On Discipline

I’ve been preparing for fatherhood by combating the biggest problem with families today.

Not gay marriage.
Not contraception.
Or sex education in schools.

No, the biggest problem with family values today, is the lack of parents willing to actually raise their children. And by raise their children, I mean to get off their ass and do their job and instilling skills, discipline, values, and respect in their brains.

This does not include buying them laptops. Or video game systems. Or whatever bell and whistle they want. The job of parenting is not to make their lives a wonderland paradise. The response from parents to my complaint is always the same: (some variation of) I’ll call you when you’re knee-deep in shit with a kid 60 minutes into a temper-tantrum.

My response (on the inside, of course) is often: (some variation of) Well, I’ll call you when you’ve learned to actually value the blessing of being a parent and accepted the awesome responsibility of raising a human being.

I been reading a great book lately, written for current parents with unruly kids. However, it has many great techniques to consider and talk about with your expecting spouse. I could go into them one-by-one and rant about how ridiculous the actions of parents are on a daily basis. Instead, I want to talk about the greatest thing I’ve ever seen.

My first thought is that this might not be real. I hope it is. I pray that it is. I pray that it is mainly because of the absurd question posted above the raw link of this video.

“Was this parent’s Facebook parenting too harsh?”

Are you fucking retarded? Listen to this guy’s rant. He clearly hasn’t been harsh enough in this brat’s first 15 years. Her life should have its own section on WhiteWhine.com. Yes, I’m sure that progressives that are scared of firearms would say that unloading a clip into your teenagers laptop might be extreme. However, if you listen to the video, he is dealing with an unruly and out-of-control girl. This video reminded me of my favorite tactic from the book, called “Shock-and-Awe”.
I’ll assume none of you need an explanation.

Here are some ways to know if you’re disciplining your kid enough and giving them way more than they ought to have:
If you find yourself saying, “I’m taking away your laptop until college”, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.
If your child uses the term ‘cleaning lady’ to justify why she doesn’t nee to do chores, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.
If your child believes they have any sort of privacy — online or otherwise — when living in your house, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.
If your child believes payment is required for chores, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.
If your child has never earned something they wanted through hard work, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.
If your child does not hate you every single day, you’ve clearly spoiled your kid.

I get to talk like this because I did all of this shit. If Facebook had existed when I was a kid…holy shit, I don’t even know what I would’ve done. I likely would’ve done something worse than this girl. If I had $1 for every time my dad should’ve slapped the piss out of me, we both would be retired and fishing for marlin in the Florida Keys. However, I can say that my parents fully achieved their goal as parents. I recognize that everyone has different values and priorities. They wanted me to enjoy my childhood and feel safe, something that — unfortunately — is not a given in the richest country in the world, and I did. I have wonderful, life-lasting memories.
I also have no idea how to change a tire. Because when he tried to teach me, I pretty much showed him my sack and went back to some worthless activity that did nothing for me in adulthood. Rather than beat the living snot out of me, he decided to not spend his free time banging his head against my hard-headed skull. I can’t say I blame him. But you miss valuable bonding time and valuable needed life lessons. I would have rather been pissed then and have those things now. If you think your 12-year-old can make decisions for themselves, than you should write Congress and tell them to let kids vote, enter into contracts, and reasonably conduct all business that able-minded adults do.

You make decisions for them. Sometimes by force.

Now, for those that cannot recognize effective exaggeration, I am not saying that we should beat our kids. There are other tactics, very effective tactics to teach them that chores are not an option; that disrespecting adults is not an option; that living with a sense of entitlement is not an option.
Every minute of every day is a war and your kid is keeping a battle diary.
Every time they win, they’ve mark the line. When you threaten discipline and don’t follow through, they learn another tactic. When you buy them something to shut them up, just another strategy. They keep marking the line until you kick them in the head.

Today’s parenting style, if not about taking the easiest path, is about making sure your kids love you now — hearing that your the best parents of all the parents they know.
In my opinion, the legacy of a parent is not made while in adolescence. It is made long after you are dead and gone.

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On Prejudice

We all like to think that we are objective in the way we view the world. I trumpet this all the time as I believe my political experience is unique, especially in this era of political polarization. It seems that neither of these statements are true.

This long-term study shows that most give “themselves credit for more fairness and less self-interest” than we should attribute to others. It also shows that while most politically-astute citizens believes we are more politically polarized than ever before, actual survey responses show that “There is more common ground than we realize.”

