News Headlines

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Tacoma Needs Another Park

I’ve been thinking about what Tacoma needs to help it along on its journey back to relevancy. I think Tacoma needs another great park. I’m not necessarily talking about something huge, but something attractive, inviting, awesome. Maybe something the size of a city block. Maybe even a few little parks scattered throughout the city. But we need something to make everyone want to get outside and play, congregate, and enjoy the city. It seems like this would need to be done before the entire downtown area is filled in with more development. This would also be nice to have at or near UW Tacoma. I just hope we save some park space before we go even further with our economic development plans.

Stocks Slide!

But does it matter? I don't think it does. Well, it does if you retired yesterday. But if you've got some time left working, I think you now having a good buying opportunity if there's any cash lying around. The one thing I regret is that I didn't transfer more cash into my stock trading account a few days ago. It looks like a discount sale and I was caught with my trading cash in the wrong place. I can't complain too much, I'm still up quite a bit, but it would have been nice to be able to pounce and make a little more. Oh well, I'll have to come in and work with the prices a few days after the fact. It sounds like there is some fear of a recession and price correction in the market. A recession? Possible, but many large blue chip stocks are not over-priced and now are an even better bargain. It really looks like a good buy for quality, large blue chip stocks. Something to ponder today.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Politics-Cheney Targeted

Now that Vice-President Cheney has been personally targeted during his trip to Afghanistan, I wonder if there will be a change of U.S. policy. It’s been quite evident for years that Afghanistan has been a problem for the U.S. as opposed to Iraq. But inexplicably, Afghanistan got 2nd rate status as we decided to blow Iraq (and any type of order) to smithereens. Well, some people in Afghanistan must have decided that they weren’t getting enough attention. And yet again, Al Qaida militants in Afghanistan wished to make themselves known. Why we didn’t address the issue there and avoid Iraq to begin with is completely lost on me. But, now would be a good time to reevaluate our policy regarding Afghanistan and be proactive in fixing the terrorist problems there. I don’t think many U.S. citizens still feel we’re getting anywhere in Iraq. But, I think we all know where the root of many of our foreign problems lie. And that (for all of this time), has been Afghanistan. Maybe we can make the right decisions and address the dire situation there this time around.

Failing the Community

As I was reading The Seattle Times this morning, I noticed a disturbing article by Jennifer Sullivan. She writes about how many (83 to be exact) felons were released because the Dept. of Corrections had exceeded their limit of beds in King County jails. I'm certainly not an expert on the issue, but this sounds like a serious failure to serve the community. I'm not sure if there needs to be an improved agreement between the DOC and King County or if we need new, larger correctional facilities. But, we need to do something. Releasing dangerous felons because of space issues just seems like a complete failure on so many levels. And again, joe taxpayer is the real loser. The taxpayer who is already paying for these facilities has to be subjected to living with dangerous people considered likely to re-offend. And why you ask? Because our local government system couldn't find a more effective way to hold criminals. This is what bothers me about politics currently. Politicians will vilify the Sonics for wanting a new stadium. Fine, so they don't want to pay for the entire stadium; I understand that. But to consistently beat up a sports team in the media (a high visibility option) and fail to mention this huge issue, is still a failure to serve the community. Some of these leaders want to preach the easy issue and not face the tough ones. Our leaders need to do more than attack the issues that bring the headlines; they also need to hit on the issues that affect every one of us (even if it's not quite so popular or glamorous).

The Seattle Times

Monday, February 26, 2007

Sports-Darrell Jackson On His Way Out?

There have been various reports that Darrell Jackson is being shopped around the NFL. It’s a little sad, Jackson has been a good player for us for years now. I do understand that we’re paying out big money to Deion Branch and Nate Burleson, so D-Jack may be the odd man out. And with D-Jack coming up on a contract, he may be used for good trade bait. But nonetheless, he’s been a good Seahawk. Now, we could use a safety, defensive or offensive lineman. So, if we can find some good value, we’ve got to make the trade. I guess we’ll see what happens, although I wouldn’t be surprised if Jackson is gone before or on draft day. I’m predicting we trade him for picks.

Good for Gore

It was nice to see Al gore win two Oscars. His movie, An Inconvenient Truth, was very good and very unique. It was a fresh break from all of the other fluff that was being offered at that time. And his movie also made us think. Not too many movies out there do that to people. And better yet, it made us think about an issue that may be the most derided and passed off serious issue affecting us to date. I like Al Gore, it's good to see him get a little credit for shedding some light on an issue. When was the last time you could say that about a politician?

