Archive for the ‘Politics’Category

The Detroit Marathon: Part Deux

Running a marathon has always been on my bucket list, but I always figured it would be one of those things I’d do when I was older. The amount of training involved means that you pretty much have to focus on running and nothing else, and I didn’t want to give up lifting weights, Tae Kwon Do and the many other things I’ve picked up over the years.

For some reason I wasn’t thinking about this on the morning of January 1, 2011 and at 9 am that morning, I took advantage of the early-bird discount and signed up for the Detroit Marathon. Read the rest of this entry →


10 2011

Democracy, or something like it

By now I’m sure you’ve heard that the people of Egypt, in just two weeks of protests, have overthrown a leader who’d been in power 30 years and been a major force in stabilizing middle eastern eastern conflicts.

As news of this has traveled the world, its convinced others to rise up and demand the same in their own countries. There have been political movements in Jordan, Iran, and Bahrain in recent days to drive those country’s governments to hold free elections in each of those countries.

Would I love to see every nasty government in the world fall to democracy? Of course. Is it realistic? No. Read the rest of this entry →


02 2011

Gettin’ Scrappy in Motown

After I tweeted Thursday’s plea for help out to the Twitter-verse, I was pleasantly surprised to get a few responses back from people who knew their way around midtown Detroit pretty well. Ultimately, David Lingholm from the Detroit Regional News Hub was nice enough to meet on Friday morning and share a little bit about the history and current goings-on of midtown Detroit. (Before I forget let me extend a special thanks to David and the News Hub for helping to set all of this up). Read the rest of this entry →


12 2010

Live from Detroit (a personal plea)

I’m spending a couple of days in Detroit on my way home to DC. (It’s a nice way to catch up with old friends while splitting up a mind-numbing 750 mile drive.)

One of my biggest regrets about my time in Detroit is that I didn’t get to learn the city very well until it was almost time to leave. I’m fairly certain that in my first year here, I made a grand total of 3 trips into the city. I caught up fairly quickly though, and by the end I honestly feel like I knew things about Detroit that friends who’d spent their lives here didn’t know. I learned my lesson from that, though, and I made it a point to embrace Chicago and city life (despite living in Evanston) when I moved last summer. Read the rest of this entry →


12 2010

My Thoughts on Detroit

Hockeytown Cafe, right next to Comerica ParkI’ve had some pretty major life changes recently and I wanted to reflect before I wrote about them. That’s why this blog has been inactive for the past three months. But now that the reflection is over, I’ve turned my thoughts into a three-part series — today will be part 1.

So what’s happened? In March, I was accepted to the MMM program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. Kellogg has a top-notch MBA program, so taking the opportunity was a no-brainer, but it also meant I’d be leaving Detroit; a city I’ve grown to love.

So let’s start at the basics: an outsider’s thoughts on Detroit. Read the rest of this entry →


10 2009

A Blast From the Past

Yesterday marked my second consecutive presidential election night barcrawl. I just thought I’d share the evite from the night that started what I hope to be a lifelong tradition. Read the rest of this entry →


11 2008

Blast(s) from the Past

A few memories from the past have resurfaced in the past few days: Read the rest of this entry →


01 2007

The West Memphis Three

If you are at all interested in the Robin Hood Hills killings of 1993, then I recommend you watch the HBO documentary “Paradise Lost.” Read the rest of this entry →


12 2006

Attack on America — My memory

We all have our own memories from September 11th, 2001, and I thought I’d use this space to share mine.
Before I type any further, I want to make it clear that I want to avoid all the hoopla and unnecessary rehashing of everything that happened that today. At the same time, no American can genuinely claim that their lives haven’t changed at all since then. If you’ve waited an extra minute in airport security, then your life has been influenced by September 11th.

For me, the memories of September 11th began on Monday September 10th. It was the beginning of my senior year at the University of Illinois. It was also the week of the engineering job fair. As a senior, it was a little more serious this time.

At the job fair, I was part of the ravenous pack dressed to the nines in suits, dress shirts and ties. Boeing was immediately impressed with me and offered me an interview slot the following day. I came home in time to check my email just before house and chapter at the fraternity.

It was there that I found the first sad news of the week. One of my best friends, who happened to be a fraternity brother, emailed the house to let everyone know that his girlfriend of a few years had been killed the previous Saturday night — September 8th. She was coming home from the bars, got off a bus, and didn’t see the oncoming car as she tried to cross the street. I immediately went next door to console him and found a number of other brothers already sitting with him.

House and chapter went like a blur. I’m sure somebody complained about lack of participation at a rush event, as it was the beginning of the semester. Somebody else (I’m sure) tried to get us pumped for the pre-football BBQ with some sorority for football block. Whatever it was, I don’t really remember.

The next morning I woke up for my 9 am lab and I was taking a shower when I finally heard the news. This is the unfortunate part. I found out about one of America’s saddest moments, from none other than Chicago’s twice-as-offensive-but-half-as-funny knockoff of Howard Stern, Mancow. He was freaking out about telling his wife to come home because she worked in the Sears tower.

