Monday, November 30, 2009

Cyber Monday Mania

I shop online a lot, my favorite stomping grounds being:

CNet Cheapskate
Dillyeo and
Froobi Deal of the Day

Of course, to keep the humidor full, Cigar International is my go to Smoke Shop (Free Shipping Link)

But with today being Cyber Monday, the day everyone returns to work and scowers the Net for post Black Friday deals, here are the must stop cyber sites:

The Original Cyber Monday
The Fat Wallet Forums

No referral kick backs for me, just some places I like to shop.


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Turned to Blue, United States Air Force

Karma shmarma, I should have known there was nothing to worry about.

My #3 son, the senior in high school, has officially been sworn in as a member of the United States Air Force. He is in the Delayed Enlistment Program and will be heading off to basic training June 15th, just a few days after graduation. He is waisting no time.

I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of this young man. He has gone through much in his short life, and has persevered through it all. Oh, it wasn't easy! Just a year or so ago he was lucky to pass a class, but once the gears started churning, and he had his mind made up, he was committed to his future. Now that future entails 8 years in the Air Force, 4 active duty, 4 reserves.

Tuesday night was the ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) the first step in the MEP process. The score is based on percentile, 99 being the highest:
Air Force recruits must score at least 36 points the 99-point ASVAB (Note: The "Overall" ASVAB Score is known as the "AFQT Score," or "Armed Forces Qualification Test Score"). Exceptions are made, however, for a handful of high school graduates who can score as low as 31. In actuality, the vast majority (over 70 percent) of those accepted for an Air Force enlistment score 50 or above.
We were hoping for a phone call once he was done with the test, however, the call never came, and thus, parental anxiety set in. The future Airman hit a 70ish on the pretest, but when it came time for the real thing, he spanked an 85. His recruiter, now DEP Supervisor stated that was the highest score of any of his recruits to date.

Once the test was out of the way he was shuttled to a hotel with other recruits to get a good meal and a decent nights sleep. Wednesday was a battery of physical and psychological tests The trickery to disqualify follows, but the young man never blinked. Once 2:00 rolled around I couldn't wait and had to call the recruiter. He had just gotten the E-Mail "You got another one in!" Emotions over came me!

It is not easy raising children, and it gets even tougher once the hormones kick in. But now that 'Trainee' Schiebel has turned the corner, and made a commitment to protect the citizens of this country, he is well on his way to success in whatever he chooses to do.

I have much to be thankful for this holiday weekend, but it begins with the pride I have in my son who has made a very selfless decision.

Nicholas, I am proud of you young man, you can only make me prouder!

An Air Force and Marine Dad

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Been distracted this week with personal and political realities. I'll share once things fall into place, but karma has a way of getting the best of me so I have opted to remain hush hush. If all goes well, I'll tell you all about it, if not, I'll just mention in passing it didn't *grin*

Politically I am conflicted with the new Saint Paul Public School Superintendent decision. Oh, not with the pick itself, I think Ms Silva is a solid local home grown educator that this district has needed for quite sometime. I am just confused at another fiscal boondoggle, like the mandatory cultural proficiency training that the School Board seems to always find money for, while we are dealing with class sizes approaching 40.

Ms Silva's selection was a forgone conclusion the moment the prior Super even hinted at leaving. I struggle with the outside search firm, and some faux selection process when we pretty much knew all along who was going to get the nod.

I'll reserve comment on the 'cultural proficiency' mess. My attitude on that one could create more then just debate on this blog. I am hoping there will be a right time for that discussion, but now isn't it.

Now, back to being a concerned parent. Know that even worst case scenario isn't bad, but happy thoughts are appreciated.


UPDATE: Best case scenario panned out! I'll have a memorable Thanksgiving Day post tomorrow regarding the future of my Senior in High School! Details still trickling in.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Mr. Nice Guy

NetrootsMN begins today, and I am on one of the panels:
Netiquette: From Polite to Pit Bull, Where Do You Cross the Line?

FRI, 11/20/2009 - 3:30PM, Phalen Room

We all have candidates we love and candidates we hate. Now it's time to have an open and frank discussion about how to help our favorites online. Does being polite get you ignored? Does being a pit bull make people hate the candidate as much as they hate you? When is it too much, and how to handle abusive commenters? And, as always, learn how what to deal with anonymous trolls on your sites.

PANELISTS: Minnesota Observer, blogger; Mark Giselson, Kurt Schiebel, blogs as Flash
I'm leaving for Iowa shortly afterwords, so I will miss the rest of the conference. But if you haven't signed up yet, you need to do so. Tonight's Democratic Gubernatorial forum will be a must see event.
Gubernatorial Candidate Forum
FRI, 11/20/2009 - 6:00PM, Town Square Ballroom

DFL candidates for governor will join us at Netroots Minnesota to take questions directly from you. The candidates will be asked questions solicited online via Twitter, Facebook, and email, and in person, during a discussion moderated by Star Tribune writer Lori Sturdevant.

