I Was Wrong

Ever since Glenn Beck announced his plan to take food and soccer balls to the illegal immigrants who recently flooded across the border, I have been very vocal in my opposition.  To be fair, I was never against bringing the men, women and children, gang affiliated or not, water or food.  What I have been against is making them comfortable here.  As we know, the Obama Administration is already moving these illegal immigrants inland, away from the border and integrating them into our society.  Delaware was among the states that were asked to accept some of them.

While I sympathize with their plight and appreciate the dangerous and difficult journey that they undertook, they still broke the law and they must be returned to their country of origin and asked to come back the right way.  I believe in immigration.  Legal immigration.  My dad’s family came here through Ellis Island.  I understand the desire to seek a better life.  But notice that my family came through Ellis Island.  My father’s grandfather was picked up by a merchant ship in the North Sea and brought back to Ellis Island in 1912.  In 1920, he returned to Germany and brought back my great grandmother  and my grandfather.  He spent 8 years here, before the internet, before telephones, 8 years alone, in a new country where they spoke a language that he didn’t speak.  He worked menial jobs to make his way and eventually, he got his family to the States.  So make no mistake, I understand why people try to get to America.  The difference is that my great grandfather didn’t sneak in.  He came through the front door.  Which is why I stand by my belief that these illegal immigrants should be returned to their country of origin.

With all of that said, I would be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve softened my stance a little.  I am a man of faith and my faith tells me that I should be kind to those in need.  What softened my stance?  In this article on The Blaze, Dana Loesch says something that makes a whole lot of sense.

Loesch, who will be accompanying Beck to the border, said she understands the frustrations of those who were angered by the event, saying: “I get it. You feel like you cannot take it anymore from this administration. You feel overwhelmed. Every day there’s a new headline: the NSA, the IRS, the EPA, the NEA, the BLM, the DOJ, the ICE, Benghazi, voter fraud, healthcare. The list goes on and on and you feel persecuted, and your patience for everything has run out. Fam, I feel you.”

But Loesch said Americans cannot allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the issues of the day, the year, or even the administration.

“We are in a marathon. This isn’t a sprint,” she said. “It is a generational war, and the best thing that you can do is raise conservatives, outreach in your community, stay engaged, care for each other, and pray. Don’t take your frustrations out on each other. It’s exactly what they want.”

It reminded me of Hebrews 12:1:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

This is the race that has been marked out for us.  Are we going to turn away or are we going to press on?  Will we allow the vitriol of the world culture to so distort us that we become capable of turning a blind eye to real need?  That’s not the person that I want to be.  I want to be the guy who stops to help the kid pop his chain back on his bike sprocket, the man who steps up to help people when they need it.  True help will not always be giving people what they want.  Sometimes it will involve the person needing help to go through some pain.  But in this case, it’s worth remembering that these are still people.  They should be treated as such.


I Like Mike…Smith

It’s been almost 3 months (82 days actually, but who’s counting?) since the last time I posted on this blog.  In addition, while controversy hasn’t been foreign, this is the first political post I will have made on this blog.  After the 2012 election, I took a hiatus from politics.  I had no fewer opinions about world, country, state and local matters.  I just decided that it wasn’t worth defending one group of politicians (that word should be taken with the most offense possible) vs another.  The reality is that, with few exceptions, they are all the same, they just wear different colors, you know, like the Crips and the Bloods, both are gangs.  Notice that I said that there are a few exceptions.  Sprinkled in among the politicians, are real “public servants” and the increasingly rare “Statesmen”.  

Mike Smith with his wife Christy and their son Braedon.

Now, I don’t know Mike Smith.  I’ve never met him so I have to temper my enthusiasm with that reality.  All that I know about the man is what I see on his website.  Mike’s running in the 22nd Representative District here in Delaware.  Those in Delaware who follow politics may be saying, “Hey, that’s Joe Miro’s district.” and they would be right.  Mr. Smith is challenging Mr. Miro in a primary.  Now, Joe Miro, let’s face it, has been a decent representative but short on ideas to “Move Delaware Forward”. I know many people who have been clamoring for a Miro replacement for years. In 2012, after the Democrats gerrymandered the Delaware Representative districts, Joe ended up in a Primary battle with a similar candidate in Nick Manalakos.  Joe survived a Primary contest that was passive aggressive at best.  He remained the 22nd District Representative and his detractors turned their focus elsewhere.  At least until the right choice came along.  

