today after his press conference.

Town Hall meetings

Congress is going back to their districts for the August recess which means it is very quiet here in DC. Yours truly is on staycation to help my new roommate move in and spend a little time with him (and away from work). They are holding town hall meetings on health care. However, many of them are being disrupted by angry protesters and mobs who are going as far as hanging congressmen in effigy and issuing death threats, etc.

The Republicans must be really desperate/don't really have anything good to contribute if this is their idea of making themselves part of the dialogue. This is completely against the idea of democracy and government/citizen relations. It also draws people away from those that want to go to the meetings to have meaningful discussion. Keep in mind there are also conservatives that do want to have meaningful discussion instead of yell and scream (and threaten violence and death as well).

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Red Sox game

Last Sunday I went to the Red Sox-Orioles game and met up with my uncle, cousin, cousin-in-law her parents. We were not paying that much attention to the game as we were catching up on a lot of stuff with my family. However, I was very impressed with the Red Sox new acquisition Victor Martinez. He had a great day at the plate going 5 for 6. However, he may not be as comfortable with the Red Sox pitching as they allowed 10 runs. However, they did win 18-10. As always the playoff race will be very exciting down the stretch. My view has always been to get into the playoffs in some way and we can see what happens. Case in point last year, the Red Sox clinched the wild card with no expectations for going far in the playoffs. However, they shocked Anaheim and stormed back down 3-1 in the ALCS against Tampa Bay before coming up short of the World Series.

The big debate is when you clinch a playoff spot do you rest players or do you try and play for a division title if you still can get it mathematically. I think that it is a factor of whether you know you will get home field in the first round and how far back you are from first place. Managers and coaches just have to consider that no matter how they approach it, they will be judged by the fans and media as to how they do in the upcoming playoffs. Right now, however, this is not that relevant as there is still a lot of regular season baseball left to be played.

Dog days

We have officially entered the "dog days" of summer. The heat and humidity have come to Washington just in time for my new roommate to move in. He is coming from upstate New York, this could not be a Congress is on recess and it seems everyone is on vacation. Training camp is opening up in football and the PGA Championship is right around the corner. While I was in college it would bring excitement as I was always looking forward to going back to school. However, my parents would be depressed because they did not want summer to end. I always see this is as just one of the "rites of passage" with every year that comes and goes.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Big Papi juiced

While this is not breaking news, it broke yesterday that Big Papi David Ortiz took steroids along with Manny Ramirez in 2003. This news taints the two world championships they won. The only consolation is that it seems everyone was using steroids so it was essentially an "even" playing field.

Now that it seems that no one's hands are clean from the steroid era, it is important to move on from this, establish some sort of penalty system, and get back to playing the game of baseball in a fair way.

Sitting down for a beer

Because of the fallout from the arrest of Henry Louis Gates in Cambridge and President Obama's remarks, he (Obama) decided to have the three of them come to the White House to discuss race relations and profiling over a beer. Vice President Biden even joined them. You can tell it is summer and that we are in the information age when the news media is not only reporting what beer each of them is selected but analyzing why they are selecting to drink that sort of beer.

This incident sure brought to the forefront the importance of race relations in law enforcement and as the nation's first black president, it is one of the many issues Obama will have to put on his plate to tackle.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama's news conference

Last night President Obama held a news conference to discuss health care reform. He did well, outline some specific points in the health care reform legislation. He handled the questions and it was noticeable that the reporters were stepping it up a notch with their questions. He is hoping to get it passed before August recess. In my opinion, I really do not think he should rush it as this is the most important domestic policy initiative in many years-probably since the New Deal. The administration, Congress and outside experts must make sure that the legislation is set up fix the problems that are in the system-and there are so many it is a daunting task. However, it needs to work otherwise his approval ratings could go down to the point where he does not get out of his first term much less get reelected.

