Wednesday, March 30, 2005

We are Americans

We Are Americans

We trust no results that are not our own. We look cynically at everything that is presented to us.

We do not believe a man can enforce a law he does not believe in personally, that he can only do what is best for him. We believe every man in power will choose the choice that favors him personally and the he has no ability to put his personal agenda aside.

We believe every man is innocent until guilty. That is, unless we know him guilty. So we will make accusations and pass on untruths in the court of public opinion without hesitating. We fool ourselves into thinking what we think matters. Yet it only matters for ourselves. Even that may be an overstatement

We believe that forcing a tube down a throat is natural feeding. Yet I could not perform that process without a license, or possibly be arrested for doing so. If one believes it natural, let them choose to have their next meal in this manner. Better yet, feed your spouse in this manner this evening. See how natural it is for yourself.

We are willing to spend $5 million to bring back congress to pass an uncostitutional law while there are children in classrooms with no books.

We believe that no matter what we hear, if we disagree, it has been manipulated. Behind every report or action or process we see and hear a conspiracy.

We draw our conclusions with the minimal amount of data or proof. If we set a record temp, it is global warming. If it is colder than the norm, what global warming?

We feel that everyone must voice an opinion before even the minimal decision can be made. We poll even those who have no clue as to what the topic is, and then report the results of the poll as the gospel truth. Even on topics we as individuals have no clue on, we are always willing to offer an opinion.

We state we want to be independent, yet clamor for the state to take action on our behalf whenever possible. None of us want the state in our business, but we will not mind if they dive a bit into yours.

When we succeed it is because of our own efforts. When we fail, it is someone else's fault. And we have the lawyers to prove it.

We lose weight because we work hard and exercise. We gain weight because the restaurants give us portions that are too large. We can prove that with lawyers, too.

We want a law when there is something we dislike. If we dislike what we saw on TV, we do not turn off the TV, we say there oughta be a law.

We want everyone else to be just like us, as it always was. Yet it never was that way. We want everyone to speak like us, using the same language as it always was. Yet it was never that way either.

We speak of the sanctity of marriage. Yet we will try to set aside that sanctity if it is politically appropriate. We decide what side of the position we are on based upon what we have to gain or lose.

We are Americans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

How to Divide

The leadership of this country has taken a 90 degree turn into an area which should be known as how not to lead a country. Tom Delay, who, unless you live in his district, will not even receive your email, yet is considered to be the leader of the house, took up the cause for a woman who does not live in his district, and did not ask for his help. Everyone should consider what his motives truly are.

Life and death decisions are undoubtly the most difficult anyone ever has to make. Terri Schiavo was clear to her husband, but not to the population at large, or at least not to those who feel that their opinions on this are more important than the person closest to her in the entire world.

So the Schindlers have fought tooth and nail to override that decision made by Terri's husband. Now, 20 judges have heard this case and the result is still the same. Michael Schiavo has the right to make the decision for her.

Yet the congress of these United States decided that the 535 members there are best qualified to decide this issue, rather than Michael Schiavo. So they passed a law. A special law, just for her parents. Yet, we are all supposed to be treated equally under the law. Where is the justice in any of this? Frist and Delay showed us that money was no object, whatever it takes, is what they would do.

One almost has to accept that the point of all this was to divide the country. To pit husband or wife against the inlaws. There must be a desire to divide their enemy, whoever they feel that is.

Michael Schiavo is and has been rational. Emotionally, we would all want to hold out hope and try to live forever. He has been criticized for not walking away. So the moralists fighting to keep her alive want him to not keep his word to her. How can anyone demand that from a husband? Michael should never bend or break, regardless of the pressure applied. It is a crime that the federal government is trying to force him to do just that.

The republicans will not recover from this easily. They have, with no uncertainty, made it clear that they will violate the constitution if it is in the way of what they seek.

The only thing we have yet to see, and I am not so unsure that we will not, is the use of force to remove Terri by one of the Bushs'.