Well, here is a guy who sounds like he might be right. Mike’s a lifelong Delawarean who attended Pike Creek and Wilmington Christian Schools.  He went on to U.D. where he received both a BA and a Masters.  He’s served as the Executive Director of the Greater Newark Economic Development Partnership.  He’s the Chairman of Pike Creek Charter School, serves on the Business Advisory Board of the Christina School District and is a member of the UD PCS Advisory Committee.  He also worked in various roles for former Congressman Mike Castle (look, we all have imperfections, but at least he’s seen politics) so he knows how the games are played. He’s got a favorable R district and what appears to be a good message. I haven’t met him yet but from first impressions at a distance, he’s at the very least, worth talking to and maybe, just maybe worth getting behind. If nothing else, Miro isn’t going to be able to coast anymore.

Why Toronto FC?

Gilberto, Jermaine Defoe, Michael Bradley…these are top players, world class footballers, what are they doing signing for Toronto FC?

It’s pretty clear to those who look at the signings objectively…money. Toronto FC has had the stars align on them because MLS wants Canadian cash and the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment company is willing to front the capital to build a team if MLS will push them. Canada and the city of Toronto want to be relevant, desperately, and they want the money that comes with success in sport. With the Maple Leafs (despite big money signings) being average at best, the Blue Jays being a Triple A affiliate of (oh, wait, no, they still play in the AL) and the Raptors being, well, the Raptors, the city has turned to its least expensive sport for hopes at buying itself some sports related self esteem (and likely self esteem for the city and country as a whole, I mean, it’s Canada…). But why are the broadcasters and analysts hyping it? Follow the money. For Ray Hudson to pimp it though, is unusual to me, he knows his stuff and he should be scratching his balding head asking why in the world top class European footballers would snub world class football teams for TFC. Let’s face it, the MLS isn’t on the caliber of England’s Premiere League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga, France’s Ligue 1 or even Portugal’s Primeira Liga. One could argue that other Europe based leagues like the Austrian Bundesliga or the Dutch Eredivise have been surpassed by MLS in terms of quality of play. So why would really top class footballers who, yes, may not be playing as much for their clubs as they might like, look beyond other teams in the top class European leagues who were clamoring for their quality, to Toronto?

Continue reading Why Toronto FC?

The Most Abused Item At Work

What’s the most abused item at work? Copier? Computer? Stapler? Conference table(wink wink nudge nudge)? No, it’s the timesheet. You know it’s true. As soon as your company gets to the level where they Board starts asking for “time accountability”, you start having to fill out timesheets. Speaking from a technology perspective, I can tell you that what the Board sees, what the clients see, do not reflect “reality”. Let’s be honest, most white color support jobs are “hurry up and wait” jobs. That is, most time is spent waiting for something to happen so that you can spring into action. It’s a lot like being a Marine really. You sit around, honing basic skills and cleaning your weapons and gear until the “stuff hits the fan” and then they expect you to be able to “fix the problem”. In these jobs, people pay for convenience and for ability, not for 100% productivity. They know it too. They know when they hire you that you won’t spend 40 hours per week actually “fixing computers” or doing whatever job it is that the role requires.

So it’s often paradoxical when they come back and say that they need you to fill out a timesheet and be accurate. I mean, they know that if we’re accurate, the time sheet will reflect a ton of downtime and make us look like we are unproductive. We understand that the shareholders and clients need to see “value” for their investment and that one way to ensure value from every employee is to see their time maximized but what ends up happening? Do we show them real “value”? Not REAL value. We end up showing them what they want to see. We log an hour for a 15 minute job (or 5 minute job) or 2 hours for an hour of troubleshooting.  We fill in our “down time” with generic time buckets like “Desktop Support” or “Infrastructure Repairs”.  Did we spend 5 hours performing repairs on PCs?  No, we spent most of those 5 hours twiddling thumbs, chatting with neighbors, surfing the internet or reading (technical manuals in some cases, novels in others, non-fiction in yet others).

So what the “powers that be”, our clients and our investors, actually see is what they WANT to see, not what ACTUALLY happens.

NFC Wild Card Preview: Eagles vs Saints

The upcoming game this Saturday between the Saint and the Eagles may come across as a bit of a mismatch. Certainly, the Eagles, despite being the NFC East Champions, are considered the underdogs in the game. By virtue of the status as division champions and thereby the #3 seed, the Eagles are hosting this one in Philadelphia, on Saturday, in temperatures at or below 20 degrees.  As I detailed in my predictions and Wild Card weekend preview earlier in the week, both teams come in with high powered offenses and decent defenses.  So, as an Eagles fan, while I acknowledge that this is not an easy game, here are my thoughts on what the Eagles need to do to win the game.

First note, the Saints are yet to arrive in Philly which means that they will arrive tonight and face chilly air briefly before hitting the sack. Then, they will have tomorrow to get acclimated as the weather fluctuates. That is going to make things much harder for the Saints. One wouldn’t normally get wrapped around the weather but in this case, it bears consideration.