However, the most significant moment of the night came when a reporter asked him about the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates. He was critical of how the police handled it and this drew criticism since he did not have all of the facts. He did acknowledge that Gates was a friend of his. It was unfortunate that when he goes on TV to talk about a major agenda proposal this turns into the next day's headline. Give credit to Obama for not sidestepping the question.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Campaigning in Virginia

There has been a lot of concern that the excitement for campaign activity for Virginia democrats is not going to be at the same level as it was last year. I understand that there probably will not be an election that will equal that of last year's presidential election in terms of excitement and energy, but it is important that the grassroots effort does not go AWOL in Virginia. On a national level, Virginia is the new swing state and the success of Democrats in Virginia's 2009 elections will validate the "seismic shift" of the 2008 election and possibly be an earlier indicator of sentiments in the midterm 2010 election. Additionally, Virginia needs to elect Creigh Deeds for Governor and get a majority in the House of Delegates in order to solve some of the big issues the commonwealth is facing. Campaign activity is starting to simmer. If you are at the beach, in the mountains, or vacationing in Spain (someone wishes they were) enjoy yourself and have a great time. If you are moving roommates in and out, no need to drop furniture just to knock on doors and phone bank (they will make you pay for replacements anyway). However, once the calendar turns to September it will be all hands on deck and all eyes on keeping Virginia blue. If this isn't enough to get us all excited, the Red Sox (or your favorite baseball team) will hopefully be in the thick of a pennant race as well-except if it is the Nationals.

Obama health care

The top issue for Congress right now is health care reform and Organizing for America, the grassroots organization that came out of the Obama campaign to promote his agenda, is pushing a grassroots campaign to urge people to call/e-mail/write to their congressmen and senators to support the health care legislation.

Right now I feel that something needs to be done about health care. It is a travesty that the best health care system in the world is expensive and at times does not even work for everybody. However, I have yet to see specific details of the plan. Hopefully, Obama will outline it in his TV press conference tonight. While I campaigned hard to see change and a lot of people voted for it, there is a lot of concern that it is being rammed down our throats and it may not bring what voters really wanted in the end. Looking at it from the other side, he won a mandate to take action and live up to expectations so you cannot fault him too much for pushing an ambitious agenda especially with both houses of Congress under Democratic control.

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 year anniversary of the moon landing

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the landing on the moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. It looks like NASA will be starting a space program in the next decade that will push towards a return trip to the Moon. Everyone wonders whether it was a conspiracy but with investigation skills at the level they are today someone would have gotten to the bottom of that. Also, if NASA was ever caught doing a conspiracy of that magnitude it would basically mean the program would be cut-not to mention the history it would change. While a return trip to the Moon would be exciting, it is time for them to consider a mission to Mars. While it will not happen while Obama is president, if he gets the wheels turning to make it happen it would be an amazing legacy to leave behind.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

British Open finish

Stewart Cink captured the British Open in a playoff over Tom Watson today. Watson had a one stroke lead on the final hole but bogeyed it to force a playoff. A lot of fans and media feel they were cheated out of a great golf story today and are pointing to Cink as the villain. Additionally he may not get full credit for winning his first major. While it is painful to see any player lose a major like Watson did, for him to even go near a run like that in a major championship will always be remembered, as for Cink, he clearly won it with birdies on the back nine including one on the 18th hole. Even Watson would give him full credit as a golfer that played championship golf to win the British Open. He has always been one of the better American golfers playing on Ryder Cup teams and winning several tour events so this one was long overdue and it could be the first of many for Stewart.

One prediction I made was correct, none of the people on my list earlier this week won.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

RIP Walter Cronkite

Legendary journalist Walter Cronkite passed away at age 92 on Friday. He is the last great link to honest, no nonsense journalism-not like the glitz and glamour cable news of today. I had the opportunity to see in person and he was a great speaker and engaging with the audience. He was more of an influence on me and America than a lot of the previous celebrity deaths that have gotten more coverage. My thoughts are with the family and all his followers through the years that enjoyed listening to him.

Tom Watson leads British Open

Amazing! 59 year old Tom Watson, winner of five British Open titles including one at Turnberry-known as the "Duel in the Sun" with Jack Nickalus, is leading after 54 holes in the British Open. As you probably saw, he was not on my list or anyone else's list of favorites to win the British Open for at least 10 years. It is going to be a really exciting day tomorrow. This one will not involve Tiger in any way, he missed the cut on Friday. I guess we all have our bad days.
I am sure he will do just fine and I still think he will pass Jack Nickalus easily in terms of major championships.

