Saturday, June 28, 2008

Obama, Typical Politician - only worse!

Barak Obama is looking more and more like the typical politician in that "Mr. Change You Can Believe In" has broken yet another campaign pledge. Obama's latest is his recent decision to forgo public financing.

It should now be obvious that Obama is not who he claims to be. Uniter - get out of here. Above politics - no way. Barak Obama will say or do whatever is necessary to advance his extremist agenda - even going so far as to throw grandma under the bus!

Obama is actually worse than the typical politician. He is by far the most extreme major party candidate in my lifetime. Obama's uber-liberal voting record should speak for itself. However since the media is in the tank for him, Obama's extremism has yet to become much of a campaign issue.

It is also fair to say - based upon the company he keeps - that Obama is one of the most divisive candidates to ever seek the Oval Office. Obama's close company has included two anti-American racist pastors as well as several known terrorists. It's comical that the left thinks that someone like this is going to unite America. Not gonna happen.

The real Obama: 1) breaks promises 2) is an extremist 3) is divisive. Let's pray that between now and November Americans wake up and see this guy for who he really is.

AT&T HQ Moving to Dallas

AT&T announced yesterday that it's moving corporate headquarters from San Antonio to Dallas. The move has apparently been in the works for a number of months but was kept under close wraps.

There are four AT&T skyscrapers adjacent to one another in downtown Dallas. I'm located in One AT&T Plaza which is the largest of the four. Soon the CEO & many of AT&T's other top executives will be moving into my building. This is rather exciting!

It's been quite a ride throughout my 21 years with AT&T. I'm proud to work for such a legendary company and am thrilled that AT&T is as strong as ever. AT&T faces a bright future and now I'll get to experience it up close!

Press release:

AT&T corporate headquarters to move to Dallas
We're announcing this afternoon the move of AT&T's corporate headquarters to Dallas to gain better access to our customers and operations throughout the world, and to the key technology partners, suppliers, innovation and human resources we'll need as we continue to grow, domestically and internationally.

The move will begin in the coming weeks and is expected to be complete by around year end. It will involve about 700 of our nearly 6,000 San Antonio-based employees. The company's Telecom Operations group will remain in San Antonio.

"We're a growing global company with customers and operations around the world," said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO. "After much study and consideration, we determined the benefits of being headquartered in Dallas are significant for our long-term growth prospects and human resources needs, and our ability to operate more efficiently, better serve customers and expand the business in the future. It's a decision we believe will benefit AT&T employees, customers and shareowners for years to come."

The vast majority of employees will be notified no later than July 3 if their job is moving to Dallas. Soon after that, affected employees will be provided with more information about when their group will move, relocation assistance, job search assistance for spouses, a special relocation website, and other details to help you and your family move.

"I know from experience that moving is never easy, but we're committed to make it as smooth as possible for employees and their families," said Stephenson. Plans are to locate corporate headquarters' employees in our existing One AT&T Plaza (208 S. Akard) in downtown Dallas, though we will continue to evaluate our long-term real estate needs in the Dallas area.

Moving to Dallas puts our corporate headquarters near many of our key technology suppliers and other telecom companies who have major operations in Dallas, such as Alcatel-Lucent, Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Huawei, Nokia, Nortel, RIM and Samsung. The Dallas area is home to one of the country's largest communities of telecom companies, nearly 1,300 strong with 45,000 employees.

Air travel to and from Dallas will be more convenient, time efficient and cost effective. The DFW airport is the 3rd largest in the U.S. and one of the top six in the world, offering daily non-stop service to 35 international and 133 U.S. destinations. Additionally, Dallas enjoys a second major airport; Love Field — the 50th largest U.S. airport (San Antonio ranks 47th) — offers more than 160 non-stop flights daily.

Being headquartered near leading air transportation facilities is critical to global companies like AT&T as the airline industry continues to consolidate and reduce hubs and flights amid higher fuel prices and industry economic pressures. With better access to significantly more commercial flights — both domestically and internationally — the company will be able to sell some of its corporate aircraft, the proceeds of which are expected to more than pay for the move.

