Yes, it is official!!  Tom’s Place is now on-line!!

All comments and posts (with very few exceptions) have been transferred to the new location.  Look forward to seeing everyone there!!

By the time you read this, my wife and I should be winging our way to places much warmer than Michigan for a week or so.  Snow up to my knees, so where’s the Global Warming?

Since there won’t be Internet access, I can just feel the withdrawal symptoms already.  But I think the wife is going to feel it more!

Also, I believe I’m going to move the blog again.  So soon, you may ask?  While I like WordPress, I just don’t like the templates that they have.  I guess it’s the creative part in me that wants to change things (or the engineer part – I can’t tell the difference sometimes).

The new blog will be at Tom’s Place (tomsplace.iblogger.org).  There are some posts there to see how the blog looks, but don’t comment there yet!!  I will import all the posts and comments to the new blog around February 18 after we get back and officially launch the site.

I will most likely keep the Blogger site (Tom’s Common Sense) and this site up for nostalgic reasons as well as providing links to the new blog, but updating will be rare, and comments will most likely not be transferred past the 18th.

So everyone get ready – there are more changes on the way!  And I apologize in advance for the trouble that this could cause.

And then there were three…

Mitt Romney withdrew from the race for the Republican nomination this afternoon, and that leaves McCain, Huckabee, and Paul.  And McCain has the lead in delegates.

Where Romney’s delegates go, I’m not sure.  But even if they were split evenly among the remaining contenders or given to a candidate other than McCain, I don’t think it would make a difference – McCain has the momentum to gather up the rest of the delegates, and Huckabee’s star is starting to wane.  Paul is so far back that there is no way he would ever be able to catch up unless everyone else dropped out.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the Democratic side in the next few weeks -  no clear leader, and the DNC leadership is going to go through hell trying to figure out how to determine their candidate.  On the one hand, there is their favorite son’s wife, on the other, a charismatic minority.  The DNC can’t make the choice without alienating their base – after all, they keep touting their party as the “party of choice.”  And the super-delegates will only make it worse, especially if they vote on the basis of political payback and favoritism.

Yes, it has been an interesting year in politics thus far, and will prove to be more interesting in the year to come.

Counts from Real Clear Politics:

Democrats:

  • Clinton: 1012 Delegates with 211 Super Delegates
  • Obama: 933 Delgates with 128 Super Delegates

Republicans:

  • McCain: 697 Delegates
  • Romney: 244 Delegates
  • Huckabee: 187 Delegates
  • Paul: 14 Delegates

The interesting part of the Democratic counts is that if the Super Delegates are removed from the count, Obama is leading HRC 805 to 801. Just goes to show that friends in high places (along with political strong-arming & blackmail) will get you just about anything…

I am surprised at how close the Democratic primary really is. Just a few months ago, it looked like HRC was going to run away with the nomination with the rest of the candidates just along for the ride to make it look good. Now she has some real competition, the gloves have come off, and she looks desperate. Those shenanigans have not helped her, and Obama has narrowed the gap. The remaining primaries and caucuses will certainly have an impact, but I do wonder if the super delegates will really represent the people of the party or the will of the leadership of the DNC. Only time will tell.

On the Republican side, it appears that unless some miracle happens, John McCain will be the nominee of the Party. I’m really not sure if I like that or not – he has been described as a loose cannon by several of his counterparts. I also remember that he has supported the failed immigration bill and other pieces of legislation that I do not think were in the best interest of this country. Yes, he appears to be Liberal in his leanings.

So at this point in time, barring a lightning strike at the ballot box for a third-party president, it looks like no matter who you vote for in the upcoming Presidential election, we will end up getting a Liberal President. That’s not good for those of us with conservative leanings.

So what is now important is voting for conservative Senate and House candidates. These Congress-critters are the ones that will introduce legislation, ratify treaties, and confirm Supreme Court Justice candidates. If anything, it will be these representatives that will be important, not necessarily the President.

Yes, the 2008 election is more important than ever, and it’s not just about electing another President. It’s about who is going to represent you.