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Northwestern Growth

When I speak about housing prices with anyone else who doesn't live in the NW, there's sort of this confusion that enters the discussion. Thankfully, many of us in the NW haven't really been hit with a hard housing slowdown. The economy really hasn't been affected either. Apparently in other parts of the country, things have been a little more rocky. I knew WA was looking particularly good for 2007 being that we were still experiencing job growth and the we still had an influx of new residents expected to continue to come our way. And this article from Drew DeSilver at The Seattle Times helps reiterate those earlier predictions. Life is still good here in the NW, as well as the economy and housing. If you do live around here, the article below is an interesting piece discussing some of the other areas of growth that you may not know about. And for our friends outside of WA, yes, there are other growing areas here outside of Seattle. Overall, a positive piece of writing good for your Sunday read.

The Seattle Times

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Think about how much different our communities would be if everyone gave 10% of their income to a worthy cause. Think about how our world could change. You can decide where to give. If you're a Christian, you're instructed to give a tithe to your church. If you're not a Christian, you can choose a worthy charity or outreach program. You could even choose to give your money to cancer or AIDS research. And why don't we do this? We give 10% to malls, bars, restaurants, car dealerships and to people we're trying to impress or chase into bed. And what has that gotten us? Disappointment, emotional letdowns, heartache? All of these things are solved by merely living outside of yourself and giving to something other than yourself. Give something, even if it's time or a little extra effort. Let the guy merge into your lane. Open a door. Just do something. Give.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Resource-Dave Ramsey

I just finished reading Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover. It’s a pretty good book. Dave gives some good practical money and financial advice. Dave also has podcasts and a radio show that complements his books. Dave won’t dazzle you with any breakthrough ideas, but he does help reiterate common sense; and that alone is highly valuable in this world of excessive, bad information. Unless you’re a complete financial know-it-all, I’d recommend checking out Dave Ramsey and what he has to offer. You may learn a thing or two and that alone is worth the cost of admission.

Dave Ramsey

Business Questions Around Sports

The Sonics are staying here for at least another year. And if they get $300 million in funding, they'll build a new arena in Renton and stay for a while. If they don't get these public funds, they're probably off to Oklahoma City. There have already been some cranky politicians claiming that this proposal is already dead. There is the claim that the deal (like other stadium deals) are bad for the public. And maybe they are. But when I read the articles discussing the deals, it seems like there is a lot left out when considering. For instance, no one really knows or adds the added revenue from all of the business that specifically target stadium traffic. And I mean ALL of the businesses' revenues from the peanut vendor all the way up to a place like the Pyramid Brewery or FX McRory's. No one is really quoting how much these businesses make or how many jobs are added on gameday. Also, much of this money comes from entertainment taxes such as dining, bar or sometimes hotel taxes. The local resident isn't hit all that hard if at all from those taxes. And if you implement those taxes within the specific radius of the stadium, county and state residents aren't hit at all. And lastly, can anyone really quote the benefit that sports adds to a community? Face it, in America professional sports IS our culture, performance art, and passion. More people attend and frequent these stadiums than any art gallery or exhibit. And whether you, I, or politicians like it, these stadiums and teams represent more of we are as communities, cities, and states. No one seems to be able to quote that added benefit either. When was the last time you shot the breeze over two pieces of art at the water cooler? I didn't think so.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Worthy Goal-Fair Share Housing

There’s been some discussion in my circle of friends and family about Tacoma, crime, and certain neighborhoods getting the brunt of violent or dangerous felons residing there. I’ve been a little bit involved in working towards “Fair Share” agreements where certain areas of the city no longer accept halfway or transitional housing due to an oversaturation of felons in that neighborhood. And due to my observance, I’ve noticed that unfortunately, there are still people out there who would rather victimize poor neighborhoods and dump felons there as opposed to spreading out transitional housing so that no particular area is completely inundated with a high-risk population. It’s the typical “not in my backyard” mentality except that those without a political or strong financial voice don’t get any say. Instead, those residing in nicer areas push their representative council members or politicians to reject any such fair idea. In their minds, senior citizen housing is a burden enough in their neighborhoods (not to mention that Fair Share housing would be taking up valuable real estate and driving their land values lower). How dare anyone in lower neighborhoods reject any more housing opportunities? After all, don’t the residents of those lower income neighborhoods have the sense to move if there is any issue with the establishment of more half-way houses? Somehow I don’t think that train of thought was supposed to be the original design of local American politics.