Friday, July 17, 2009

All Star Game

I know I am a few days behind but a quick recap of Tuesday's All Star Game. There was nothing too eventful on the field, the American League won, not to anyone's surprise and should the Red Sox make it to the World Series they will have home field advantage. President Obama threw out the first pitch and there were some spattering of boos in the crowd. One should not be surprised since he did not win that state-I am sure throwing out the first pitch here was a political move for 2012. He also joined Joe Buck and Tim McCarver in the broadcast booth (aka Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee). He sounded more competent than the two of them when it came to talking about baseball. Unfortunately Tim Wakefield didn't pitch but I am still happy that he got named to the team. There has to be some strategy when it comes to players as the game does count towards home field advantage.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tim Wakefield to All Star Game

Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield has been named to his first All Star Game and will be in St. Louis tommorrow night for the festivities. I cannot think of a guy that deserves it more considering all that he has done for the Red Sox in his fourteen year career. He got huge postseason wins and was one of the many necessary pieces to the 2004 and 2007 championship teams. Most importantly, Red Sox fans did not make him the next Bill Buckner after game 7 of the 2003 ALCS -a label he thought he was going to have in the hours after the devestating loss. He also came in during crticial innings of the Game 3 ALCS 19-8 loss to protect the bullpen-a move that was critical in keeping it fresh for the forthcoming comeback. Most importantly, he has been a great pillar in the Boston community and a consistent winner even at age 42. I hope he gets to pitch a few innings in the game.

Sotomayor hearings

Today Sonia Sotomayor goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee for Supreme Court justice confirmation hearings. In the end, she is an extremely qualified justice and will be confirmed for the post. However, it is important for her to have a fair hearing in front of the American people so they know how she plans to deliver jurisprudence and interpret the laws that are brought before the court. While the committee is concerned about putting an activist judge on the bench, they will make sure she can answer for all of her controversial rulings, of which she has many. In the end, experts are saying the Senate will see her as a qualified justice and will confirm her by a large margin.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

British Open predictions

As I have said majors are always a crap shoot to predict, just look at the U.S. Open, I would love to know who actually picked Lucas Glover. The British Open is even more difficult as it brings in the element of links golf, which is a much different brand than played in the states, as well as the factor of weather (this is Great Britain, not San Diego after all). This factor alone neutralizes the field. Yes, Tiger I am looking at you, remember Murfield at the British Open. I am going to pick three who I think have the best chance at the trophy and a few that I expect to be in the running. However, I won't be surprised if someone I have not even mentioned is holding the Claret Jug on Sunday.

Three favorites to win
1. Tiger Woods-still the number one player in the world and he will win one major before the year is out. He would love to tie tennis buddy Roger Federer in the same country that he won his 15th major title.
2. Padrig Harrington-The two time defending champion, it is his trophy until someone takes it away from him. He played well in difficult conditions at Royal Birkdale, I expect him to dig deep should the weather turn at Turnberry.
3. Steve Stricker-Two wins in the last four starts, he is a gritty competitor that has played well in majors and he could break through this week.

Six I expect in the running
1. Ernie Els-His game has gone downhill (missed cut at the Masters and U.S. Open) but he has had the most consistent record at the British throughout his career. I expect a few good major championship runs from him and there is a good chance he will find the magic and add one more trophy to his already impressive mantle.
2. Sergio Garcia-As much as he whines he will win a major one of these days and the British is his best shot. He has been out of the spotlight so I am sure he has been working on his game to get ready for the most important championship for Spaniards.
3. Mike Weir-Strong showing at the U.S. Open with a T-10 finish, always a gritty player, bringing treasure from the mother country might be just as cool as winning gold in hockey-maybe not.
4. Lucas Glover-Do NOT overlook the most recent major champion.
5. Henrik Stenson-Winner of this year's Players Championship and also had a strong showing at the U.S. Open, he is playing at a level this year in big events to bring Sweden its first major championship.
6. David Duval-He came back to life with a runner up finish at the U.S. Open, memories of climbing the mountain here in 2001 will motivate him to possibly relive the magic.

British Open Week

This week includes two midsummer classics, the first being the All Star Game, the second is the British Open at Turnberry in Ayrshire Scotland, also known as the Open Championship in Europe. Here are my thoughts on what is the most unique major of the year.

-The John Deere Classic sponsors a charter flight for all participants going to the British Open, talk about a culture change going from middle America to the seaside links of England or Scotland.

-While the U.S. Open is about the modern game, particularly that game of golf in America as it is played near major American cities or scenic vistas, the British Open is about the history of golf and history in general. It is played on seaside links courses located in small towns that are hundreds of years old-not in posh American suburbs near major cities. Golfers from around the world, regardless of which country you are from see Britain and Europe as a center of world (and golf) history and any championship that is played in the shadow of such history, and the British Open is the only major that can boast it.