I have no idea where everyone is at right now – the news pundits are “projecting” winners all over the place. What this means as far as number of delegates everyone gets is up in the air.

We’ll see tomorrow morning who gets what. And we’ll comment tomorrow evening on the results – I’m not staying up to watch the news reports!!

This year’s Superbowl was surprising from a couple of aspects. Namely, the game and the commercials.

Not only was the game not a blowout, but it was a defensive game. No overwhelming offensive lines running roughshod over the field, rather it was a tactical exercise in strategy and execution. The Giants prevailed over the heavily favored Patriots in a wild and woolly fourth quarter. An excellent showing by both teams.

The commercials were fairly decent this year as well. Some standouts for me were (in no particular order):

  • The Fed-Ex Pigeon Delivery
  • Pixar/Disney Wall-E
  • Bud-Light Wine & Cheese
  • Budweiser Hank the Clydesdale
  • E-Trade’s Baby Trader Commercials
  • SoBe’s dancing lizards
  • Garmin’s Napoleon driver
  • Bridgestone’s Animal (and Human) Screamers

Perhaps the best part (at least for me) was the Terminator coming out and nailing that annoying Fox robotic football player. I’ve seen that animation for years, and I’m tired of seeing it. But that’s just me…

Well, it’s not even 24 hours before the Superbowl starts, and the pundits are picking New England by a couple of touchdowns. I hope not…

Even though Indianapolis isn’t in it this year, I want to see a good game. I also want to see some good commercials this year. Last year was kinda lame.

New England have the chance to make history by being the only team to go undefeated from season opener to the Superbowl. The Jets Giants have the chance to make history by being the spoiler. Will be interesting.

And no, I’m not picking a team to root for this year.

Yesterday, the ax fell on 119 Union-represented designers at Chrysler. Excerpts from the Detroit News:

A UAW leader is promising to fight Chrysler LLC’s abrupt layoff of 119 union-represented designers Thursday — many of whom were escorted out of the Auburn Hills headquarters with less than one hour’s notice.

Jeff Hagler, president of United Auto Workers Local 412, who represents the affected workers, said Chrysler failed to follow protocol by not giving union leaders proper notice of the layoffs and by pink-slipping workers selectively, rather than by seniority. Hagler met Thursday with other union leaders at the local in Warren to determine the best approach to filing a grievance.

Management disagrees. Chrysler spokeswoman Michele Tinson said the automaker followed the procedures outlined in its contract with the union.

It’s still possible, she said, that those pink-slipped Thursday could be offered a choice between typical layoff benefits and the $100,000 voluntary separation packages the automaker has offered to other groups of workers. The buyout packages also come with six months of health coverage. Typically, laid-off workers receive nearly full pay for 48 weeks and then can spend up to two years in a job bank.

“We are working closely with the UAW and are having ongoing discussion about special programs,” Tinson said.

She said the layoffs are part of Chrysler’s Nov. 1 plan to eliminate 8,500 to 10,000 union jobs as it pares down its work force in response to lower production levels.

UAW officials, however, suspect the layoffs will allow more work to flow to non-union contract workers and possibly to the overseas engineering centers Chrysler announced it would open in four developing countries last week.

“Chrysler seems to be taking a very anti-union attitude,” Hagler said. “I sent a letter to senior management two weeks ago very sincerely saying we want to work with them to have the best engineering work force in the world. But they don’t seem interested in that.”

Hagler said if the cuts were truly related to declining sales, the union would not protest. These, he said, are an attempt to shift work to non-union contract workers. “They have 250 contractors working in the same department as those who were laid off,” he said.

Yes, I’m represented by the UAW, and I’m worried. Not about being laid off – I can find employment elsewhere (just maybe not in Michigan), but where the automotive industry is headed. Cuts are happening everywhere – Ford, GM, and Chrysler are offering buyouts to multiple employees. Cut too much, and valuable experience will be lost. I hate to say it, but I have serious doubts that the automotive companies, as a whole, will survive this hack & slash way of doing business.

Recovery is not just around the corner…

Found this over at Believers in Christ:

Men Are Just Happier People. What do you expect from such simple creatures?