Week in Review

Hmmm, kind of a ho-hum week. Other than the bizarre celebrity news, not much happened. The British are beginning to pull out of Iraq, there are some inflation worries in the economy, and supposedly North Korea is willing to strike a deal concerning their nuclear program. Nothing all that amazing although I'm sure it won't be long before something weird happens. With the presidential race beginning so early, it looks like it could get quite competitive shortly. The Obama and Clinton camps appear to be on a collision course that may happen sooner than later. And the Newt is even beginning to appear doing his own brand of self-promotion. Non-eventful, but interesting times indeed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

On The Web-Ben Stein

Good advice is hard to find. And good financial advice may be even harder to find. But thankfully we have Ben Stein. While you can no longer win his money, you can still keep up with him; he writes a great column that many people still don’t know about. Below is a link to one of his articles. Ben is featured on Yahoo! Finance. I would strongly recommend reading his column regularly, especially if you don’t consider yourself financially savvy. He gives simple, straightforward advice that is pretty darn good. It’s wise to take advice from someone smarter than you. And chances are Ben Stein is smarter than you.

Yahoo! Finance

Interest Rates and Condos

It'll be interesting to see if interest rates go up this year. We've been sitting in a pretty stable spot for some time. The economy is doing well and I'm not sure that inflation has gone anywhere. But if rates do go up, I wonder what will happen to housing. With quite a bit of supply on the market, I'm not so sure that sellers will be getting what the going asking prices are at present. What I find interesting is the current boom in condos. I'm not quite confident that the market will continue to be a good one being that there are so many condo projects in the works. I'm feeling like there's a little bit of a condo glut. If rates go north, I think that portion of the market could get worse. I guess we'll see.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Britney in Rehab? Headlines Gone Wild!

I don’t often write about celebrities, but I couldn’t help myself. The pink and checkered pop culture elephant has been sitting idly by in the room long enough. What’s up with all of the weird celebrity headlines? Old Jerry Springer episodes don’t even come close to all of the funk hitting the airwaves and print now. And we thought we were going to hell then… At least on Springer they had panties, hair and shoes (although the shoes came off if you wanted to fight). And in reality, who gives a crap? Why does any of this matter? What are most celebrities good for now other than a disposable, forgettable song and some bad acting? How many truly talented artists can you name? It’s sad, we’ve gone to a less than disposable culture. We’re practically cheering for people to fall off the wagon. It’s like The Sims but not as fun. I’m not sure where it happened, but something has gone terribly wrong. And no, I don’t just blame the media. If people didn’t truly pay attention, the media would find something else that people are paying attention to at that moment. And in some part these celebrities have sold themselves out so often and for so long you wonder if this is really what they have been asking for all of their lives. And to some extent, I think it is. In a weird, sad way, they are getting what they deserve and have been seeking. Britney or _________ (fill in teen star’s name here) could have just as easily went to college/or got a regular job/or not gotten caught sleeping with so and so and so and so (Get the video for $19.95! But wait! There's more!). But no, they wanted to be famous. And so now they are. And what’s the prize? A degenerate lifestyle/name/reputation/situation spiraling out of control. And I think we all know where they land. In obscurity after the next big “artist” comes along. So does the bad/tragic Shakespearean-type play ever end? Or do we start all over again when the current group of befuddled stars dies off and Court TV stops reporting about the funeral/royalty/custody battles? Ugh, I'm disgusted.

Needs Less Gas

Below is a pretty interesting article about how hybrid cars are a little easier to purchase now since supply is catching up with demand. A little bit of good news to start off a shortened week. Author Rick Popely of the Chicago Tribune writes how Toyota is now pushing the hybrids with some financing incentives. Cool, you get an efficient car with good financing. This is exactly the direction America needs to be going. Less oil dependent, more efficient and more environmentally sound. And yet another example of why Toyota is head and shoulders above their competition.

The Tacoma News Tribune

Monday, February 19, 2007

Republican Low Blow?