Travelling to this championship does not involve driving your BMW from downtown on the interstate, but taking a train and staying in a modest hotel. This year is an exception as it is being played at the Turnberry Resort. Of all the courses in the rota, this one has the most unspoiled scenery and that demonstrates the simplicity of this championship. For better or worse, none of it will ever change as long as they play the championship.

I see this as a trip back in time over hundreds of years for four days. It always brings back memories of my time in Europe and hopefully I can go back someday. The next post will focus on the golf.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Madrid 2016 Olympics

When one Boston to Washington campaign ends another one begins. I would like to kick of my support for the selection of Madrid, Spain for the 2016 Summer Olympics. I believe that Spain is truly the crossroads of the world and the center of the world history and Madrid stands as its foremost symbol. Additionally, the city is a cultural mecca with outstanding food, architecture, singing, dancing, did I mention food? Additionally, it is within a days train ride of many important cities that are just as much a part of the Spanish story as the capital city. It has some stiff competition, Rio De Janiero (South America has never hosted a games), Chicago (President Obama's hometown), and London will have hosted the Games in 2012 and the International Olympic Committee usually likes to rotate continents. Nevertheless, I would love to return to Spain to see the torch lit at the Opening Ceremony. They are supposed to pick the city this fall. Viva Madrid!

Running of the Bulls

This week marks the San Fermin festival in Pamplona, Spain which includes the famous tradition of the Running of the Bulls where brave people run through the streets being chased by the bulls that are being released to the bullfight later in the day. I studied in Spain while I was in college and do take an interest in Spanish traditions, however this is one I will never participate in and I personally do not know too many people that would be interested in doing so.

Real World DC

For those of you that are fans of MTV's "The Real World," they are doing the newest episode in Washington, DC. It is being shot at a house that is a block from where I work. In fact, I was at a fundraiser on Wed. night and a couple of the cast members came to it. I might be on TV at some point as they were doing the shots right in front of me. There are a lot of people in the upscale DuPont neighborhood that are not happy with the shooting as it is causing a lot of disruption in the area.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Federer and Tiger win

Roger Federer won the Wimbledon title yesterday by defeating Andy Roddick in an epic five set match. The fifth set, a Wimbledon record, went on for so long I thought it would never end. He wins his 15th grand slam title-the most of any male tennis player. I still think Sampras was the better athlete and better grass court player-right now he still has more titles at Wimbledon than Roger Federer. As a side, I think Federer is somewhat of a pompous yuppie too!

Tiger Woods fulfilled his vow to be a "greedy host" yesterday by winning the AT&T National (his own tournament) yesterday at Congressional outside Washington,DC. Woods and the Foundation has put together such a great event that I am not going to fault him too much if he winds up winning it. Unfortunately it has to go to Philadelphia the next few years because of preparations for the 2011 US Open at Congressional. I look forward to it coming back to DC after that is over as it has become a special tradition just like the Cherry Blossoms.

Sarah Palin resigns

Sarah Palin resigned as Alaska governor on Friday afternoon effective on July 26. Everything about it was really strange and unexpected. First, she decides to do it on a Friday afternoon on a holiday weekend when not a lot of people would be paying attention. She gives the impression that she is trying to get away with it without anyone noticing-which I don't see as appropriate for any elected official. Second, she has a very unstructured an incoherent speech which just raises questions as to why she is doing this in the first place.

As far as her future political aspirations, I am not going to predict anything at this point but we are going to find out exactly why she did not serve out her term in the months ahead and should she decide to run (especially for President) her opponent(s) will really use it against her. I cannot expect that she will make it out of the primary and I think that the Republicans could be a huge liability if she were to get the Republican nomination in 2012. Many Republican commentators cannot even make sense of the move-at least from the political perspective.

It seems like the Republicans cannot get their act together and every day is more bad news. Eventually they will right their ship but it will be interesting to see when they do it and how it is done.

New roommate

A lot happened for a holiday weekend. More on that later but I did get a new roommate to accept my offer. He is from Syracuse and will be doing a Masters degree at George Mason. He will be moving in the first weekend in August. I am excited to start a new chapter in my life as I am sure he is with moving to DC. I better get ready for some serious furniture lifting in the next few weeks!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy Fourth of July

I will most likely take a blogging hiatus this weekend so happy Fourth of July weekend to everyone. Full recap of any siginficant weekend events on Sunday night.