It's shaping up to be one of the most engaging forums for the candidates to date -- make sure you get a front-row seat at this must-see-for-yourself political event.

Note: This panel is sponsored by Alliance for a Better Minnesota Action Fund.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy 7th Blogiversary To Me

I would be remiss in pointing out that 7 years ago today was the first Centrisity post.

Much has changed since then.


Unnecessary Distraction

We are giving them what they want!

I do not believe it is necessary, or even prudent, to take war criminals and try them in civilian courts. These savages do not deserve the publicity or the recognition of their existent. They should be tried in tribunals with military justice.

Their acts were an attack on this country, an act of war. To give credence or credibility to their actions by allowing them an opportunity to declare, on a public stage, their allegiance to their extremist factions is dangerous and reckless.

This is a mistake, one that I hope will not cost us in the end.

But maybe that's just me!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


With the Health Care debate moving into the more moderate Senate, the common sense Democrats are feeling pinched:
None of those Democrats is feeling the heat as intensely as Sen. Blanche Lincoln (Ark.), who has become emblematic of the improbable distance that health-care reform has traveled, and how far it still must go before becoming law.

Her vote and that of two other Democrats expressing serious reservations about the legislation -- Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) -- will determine whether it will garner the 60 needed to break an all-but-certain Republican filibuster.
A vote to end debate should not be of concern, it is the final vote that matters. There is no reason these folks can't support caucus procedures and then be allowed to vote their conscience or constituency on the final ballot.

As for Lieberman:
one, independent Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (Conn.), has threatened to join a GOP filibuster if the final bill contains a government insurance plan, or "public option."
. . . he should simply should be given an ultimatum. His 60th vote is key, and as a former member of the Democratic Party he has been allowed to retain his chairmanship and the perks that go with it. If it turns out his vote means nothing, then there is no longer any reason to allow him to keep his seniority. It may have been different when it meant the choice between majority and minority status, but if we can't count on him for key procedural votes, there is no reason to consider him a member of the caucus.

But, Sen Lincoln is a different animal, as she is the one whose electoral future is on the line. However, large numbers of her constituency needs this bill:
Hundreds of thousands of Lincoln's constituents are low-income and lack insurance, the very kind of voters expected to benefit under the Senate bill. Lincoln, a second-term senator, helped write some of the legislation's key provisions as a member of the Finance Committee, and her sometimes uncomfortable role near the center of the debate could cost her in culturally conservative Arkansas. Despite the potential benefits for many in her state, polls show her support weakening, and constituents are expressing doubts about the proposed overhaul.

The low-profile centrist is being pressed by both sides. Democratic activists are incensed that she has turned against the public option, an idea she once supported. Republicans are casting her cautious approach to the health-care debate in starkly political terms, saying that she is unwilling to put local interests above those of a president who lost the state by a resounding 20 percentage points.
Sen. Pryor of Arkansas sums it up nicely:
"In some ways, there's not a good vote on this," said Sen. Mark Pryor (D), Arkansas's junior senator, who coasted to reelection last year. "You're going to have detractors on either side, no matter what you do. So I think in the end you have to what you think is right. And I think that's what we're all going to have to do."
It is unfortunate that politics has to play such a major role in peoples' lives, and I mean there physical mortality, not just their everyday lives. There is much to be concerns about in the bill, but there is a vast majority of items that are desperately needed.

I wish the obstructionist opposition would negotiate in good faith so we could find common ground and get this deal done. But there are too many who are only concerned about self interest, and not the interests of the American people. That is a sad commentary on where our political system is at.


Monday, November 16, 2009

An Unlikely Pairing

OK, I saw Al Sharpten and Newt Gingrich sharing their bromance on 'Meet the Press', with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as the best man.
An unlikely trio: Education Secretary Arne Duncan, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and one-time Democratic presidential candidate Al Sharpton have been touring the nation's schools and join us here today to challenge conventional thinking and tell us what they have found.
I don't know what was more shocking, that those two could get along for more then 15 minutes, or all the wonderful things the Former Speaker Gingrich was saying about the President.
I agree with Al Sharpton, this is the number one civil right of the 21st century. So if you--if the president has shown real leadership--which he has.

. . .

But in a, in a time when we have liberal, Democratic president who has the courage to take on the establishment in education and who's prepared to say every state should adopt dramatic, bold reforms, I think as, as--if politics are the art of the possible, our children deserve a chance to see us come together, to put their future above partisanship and to find a way to take on the, the establishment in both parties and try to get this solved.

. . .
It was an engaging conversation, one that you should watch.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You for your Service, Son!

