Thursday, December 31, 2009

Is there an Echo in here . . .

The trusty freebie HaloScan has sold out and is now a pay service. Since I like the features that was Haloscan, I somewhat reluctantly decided to upgrade tot he new Echo Live. For only $10/year we'll see if it is worth it.

I have always prided myself in running a budget ship here based on a free blogger site and a nominal fee for my Domain name. As I look into 2010, and the future of Centrisity, I am now considering some monetization options and other enhancements. Thoughts, ideas, comments . . let me know.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Luke 2:8-14

He is born:
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
Wishing you and yours the very best this Holiday Season and to a bright hopeful year to follow.

Flash and Family

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On The Cusp of Reform

Within a couple days, much needed health care reform will have finally made it through congress. Over 40 years in the making, strong leadership, common sense attitudes, and simple courage will make it happen.

The opponents can't decide what to do, one minute they are complaining the Left is rushing everything through, the next minute they are abusing Senatorial rules by nonsense like reading entire 700+ page amendments and delaying, stalling, obstructing. They have had their opportunities for debate, and have abused it at every turn!

One of those courageous senators was our own Sen. Al Franken. Following a significant loss of time due to the wasted reading of an amendments, other Senators needed to be more diligent with their remaining time. One of those Senators, Joe Lieberamn, wanted to extend his remarks, but it was not allowed. This is unusual, but not unusual enough considering the time that was wasted along the way by other opponents. And in typical fashion of the hypocrisy party, the one that squeaked the loudest, Sen McCain, was the one who set the precedent on the Senate floor just a few short years ago. See first he says this:
McCAIN: I’ve been around here 20-some years. First time I’ve ever seen a member denied an extra minute or two to finish his remarks. … I just haven’t seen it before myself.
But then we find out that back in October 2002 he said this:
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator’s time has expired.

Mr. DAYTON. I ask for unanimous consent that I have 30 seconds more to finish my remarks.

Mr. McCAIN. I object.
For all the folks that through the 'lie' work around, I hope the piled on this bold face doozy of their own!

Yet it gets better, the Right is out with the name calling, claiming the Democrats are 'flipping the bird' at the people. I think the people know better. They see the Right for who they are, a gaggle of cry babies having a last minute temper tantrum to dilute the great work that is being done.

Am I happy with this bill, no way. But I am pleased with provisions that made it in, and content with that fact that some didn't. I was never a big fan of the private option, but anyone who is committed to reform, as both sides of the aisle claim they are, a competitive option is needed to keep the fat cats in the Insurance industry in check.

This piece of legislation is not the end all, it is a stepping stone. With a year till the mid terms, Congress can now get down to other business. I am not worried about where numbers are at right now for a polling stand point. See, the economy is in recovery, Health Care reform is on the way, a much needed push in Afghanistan is being undertaken, and more and more promised and assurance by this historic administration are playing out. Its kind of refreshing when you vote for people and they actually do what you expect of them once they're in office. A pleasant change from the prior administration.


Monday, December 21, 2009

The Whole Famn Damily

With Sgt. Tom home for the Holidays, we had a chance at a complete family photo. So from left to right is the youngest, the Sgt., Me, the Lovely Mrs, the future airman and Doc.

I'll have some health care stuff later in the week, but for the most part, I will be laying low.

Have a beautiful and joyous Holiday Season!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Season Begins

So much going on, domestically, with kids and conferences along with Holiday Prep. Break doesn't start for us just yet. With the late Labor Day, we still have Monday and Tuesday next week, then the rest of the week, along with the following week, as our break.

Tonight I will get one of the best presents ever, a date night with my lovely bride. We'll have dinner downtown at our favorite haunt, and then, hopefully, a show . . or maybe just a moonlit walk down Nicollet, nothing in stone yet. The boys will be fine, we have something special planned for them as well . . . lets call it a special surprise!

More later . . .


UPDATE: The Special Surprise has arrived, Sgt. Tom is home for the weekend!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tribute to a Father

St. Paul City Council Member, Dave Thune, lost his father. He reminisces on the SPIF Forum:
Its funny how you can see yourself in your parents. As I think about the death of my father today I find myself grateful for the role model he was, what I learned and what I am still learning...

At an early age I learned that it was okay for boys to cry when their dog was run over, because my dad did too.

I learned that it was good to work with your hands to build a garage, remodel a house or fix something broken by adding a screw or bending some aluminum bar to make it sturdy again.