Meanwhile, Terri is a pawn being used in the worst of ways. She must be so embarrassed of what her parents have done. Her parents have already stated clearly that even if they knew her daughter's wishes, they would still be fighting as they are. That should speak volumes.

I can only hope God takes her soon, so that she can be out of this spotlight. And until then, we will see how ugly a divided people can become. It should scare the hell out of you that the leadership of this nation will violate your constitutional rights first if it will get them what they want.


Friday, March 18, 2005

Friends and Family,

In light of the recent case in Florida where it seems nearly impossible to die with any sort of dignity, I would like to make my wishes as clear as possible.

If I, Ernest Joseph Moosa Jr, am ever in a state defined as a persistent vegetative state, or possibly worse, then I do not want to be kept on any sort of life support. I do not want photos of my status on the news or the internet. I do not want lawyers getting rich fighting to keep me jacked in to life support. I do not want congressmen, senators, or any special interest groups claiming to fight for me on my behalf to create the absurd environment that we have seen in Florida with Ms. Shiavo.

The state and federal governments do not have any right to keep me alive against these wishes. They do not own me. The only entity which can lay claim to me is God, and if he has me in the state I described above, it should be apparent to anyone of faith that it is my time.

If, should one of my relatives or friends decide to fight for me to stay plugged in, may my other friends have the courage to speak up, and say that is not what I would have wanted. I will thank you in advance for this.

And if, by some chance, I am in such a state, and the authorities do not allow me to be unplugged, then I hope one of my friends or family has the courage to do what they know I would want them to do. I am counting on that, and hope that one of them has the ability to do so.

While this is probably not binding legally, I hope this can without a question convey my thoughts, wishes and desires were I to not be able to respond.

Thank you so much,

Ernest J. Moosa Jr.
18 March 2005

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Thank You Jose Canseco

That is something that I never would have thought I would write. But I took the time this evening to watch the testimony before the congressional committee on steroid use, and that is what I want to say.

Curt Schilling, Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmero(Mr. Viagara), and Sammy Sosa knew of no one in baseball using steroids. Schilling even called Canseco a liar. Yet all of these guys feels that something must be done about steroids in baseball when, according to their numbers, only 1.7 % tested positive last year. That may mean six players in all of baseball were on steroids. Not one of them said that they were chasing a phantom issue here.

Mark McGwire does not even look like the player that broke Roger Maris' single season home run record. When asked if he used steroids, which were legal at the time he was playing, he sounded like a broken record: "I did not come here to talk about the past, but about the future". Yet he had no idea of the new collective bargaining agreement.

I have to wonder who the player's union is trying to protect if there are no players using steroids. Why not a lifetime ban if caught if there are so few actually doing it? A 98.3% clean majority cannot root out the 1.7 of steroid users? What is the fear there?

Canseco's answers were by far the most coherent of any responses today. Of course he is not going to be popular with the rest of the players. I am sure Big Mac was unhappy with the accusations. But are Canseco's accusations so far off the mark? Is he the only player to have used steroids, as some of the other players on the committee wanted to imply?

Of course not. Players will do whatever they can to have an edge. Why? Millions of dollars are at stake with their salaries alone. The very idea that congress will have to pass legislation because a protected monopoly(major league baseball) cannot police itself is a sad statement indeed. What does it tell the rest of the nation if some of it's wealthiest citizens cannot keep themselves from using steroids without the help of governmental force?

Curt Schilling cannot even kick the smokeless tobacco habit. He has been trying for years. He knows it is bad. he continues anyway while at the same time telling young kids not to chew. I can only wonder if he has the same thoughts towards the use of steroids with his fellow players?


Dear Senator Davis,

As I write this, you are leading the committee on an investigation on baseball and steroids. If you have read my earlier letters, I agree that something should be done. But to have the senate of the United States involved for an organization that has less than 1,000 players? Is that what the government is about?

