Torn about who to vote for this year

Torn about who to vote for this year

I try to be an informed voter. So this year, I researched the candidates running for political office in my region, listened to the debates, read their policy platform statements, watched their TV ads and scoured through their direct mail literature to get a clear picture of where they stand and how they differ from their opponent on the important issues facing us.

After all my research, I am still a bit uncertain as to whom to give my vote. Perhaps you can help me decide. Take the race for U.S. Senate for my state. It’s between three-term Democratic incumbent, Patty Murray, and Republican challenger / pro-business advocate, Dino Rossi.

Let’s take a look at how they stand on some of the major issues of the campaign, in their own words:

On Jobs and the Economy


Democratic position: The most important issue in front of us this election year, without question, is jobs. Our unemployment rate is almost 10%. While Wall Street fat cats are raking in record profits again, none of this has trickled down to the millions of unemployed workers on Main Street. My honorable opponent has no idea what it’s like to be unemployed. He has the luxury of sitting in his corporation’s penthouse office suite – a captain of industry, sipping dry martinis with his Wall Street bailout buddies. He has no idea what it’s like to be a laid-off fork lift operator or an unemployed single working mother of three. You know he didn’t buy those cuff links at Sears. Probably drives a Bentley, if you ask me.


Republican position: My reputable opponent and I agree on one thing – and that’s that she wants to turn this great country I love into a bloated big government, socialist bureaucracy intent on taking over every major industry and depriving your freedom to pursue the American dream. As a three-term, inside-the-Beltway bureaucrat, my opponent is completely out of touch with America’s small business people. She wants to do an extreme makeover on the USA and convert it into another Belgium. But this is America, the greatest nation on earth. I won’t let us become another Belgium, no matter how hard my distinguished opponent schemes for this to happen.

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Nine things I wish I hadn’t worried about so much as a parent – Conclusion

Nine things I wish I hadn’t worried about so much as a parent – Conclusion

Last week I started to discuss nine things that I wished I hadn’t worried about so much as a parent over the past 16 years. I tried to be a conscientious parent, but in the process, I realize now that I made a lot of mistakes, like the time I sent around the Adoption announcement after we adopted our first daughter as a four-month old infant in China. There she was in the picture, this cute little bundle of joy, wearing a sweater with the words “Made in China” emblazoned across the front. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Who knew it would scar my daughter for life?

If you missed it, you can read Part I of the nine things I wish I hadn’t worried about here. To continue with my list…..

Lesson Six: Put your toys away after you use them. I thought it was a pretty simple concept: The toys go back in the toy box.  The dirty dishes go in the dish washer. Put your used bath towel back on the towel rack. But apparently the process is far more complicated than I ever realized because 15 years later, my daily message still appears to be as undecipherable to my teenage girls as ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Whenever I’ve said “Please hang your coat in the coat closet,” somewhere between the time the words leave my mouth and enter their inner ear, the audio waves must somehow morph the sound of my words into “please don’t hang up your coat. I want to remember it lying there, in the middle of the kitchen table, on top of your dirty gym clothes, forever.” The typical response I get to any request to put an item away is always the same: “Yeah, I know” – which I now am convinced translates loosely as “over my dead body.”

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Nine things I wish I hadn’t worried about so much as a parent

Nine things I wish I hadn’t worried about so much as a parent

As a parent, you never stop worrying about your kids or how they will turn out. Will they grow up safe? Will they make good choices? Will they ever forgive you for buying them those matching green and orange plaid square dance dresses for their 13th and 14th birthdays? My two teenage daughters, Rachel and Emily (shown at left when they were much younger), are only a two and three years away, respectively, from heading off to college. [Editor’s note: My wife hates when I talk about our kids by name in my blog. Something about respecting their privacy. So for the rest of this blog, the part of Rachel will be played by Vivian. The part of Emily will be played by Nicole.]

The other day, I reflected on all the things I’ve worried about as a parent. I came to a startling realization: I spent much of the past 16 years needlessly worrying – fretting over how to be a better parent, be a positive role model, and keep my kids from making poor choices. In retrospect, I needn’t have been so anxious. I was never going to get it right. I finally realized that my kids were going to make it through this bumpy journey called childhood (moderately unscathed), regardless of my egregious parenting mistakes. In retrospect, I should have spent a lot less time worrying about whether they brushed their teeth and a lot more time about worrying how to cure my slice in golf. Then again, trying to cure my golf slice is about as futile as trying to be the perfect parent. Both end up in bitter disappointment.

Here are nine parenting lessons I wish I hadn’t worried about nearly so much over the past 16 years:

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A Preview of TV’s Mid-season Reality TV Replacement Shows

A Preview of TV’s Mid-season Reality TV Replacement Shows

Whoever opined that “television is a vast wasteland” never watched an episode of Pimp My Ride or the equally thought-provoking Lingerie Football. If you ask me, the quality of television has never been better.

The proud tradition of erudite TV programming is nothing new. The birth of excellence in television can be traced back to September 14, 1965, when the much critically heralded classic sitcom My Mother the Car first aired. Fans and critics marveled over the course of 4 months at the antics of a middle-aged man (Jerry Van Dyke) whose deceased mother comes back to life in the form of an antique car. Some jaded media scholars believe television reached its nadir with the introduction in 1991 of the pioneering Jerry Springer Show, where dysfunctional families with 4th grade educations discover on live TV that Shatiqua’s recently paroled boyfriend has been sleeping with her sister, Jazmine and their mother. But if you ask me, that was the start of TV’s true golden age.

Over the decades, Americans’ television tastes have become increasingly demanding. How else to explain such highbrow entertainment as Jersey Shore, My big Fat Obnoxious Greek Fiancé, Teen Mom, The Real Housewives of Orange County, or my own personal favorite, Dog the Bounty Hunter. The Brits can have their BBC series Masterpiece Theatre. I’ll take our American-made COPS any day. Did you see the last week’s season premier episode where this 46-year old crack-addicted, welfare fraud mother tries to offer sexual favors from her 19-year old daughter to an undercover cop in return for crack? You can learn so much about the frail human condition from COPS. We are all just one sex-with-my-teenage-daughter-in-return-for-a-hit-of-crack-cocaine away from a long, lonely stay in the Graybar Hotel. Just one tiny mistake away.

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