Tiger Woods Tournament

This weekend is the AT&T National Tournament at Congressional Country Club in suburban Maryland, known affectionately by me as the Tiger Woods Tournament. Personally I think this is one of the best events on the tour. Proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation and one of the goals is to have a branch of the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Washington, DC (dream workplace for me but happy to be at APPA right now). It also honors the heroes of the U.S. Armed Forces. The field is one of the best non-major fields especially for the summer tournaments. For a town that is not as rabid about sports as others, they have embraced the event so far. I feel that they have embraced it more as an event than a significant championship but I am pleased that the nation's capital has a tournament that locals can get excited about.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yemen plane crash

There was an amazing story today where there was a plane crash in the Indian Ocean near the Comoros Islands and one teenage girl amazingly survived- wow!! Things like that only happen in movies especially with a plane crash. She should be cannonized as a saint just for that!

Franken will be seated

Al Franken will be seated as the Senator from Minnesota, ending an eight month election recount and court battle. My thoughts on this:

-The whole fight went on for way too long. This was a disservice to the nation and especially to the people of Minnesota who only had one senator and deserved to have their voices heard more

-The GOP continues to look bad. Party Chairman Michael Steele said that losing the election was a good thing because any legislation that does not work out can be blamed on the Democrats. Are you kidding me? As party chairman you cannot condone election losses. Secondly, at least the Democrats have the means to put through their agenda which your party has little or no control over. Whether the legislation works remains to be seen but for now, look who is king of the hill. To think I was impressed with this guy in the 2006 Maryland Senate election-look who is taking out the trash now

Monday, June 29, 2009

Madoff sentenced

Bernie Madoff, the investment giant who was the mastermind behind the ponzi scheme that swindled millions of dollars out of many investors, was sentenced to 150 years in prison for his horrendous crimes. It had a ripple effect on my alma mater, Brandeis University, who had many donors that invested with Madoff, and their fundraising efforts. When I was there for the reunion they had a lot of capital projects going on and when it comes time to pay for them it could be a problem. There were original plans to close the Rose Art Museum on the campus but the backlash from that lead them to a compromise where they would only sell certain pieces of art. You can see my earlier post here. Personally I think the sentence should require him to hang by his toes for three hours every day.

U.S.A. vs. Brazil

On Sunday the United States national soccer team played perennial powerhouse Brazil in the Confederations Cup final in South Africa. They were up 2-0 at halftime and usually that is a solid lead in soccer, especially on the international stage. Many thought they could pull the upset. But, alas, when it is too good to be true it usually is, Brazil came back and won 3-2. Nevertheless, it was good that team U.S.A. at least competed with a team like Brazil on the biggest international stage they have ever been on. Merely 10 years ago American soccer was considered a joke but the growth of the game in the United States has lead to more support and a more talented national team.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

American Clean Energy and Security Act

Since all MSM seems to want to cover is all Michael Jackson all the time I may as well give some attention to the fact the House passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act. This will help reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create a lot of green jobs. It will also help utilities (both investor-owned and municipal) implement energy efficiency programs as well. This will also help in addressing the issue of climate change and enforce stricter codes to reduce emissions in private industry.

Friday, June 26, 2009

RIP Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett

What a week it has been for celebrity deaths. First Farrah Fawcett of Charlie's Angels passed away after her long battle with cancer and the "King of Pop" Michael Jackson passed away suddenly yesterday of an apparent cardiac arrest. Jackson may have had some personal issues but his talent was respected by mostly everyone and he changed the way artists combine singing, dancing and video in their performances. His passing is being felt around the world and for those of us that grew up with him, it is similar to the passing of John Lennon and other icons.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Academy Awards

I just saw on the news that there are going to be ten nominees for Best Picture at next year's Oscars. I can see where they want to give more studios/filmmakers the opportunity to get the award, but does it water it down a little bit? Also, won't it extend the show even more. It is already long enough.

Mark Sanford=FAIL

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford decided to get away to Argentina this weekend without telling his wife or staff. There were even pictures of him hiking nude. He then admits to having an extramarital affair. He was on a "medium sized" list for candidates for the Republican nomination in 2012. At this point anyone he may have hired for his exploratory committee may as well start looking for new jobs.