I am guilty on both counts.
I voted Republican and considered myself a conservative from 1998-2004 while working on the payroll of the state party from 2000-2002 (as an intern). I have to give myself an honest transition, but I voted Democrat and considered myself a progressive from 2005-2010, while working for the state party or the legislative caucus from 2006-2007 (temporary positions).
While I realize my core ideology is left-of-center, there are issues that square me firmly on the right. Furthermore, as the polarization study admits, “people who see the world split into two opposing factions are also most likely to vote and become politically active. This means that while real growing polarization is illusory, the perception of polarization could drive the political process.” At its core, this is what soured me on my experience in party politics, what made me jump parties so quickly, and ultimately forced me to finally transition from “dream career” to “expensive hobby.”

If you have read my political posts consistently, you will see me criticize progressive often — and not in the only way that progressives (or conservatives) criticize their own because they don’t fight hard enough — but on a variety of different grievances. My criticism of conservatives is just as diverse — or it would be if their arguments and strategies were not so vanilla. My continued attack is as simple as their rhetoric: They have a fundamental inability to understand the function of government and a gross representation of their comfort toward (and willingness or stubbornness to learn from or about) people and cultures different from their own.

Ironically, as a true progressive, I made that line so much more complicated than I needed. I channeled John Kerry from 2004. Moving on.

Because of this basic criticism of today’s conservatism, I was surprised by my reaction to an article based on a research study that basically hands progressives their stereotype of conservative ideology. And maybe that basically outlines my problem. It justifies a stereotype, even if it exists.

Research shows that blacks in urban schools dropout at a ridiculously high rate and ultimately have lower IQ scores. Would we let one of these “low-intelligence socially-conservative adults” chalk that up to their racism?
“Well, they are black. They don’t want to be educated. They would rather deal drugs.”
No, it is more complex. You cannot research this topic without controlling for parental involvement, without controlling for institutional bias, or controlling for poverty and nutrition, or early childhood development, or even expectations. There are so many factors and I didn’t even touch on overall funding, teacher recruitment and retention, and per-pupil spending. It is more complex. Usually, when you control for these factors, a gap still exists — but barely.

It is more complex.
This is where I cannot dismiss the article. It is also where my conflict becomes clear. My heart tells me this type of categorization is simply wrong — and what progressive are supposed to fight against. My head tells me that this is exactly the problem. It is the problem with the debt ceiling debate, the problem with the jobs debate, the problem with the tax debate, the poverty debate, the everything debate.

What problem do I speak of?

“There is reason to believe that strict right-wing ideology might appeal to those who have trouble grasping the complexity of the world.”

It is simply much easier to hate the government because they take 25% of your income, than understand the complexity of the system that returns a value well above your dollar, or a service that you cannot possibly provide yourself.
It is much easier to believe that the government is taking away freedom with everyone vote they take, than understand the complexity of a system that from the rural city council member up to the President, is essentially, you.

We live in a complex world. It gets more complex by the day. Rather than offer concrete policy resolution in a modern era, a conservative will just say no and take away. This is the simple answer — to criticize. To offer up answers, justify them with substantive research and analysis, and then stand by the result takes much more.

However, I still leave rubbed the wrong way. I am not surprised to see this type of research and as I read it, I started to argue with my computer screen, “Yes, these are the argument of an uneducated conservative. I see them all the time as graffiti on my Facebook wall. But, c’mon, progressives have their illogical generalizations that control their ideology. Hell, this is why I find myself playing conservative in discussions…and I have no idea how I got there!” They apparently realized the egregious error.

Researchers admit that these ‘simple viewpoints’ may not be owned by one ideology. They even offer up examples that could be the beginning of the next research model. But they would never conduct that study. They admit that, “every kid is a genius in his or her own way,” is another simple statement based in nothingness, which controls the ideology of extreme progressives.

I see some very ignorant views from progressives about rich people. I was telling a friend about a funny celebrity gaffe on TMZ, and he responded with, “So what, think about how much money they make?” Their income had nothing to do with the discussion, but it clouded the person’s ability to follow along with a funny story. This bias fuels the left and their vendetta against rich people.

On both accounts, it is sad. Income inequality is real and so is the epidemic of poverty in the richest country on Earth. Blaming Mitt Romney for the legal tax rate he pays shows the true hand of the progressives that are, for all intent and purposes, running the ideology. It could be the tax code. It could be the tax of incentives to reinvest. It could be a lot of things. I could promise you one thing: Capitalism, Entrepreneurship, and rich people are not the causes.

I want to give an example for conservatives, but I’m tired. Progressives need to learn that 40% of the country disagree with you. Conservatives need to learn that 40% of the country disagrees with hem. 20% of us sit on the sidelines.
Maybe it’s 45%-45%-10%.
Or 33%-33%-33%.
Or 20%-20%-60%.
Depends on what politico nerd you ask.

We all grow more cynical by the day, wishing that this wasn’t just a bad reality with no consequences. Instead, it’s a bad reality show with dire consequences.


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On Choke

This is why I will never give up my love affair with sports.