  • Your last name stays put.
  • The garage is all yours.
  • Wedding plans take care of themselves.
  • Chocolate is just another snack.
  • You can be President.
  • You can never be pregnant.
  • You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.
  • You can wear NO shirt to a water park.
  • Car mechanics tell you the truth.
  • The world is your urinal.
  • You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.
  • You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
  • Same work, more pay.
  • Wrinkles add character.
  • A wedding dress is $5,000 but a Tux rents for $100.
  • People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.
  • The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
  • New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
  • One mood all the time.
  • Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
  • You know stuff about tanks.
  • A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
  • You can open all your own jars.
  • You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
  • If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
  • Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
  • Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
  • You almost never have strap problems in public.
  • You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
  • Everything on your face stays its original color.
  • The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades!
  • You only have to shave your face and neck.
  • You can play with toys all your life.
  • Your belly usually hides your big hips.
  • One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color for all seasons.
  • You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.
  • You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.
  • You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
  • You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24 in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier.

Global Warming. Islamic Radical Terrorism. National Health Care. The 2008 Presidential Elections. Illegal Immigration. The Inner Workings of Government.

How much of the above really concerns the common person? In many respects, none of it.

What?!?!?!?

According to the Media, Scientists, & Politicians, all of the above is important.

Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but I don’t think that the common person really gives a rat’s behind about if the polar bears have a place to live, terrorists are blowing each other up “over there,” another illegal crosses the border, or what Government does behind closed doors (or open ones, for that matter). Yeah, for the time being, the common man is concerned about the elections and if government is going to take care of the “health care crisis,” but that’s only until the election is over. Then it’s back to whatever is considered “normal.”

Why, you may ask? Here’s the answer – The common person is concerned with the roof over their head, food in the tummy, a job that will pay for the roof and the food, and what’s on television for the night. Yeah, I’m cynical all right…

Many of the readers of this blog identify themselves with the common person. Ask yourself these questions from a realistic standpoint – Does the common person actively seek out the story behind the story, and do they really dig down into the details? Or do they go about their daily business trying to make ends meet, and just take for granted what is going on around them is for their own good?

Sounds like a choice between taking the red pill or the blue pill…

Ignorance is bliss only in the short term. In the long term, the consequences of ignorance will come back to haunt us with a vengeance. For instance:

The 2008 Presidential Elections (Primary Edition) is interesting on the Democratic side as it is ho-hum on the Republican side. The Dems are mudslinging like crazy, playing every card in the deck to gain an advantage over their opponent. The Republicans are running on the issues with a little mud on the side, which isn’t making hardly any news nor is it really putting forth what is on their menu. With the Media promoting the Democrat’s Liberal / Socialistic agenda and ignoring the Republican’s conservative message (except for the lone RINO in the group), the Media is playing kingmaker, hoping that the public sheep will follow them to the Liberal pasture of plenty. This could have some catastrophic consequences.

Depending on who is elected, your taxes would go up a little or a lot to pay for “free” health care. National defense may or may not protect United States citizens and property worldwide from terrorist attacks (probably not the way the Liberals are talking). The borders would not only be open but the illegals coming across the borders would be welcomed with open arms and amnesty. The continued prosecution against Islamic terrorist organizations would be doubtful, especially since everyone should now take mandatory diversity training to “help us understand them” while they are cutting our heads off. And let’s not forget about the movements to “go green” which will most likely cost everyone money in the good intentioned but doubtful reversal of Global Warming. Of course, Government will be doing all of this at the behest of a Liberal President “to help you.” I think Ronald Reagan said it best,

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

And what is the real cost? The most priceless of all – the freedoms & rights guaranteed by the Constitution legislated away by power-hungry politicians and ignored by a populace more interested in American Idol & Britney Spear’s antics. Don’t believe me? Just read a previous post for just the tip of the iceberg on the most valuable right we have under the Constitution – Free Speech.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I could just keep on ranting. But the point is that the media, our politicians, and various power brokers are shaping and forming our opinions for us.

Yeah, I’m cynical… Just don’t call me paranoid, because I already know the world is out to get me…

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