I learned that it was actually cool to stay in Boy Scouts and get my Eagle Scout Award. He did it before me. I learned to persevere.

I learned that it is good to do unexpected things for your kids when they need help - like when he drove high-schoolers - Sue and me all the way from Moorhead to Williams Arena to see the Spuds play in the State Championships then drove home the same night so Sue and I could ride back on the bus with our friends.

I learned to love music by watching him build our first Hi-Fi record player, and then listened until I fell asleep to The Dukes of Dixieland, the Peer Gynt Suite and Louie Armstrong.

I learned to love the out of doors and the smell of an old tackle box with an extra salted nut roll inside.

I learned to eat spaghetti in Dilworth when I was one year old.

He told me to support bringing pro hockey to downtown St. Paul when I was Council President and generally contrary to anything the Mayor proposed.

He gave me courage to introduce a smoking ban in as I watched him struggle with emphysema.

I learned from my parents that discrimination was wrong, that art was good, that it was expected that we should volunteer.

Finally, today I learned that in death there can be dignity, joy in the friends and family who surround you, and peace when you've completed a good life and taught your final lesson.

Rest in peace Dad.
Dave Thune
Ward 2, St. Paul
I can only hope, when my time comes, that my children have as much to share about me.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the Thune family during this difficult time.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Soul Vaccination

With apologies to the Tower of Power for the title, The boys and I are getting our H1N1 shots, today, finally. Of course, the lovely Mrs. is too young to be high risk, but too old to be a kid, so she has to wait.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

President Accepts the Nobel

Via the White House, an excerpt of the President's remarks as he accepts the Nobel peace prize:
. . . I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that your generous decision has generated. (Laughter.) In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not the end, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who've received this prize -- Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela -- my accomplishments are slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailed and beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relieve suffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire even the most hardened cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women -- some known, some obscure to all but those they help -- to be far more deserving of this honor than I.

But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I am the Commander-in-Chief of the military of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is winding down. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 42 other countries -- including Norway -- in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations from further attacks.

Still, we are at war, and I'm responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill, and some will be killed. And so I come here with an acute sense of the costs of armed conflict -- filled with difficult questions about the relationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.
It is clear the President is humbled by this award, and acknowledges that he is not being recognized for what he has done, but for what he can do to promote peace and further strengthen the US of A's relationship with the World community. Much damage has been done, and this President is committed to fixing it.


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Winter Officially arrived at 7:03PM Last Evening

No, not because of the snow, that is when the last keg of the Season fried!

Yes, I was still pouring beer even in last night's cold. The Fridge tends to work as an insulator and assuming the lines don't freeze I am good to go until it gets sub 15 or so for a few days in a row.

This was another 11 month season as the first keg was tapped in Early February:
Friday, February 06, 2009
Spring Arrived . . .
. . . in the Midway at approximately 3:44 PM. I'll be in the garage the rest of the weekend if you need me.
Think about it, Spring is less then 60 days away *smile*


Health Care Reform on Track

As the Senate works towards compromise with Blue Dogs, while keeping in mind the House reconciliation process, a bill that continues to improve is evolving acceptably:
"Senators are making great progress and we're pleased that they're working together to find common ground toward options that increase choice and competition," said White House spokesman Reid Cherlin.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Tuesday that the Democrats had reached a "broad agreement" on the public option portion of the bill, but at least one liberal senator who took part in the negotiations wasn't so sure.

"It goes without saying it's been kind of a long journey," Reid said. "Tonight we've overcome a real problem that we had. I think it's fair to say the debate at this stage has been portrayed as a very divisive one."

Without revealing any details, Reid said the negotiating senators had reached "a broad agreement" that "moves this bill way down the road."

Two Democratic sources said the deal includes a proposal to replace the public option by creating a not-for-profit private insurance option overseen by the federal Office of Personnel Management, much like the current health plan for federal workers, and another allowing people 55 or older to buy into Medicare coverage that currently is available to those 65 or older.
I have always hinted that the best 'competitive option should mirror, if not actually be, the same plan that Fed Employees participate in. This makes it rather difficult for opponents to cackle about it as then they would be questioning the current Federal Employee Benefit system.