I'm not a Republican. But I'm still a little put off after reading the article below (click link). Is Senator McCain simply trying to toot his own horn and separate himself from his own party's mismanaged war agenda? I'm not sure, but McCain has long been in the Republican fold tooting the collective party horn for some time now. What's with the Rumsfeld blast? I'm not saying that Rumsfeld did anything noteworthy, I'd argue the opposite, but I still do not appreciate where politics has been in recent history. The low blows and name calling need to stop. Even Senator McCain needs to realize this and if he doesn't appreciate his party's war actions, a viable and clear solution would be much more appreciated as opposed to the verbal jabs (even with Democrats and certainly Rumsfeld).

Hoops-All Star Weekend

So did anyone watch much of the NBA's All Star Weekend? I didn't. I saw about 2 seconds of the All Star Game, noticed it was a blowout and changed the channel. Is there a bigger waste than the NBA's All Star game? There's no legitimate value. Everyone is playing halfheartedly and nothing is at stake. At least in baseball the All Star game decides home field advantage in the World Series. And in football, it really looks like the guys play hard as a matter of pride. Watch some of the hits (especially Sean Taylor's special teams hit) and tell me that the football players don't take it seriously. But hoops? C'mon, I want to like everything about the NBA. And when I was watching MJ, Magic and Bird, I did. But after MJ left, somehow it feels like the league lost its way and never quite returned. I must admit, there's been some good playoff series with the Pistons, Lakers, Spurs, Mavs and Heat. But overall, it's just not the same. Maybe LeBron will take us back there, but I'm not holding my breath for him or Pippen (He's returning? What the hell?). When do we get to see good teams again? Not a marquee player against another marquee player (like Kobe vs. LeBron). I'm talking Lakers vs. Celtics. I'm talking Vinny Johnson coming off the bench and torchin' ya for 20. Coop coming in to lock someone down. Hell, I'd take Spider Salley and some ugly rebounding. Where's that stuff? The Pistons were there for about a second and then poof!, nothing. Help me, I want to like the NBA again.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Ichiro Leaving?

There is already speculation that Ichiro will leave the M's once his contract is up and go to a contender. And here we are just getting ready for spring training. It would be sad to see the guy go, but I'm not so sure that having a bunch of high priced guys on a crappy team going nowhere is the turnaround strategy for us. It really seems like we need to blow the team up (including the front office) and start over with some young prospects. The team is willing to spend money, so supplementing that young talent with some good high-value free agents would seem wise. Now, whether we do that or not is doubtful. But trying to compete with the rest of the division currently in our state is daunting. It already looks like it might be a rough season for us. We need to be realistic and decide whether we really have any chance with the team that is in place. Unfortunately, it just doesn't look promising. But then again, we still have to play the games and see how it works out. And to see Ichiro leave would be sad, but it may mark the beginning of a turnaround that is much overdue.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


I like to be able to speak about things that I think are helpful. Firefox is one of them. Firefox is an internet browser that allows you to surf the web with different tabs. Basically the tabs allow you to have many pages open at the same time. The more tabs, the more pages open. The beauty of it is that it allows you to switch back and forth between pages quickly. So, if you're like me and like to read the news and check all sorts of things out at a pretty quick pace, the tabs allow you to be all over the web in an efficient manner. With so much information out there, it's nice to be able to get through it quickly. Life isn't always meant to be in front of a computer. But if you're going to get your news and get it quickly, Firefox is a nice alternative.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Will the Sonics Get Better?

How long has it been since we've had a decent NBA team? It feels like ages since the Sonics had a legitimate chance to do anything. Since Nate McMillan left, we've been piss poor. And the front office didn't even want to spend money on the teams Nate coached. I miss the days when I could sit and watch an NBA game. It's sad, some of the other teams have some very exciting players. Our team? A bunch of mismatched and forgotten players with the exception of Ray Allen. Maybe the best shooter in the game, Ray is stuck on a lost island of defeat. This team is about as exciting and hopeful as the M's team coming into spring training. When do the Seahawks start playing again?

Thursday, February 15, 2007

President's Day

President’s Day is almost upon us. I actually forgot that it was coming up. Nice bonus I suppose. So what do you do for President’s Day? I don’t think people have President’s Day traditions, but maybe I’m wrong. It’s not quite the same as Independence Day or Memorial Day; it seems like it gets the short end of the patriotic holiday stick. But in case you do something traditional, indulge us; I’m not sure everyone is on the same page with this one.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


I wanted to write a post on something that affects all of us. Taxes. Yeah, I said it, taxes. Before you act bored or bothered, give me a minute. Sometimes I think about how there are certain inequalities in America and what is done to fix these problems. And in some of these cases, appropriate funding is the underlying issue. And in many cases, the main funding vehicle is taxes. I also think about all of the tax loopholes and how it appears that the wealthy have at their disposal, professionals for hire that only help them escape their taxes. And I also continually think about how America can help its citizens become prosperous and in turn allow its people to have the freedom to give more and contribute more both in time and money. Money isn't and shouldn't be the end goal in life. But to say that money isn't important is living in a denial that could be quite harmful in this day and age (financially, personally, maybe even spiritually). So what else is there to say? Well, I've got more... Now let me also say that my beliefs are based on experience and what I've observed over time. It doesn't mean that I'm some big tax guru or that I've ever been employed by the IRS (I haven't). But I also believe that it is my right and in my ability to say what I think is right or believe. And, if at the very least, someone else out there begins to ask questions and search for their own answers, I think something worthy has been accomplished, so here we go.

I think part of the issue of taxes should be what does a citizen or resident owe the society in which the person lives. In other words, what is my cost to be a member here? Does that cost vary on whether I earn more money? Does the cost change if I'm a good person and contribute my time to worthy causes? Is my cost more if I'm a jerk or a felon? Honestly, I think the basic cost should be the same for everyone. I don't someone should be punished and forced to pay more simply because they have toiled when others haven't and as a result, have become financially successful. I also don't think the poor should pay a greater percentage of their income because they couldn't afford to hire the best accountant or attorney to help them ease their tax burden. And I don't think trying to reward good people or punish bad people would work since that is such a subjective issue. So in a roundabout way, I think flat taxes are a good thing. In other words, everyone pays the same percentage of their income to their state and federal government. Think about the fairness of it. The rich guy can't sneak through some loophole and only pay 5% of his income while someone living hand to mouth is figuring out how to live after the government takes its cut. Everyone pays a fixed percentage. No questions asked and the tax forms get really simple. Think about it. Every April is all of a sudden much less stressful. And think of all of the government beuacracy that would be eliminated? Somehow I think the savings would be enormous.

So what about the taxes on investments? I think they should go away. That's right, what you make selling your stocks or real estate should be yours. And why not? The government is already taking a percentage off the top of your total income anyway with the flat tax. Why should there be any other tax on what you rightfully make when you've already paid your tax? Think of all the people that would suddenly become more industrious or begin to study real estate investments, stocks or personal finance. With Americans saving less than 0%, the government should be thrilled at this. The government wouldn't be on the hook for Social Security or have to bother itself as much with what people will do when they retire. If the government gives back huge sums of money (which it would effectively do if capital gains taxes were repealed), all of a sudden Social Security can go away and there wouldn't be the same issue if senior citizens are selling their homes for possibly hundreds of thousands if not a million more than what they originally paid for their home or property. All of a sudden there is some serious incentive to get on the ball and become an owner of property, land, stocks, companies, investments, etc. People of all backgrounds have incentive to get back in the capitalist game. It opens the gates for all people to compete in the free market system. Essentially it brings us back to the roots of what America originally was in the beginning.

Again I think I should say something about the fairness issue. Everyone is paying the same percentage of their total income into the system. There would be no loopholes. And if there was to be a loophole, it would only be allowed if the issue went to a vote by the people. And to make matters more simple, only one loophole or issue could be presented to the people at one time. That is, there would be no pork barrel issues bundled into the proposition. Again, I think this may be the most democratic taxing strategy available. No loopholes, you pay what you owe, and you're free to make some serious profit if you've got the inclination or determination to do so.

And last but not least, the only other issue of taxation that I can think of is the estate tax. I do think (besides the flat tax) that the estate tax should remain. I don't believe that America was meant to be an aristocracy with rich ruling families. But if you take a look around, it does appear that this is in fact happening. How many Senators and representatives are currently serving whose father was a prominent figure in business or politics? It seems that there are quite a few. With an estate tax, wealth redistribution would occur on some level. How much the tax should be could be decided or altered at a later date. But, wealth should not passed down from one generation to the next unimpeded. That in itself could threaten the free society in which we live. An estate would remain as some form of protection against an elitest society.

So there you have it, my thoughts on taxes. Hopefully you'll begin to question the randomness and ineffectiveness of the current system. If so, maybe positive change could someday become real.

Book Review

I have to let you know that I'm reading this book called Moneyball by Michael Lewis. The book is great although I'm only half way through it. Remember how I said I was stuck in McCarren Airport for half a day? Well, I had some time on my hands and bought the book at one of the little airport shops. Needless to say, I couldn't put the book down and am now on the second half of the book. If you didn't know, the book is about a guy named Billy Beane. Billy is the GM of the Oakland A's baseball team. You're thinking wow, a book about the slowest sport in America, yay. But the book is infinitely more interesting than that. It's about how Billy is an amazing GM with a huge disadvantage in the big money world of sports. It's about how a guy can take true data and numbers, apply it to a world that is inundated with "gut feeling" and it's own set of urban myths and false beliefs. And, as a result, Billy ends up showing an uncanny ability to battle the big money teams like the Yankees (whose payroll of one or two players is sometimes greater than that of the entire A's roster). Really, the book is as much a commentary on life and how people fail to apply real information to a problem as opposed to just using "common, everyday" knowledge that really isn't knowledge at all. And in many cases this accepted knowledge is flat out wrong. Trust me, if you can't stand sports but are a true learner, this book will still be very interesting. It's less about sports and more about how people can be wrong so often for so long because they don't want to apply true knowledge or science to their situation. Great book (so far).

Back in Town

It feels good to be back in town. Vegas is like some fantasyland where the carnival is always in town. I have fun there but it feels "normal" coming back to a town where not everything is a glorified nightclub or bar. Heck, when I got back it wasn't even raining (that has to be a good sign in these parts). I feel good and it's time to take Hilltopia a little further. Hopefully you'll notice and we'll all have some fun on the journey.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Weekend in Vegas

I saw Prince and Elton John perform this past weekend. They were both great. I would highly recommend seeing both shows. So, if you are ever in Vegas and have the chance to attend, definitely do it.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I went to see Prince perform at The Rio last night. It was a great show. Prince is always a really good performer and he's worth seeing if you ever have the chance. Elton John was there watching the show last night and even went on stage and performed a song. Overall a great show to see if you're ever in Vegas. Tonight we're going to see Elton John at The Colleseum. It should be another great performance.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Weekend Events

I just got into Vegas. The flight was ok and we finally got out of baggage claim. McCarren may still be my least favorite airport. It takes forever to get out of that place. I think we're going to see Prince perform tomorrow, it should be fun. Hopefully my luck holds up and the big money flows my way. Or, hopefully I just don't lose my last dollar down here.


I'll be in Sin City for a few days, so I'll let you know what I come across. The posts here may become a little erratic, but I'll try to keep everyone updated. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Business Question

As Tacoma grows, everything is on the up and up. But I do occasionally think of other areas in Tacoma that seem to have potential but are not seemingly on the way to greatness, goodness, or fairness. South Tacoma Way (practically all of it) is such a busy road but it just looks like Aurora Ave. South. Between the ugly power lines, miles of parking lots, and buildings built a quarter mile back (because of the parking lots in front), the road looks like a depressing wasteland. It looks like the place where bad asphalt goes to die. But with so much traffic, you would think that there would be some commercial value there. What does it take to get some big time commercial development going that will not only bring in business, but will also get people excited to get back to parts of the city that many would most likely want to forget? Is that a job function of the city or is that something that happens randomly when a private commercial developer decides that they want to set up shop? Or is it a partnership between both? If someone could explain this, I would be most appreciative. It seems like there is still a lot of potential that is not being realized in our community. I have an easy time believing that if nice, clean, safe, practical, and inviting commercial spaces were built, people would take some time, get off the road and do some good ‘ol money spending. We Americans are world leaders in blowing cash, so why not do it in a presently dumpy area that everyone (except for maybe prostitutes and drug dealers) wants cleaned up? And, people could do their shopping instead of sitting in traffic during rush hour. With only one mall in Tacoma and virtually no shopping district in downtown Tacoma, I think there is enough space and demand to set up something that adds value and brings some different businesses and unique shopping elements that the city does not currently have at present. With so much space, I think development could be unique, fun, interesting and still provide value to the community; especially the community that has had to be it’s patient neighbor for all of these years.

On the Web

I'm not sure how many bloggers read my blog, but I do want to make mention of a great blog resource. Darren Rowse at ProBlogger has been a huge help to me in setting up this blog. His information is right on and very helpful to anyone just getting started with their blog. His articles are easy to understand, straightforward, and quite insightful. If you've thought about putting something out there on the web and are just a little unsure about it, you should review Darren's site and then make your decision. Happy reading!

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Not Completely True?

I'm going to disclose upfront that I'm a Christian. That may be relevant to what you think about this post. But read on friends. I realize we all make mistakes and thankfully we can all be forgiven. But let's get to reality on a news story that I read today (to get some background, read the article in The Seattle PI, link below). I think most guys would agree that if one guy sleeps with another guy, (with or without meth) that guy could be considered a homosexual. Maybe even bisexual if you didn’t want to claim or say definitively that someone was a homosexual. And to take this further, maybe you wouldn’t say either but you probably wouldn’t say that the guy is "completely heterosexual". Common sense and logic, are you still with me? Good. Alright, so someone is homosexual, bisexual, or heterosexual. Who really cares, right? We're all people and we all matter. And maybe you even wanted to be kindhearted or civilized and say that maybe what people do in their homes and bedrooms is really their business (a diplomatic and fair answer at that). And maybe you even say that sexuality is something between yourself and God if you wanted to be spiritual about it. But who emerges from the debacle that Ted Haggard created for himself and claims that he's "completely heterosexual"? C'mon man, you've been caught. We get it. You partied with meth and handled some of your private business with another dude (on more than one occassion). Most people don’t even care except for maybe those in your congregation and a certain portion of Christians (ok, and maybe some D.A.R.E. reps). Just admit that you're not "completely heterosexual" and most people will give you a pass. You say sorry, I was misguided in what I previously thought/believed/felt, maybe I’m a little confused as to what I am now but I’m willing to try to figure it out and when I do, maybe I’ll get back to you. Or maybe I won’t get back to you and decide that it’s my business as to how I go about it. Maybe I even live my life differently as to what I find out. Maybe I'm gay/bi/unsure. Most people would think that’s cool; get back to us or not and that’s that. But to deny any homosexuality, or even worse, use the term "completely heterosexual" is trying to take people for another ride while trying to sell some snake oil to the public. And who knows? Maybe that's even more insulting to the gay community (as if the evangelical right and gay community were in so much agreement before). Could he possibly be gay? Say it ain't so! If you're a little dense, I was being sarcastic there. My general beef with this is that yet again, some (not all) Christian fundamentalists are so consumed in their own denial that they can’t even admit that one of their own is quite possibly gay or bi. It’s not like the guy got drunk and said “I love you man!” to a buddy. And really, who hasn’t done that at least once? But to act like this guy isn’t possibly gay and that homosexuality couldn't possibly be in the midst of the Christian right is completely silly. You can have your own view of the situation and homosexuality in general, but to say that somebody is completely hetero (and yes, the term used was "completely heterosexual") when you’ve admitted to having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex is well, lying (yet another sin). So really, if you’re trying to bring more people to Christ, quit playing politics and look at the situation for what it is. Maybe then more people would take a harder look at our faith instead of dismissing it because of the few evangelicals who refuse to see the reality that we all live in. The reality is that yes, there are homosexuals out there (maybe they're even in your congregation). Trying to deny a probable reality is insanity or on a lesser scale, dishonest, or on an even lesser scale, not completely true. The dishonest or not completely true part is something Jesus would have a problem with. Ultimately what should be the moral of the story is this: be honest, kind, forgiving and forthright; no one (who really knows God) will hate you for it.

Seattle PI

Local Stuff

I am really noticing that the restaurants are beginning to set up shop here in Tacoma. It's no secret that there were a ton of condo projects starting up, but now the restaurants and bars are following. And that's good, any resident knows that there just aren't a whole lot of good options around here. Hopefully soon we'll have options for more entertainment and shopping. You practically have to leave town for anything like that. But, the town is really coming into a second wind. Now if I'd just have a place to walk to downtown; I'm thinking late night coffee shop, diner, bookstore, techie store, yeah, that would be cool.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Blog Feature

You'll notice in the upper right hand corner a FeedBlitz space. You can get Hilltopia updates via email if you use this feature. So if you're one of those people that really likes to get email, feel free to get updates via FeedBlitz. The sign up process is easy, so sign up!