The questions being asked are foolish. "What pitch did you make that Mickey Mantle hit over the fence?" "Why has the union not done anything if they are there to protect the players?" Duh. The more records broken the higher the salaries go the more the union takes in. Not that complicated

The statements made by senators are just as laughable. "I am a Detroit Tigers fan. I am glad there are none testifying here today". Is that really significant? Say it ain't so.

If MLB wants to ruin the business model they have so be it. Is it not their business, and their choice? Are there not more important things for the senate to be tackling? I can only wonder how many players testifying will be signing autographs once the cameras are turned off. And I bet none of the players ask for the autographs of the senators.

Senator Davis, find some real issues that are within your domain to address. Clearly this should not be one of them.


Monday, March 14, 2005

I Saw Myself Today

Today, lacking motivation to do anything besides an impression of poured concrete, I forced myself to bike, run and lift. The biking was rather simple. You sit and pedal. I am able to squeeze it in around different tasks in my daily routine.

After the nice weekend we had in the Atlanta area, today's weather was not very motivating to get me out the door for a run. I did the next best thing, gathered my gear, and headed for the gym. I thought that at least there would be others there and that would keep me pushing ahead. Yet as I run, I often find myself questioning why. What am I getting out of this? I never really have an answer, other than knowing that I can add a few miles into one of my many running logs, and then look at it from a multitude of angles. For instance, today's run gave me 80 miles for the month of March. More than three of the last four months of my running. For what that is worth.

But it still never answers the question of why.

Then, driving by North Springs High School I saw the answer. For I saw myself. Around 30 or so kids from the school were running up the sidewalk, stretched out over a half mile. I saw myself there at the end, one of the kids at the end of the line, already walking,with his hands on his hips. He was not overweight. He was skinny, just as I was. And he was already walking. And I remembered how it felt to be that kid at the end. The kid already walking.

Oh, it was easily justified for me why I would be walking by that point way back there in 1978 or 1979. I had asthma. I had been through two bouts of pneumonia to the point I did not want to fight it any longer. And it came back to me why I ever started running in the first place. To prove to myself that I could. Not for anyone else but me.

I have to prove to myself that I can do it just about every time I go out to run. Eleven marathons is not proof enough for me. Nearly 9,000 miles(I know because of my running fact I can even estimate I will do it before my 43rd birthday) and yet I have to prove to myself that I can do it today. And that I am no longer the kid in the back, who does not think he has it in him to run with the rest of the kids.

Today, I am no longer last. I am rarely the first to quit, and I know I have the heart to do what it takes. I just have to prove it to myself daily. And that is why I run. Pure and simple.

And the person I am today, the one I really saw, is far removed from the last kid in the group. Yet he is still a part of me. That makes me want to run tomorrow and be even stronger. And I will.


Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Dear Dan(Rather),

I will not be watching your last broadcast this evening, although I am glad to know that day has come. You are part of the next great extinction: national broadcasters.

The demise of your position should not be shocking. Face it, you faced the undeniable trend of fewer viewers regardless of what you did or how credible you seemed. And when the credibility was called into question, the fat lady was singing in the background.

You see, there was a line crossed in the media some years back. It was a fuzzy line. But somewhere, you and your peers decided to not only tell us the news, but tell us what we should think about what we were just shown. Guess what? We do not need that last step. We are quite capable of drawing our own conclusions.

Aside from that, how much news do we really need? I can get all the news I want, all day long, as it happens. The very idea that I should turn to the national news at 7:00 pm,(or 6:30 in some of the same east coast locations, and that realization that you were not even live bugged me too) seems so primative. Perhaps at one point, we would wait and then you would tell us things we had not heard. Now you recap what we have already heard every 30 minutes on the radio, or read online.

In addition, you have dramatized trends in our lives that just are bogus. Older people in this country live in fear because you and your peers report the same crime over and over, until they believe things are worse than ever. And they are not. It is a great time to be living in America. Probably none better in history. This country is cleaner, the economy stronger, and the opportunity greater than any time in the last 150 years....yet we are just one step from going to hell in a handbasket as it is reported.