Fans prognosticate twenty-four/seven at the water cooler, pundits analyze every angle and possibility in the media, and players strut with swagger in front of the cameras.

Then game time comes.

All week we heard about Tim Tebow and his heaven-sent ability to throw the ugliest spiral since the Cleveland Indians were an NFL franchise.
It was only the divisional weekend, but Tom Brady had a message for NFL fans. The message was, “I’m a two-time MVP, a three-time champion, and I turn down sex from a supermodel.” He proceeded to remind everyone that there is no debate over the best quarterback in the NFL. Period.

Tebow showed he’s still a boy among men. Tom Brady. Aaron Rodgers. Manning, Eli. Manning, Peyton. Drew Brees. These guys win games by themselves.

The choke was in. But this was the undercard.

The 1972 Dolphins went 17-0, after a 14-0 regular season, the only team in the modern era to go undefeated throughout. The 2007 Patriots went 18-1, after a 16-0 regular season, the only team to win 16 in the regular season and 18 straight in one year.
After that you have five teams in history to go 15-1 in the regular season. The 1984 49ers were the first. They convincingly won the Super Bowl, solidifying a dynasty that would see the team win four championship and go to the playoffs every year but three between 1981-1998.
Ironically, the next year saw the Chicago Bears put together a 15-1 season. They powered through the playoffs so well that this team is likely one of the greatest single-season teams ever put together – if for no other reason than the Super Bowl Shuffle breaks the tie between two dozen teams that could vie for that title.
Thirteen years passed until the 1998 Minnesota Vikings put together the most prolific offensive season in history (until the next century started) to go 15-1. This franchise was the first to lose 4 Super Bowls. They are the franchise that had the term “Hail Mary” dubbed against them. They own the worst trade in NFL history. And they were also the first team to go 15-1 and not win the Super Bowl, or even make it to the Super Bowl.
Lastly, the 2005 Steelers went 15-1, but laid a similar dud in the AFC championship game to join the Vikings in this exclusive club of futility. I am sure this pain for Steeler fans is lightened by the fact they won the Super Bowl the following year and then won it again three years later.

That brings us to today’s game.

This contest included the greatest quarterback to ever play the game.
This quarterback was having the greatest season ever played.
This team has been dubbed the greatest to ever step onto the Gridiron.
The game was being played on the most hallowed ground in the Universe.

These are all statements uttered by expert and influential media this year to describe Aaron Rodgers.
Unfortunately, these statements actually describe the ugly duckling, the forgotten stepchild (read: brother) Manning, Eli.

As a futile Minnesota sports fans, I often trumpet many regular-season or single-game accomplishments of my favorite teams and players. Just as often, the closest Yankee or Packer fan will often utter some prissy statement about how only championships matter.

Well, if that is true, then we just saw the biggest choke in the history of the NFL.

Champions deliver when it matters. After the sports media had rode this team all season long, suddenly many were predicting this epic upset. Much like the Packer team from last year, the Giants went from awful to desperate to unbeatable in the span of two months.

Listen, had you asked me at the beginning of the season who I would vote for as the greatest QB of all-time, I wouldn’t even blink: Peyton Manning.
Now, I’m pretty sure he’s not even the best in his family.

If I believe what everyone tells me, then regular season wins do not matter (especially when evaluating player performance) and while it is popular to judge a quarterback solely by win-loss record, it is simply an inaccurate barometer.
If we are to judge players on their performance in big games, then Manning, Eli is the greatest quarterback of all-time. Listen, he led a team effort in 2007 where the Giants single-handedly destroyed what would have been the greatest season in professional athletics — he gave it a Mike Tyson beating, and now it is stained with a huge black eye, of what might have been.
All anyone talked about this year was the birth of a legend. It’s possible that Tim Tebow suited up in the #12 at Lambeau, as the stat lines are similar, but that wouldn’t be fair to Packer fans. This was a home game and Green Bay never held a lead, and while the score was close through the first half, they were struggling to keep up.
They were completely dominated, at home, by a team that barely played .500 football through the regular season. I’ve been alone in saying this all year, but the hype around crowning Rodgers and this Packer dynasty has been absurdly premature. The “Hail Mary” to end the first half was embarrassing, proving that their entire defense is a joke. A ton of playmakers on defense, but they never play as a team. Always looking for their own highlight reel, they forget that giving up 400 yards a game is not an equation for success.

Brett Favre won a Super Bowl in his 4th year as a starter, then the next season laid a total deuce in the Super Bowl after being favored by two scores. He never returned to the Super Bowl, his legacy tarnished in Wisconsin, and his reputation a laughingstock in the NFL. Rodgers won a Super Bowl in his 4rd year as starter, then the next season laid the most pathetic performance from the leader of an elite 15-1 team we’ve ever seen.