The United States shocked Spain in soccer today 2-0 in the Confederation Cup. They will advance to their first FIFA final ever. If they come close to this next year in the World Cup it will be a huge accomplishment for United States soccer. I have somewhat mixed feelings since I studied abroad in Spain while I was in college, but since they won the Euro Cup last year this is not a huge deal.

Boston vs. Washington

Yes, a little take on the title of this blog. The Red Sox were in town to take on the Nationals at Nationals Park. I went to the game last night and had a good time. There were more Red Sox fans than Nationals fans. I could sense the excitement just by the number of text messages I was sending and receiving. Given the tragic events from Monday, it was a good way for Red Sox and Nats fans to take their mind of the realities of what happened. Best of all the Sox won 11-3. Go Sox!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RIP Ed McMahon

Television personality Ed McMahon died today at 86. He was best known as Johnny Carson's sidekick on the Tonight Show but went on to host and appear on other shows including "Star Search." My thoughts go out to his family.

Red Sox vs. Nationals

The Boston Red Sox are travelling to Washington this week to play a three game series against the Washington Nationals in DC. I am really excited as I am going to the game tonight. There are going to be a lot of Red Sox fans there that have relocated to DC. Go Red Sox!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Metro Crash in DC

There was a Metro crash on Washington DC's Metrorail Red Line today. My family was calling up to make sure that I was okay. Luckily I am fine and everyone I know is okay. It is crazy to think about the safety concern when using something that you rely on every day. At last count there were four people killed today. My heart goes out to the families of those and a speedy recovery for those that were injured.

Update: Death toll now stands at 7 people in this crash.

Lucas Glover wins U.S. Open

Lucas Glover won the 109th U.S. Open today at Bethpage black. He had several clutch shots down the stretch and Phil Mickelson came up agonizingly short once again. David Duval, one of the best golfers from the late 90s and early parts of this decade had a great second place finish and many had thought he fell off the face of the earth after winning the 2001 British Open. You can see how much of a crap shoot the U.S. Open can be when none of the four people that I thought had a chance winning ended up doing so.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Busy weekend

I had a busy weekend. I had to help a friend pack stuff up to move back to Los Angeles (not a triumphant return by any means) but given the times that we are in it is somewhat necessary. I am counting my blessings every day. I also saw "The Proposal" with my movie group. It was a great romantic comedy and Betty White was especially good. I also went to a friend's birthday party right after that in addition to dinner Friday night. I also took care of "apartment stuff" but I don't want to get into that stuff at this time right now. I did also take my first swim in the pool at the apartment complex. I am also going to try to get back to the gym and running next week. Only disappointment was not seeing the U.S. Open end today but there is nothing you can do about the weather I guess.

Happy Fathers Day

I just want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all of the fathers out there. Fathers are the best role models one could ever have.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Rain on Long Island

The forecast is for on and off rain the entire week. This really stinks, I always look forward to America's biggest golf event of the year ending on Sunday. I may as well go ahead and schedule time off from work now because it is all but certainly going into Monday. Not that I would ever skip work to watch golf!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

109th U.S. Open

Tommorow is the first round of the 109th U.S. Open at Bethpage Black Course on Long Island, New York. It returns there for the first time since 2002. The U.S. Open is the tournament I always look forward to every single year. I believe the setup is extraordinary and the champion always has to play 72 solid holes in order to win. Par is always a very good score and many on many occasions it is an equalizer and many champions are totally off the radar screen at the beginning of the week, such as Michael Campbell in 2005 and Angel Cabrera in 2007. While I could be wrong, the length of Bethpage makes it one where the biggest hitters are going to rise to the top. Here are my picks:

1. Tiger Woods-He won here in '02 and fully expect him to do the same just like any major he tees it up in.
Others that might have a chance
2. Phil Mickelson-Another long hitter and wants to win an Open more than a lot of tour players. He is playing with a heavy heart
3. Sergio Garcia-A "brown horse," he has not been playing well this year but his length and ability to rise in some majors makes him a factor. He is going to win a major one of these years, could this be it
4. Ernie Els-His career has gone down (especially after the four near misses in '04) but I think he has one more run in him. A long hitter, this may be his last chance at a major. For this course he is the closest to dark horse that I can get-I cannot see one rising up from nowhere to take this.