AT&T — recently ranked 10th among Fortune 500 companies — is a dramatically different company today than when it relocated corporate headquarters from St. Louis to San Antonio in 1992. At that time, the former Southwestern Bell had 60,000 employees, 11 million customers, $9.3 billion in revenues and operated primarily in five states. Today, AT&T has nearly 310,000 employees worldwide, more than 100 million customers, $119 billion in annual revenues and operates in all 50 U.S. states and 160 countries.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Good Larry Elder column

Larry Elder makes some great points in his column today at:

Money quote: "Compassion is not about making people dependent on government. Compassion is about encouraging personal responsibility, and getting people to understand that life is about making choices."

2nd Amendment Rights Preserved - barely

Yesterday the Supreme Court affirmed by a 5-4 margin that Americans have an individual 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Duh!

This SCOTUS case is a prime example of why elections matter. The four liberals on the court naturally voted to take our 2nd Amendment right away from us. One more liberal on the court would have tipped the vote in their favor. Had either Al Gore or John Kerry been elected president in '00 or '04 respectively, we no doubt would have lost one of the rights guaranteed us in the Bill of Rights.

This is precisely why we must elect John McCain. True, John McCain is not an ideal candidate. However we must be pragmatic and consider the alternative. Does anyone really think that Barak Obama's Supreme Court Justice nominees will be any less extreme than he is? Keep in mind that despite what he is saying now, Obama supported the D.C. gun ban - the most draconian anti-constitutional ban in the country.

This should be a wake up call to America of just how perilous our rights really are. Our fundamental 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms rested in the hands of Anthony Kennedy for goodness sake. If that isn't enough to frighten all moderates and conservatives into rallying around John McCain, then we are in deep trouble.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Texas GOP Convention - Day Three (6/14/08)

CD Caucus meetings reconvened at 8am. Many thanks to District 32 U.S. Rep Pete Sessions & his staff for providing us with coffee and breakfast tacos! The business of today's caucus was electing:

2 Delegates to the Republican National Convention
2 Alternates
1 Presidential Elector
RNC National Committeeman
RNC National Committeewoman

The surprise (a pleasant one) was that in the vote for RNC National Committeewoman, Bora Van Dormolen edged Cathie Adams 66-64. Although Ms. Adams would go on to win the state-wide election later in the day, it is telling that we (her home district) voted against her. It's just too bad that the rest of the state doesn't yet know how divisive Ms. Adams is. Unfortunately Ms. Adams promised that if elected she'd work to shape the National Republican platform after the Texas one. That's a scary thought!

The caucus meetings adjourned at about noon, which gave me just enough time to rush over to the hotel and (barely) meet their strict 12:30pm check out time. Because I was anxious to get home, I skipped the afternoon General Session and hit the road to Big D.

Texas GOP Convention - Day Two (6/13/08)

The first order of business today was Senate District Caucus meetings, scheduled from 9am - 11am. Unfortunately I had some work to do from my hotel room so missed the SD16 Caucus meeting. I showed up at the LCR hotel suite at about 11:30am and ran into my friends Ranil & Craig. We were all hungry so decided to go grab a bite.

On our way out, we noticed that Newt Gingrich had just arrived at the convention center and was walking our way. We decided to stick around for a few minutes to see if we could get closer to him. Newt proceeded to take a seat behind a table that had been set up for him & he began to sign copies of his latest book - see top pic above. It was amazing the crowd that swarmed around him. Newt still has rock star appeal among the party faithful - including me! We took a few pics of Newt but it was hard to get too close because it was an absolute mob scene!

Craig drove us to a Greek restaurant where we enjoyed a nice lunch. We got back to the convention center just in time for the start of the Second General Session at 1pm. The speakers today were fantastic! Newt kicked things off with a great speech focused on how we need to DRILL HERE, DRILL NOW, PAY LESS! An aside: if you haven't already signed his petition please do so right away. Other speakers were:

- Hon. Kay Bailey Hutchison, U.S. Senator
- Hon. John Cornyn, U.S. Senator
- Hon. Mike Huckabee, Former Governor of Arkansas
- Hon. Jerry Patterson, TX Land Commissioner

We then got down to business with the reports of the permanent committees (Credentials, Organization, Nominating, Rules, & Platform). This part of the afternoon seemed to drag on. The platform changes were approved all at once without much drama. I cast a symbolic "Nay" vote since LCR's resolution to remove anti-gay language from the platform wasn't even considered by the state platform committee.