The Packers won all year solely on media hype. Other teams would step on the field on lay on egg, letting Rodgers eat them alive because he was supposed to do so, it was already scripted. The Giants through 120 minutes of football against this team had one drive, which ultimately resulted in the regular season loss against the Packers, that made them look like an inferior team. Otherwise, the Giants believe in what they are doing and absolutely dominated the Packers.

This weekend was very telling for the future of the NFL.
When the going gets tough, there are the Tom Brady’s and the Manning, Eli’s. Then, there are the Aaron Rodgers’ and the Tim Tebow’s.

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On Playoffs, Part III

Around Thanksgiving, I wrote a few blogs about the difference between certain playoffs systems and how the better system will reflect the type of competition in the sport. I used college football as an example of why a playoff system is essential. No one outside of Jim Delaney’s residence supports the BCS system, while most want some sort of playoff.

Not many would advocate reverting back to the old system of playing the bowls and crowning a national champion based on the AP poll. This would not have been the season to make that argument, as LSU was expected by most to beat Alabama and win a clean title.

For most, Alabama dominated enough in the national championship to dub themselves crystal clean — but that is just not the case.

1. The NCAA FBS season already plays out like a playoff format. Every year there are a handful of teams that are realistically competing for the title. First, you either have to go undefeated or have one-loss (at the perfect time in the season to the right team) and get help from the other elite teams around you — and all the teams know it going in. Second, you have to play in the right conference and have a strong strength of schedule to compete for a title, just ask Boise State.
LSU beat a #2, #3, #3, #12, #16, #17, #19, #25 during a 13-game season. That is 8 ranked opponents. Most other teams play half of their games against ranked opponents, while going 11-1 or 12-1, to be in the national title hunt. The schedule is a season-long playoff system. So, at the end of a four-month playoff, allow the voters to intelligently crown the champion. We do it with MVP awards and the Hall of Fame.

2. Like most seasons, most fans disputed the BCS computer system that even put Alabama in the title game. This is evident by the AP poll when bowl matchups were announced and the point spread between the top teams: LSU (1500), Alabama (1418), Oklahoma State (1400), and Stanford (1283). Alabama and Oklahoma State were essentially tied with LSU the undisputed #1 (all 60 first-place votes). Alabama had already lost to LSU. So, the national championship should be LSU and Oklahoma State.

3. Or, further evidence of #2, is that both teams play in the SEC. There is no doubt that the SEC is the best conference in college football and really, it isn’t even close. However, to put a team in the national championship that did not even win their conference…that did not even win their division within their own conference, screams of incestuous unfairness. It would be like the NFL changing the rules and allowing the Green Bay Packers to play the Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl.

The one argument people are using to crown Alabama is just how badly they dominated on Monday, as opposed to their in-season matchup that went into OT on a game with just field goals. This is true. Unfortunately, as the NCAA tries to bleed every dollar out of the bowl season and the BCS, (4) the most important bowl game and the teams that played in it waited well over a month between games. This is a ridiculous way to play of championship. How about we play the Super Bowl on March 13th this year? Or start the World Series on November 11th? It should surprise no one that one team shows up rusty and another shows up well-rested.

So, in reality, where do we sit? If we count the bowl games in the record, it is quite fuzzy. No one has beaten more quality teams than LSU, their season was historic and they laid a 2007 Patriots on the field — by losing to Alabama. Alabama lost to LSU. Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State. Stanford had one loss until Oklahoma State beat them in the Fiesta Bowl. In a playoff system, Alabama would play Oklahoma State (expect LSU would have played Stanford while Alabama would have played Oklahoma State) for the national title. If Oklahoma State were to beat Alabama, then they win the title with the least impressive season schedule?

It’s a complicated system, with conferences that are not equal like we see in professional sports, schedules that are far from equal — and these are amateur athletes. The best way to crown a champion is to judge them based on their entire seasons’ portfolio of work.

If we do that for the 2011 college football season, even when taking into account the epic choke job, LSU was the best team in college football.

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On New Hampshire

Is it possible that I will blog six times today over the nation’s first primary?

No, not a chance.
This one is in the bag.

Will Romney win by twice as much as 2nd place?

Yes. Romney will come in at 40% or more. Huntsman and Paul will be in the mid to high teens. Santorum will take 3rd, followed by Gingrich. Perry will hope to break 5%.

Does this mean the nomination is over?

Yes. This will mark the first time a GOP candidate has won both Iowa and New Hampshire, and the candidate to do so has been the presumptive nominee for 18 months.

What’s next?

The media will continue to cover South Carolina and Florida through Super Tuesday. However, tomorrow will be the first time the major politicos write articles about the VP choice.
Unless there is a major game changer, you can start your focus on the general election: Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama.

Posted in News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments