Sunday, February 1, 2009

Obama inauguration

For the first time in my life, I am truly proud to be an American. Obama's inauguration was not only historical, it was absolutely breathtaking. It was hard not to cry as you watched this remarkable individual took the oath to become the leader of the free world.

Some media outlets estimated that there were between 1 million to 1.5 million at the inauguration. Although I was not there, I beg to differ. I believe that there were about 3 million in attendance during Obama's historical election. Just look at this picture. This was way more than 1 million. You cannot see grass anywhere. There was definitely over 1.5 million people.

Barack and Michelle Obama! NOTTTT!!! Beyonce and Jay-Z performed during the Neighborhood Ball. Beyonce's performance of "At Last" brought tears to my eyes.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Obama/Biden '08!

With only a week left in the race, I urge everyone to vote for Obama/Biden '08! Obama has the leadership skills and intelligence to lead our country to greatness. We are experiencing a financial crisis of epidemic proportions. America cannot afford another four years of McCain who supports Bush's failed economic and foreign policies. Obama's economic policies have been endorsed by many economists and the non-partisan, Tax Policy Center.

Let's not allow ourselves to be bamboozled by the Republicans this time. We can show them that we don't believe their lies and negative ads. Sarah Palin is the most unqualified and inexperienced candidate in either ticket in 100 years. She is very divisive and has hurt McCain's chances of being president. Every poll shows Obama in the lead.

Millions of people here in America and throughout the world are inspired by Obama. He has already made history. Let's make sure he gets the victory and anot allow the GOP to repeat what happend in 2000 and steal the election. We need to put our differences aside and do what's best for our great nation.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lessons from Love

When I love, I love hard. In my life there were three men that I truly loved with all of my heart. The first man was back when I was in college. We ended up dating a year and a half after I graduated from college when I was in my early twenties. He was a so called "bad boy" and our relationship was turbulent. I finally came to my senses and realized he was no good for me. The second is a man 10 years my senior. We worked together for years and dated other people before we started seeing each other. Because he is older, he taught me a lot of lessons about life. He has been there for me and seen me through a lot of ups and downs. I can honestly say, that he has helped me to become a better person.
The third was someone I knew in college. Like the first one, we did not date while we were in college. We were reunited 10 years after college. We live in separate cities, so it was hard to keep up a relationship. Although we rarely see each other, he is a genius and one of the smartest men I have ever known. He inspires me.
As you can see, each of these men played a significant role in my life. Even the first man. He taught me street smarts. To sum it up, I am grateful for the lessons I learned from love.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Economics for Dummies

I am taking a course called Economics for Managers in order to fulfill my MBA requirements at the University of Houston. I am a terrible math student and purposely avoided Economics. I figured it was about the laws of supply and demand, GDP and other boring topics. My course is very demanding. It is only eight weeks long which is half the time during the fall or spring semester. We have to write a group paper that is 16 pages long. Each week my professor assigns 20 convoluted economics problems that need to be put into graphs via MS Excel. But here's the thing: Economics is very interesting.

Economics is a behavioral science. Basically it is the study of the world around us and how it operates. I am the typical know-it-all type. I like to know everything that is going on around me. I am an avid CNN and MSNBC watcher. I spend most of my time on the Internet researching or blogging. I also like to be the first to obtain new products on the market. Two weeks ago, I lined up for an hour and a half at my local Best Buy to be one of the first to obtain the new Wii Fit. The Nintendo Wii is a textbook example of how the laws of supply and demand operate, but I will save that discussion for another blog. I am very passionate about politics. This presidential year has brought out a zeal in me for politics. I am a daily blogger on the Huffington Post, Politico, and various other political sites. I am now realizing that Economics can tie in all of my passions.

Economics is the cornerstone for politics. Politicians are policymakers. Before they decide to pass a bill, they need to have to have a budget. They have to figure out the opportunity costs, that is the most desided goods and services that are foregone in order to obtain something else. Everything has a price. Instead of blogging right now, I could be studying. Or watching television. Costs are not always monetary. Costs can include time spent or knowledge gained. Economics provides you with the framework to weigh the opportunity costs. What will benefit me more? Studying or blogging. Blogging helps me to develop my writing skills which are essential to obtain my degree. Studying can help me to earn a better grade. I can't do both at the same time. The opportunity cost of the time spent blogging is studying.

Politicians have to make decisions about how to spend our tax dollars. Do we invest our tax dollars in education by building better schools? Or do we invest our tax dollars in infrastructure such as new roadways? Once you spend $100 million dollars on schools, that leaves you with little money to do something else. Another example is the war. The Bush administration tied up a lot of our tax dollars on the Iraq war. So when a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina happened, we were ill-prepared. Well we know the costs of that. Economists work with politicians to determine the best ways to use our money.

John McCain has said he does not understand economics. Unfortunately, it is scary thought to elect a president with no knowledge of economics. Sure he can have his advisors tell him what to do. But that is besides the point. The number one issue on most American's minds is the economy. You cannot fix the economy without knowledge of how it operates. Maybe he needs to take an Economics for Dummies course.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Happily Ever After

In my opinion one of the most realistic shows on television is "Divorce Court". Many people including myself have an unrealistic view of marriage. Growing up, I believed that once you get married, you can live "happily ever after." This is not the case. As a divorcee, I can testify that "happily ever after" is a myth perpetrated by Hollywood. When we go to the movies, we want to see a happy ending. We want to watch the characters resolve their issues and end up happy. When I was in London, I watched a play "Blood Brothers." It was an excellent play. The ending was tragic. There wasn't a dry eye left as we exitted the theater.