Immediately after the General Session, we proceeded to CD Caucus meetings. Our CD32 meeting of ~ 150 people seemed quite cozy compared to the General Sessions of ~ 10,000. The CD Caucus meetings were the last "official" business of the day. Then it was off to dinner.

The GOP Dinner was supposed to start at 7pm but was delayed to 7:30pm since the General Session ran longer than scheduled. However, this still didn't give us enough time to go back to our rooms to change clothes so we went as is - much more casual than planned. The keynote dinner speaker was the Honorable Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts & former presidential candidate. Mitt gave an inspiring speech & encouraged everyone to support our nominee - John McCain.

After dinner, it was time to party! Rob, David, Ranil, Craig and I stopped into Borah Van Dormolen's party. Borah was one of the two candidates running for Republican National Committee (RNC) National Committeewoman. Most everyone I know was supporting Borah since she is conservative yet appears to be much more inclusive than her opponent.

Ranil, Craig and I then headed down the hall to the Lone Star Salute Party honoring the Republican State Senators - see bottom pic above. This party was a blast! They had an open bar so we consumed a few adult beverages. They also had a live band. It was an honor to meet Lt. Governor David Dewhurst at the party and get my picture taken with him - see middle pic above.

Thus concluded a VERY long day! Day Three to follow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Father's Day 2008

This is the second Father's Day since my dad's death. I think about my dad every single day and know that I always will. As I was thinking about Dad today I wanted to write something about him on my blog but just couldn't find the right words to express what I'm feeling. So instead, I'm posting the eulogy that I gave at Dad's funeral. Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you.

I'd like to share a few things about my father but first please allow me to read a short poem that my father's sister Betty shared with me. The poem was written in 1996 by Dad's cousin Peggy Nash Galbreath and is titled “We'll meet tomorrow”

Although it isn't easy to release our loved ones to eternal peace
We trust their soul to the Father's care and know that eternity one day we'll share.
A good-bye kiss when they depart, memories are left within our heart.
Their spirit released. free as a dove; in perfect bliss, now one with love.
The ending of pain - fear, grief and sorrow, in that better place where we'll meet . . .

My father was a family man and my mother, Pat, was his first and only love. He was a faithful and devoted husband to her. Dad had unconditional love for each of his children and grand-children and wanted nothing more than to see to it that we were happy. He celebrated our successes but even more important he always seemed to know exactly when we needed an encouraging word.

My father never gave up on any of us no matter how many times we erred. He believed in each us – even when we had doubts about ourselves. He wanted each of his children and grandchildren to meet their full potential and was always there to help us through any challenges we faced along the way.

My father was man of deep faith. He was active here at St. Ann's and truly loved being an usher. He was very passionate about his Catholic faith and was never shy about sharing it with others – but always in a non-threatening way. My father considered himself a behind a scenes kind of guy. He was never one who liked to be in the limelight. He just looked around for things that needed to be done and did them without seeking credit.

My father had a BIG BIG heart. He was the most caring and compassionate man I've even known. He did many kinds deeds, often for strangers - and usually always with little or no fanfare.

My parents both grew up going to Saint Ann's. Mother shared with me that her and Dad saw each other for the first time right here in this church. Mother and Dad were married at St Ann's 49 years ago. In fact, they would have been married 50 years this September. Although they moved around a lot throughout the years and attended many different parishes they came back home to Saint Ann's about fifteen years ago.

Many of you here know that my dad was a huge Notre Dame football fan. On Saturday afternoons during football season Dad would start getting himself ready for the game about an hour before kickoff. He had to have his chair positioned just right, his cup filled up and there on the table in front of him, the ringer on the phone turned down so it wouldn't ring during the game, but most important he had to get into the right mental frame of mind. Dad was convinced that we could affect the outcome of the game if we all channeled positive thoughts – which he referred to as cosmic rays. We learned at a young age not to talk about other things or say anything negative about the Irish during the game. My brother Steve and I have always been avid Notre Dame fans. We kid with each other that there was no way you could grow up in our father's household and not be an Irish fan.

Baseball was another of my father's passions. He enjoyed listening to the Royals every evening on his transistor radio. He played baseball throughout his younger years. He also played for the Knights of Columbus fast pitch softball team and was quite a third baseman.

My father had a great sense of humor. He always tried to make people laugh. My sister Lori shared with me that no matter how down she felt Dad always had the ability to cheer her up and make her laugh. My sister Suzy shared with me that the week before he passed away - when he saw her sad - he cracked a joke to cheer her up.

Dad liked to play around and sing in a Tiny Tim voice just to be funny. One day a friend was over at the house and Dad started singing in that awful falsetto voice. I was outside and didn't even realize what Dad was doing. About a week later, my friend asked me if my Dad sang out loud at mass. I said why do you ask? He said “well no offense but while you were outside the other day your Dad started singing and I have to say he has the worst singing voice I ever heard.” I immediately burst out laughing and explained that that wasn't his real singing voice. I still chuckle when I think of how my friend thought that he really sang that bad. Dad got a kick out of it too.

Dad was known for being quite a talker. He could go on for hours about any subject if given a chance. He found it difficult to answer a yes or no question without going into great detail. He was also very outgoing and had the ability to engage total strangers in conversation. He had a number of friends and he valued each of one of them in his own special way.

My father was always thinking of others and their well being. My Uncle Augie would usually drive my father out to the cancer center and sit with him while he received his chemotherapy. Dad noticed that a lot of the patients that would sit alongside him receiving treatment looked unhappy. One day in the car on the way to the treatment center, Dad told Augie “Our mission is to cheer the patients and nurses up.” And they proceeded to do just that.

I can honestly say that my father was my hero. He has always been an inspiration to me - but especially towards the end of his life when he faced tough challenges yet kept up his cheerfulness and positive attitude.

My father was also my best friend and confidant. If I ever had a problem or needed advice I knew that I could talk to him and he would understand. Although sometimes he would tell me something I didn't want to hear, I trusted his judgment and knew that he always had my best interest at heart.

Dad taught me many valuable life lessons and I'd like to mention just a few. One, he demonstrated by example to give of yourself freely without expecting to receive anything in return. Second, he used to always remind me not to take things too seriously – he believed that if you always try to do the right thing, things would have a way of working themselves out. Third, he taught me that the best things in life really are free. Although he didn't have a lot of material possessions, I believe that my father considered himself truly blessed since he was filled with faith and was surrounded by family and friends who loved him.

In closing - Dad - I just want to say thanks for always loving me, believing in me and being the best Dad a son could ever have. I love you very much and am proud to be your son. I'll miss our nightly chats but I know that you will always be with me in spirit. May you rest in peace with God.

My father's grandson, Thomas, would now like to say a few words about his grandfather.

Texas GOP convention - Day One (6/12/08)

As previously mentioned on this blog, I attended the Texas GOP state convention Thurs (6/12/08) - Sat (6/14/08). I drove from Dallas to Houston on Wednesday night & arrived at my hotel just after midnight. Needless to say, by the time I unpacked, I was exhausted & ready for bed!

The first General Session session didn't get under way until noon on Thursday but Log Cabin Republicans had work to do before then. We arrived at the convention center at 9am to distribute invitational fliers to the Big Tent Pizza Party we hosted that evening. We placed fliers on over 7,000 seats out on the convention floor! Our task completed, we sat back and enjoyed the first day of speeches. The speakers list was mainly comprised of our statewide office-holders including:

- Hon. Rick Perry, Governor
- Hon. Susan Combs, Commissioner of Agriculture
- Hon. Michael Williams, Chairman, Railroad Commission
- Hon. Greg Abbott, Attorney General
- Hon. David Dewhurst, Lieutenant Governor
- Hon. Tom Craddick, Speaker of the House

I enjoyed all of the speakers, especially Governor Perry and Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams.

The highlight of the day though was our Log Cabin Republicans (LCR) Big Tent Pizza Party! Over 500 fellow Republicans visited us in our suite Thursday evening. We served our guests pizza & drinks while educating them about LCR. A local pizza joint delivered pizzas for us as fast as they could make them. Still, the line to get into our suite snaked all the way down a very long haul and around the corner. Someone commented that this was likely the most Republicans who have ever attended a gay-hosted party. I don't doubt that it was!

Despite the wait (as much as 45 minutes) to get in, most everyone was grateful for our hospitality. A countless number expressed support for LCR, which was a real boost for the club! It's humbling to know that so many people - straight and gay - stand with us & I never take that support for granted!

Summary of Day Two to follow.