Then, you pamper the group that is likely your largest demographic: senior citizens. You have worked hard to keep them tuned in. The biased reporting on social security, health reform, drug prices and other issues, have polarized people. One group is fighting for items they never contributed enough money to pay for the benefits they are demanding. Then, each time the government tries to address it, your viewers scream the loudest.

You did the best you could,I am sure. But sometimes the best is not good enough. And honestly, I look forward to the day the evening news is a fond memory, and tomorrow we will be one step closer.


Saturday, March 05, 2005

There's Something So Special...

about a Saturday morning run. Especially after you have not run on a Saturday morning in half a year.

The weather is perfect as I get out of bed. I am only up and at it because Patty gave me a much needed wake-up call. Of course I said I did not think I would make it. But guilt crept into me as I heard her hang up abrubtly. Was it me or was it because she was trying to brush her teeth at the same time? Who could be sure.

So, walking slowly to my weather station to see what the temp is, I am shocked to see that it is 47, way above the minimum for me to go these days. OK OK I think. I am going to go.

Drinking my oatmeal breakfast(way more water than required), I head to the greenway. Yes,it is going to be a wonderful day. While old motivators to run are gone, new ones can arrive when you least expect it.

Getting there I start to see some of my old friends. The ones I abandoned for the sake of sleeping in on Saturdays. I felt as if I was on Romper Room, looking into the magic mirror. I see Tom and Don and Kari and Susan and Patty and Beth and Mike and Helen and George and Emily. Gee, I think, I know all these people. And some of my friends I have not seen in ages are genuinely happy to see me. Me. I smile inside.

So we run a nice pace and it almost seems as if I have not missed a Saturday morning at all. What a great feeling that is.

And that is what makes it so special...


Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dear Bubba the Lobster,

Yesterday I was glad you were discovered. I spent yesterday marveling at your size, wondering what you have been doing all those years. I sat with my friend and we talked about what it would be like to have come across you, three feet long and able to clip our wrists off with one of your claws.

I was happy that they were not going to boil you. I actually thought what a great thing it was for others to see and be amazed at you at a location where you could continue living. Then I imagine you liked it where you lived and had been dicovered, or you would not have fought to survive so long. Of course, it did cross my mind how miserable you might be if you were in a tank somewhere, and not where you liked to be. I thought of an aquarium I saw in Kona Hawaii once. The fish could see the ocean, but could not get there. I remember thinking how that must suck.

But they killed you anyway. Or perhaps you said screw it, these beasts that have me are just damn ugly. Perhaps boredom already set in. The results are the same.

Whatever the cause, I am sorry now that they caught you. And I really hope that they do not find any others like you. I hope they are there, and if they find another like you, I hope they just admire it and leave it alone. I really do. Just because we see something does not mean we have to screw with it, and eventually screw it up.



Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Schindler,

Isn't enough enough? Now you are filing for divorce on behalf of your daughter.

While my heart breaks for what you have had to go through, watching your daughter in a vegetative state of existence, and fighting every possible way you can to keep her alive, someone should pull you aside, and say it is time. It should be someone close to you so that you will trust them even if you disagree.

Terri Shiavo's husband has spent most of what was awarded in the lawsuit on trying to fulfill what he believes were your daughter's wish. The only people making money on this are the lawyers. Had he just wanted to be done with Terri, he could have turned it over to you, and went on his way. He chose not to.

And if Terri were to be able to communicate whatsoever, do you really believe that her choice would be to have her husband's life be over as hers is? Or would she want him to go on, and live the best life that he can?

Enough is enough. It is too bad that no one close to you will tell you. As long as you have the money to spend, I guess they will keep their mouths shut. Just because you have the ability to keep someone alive, does not mean you should at any cost. Allow your daughter to die with some dignity and privacy, and not as a battleground for every special interest that wants to ride the wave, just because it is there.