I couldn’t exactly understand what had happened because of the noise of the water, but I could tell it was a big deal. I went back to my room and turned on the TV to see my first images of the World Trade Center towers. By this point, the 2nd tower had already been hit and there was no doubt to anyone that this was an act of terrorism.

I had a 9 am lab to go to but I wasn’t sure what the protocol on going to class is when your country is under attack. After all, Newsweek had recently identified Champaign, IL as one of the 10 most likely attack targets in the US. I didn’t personally agree with that assertion, but many others did, and many others who didn’t particularly care used it as an excuse to skip class.

As I learned, the University of Illinois stops for nobody. In all, the U of I canceled 1 hour of class (that Friday at noon, for a memorial service) and I did go to my physics labs. My physics TA wasn’t particularly devoted to teaching his lab, and he’d typically sit in his office down the hall and we’d go to him if we had questions. On that day, I remember him coming in and telling us that they’d hit the Pentagon too.

I went to my Boeing interviewin the afternoon and a) the guy was impressed I even bothered to show up. b) He let me know that due to the events of the previous 24 hours, they probably wouldn’t be looking to hire too many people. We both had nothing better to do, so we went through the whole interview just for grins.

My other memory of that week is that Thursday afternoon. After barbequeing with some friends, the next typical step was to go out drinking since it was early in the semester. I remember sitting there for hours in Mark Hathaway’s room. We just watched the cartoon network and made (what we considered) witty comments at an episode of Looney Tunes. The events of Tuesday morning had dampened our spirits. We weren’t depressed, or scared or anything, but nothing really seemed to be important or have a point for that matter, other than sitting in front of the TV and joking about how the ‘Corn Juice’ bottle that the cartoon character kept drinking was actually bootleg liquor.

For my friend who lost his girlfriend that week, September 11 actually seemed to make his own loss easier. It wasn’t that he was happy to see all these people die, but he had some company and the entire nation was grieving with him.

I don’t honestly think that life in America has dramatically changed in the past five years. Some people claim September 11 was my generation’s Pearl Harbor. I can’t say I agree. Pearl Harbor had an immediate and significant effect on the daily lives of people in the US — rations, doing without certain luxuries, etc. This simply isn’t the same. As civilians we no longer have to sacrifice elements of our own lives for out country during times of war.

I would love to go further into this topic but I don’t want to break into the realm of the political fallout of what happened five years ago.

PS: Feel free to post your own memories in the comments. As a sidenote, while I do believe in free speech, I will delete your post if it gets too political. You can post that on your own blog, and I’ll likely read it too.


09 2006

Taxes Suck

“Being poor was not such a drag in hindsight” – Ben Folds (The Ascent of Stan)

I’m trying to do my taxes and this is freaking ridiculous. Last year was easy. I made next to nothing in 2004, so I basically just copied my 2003 return with new numbers. Last year, I had a real job with a real salary, so I’m staring in fear at this 1040.

And I’m one of the lucky ones. I can’t imagine how bad it’ll be one day when I have the following things to contend with: mortgage deductions, child deductions, childcare deductions, healthcare deductions. And when I qualify to deduct too much, I get hit with the alternative minimum tax — a tax which most people don’t even understand. In fact, most people I’ve spoken to say they calculate it as best as possible, pay it, and hope the IRS doesn’t come after them.

Our tax system is so bad that roughly 2/3s of mortgage holders in the US don’t even claim their mortgage deduction on their taxes because it’s too complicated to do so.

This leads me to a funny story. Once upon a time, I recieved a threatening letter from the state of Maryland saying that I owed them back taxes from 2001. Of course I didn’t live in Maryland that year. In fact, I’d been a registered voter in Illinois since 1998. Anyways, I wrote to them and pointed this out and I got another letter that not only failed to acknowledge the first letter, but then claimed I owed the original amount plus some interest. This time I wrote back and explained that I followed all the tax laws for the state I lived in and I didn’t owe them any money.

A few months passed and I recieved a third letter. This time, I got wise. I sent them a letter explaining that they clearly didn’t have a real definition of being a Maryland resident, because during the year that they claimed I lived in Maryland, I applied to graduate school at the University of Maryland and I was accept as an OUT-OF-STATE student!!!! The hypocrisy! Luckily, I save these types of things and I sent them a copy of the acceptance letter. It’s been 2.5 years since then. I haven’t heard back. Obviously I’m only a resident of the state when it comes to paying them extra money.

Anyways, if you get a chance, I think you should visit the fairtax website. Its located at It’s a really good idea that is starting to pick up steam with some of our politicians. Of course they’ll never get behind it until they’re convinced that they’re own job depends upon it.

I think it’s a really well thought out idea that is definitely worth learning about. I’m not sure our tax code could possible get any worse.

Then again, when I look at the people who are running things (this is NOT a Left Wing vs. Right Wing statement), I find myself resigned to the belief that they will find a way to make it worse.


03 2006