Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/07/23

Political Debates

Warning: the following is political in nature and should not be read by anyone. Oh! And since “P” was next on my ‘Blogging from A-to-Z’ list anyway, I’m going count this for that as well.

On their Facebook page, 3TV here in Phoenix recently posted the following questions in regards to an upcoming political debate between six (party name not important) candidates for Arizona governor: What issues matter most to YOU in the upcoming election for governor? What would you ask the candidates?

Arizona Primary Debate '14

Photo from 3TV News Facebook

Aside from the usual stupidity and insults displayed by people on Facebook when it comes to rationally discussing ANYTHING political, this story, these questions and of course people’s responses actually ticked me off. (I know: looks who’s being irrational now, huh?)

Plat-formity

First of all, with six candidates from the same political party – what are they actually debating? Almost by definition they’re running on the same platform, touting the same beliefs and pushing the same message. Oh sure, one might have a longer resume than the others and/or brag about things they’ve done in the past. One might even try to differentiate themselves by talking tough. Yet at the end of the day, they all believe in virtually the same thing.

Which means one of two things will likely happen: they will all spend their time bashing the other political party or each other. Both options do nothing but add toxicity to our already declining democracy.

It’s sad, really, because then we, the voters, are left with making a decision based on who is the most articulate or best dressed or has the funniest sound-byte. So much for choosing our leaders based on their qualifications…

No you’re wrong!

This is probably the biggest farce with primary elections and debates. These six candidates will spend a lot of time – and certainly a lot of money – throwing each other under the proverbial bus over a period of several months in the form of TV commercials, debates and in political rallies. It’s negative campaigning at its, err, finest.

“His record as State Treasurer is abysmal!”

“He ran his business in the ground, losing investors millions. How can we expect him to run the state?”

“I represent the middle-class. He’s in bed with those with 7-digit incomes.”

“He has a history of infidelity and continues to lie to both his wife and the American public!”

“…but I will support him in the general election and have the utmost confidence he’ll be a great governor for the State of Arizona…“.

Mark my words: it’ll get ugly. Yet in the end, they’ll all smile and become friends (probably with the hope of being given an appointed position within the new administration.)

Primarily Pointless

And what’s it all for? Votes? Technically yes, though people don’t vote for the better candidate any more. They vote straight party ticket.

All these six candidates have to worry about is being the last man (or woman) standing after the primary election. After that, their only concerns are making sure their constituents come out on election day and perhaps sucking up a little to the independent voters (i.e. the ones who have an ability to think for themselves and/or who aren’t swayed by media onslaught.)

I still place most of the blame on we the people. As a country we’ve somehow lost the ability to elect leaders. Instead we constantly take the easy road and vote for illusions and false promises made by candidates whose sole purpose is to represent those that got them elected rather than the ones who actually elected them.

Trust me: there’s a difference. And I’m not sure that the issues that matter to us personally or the questions we’d ask of these candidates matters much at all.

Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/07/17

Arizona and Autism

On a previous installment of Life at the Speed of Matt, you might recall that young Matt was struggling big-time with my move to Arizona. As I’ve often tried to hit home in these blogs about Matt, transitions are not easy for kids on the autism spectrum. Those with autism simply have a more difficult time adjusting to change.

Thus, you’ll often hear parents, teachers, doctors, therapists and other so-called “experts” talk about the need for routines and daily patterns. My wife and I – oh who am I kidding? – my wife has done a great job of creating consistency in Matt’s life. On a daily basis, he knows what to expect and if there’s ever a change, we try to prepare him for it ahead of time.

Matt at Peter Piper's Pizza

Pre-pepperoni at Peter Piper’s Pizza.

Which means, of course, we still go out of our way to expose Matt to new and interesting things. I mean, he’s still a kid and no kid should live life in a predictable bubble. As his parents we just need to anticipate and read the signs before he becomes overwhelmed. Sometimes we win, sometimes we lose (give back the spark, come light the fuse…*)

Read More…

Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/07/14

Blogging A to Z: O is for Opinions

Just trying to plug along the whole Blogging A to Z series where I pick a letter and just write.

I have opinions which, by definition, makes me opinionated. And for anyone who has read this blog in the past, that shouldn’t be news to anyone.

People with many opinions.

Differing opinions aren’t always a bad thing.

How’s the old saying go? Opinions are like assholes. Everyone has them. (And I’m no different.)

Though what I think is a little different – at least with me anyway – is that I’m usually not shy about letting people know mine. If you ask me a question, if you want to know my thoughts, I’ll tell you. And not only will I tell you, rarely will I sugarcoat my answer.

Read More…

Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/07/08

Blogging A to Z: N is for Names

Just trying to plug along the whole Blogging A to Z series where I pick a letter and just write. Believe me, I actually have a full A-to-Z list I’m working through. It’s just taking longer than I thought.

For a long time, people’s names have been an interest of mine. Some might even say obsession. What originally started out as a radio bit in college – teasing guys with, uhh, less than manly names – has turned into so much more.

Someone’s name, its spelling, its pronunciation and origin can have a huge impact on that person’s life. There’s a true sociological affect.

I don’t care how many degrees, awards, publications, or honors he might someday have – if you name your kid Adolph Hitler, he’s completely screwed from the proverbial get-go.

Read More…

Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/07/01

What would you do?

Warning: this blog references President Obama, politics, immigration reform and stupid people on Facebook and should not be read by anyone.

Since October approximately 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended entering the U.S. illegally. Read that out loud if you must: “…approximately 52,000 unaccompanied children have been apprehended entering the U.S. illegally.”

Texas became so overwhelmed that they just started busing the kids to New Mexico and Arizona. Many of these kids were sick and malnourished (there were also reports of many dying a long the way).

Young children crossing the US-Mexico border.

What would you do?

That’s just mind-boggling. For any parent to just hand off their nine-year old to a smuggler and wish them the best of luck is asinine. Yet it happened. (Reports show kids as young as five traveled from Central America through Mexico and into Texas without their parents.)

Read More…

Posted by: Michael Miller | 2014/06/19

Blogging A to Z: M is for Mascots

This is just another part of the whole Blogging A to Z series where I pick a letter and just write. Originally “M” was to be about mud runs or Matt or misguided thoughts but this just seemed too good to pass up.

When it comes to professional sporting events, here is my general opinion on mascots: I’m not a fan. And yes. I get the overall concept of why they exist.

In Chicago, for example, the Blackhawks have Tommy Hawk and like most rational, educated, intelligent ‘Hawks fans – I think he’s a joke and an embarrassment to the organization. There’s just little-to-no place in professional hockey for a cross-breed between Foghorn Leghorn and Woody Woodpecker.

But I digress (which seems to happen a lot).

Though what about the Blackhawks name? Is that a bad thing? Is it offensive? What about the Braves? Indians? Or dare I say Redskins? Read More…

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