When reviewing the long history of Centrisity, almost 7 years now, I have had many tributes to family that has served this country. From my GGGreat Uncle in the Civil War, to my dad's brother in WW II. This year, I honor one more, my Son!
On this Veteran's day, I want to thank you, son, for your brave and courageous service. From your time on the Iwo Jima, to your final deploy at the Al Asad airbase in Iraq, your service is forever appreciated. I am so very proud of you. THANKS for keep us safe.

By next year, another son will be an Airman in the Air Force. How much more proud can a dad get!

Proud Marine Dad!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A Lone Voice of Reason

The house passed their version, with all its warts, of their Health Care Reform offering. The GOP vowed to stand in solidarity throughout the voting, but they missed one lone voice of reason, Rep. Joseph Cao (R-LA)
His reason for being the lone GOP nod? "I have always said that I would put aside partisan wrangling to do the business of the people. My vote tonight was based on my priority of doing what is best for my constituents," he said in a statement quickly released by his office.
Minority leadership must be a bit ticked at one of their own actually doing the job they were elected to do:
It's unclear whether Republican leaders will discipline Cao for breaking ranks and allowing Democrats to claim the bill had "bipartisan support." But what Cao can look forward to is the instant catapult into the national spotlight that his fellow Republican Rep. Joe Wilson received after calling President Obama a liar back in September. That and some new friends on Capitol Hill. On such a close vote, Cao is a hero to Democrats. But to Republicans, he's the one that got away.
Conference will eventually wrangle all the various portions of the many versions out there, only then will we know exactly what Reform will actually look like. But one thing is certain, this huge step forward virtually assured some form of common sense legislation will become law.


Friday, November 06, 2009

Heartache at Fort Hood

My heart and prayers go out to the victims and loved ones of those lost in the awful scene at Fort Hood yesterday.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist practicing at Darnall Army Medical Center at Fort Hood, was shot multiple times and was taken into custody, ending the shooting rampage Thursday afternoon.

The gunman opened fire at a military processing center at Fort Hood, killing one civilian and 12 soldiers, said Col. John Rossi, deputy commanding general at Fort Hood.

Twenty-eight people are still hospitalized and in stable condition, Rossi said at a news conference Friday morning. Hasan is the sole suspect in the shootings, Rossi said.
It always astonishes me how one single individual can permanently change the life paths of so many people.

Al my hopes!


Thursday, November 05, 2009

Back to the Health Care Debate

Its end of the quarter in SPPS, so between work and home things are still a bit hectic. Anyway, here is a Cagle Treat to keep you amused.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Election Day 09, School Board and Mayoral No Brainer

I got home from Iowa to a leaky water heater, a stubborn Stove and other assorted issues. Amazing how things decide to rear their ugly heads when you are away. So, needless to say, I have been quite busy.

But nothing can stop the election process and I needed to make a couple decisions, one of which is still up in the air.


It is clear that no one can continue what needs to be done in our fair city other than the current office holder. I'll be first to admit I was not happy with some of the decisions he made, especially the attempt to shut down both the closest rec center AND the closest library to my home. But what was refreshing is community input was allowed, and adjustments were made, and the library survived at least for now. But it was when the Mayor stopped by the garage this past Summer that really stuck in my memory.

I had a few folks over, and the mayor was on his way home from a prior engagement. He was able to sneak in for a visit. My son, a senior at Central, came home from Friday Night rec and struck up a conversation with Mr. Coleman. I saw the mayor sincerely engaged in what he was hearing from this young person, and my son offering up some of the frustration he was having with the cuts, and things he would like to see happen. THAT is how a mayor should be. Mingling with the citizens, farming ideas, and implementing the best to make this city better.

My vote today is for Mayor Chris Coleman.


As an employee of the district I have to admit my frustration at the amount of time being spent on internal issues, without addressing serious and specific concerns going on within the schools. Gobbs of money being spent on a Superintendent search when there is a strong pool of candidates right here in our back yard. Millions of dollars being spent on 'Cultural Proficiency' training without any acknowledgment to the true problem of inconsistent parental involvement.

This district needs to engage parents at least as much as the students. All the training in the world won't do any good if you can't get the parents on board. At a time of fiscal tumult, the priorities of the current Board as it relates to how they spend money is just short of embarrassing. That is why I see the need to get some fiscal control in place. The district has enough money, they are just spending it on the wrong priorities.

Tom Conlon will be missed on this board, and there is no better candidate on the ballot to replace him then Pat Igo. With that, I am also going to pull the lever for John Krenik, another GOP endorsed candidate.

I am supporting the re-election of John Borderick and am still undecided on the 3rd vote. I am leaning Chris Connor but may just leave it at two.

There is a nice set of mini bios that can be found at TCDailyPlanet.

If you want to twist my arm for that 3rd Board spot, have at it in the comments.

So this Moderate is sticking with the DFL Mayor, and voting for two GOP Board members and re-electing a Dem. Now THAT'S balance!