Many of the couples in Divorce Court were only married for 1-3 years. You rarely see a couple that was married for over 20 years and decided to divorce. I have seen episodes where a couple split just one month after they were married. The point is that people are not staying together. So what happened to getting married and living "happily ever after"? Reality bites. When you get married, you change. Your spouse changes. Having children change your marriage and your relationship with your significant other. Your weight changes. Debt, finance, unemployment, drastically alters marriages. Lack of communication and finances are two of the biggest reasons couples divorce.

It is not one spouse's fault that the marriage changed. It takes two to tango and two to make a marriage work. Divorce Court demonstrates this. Oftentimes petty differences may cause a couple to part. A couple may argue over dishes in the sink and one may want out. Many times there is an underlying issue that is bigger than the dishes on the sink. Oftentimes the woman may gain weight due to having children and the husband cheats or indulges in porn via the Internet. This can ruin a wife's self-esteem which has dire effects on a well-intended marriage.

Lynn Toler is the judge on Divorce Court. At the end of every episode she gives the couple a lecture. She calls out cheating spouses and gives them a piece of her mind. She doesn't solve their problems, but her advice is very good.

There is one other divorce myth that I would like to set straight: Most people do not get married wanting a divorce. Divorce is hard and takes a toll on your personally and emotionally. Going through a separation and a divorce were some of the darkest days in my life. I have a lot of single friends who often tell me "When I get married I will never get a divorce." Never use the "n" word. Life is ironic.

Singles who want to get married should watch Divorce Court. I know that there are many shows on the WE channel and The Fine Living Channel that focus on the wedding day. But Divorce Court can fill you in on what happens during the marriage.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sign O' The Times

I just noticed a realtor putting up a "House for Lease" sign next door. This has become the norm in my neighborhood. Today our subdivision held it's semi-annual garage sale. As I drove through my subdivision looking for bargains, I couldn't help but notice all the "For Sale" signs on the houses. They are hard to miss as my neighborhood is littered with these signs. On one block, there were three houses for sale right next to each other.

I live in a master-planned neighborhood in Katy, Texas. Our house is four years old. They are still building new homes on our block. The oldest homes in our community were built in 1998. All around Katy, there are signs of development. Two major hospitals will be built in Katy within the next two years and more and more businesses are moving here. Home foreclosures did not hit Texas as hard as it hit the rest of the country. Last week they debuted 31 model homes in nearby Cinco Ranch, which is the largest master-planned community in our area.

What does all of the "For Sale" signs say about the viability of our sub-division? Why is everyone moving out? One reason could be our taxes. Katy, Texas has one of the highest property tax rates in Texas. Another reason are the oil companies. Houston has more oil companies than any other cities. Recently, ranked Houston as one of America's top ten "recession-proof cities". They cited the oil companies, an increase in manufacturing companies and a relatively low level of unemployment. Many of the residents in my neighborhood work for oil companies. Many of these oil execs have to move every three to four years. The house across from me was built in 2005 and has been on the market twice.

What to make of all of this? My gut feeling is that the abundance of houses on the market is attributed to today's unstable economy. The Houston Business Journal ran an article back in February titled "Population plus Job Growth equals Prosperity in Lone Star State." As much as the authors may tout Texas as the fastest growing state, no where is recession-proof. Home prices in my neighborhood range from 150K to 600K. This is relatively lower than many parts of the United States. However, like the rest of the United States, the price of gas and groceries have steadily increased. Most of the residents in my neighborhood are made up of families with small children. The cost of childcare alone can equal to a separate mortgage bill each month. Property taxes have risen at an exponential rate. This year our property was appraised at $30K more than it was last year. Unfortunately, wages have not caught up with the higher cost of living, thus forcing more and more families to move out. Looking around me at all the houses for sale, I wonder if this is just the sign of the times.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Pennsylvania mess

I am sick and tired of the fiasco that has become the 2008 democratic primary. I cannot wait until Tuesday, April 22 for Pennsylvania to hold it's primary. I am hoping that the people of Pennsylvania will be smart and vote for Obama. That way Hillary Clinton can finally drop out of the race and allow Senator Barack Obama to be the Democratic nominee. Personally I don't see how or why she is choosing to let this go so far. The numbers are against her. Mathematically, she can win by a long shot. But it will mean that he has to do extremely horrible in the remaining states. That is not going to happen. Even if the polls are accurate and she wins Pennsylvania, it will probably be by a narrow lead. Once again the delegates will be split and he will still remain in the lead. He has won the popular vote. He also has won more states than she has. Personally I don't understand why Howard Dean doesn't step in and shut Clinton up. Her antics are dividing the democratic party. Thanks to lame duck president Bush, the democratics were a shoe in to win. However, Hilary Clinton is hurting the party. She is a two-faced liar and will say anything to get elected. Wake up PA and vote Obama "08!!!