Of course, none of these players could even be in the top 10 on Sunday night. Sit back and enjoy. Remember, it does not "begin" until the back 9 on Sunday!

Obama and gay rights

Obama is trying to make amends with the gay and lesbian community by granting some benefits to gay couples where one partner works for the federal government. His stances on gay issues have been a disappointment. While he is trying to govern from the center, a lot people who voted for him on the issue of "change" were sure that this would include reform in the rights of gays and lesbians, particularly those from the progressive movement. At least he has plenty of time in his term to revisit the issue and hopefully take some action to benefit the gay community.

Protests continue in Iran

Demonstrations and protests continue in Iran over the disputed election last week. The government and police forces were even trying to crack down on it by tracking Twitter accounts. One can only wonder where these protests will go next, whether the government represses them or if it leads to an overthrow of the government by force or a civil war. At least Obama has come out and said that this is an issue that Iran needs to resolve. After all, we may need to deal with them on more important issues in terms of diplomacy.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lakers win

The Los Angeles Lakers won Game 5 of the NBA finals last night 99-86 to take the series 4-1 win their 15th NBA title. Even though the Celtics won last year and lead in the total title count seeing the Lakers win is still obnoxious. Phil Jackson also passed Red Auerbach for most titles won as well-he got his own gold hat for doing that too. At least he did not do it against the Celtics. At least the Celts will be back next year and will try and make another run at it.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iranian elections

I saw this coming from a mile away, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected in Iran's presidential election this past week and it is no secret that it was a fraudulent election and there have been protests all over the nation. At least last Tuesday's primary in Virginia was a free and fair election. People are still bitter about the 2000 presidential election and the stain that put on our democracy.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Farewell letter

A link to Miles' farewell letter from the campaign. I could not have put it better:

Arlington rap

This is hillarious. It is spreading amongst local people faster than Susan Boyle clips. Unfortunately it is true. Sometimes Arlington reminds me a lot of Andover but a younger age bracket and it is more "fabricated" with modern development and national chains. Not that there is anything wrong with that especially for the demographics.

Penguins Win Stanley Cup

The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup in Game 7 2-1 over Detroit (at Detroit no less). Good to see Sidney Crosby get his first cup and he has set the bar for Alex Ovechkin (of the Capitals) and the young Bruins as well. They clinched three consecutive series in a row on the road which is always impressive too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shooting at U.S. Holocaust Museum

Today there was a shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington today. The perpetrator was a white supremacist who decided to carry out his act of violence at a memorial to those that died at the hands of hate and tyranny.

As an Armenian and Jew, my heritage (and even my own family) have been affected by ethnic slaughter so this touches me personally.

On a day when Virginia Democrats are coming together in unity, regardless of candidate affiliation from the past few months or, more importantly, political party affiliation, we can all agree that these acts cannot and will not be tolerated in the United States in 2009 and elected leaders, along with citizens, will have to play a role to make sure that happens.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The campaign has come to a close

Congratulations to Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner, and Patrick Hope on winning elections in Virginia and Arlington today. As Democrats, we will all give them our support as they enter campaigns with Republicans in November. In the case of Patrick, we wish him all the best as he will be the next Delegate from Arlington.

As far as the Miles Grant campaign. I want to congratulate everyone on all of their efforts and I could not be more proud of our team. Miles and every single volunteer showed class, professionalism and friendship from day one of this campaign and that is something that will not change. I hope we can take the lessons we learned from the past five or six months in bring them to our careers and our lives. Most importantly, we need to maintain these values in the Arlington community.

Once we have recovered and resumed our normal lives, I look forward to the entire team reconvening to, have some fun, and discuss where to go next as there is plenty to do before even thinking about 2011-and not just political campaigns. We have a lot of varied backgrounds, expertise, and interests and we need to continue to reinvigorate them into the Arlington community to make it a better place (the most important thing) and maybe, someday, Arlington will elect a delegate, whether it is Miles or someone else, that will have the values that this campaign cared deeply about.

I am now ready to kick off a relaxing summer. I am looking forward to getting back to golf, running (had been sidelined with an injury), swimming, watching baseball (Go Sox!), other social activities, and most importantly, finding and welcoming my next roommate. Our group is welcome to partake in any of those previously mentioned activities with me! Once again, thank you all for a great ride.