Health Care lobbyist, industry insiders, and greedy politicians will have to take a back seat to common sense reform. This bill is shaping up to be more in line with what I had hoped, a competitive option but not necessarily a government run one, along with checks and balances necessary to ensure coverage for as many folks as possbile. It is our duty!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Back Home again; AZ Edition

Things have been kind of slow here, for obvious reason. Unbeknownst to my readers, the lovely Mrs. Flash won us a trip to Arizona to see the Queenies play the defending NFC Champion Cardinals. What an amazing weekend it turned out to be!!. It began with a direct flight into PHX on Saturday afternoon, an open tab dinner from our sponsors at the Arrowhead Rock Bottom (Fillet Mignon, Mmmmmmmmm) followed by a good nights sleep at the Quality Inn and Suites at Talavi.

On Sunday we made the beautiful drive up to Sedona. Although I had been to Arizona once before, almost 20 years ago, I didn't have any real free time to tour and travel. We took advantage of that on Sunday. The short 90 minute commute gave us breath taking views of the desert. The Red Rock trails provided us with a bit of exercise as we traveled the Hollyowoodesque desert. Any moment I was waiting for some old Western vigilante to come jumping out behind a cactus *laughing*

Sunday evening was the big game. Parking was a breeze with free spots at the local high school and comp shuttle service the mile and change to the stadium. We took a moment to absorb the ambiance, especially when we got to the 'Great Lawn' where all the hopping tailgate parties were going on.

Surprisingly, the mix of fans was pretty even, but that didn't last long. As the Grand Pa Quarterback failed to find his groove, the typical fair weather Queenie fans slowly trickled out of the stadium. We stayed right till the 2 minute warning, before sneaking out the back door and down to the waiting shuttles. We wanted to attempt to beat traffic, and have a night cap at Rock, before venturing to the Hotel for our last night of respite.
Monday morning was greeted with rain. We were told it 'never' rains in Arizona, so it was no surprise that it would when we were there. Our early afternoon flight give us a chance to drive out to Mesa and visit my God Mother. She has been Wintering in AZ for over 40 years, so it was nice to finally make it to her place and spend a little time, even though it was so brief.

Before long we were sitting in our plane, taxiing on the run way towards O'Hare for our connect to home. While awaiting the connecting fight, the only delay of the weekend, was a grizzly looking guy and a distinctive dimple in the chin. Yes, non other then Jesse 'The Guv' Ventura. I resisted the temptation to approach him, but when stuck in the line to get to my seat, there he was in the front row on 1st Class. I took that moment for a little small talk, but nothing controversial.

So now we're home, like we never left. The kids are in one piece, Kurly boy is back to normal, and me on the way back to work. It all seems so surreal at this point, but memories, great ones, will linger for some time.


Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Standing Together, Protecting Freedom!

There is a reason the President's poll numbers have been suffering. We have a reluctant Right that is hell bent on seeing this President fail, and a Left that thinks he isn't doing exactly what they expect. At least the Right supports their president once he is elected, the LEFT thinks he should be a marionette to their will. You can't govern in the minority, the Right knows that, the Left will never learn

The Left, in their desire to pick up their toys and go home, will probably lose the congress next year, and the presidency as soon as two years after that. The reason the Republicans can survive even the worst mistakes is they stick together, warts and all. The Left is too busy trying to find the perfect candidate. They just splinter themselves into selfish factions, and may find themselves with nothing in the end! Sometimes they need to take their lumps, knowing that the alternative is not acceptable. The Right is good at that, the Left, not so much

I'm referring to those and so many others turning their back on this President because he isn't doing exactly what they want him to do. It may cost them Congress next year, and very likely the Presidency. The approval ratings are plummeting because he won't waffle to their will.

The war in Afghanistan was never wrong, and although I believe that President Bush went into Iraq for the wrong reasons, it was still a fight that needed to be fought. We are safer for it.

Many more will die to preserve our freedoms and protect this country, I am humbled by their service. Turning tail at this point would turn our backs on the ~ 900 brave souls who have already made the ultimate sacrifice.

Specifically, this troop surge, with a redeployment taking place as soon as 11 months from now will have most all troops out by 2016. The President has no intentions of hanging out there forever, or risk turning the reigns over to some one who may.

Now is the time to support the military and stand behind this President. We have a job to do, and anything short of full and complete victory is simply not an option. I am comforted by the fact this President agrees with me


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

A Defining Moment; excerpts

The President is making the tough choices and doing exactly what needs to be done to finish the job. I applaud his courage!

I'll have more later or in the AM


Office of the Press Secretary

December 1, 2009

Excerpts of the President’s Address to the Nation

“The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest pace possible – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They will increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.”

“Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility – what’s at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world.”

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”