On Offense

Nick Foles has to play mistake free football.  That means that he is going to have to be patient I the pocket, take what the defense gives him and avoid sacks and turnovers.  There will be opportunities to break down the Saints defense.  They aren’t deep and with Kenny Vacarro out, there will be chances for Foles to let it fly.  That’s of course, dependent on the offensive line playing tough and giving Foles time to make plays and the receivers time to get open.  Of course, there is another aspect to the line, that’s run blocking.  The Eagles scheme requires the line to get to the next level and if they do that, it leaves Shady McCoy one on one with a defensive back and that more often than not, leads to a big gain.  This game is going to call for a heavy dose of LeSean McCoy for a couple of reasons.  First, pounding McCoy will open up the defense as an already susceptible secondary, missing Vacarro (one of their leading tacklers), and allow for the Eagles wide outs and tight ends to get open down the field.  Speaking of the tight ends an wide outs, they are going to have to run crisp routes and give Foles solid safety routes in case the pocket breaks down early.  With protection being important, Brent Celek is going to need to be crisp in getting a body on a lineman or a linebacker before he releases and make quick moves to get his head around for the football.  Riley Cooper, Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson are going to face decent corners but no real shut down guys and again, missing their second leading tackler and a starting safety in Vacarro will make them open up a bit.  Lastly, they have to hold on to the ball.  They’ve done pretty good with that this year, they are going to have to be perfect in this game.

If the Eagles do these things on offense, they can put up enough points to get ahead of the Saints and stay there.

On Defense

On defense, it’s going to come down to containing the Saints offense.  The Eagles have been really good this years and in my opinion, underrated in “bending but not breaking” meaning that they allow a lot of yards but inside the red zone they’ve buttoned down and held teams to field goals or better yet come up with turn overs.   They’re going to need to do a lot of that this Saturday.  How are they going to do it?  It’s going to start up front with this new 3-4 defense getting after Brees without needing to blitz often.  That front 6 or 7 has to get to Brees quick.  Look for the key matchup to be veteran pass rusher Trent Cole getting to fire off the outside edge against a rookie left tackle starting his third game.  This should result in plenty of pressure on Brees from Cole.  It will also likely force the Saints to keep their tight end, whether that is Ben Watson or Jimmy Graham, in to help Terron Armstrong.   Alternatively, they will have to shift the line leaving the rest of the pass rush one on one.  But that won’t be enough.  The Eagles are going to need inside pressure from the down lineman and the rushing inside linebackers.  I see a lot of analysts saying that Billy Davis shouldn’t blitz Brees and while I agree that living and dying by the blitz in this game is a mistake, I do believe that you can bring an extra rusher at key moments if you are getting sufficient pressure from your front 7.  The next key to the defensive game plan is covering Jimmy Graham and containing Darren Sproles.  Sproles is a shifty back.  The Saints use him a lot like the Eagles use Shady except that Sproles is much less of a “downhill” back and doesn’t often make between the tackles runs.  The Saints bring in Mark Ingram or Pierre Thomas for that but with less success.  Their strength is in their explosiveness.  Getting a body on Jimmy Graham is key.  Trent Cole, Connor Barwin are going to want to get a bump on Graham when he releases.  The teams with the best success have covered Graham with a corner and I would look for a lot of nickel situations with Fletcher and Boykin switching off between Stills and Graham.  With that said, Kendricks and Ryan have shown the ability to cover pass catching tight ends like Jason Witten.  The Eagles are missing a Safety too, unless by some miracle Earl Wolff comes back and Patrick Chung is going to have to step up.  Also look for Davis to play Roc Carmichael at Safety if Chung is having a rough go.  With that said, I believe that Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin can run with the Saints receivers.   Colston was only 3rd this season in receiving and Jimmy Graham was clearly the favored target from Brees, especially in the red zone (16TDs for Graham) and even running back Mark Ingram had more catched and yards than Colston.  Colston is still a nice pass catcher but he’s no spring chicken and I think Cary Williams will have some opportunities to make some plays on balls coming his way.  Kenny Stills is the other starting wide out and he’s speedy but not the best route runner.  I think this is a spot where Boykin may be able to jump a route and make a big pick throughout the game.    Finally, the biggest key is going to be continuing to be stingy in the red zone and forcing key turnovers, often.

If the Eagles do these things on defense, they will contain the Saints offense and assuming that they can also execute on offense and don’t let Darren Sproles beat them in the return game, they’ll win Saturday night.  My early prediction was Eagles 41 – Saints 36 and that hasn’t changed.  I still think the Eagles take this game in a bit of a shootout and most likely thanks to a late drive turnover by the Eagles defense.

It's a sauna in here.

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