Looking Ahead in Local Politics

There is continuing news on the fight over whether Seattle needs a tunnel or another raised viaduct along downtown Seattle. What disturbs me is the political bickering and lack of willingness to take the issue to the people. What the people want should be paramount and of utmost importance. But how is it that foolish and arrogant politicians continually ignore the prevalent demands of the people and continue on their wasteful ways? How much time has already been wasted by all of the bickering? I think a raised viaduct and tunnel both could have been built by now had the politicians gotten around to acting instead of spouting off more hot air. And who gets the benefit? No one, the viaduct is about to fall into the ocean and the citizens get stuck sitting in traffic on this thing for hours a day. A vote should occur immediately (asap, now, yesterday, last week, last month, etc.) and the outcome should decide what goes where. And that’s it, no recount, no complaining, just action. We would all appreciate political efforts had this been the plan as opposed to bellowing about plans not happening. In my humble opinion, more politicians need to lose their jobs mid-term if action doesn’t occur. No one is clamoring for more noise in this too-loud, too-little action world.


It'll be interesting to see what the Bears are going to do with their quarterback. Grossman didn't look very good yesterday. I think the Bears will look at bringing in someone to compete for the job. In other news, Husky football recruits are getting ready to sign letters if intent to join the Dawgs. The class isn't a spectacular one, but it's supposed to be solid from top to bottom. This class is supposedly one that reflects what Coach Willingham wants and looks for in his guys. There does appear to be some depth, so that should be good. Overall, the Dawgs appear to be on the right track. It would have been nice to get a couple more stars though.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Super Bowl

I enjoyed The Super Bowl. I'm glad Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning got the monkeys off their backs. They both seem like good guys and it was nice to see a classy organization come out on top. The speech Tony made as he was receiving the Lombardi Trophy was really nice. Unfortunately, there's just too few Tony Dungys in sports and in the world. But thankfully, we got so see the original work his magic to perfection tonight. How great is it that he is the first victorious black head coach to win The Super Bowl? He's been such a great example to all of us throughout the years on how someone can win in that cutthroat world and still maintain the values that helped propel him to success. Tonight couldn't have happened to a classier guy.

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Hilltopia Widget

If you have a blog or MySpace page that you want to add Hilltopia's headlines to, click the black "Get My Widget" button. This will allow you to add Hilltopia's content to your page. A great way to add useful and insightful content, in my humble opinion. See ya!

Stuff We Already Knew

Do you get irritated when the news spouts off new findings from studies that really just restate what you've thought all along? For example, all week there have been articles and news clips re: global warming. Their point is that man is responsible for it. Well gee, who was thinking that the chimps or fish were responsible for global warming? That cult has got to be fun if they've found a way to blame some apes. I mean really, when does it get to be insulting when the media has to try to prove a point that most people already agree on? I don't know, I guess I find it trite or wasteful when media conglomerates have the opportunity to really attack issues and enlighten people and here we are discussing why Britney is so trashy. Does it really matter? Will her trashiness save humanity from ourselves? I doubt it.

Friday, February 2, 2007

There Are Good People in the World!

This is a follow up to a story that I referred to a few days ago. Reading it was a nice surprise to an otherwise problematic situation. Check it out.

The Seattle Times

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Worthy Goal

I’ve been thinking a lot about politics lately. I think the American people should come up with a worthy goal affecting our political situation. And I don’t think the goal has to based on an affiliation with a political party. But I do believe that people have to do a much better job of getting the necessary information in order to make more informed choices. I think everyone needs to realize that we can’t elect people based solely on religious or political rhetoric. Certainly people have voted in the recent past and have been completely duped based on words with little backing or meaning. We should demand that the next wave of presidential candidates really explain a plan for domestic and international affairs. Of course, the war, health care, jobs, the economy, education, Social Security and taxes need to be a part of this explanation. But simply running on a Christian, “good ol’ boy” platform cannot be considered adequate for election. Thankfully, with blogs (like this one), technology and the dissemination of information, things are changing, but I’m not convinced times will have changed enough to rid us of the responsibility of getting to the truth.

Super Bowl

Super Bowl Weekend is here. We finally get to see if the Indy offense can move against the Bears' D. We get to see the overpriced ads, eat junk food, sit back and relax on a couch (any couch will do), and maybe even see a football game. The sad thing about Super Bowl Weekend is that after the game, football goes away for a while. Of course the college game is back in Sept., but when your baseball team and the Sonics suck, that's a long ways away. So for many of us, it's a bittersweet event. But afterwards, we look forward to sunny days at Safeco Field and the Pyramid Brewery. Yes, I can see the $7 beers now...