Monday, August 30, 2010

College football season starts Saturday

With this not being the Red Sox year, it gives me all the better reason to look forward to football season. College football season starts Saturday and in my family that is especially exciting as we have Big Ten ties. My cousins went to Penn State and my uncle went to Ohio State. Given how high expectations are for Ohio State (#2 in the nation) I cannot help to start dreaming of the national championship game in January. However there is still a long trip to get there. These days in college football there really aren't any cupcake teams anymore-not to mention the BCS computers. It will be a fun ride and with the way college football is-being the last team standing is especially rewarding. College football 2010-dreaming of the desert!!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Katrina five years later

Today marks the five year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina hitting New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. It was very surreal to see all of the events unfold at the time. One could only wonder where our world was headed with 9-11, natural disasters, and other unprecedented events that were going on.

A lot of people blamed George W. Bush and his incompetence for the failures of Katrina. However, it was such a complex and unprecedented disaster that required coordination at unprecedented levels, one can wonder if President Obama would have been able to do a significantly better job with handling the disaster. Obama had an advantage with a national network such as Organizing for America that would have been a first step in some level of organizing at the local level which could have communicated with emergency personnel about he situation, although their job is not to respond to emergencies.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Roger Clemens indicted

How baseball's great stars have fallen due to steroids. Roger Clemens, the legendary pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, has been indicted for lying to Congress under oath about using steroids. While Clemens might have been a polarizing player, this is very little debate over his behavior under oath. This was unbecoming of an athlete and charges should be pursued to the fullest extend of the law. It is important to send a message to younger people that doing drugs and lying to authorities is not acceptable and no one can get away with it.

Out of Iraq

This past week the United States ended combat missions in Iraq. I supported the war at the beginning, but then I realized that it wasn't the right mission as it turned into a quagmire wasting a lot of money and leaving many soldiers dead. At least it did depose a dictator but it did become a harbor for Al Qaeda so I do not feel that the war did anything to eliminate the threat of terrorism and tyranny. We should have been out of there a long time ago but I cannot complain now that we are no longer there. Hopefully the nation building phase will help to make it a more stable democracy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

On The Mosque

The big story of the past few weeks has been the report of the building of a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.

First of all it is not even supposed to be a mosque but rather, an Islamic center. Secondly, I think it is shallow to associate the Islamic religion directly with the 9-11 tragedy. The majority of Muslims are peaceful people and Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations are mainly extremists.

If the leaders of the new center are moving there as a business decision (rent, proximity to target audience) they have every reason to move there. However, if they are doing it to make a statement then there is a problem. It is not like they are putting it right next to Ground Zero where they are planning on building the memorial and museum.

Also, the Obama administration needs to work on messaging. President Obama should not come out with an unclear statement and then have to go back and clarify it. This isn't the first time his communication did not come off the right way (see Henry Louis Gates).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Martin Kaymer wins PGA Championship

Chalk up another prediction that I did not pick. Martin Kaymer of Germany won the PGA in three hole playoff over Bubba Watson today. The championship was mired in some controversy as Dustin Johnson was disqualified from the playoff after he grounded his club in what was a bunker on the 72nd hole-another heartbreaking finish at a major after he collapsed at the U.S. Open in June.

This championship showed there is a new crop of talent taking over the game and they will be fighting for my attention (and major championships) over the next decade. Tiger Woods is now at the point where he is the victim of his own success. The players in their late 20s who took up the game around when Tiger burst onto the scene are coming of age. I sometimes wonder where I missed the boat.

It was another PGA with drama and I can hardly wait until next season where we see this new generation duel it out for the next set of major championships.

Storms and Fires

The rash of storms continued in DC/Arlington last week and affected me personally for once. The early morning thunderstorm last Thursday lit an underground electricity transmitter on fire that was right near my office building. It was evacuated and I was sent home last Thursday. The office did open on Friday. There was a storm near Washington's W Hotel on Saturday as well. However, with the storms it did cool down the weather for a short time.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Four years in DC

This week marked my four year anniversary of arriving in DC. While a four year anniversary isn't significant, when it involves midterm election cycles (this will be my second midterm election here) a four year anniversary is fairly important. I recap my thoughts in this Facebook note. Here's to four more years here in DC!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

PGA Championship picks

Here we go with my final major championship picks of the year. This week is the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, an Irish style links course located right on Lake Michigan in Kohler, Wisconsin. This is the second time that it has been played there.

While the PGA has always been the red-headed stepchild of the four majors, with nothing that distiguishes it or makes it special, it has improved in course quality and, in some years, provides the highest drama of the four majors, particularly last year when an, Y.E. Yang, an unknown Korean player came from behind to knock off Tiger Woods.

This is a course that is not that well known to players so the safe bet is a dark horse actually winning this year's edition. Once I say that, it will be a top ranked well known player. Anyway, here we go with the picks.

Five favorites
1. Rory McIlroy-He is familar with this type of course coming from Northern Ireland and he is considered the "next big thing." It will be sooner rather than later that he breaks through and wins his first major.
2. Phil Mickelson-You would not think this course would suit his game, but he can be hot and cold so he might as well take over the World Rankings in stellar fashion.
3. Hunter Mahan-Two wins this year including last week at Akron, it would be good to see a rising American star complete the set of unlikely major winners.
4. Ernie Els-I expect he will solidify his FedEx cup lead in Wisconsin and this will be one of his last great opportunities to get the fourth major.
5. Justin Leonard-He had a putt to win in here 2004 and played strong in Akron. He should be in the mix on Sunday.

Five dark horses
1. Sergio Garcia-This is still the summer of Spain and I want him on this list when he wins.
2. Bo Van Pelt-Always on and off the leaderboards and I need to pick a legit dark horse at least once.
3. Jim Furyk-He has been consistent all year but has never been able to cash in when given an opportunity to win a second major but this will happen at some point.
4. Sean O'Hair-Also a consistent journeyman player that could break through anytime
5. Tiger Woods-His game is in shambles but still needs to be on the list. If he were to win it would not be a surprise either.

It all starts Thursday on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

back from Massachusetts

I just got back from a mid summer trip up to Massachusetts. When it gets really hot in DC, it is always nice to escape to the quiet neighborhoods of my hometown of Andover and spend time at the ocean. I was at the beach on the North Shore of Massachusetts where I had been going since I was a toddler. Vacations always come and go really fast but I guess there is always the next one to look forward to.