Dexter Rogers

Dexter Rogers

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas: Some thoughts on gifts and giving


I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and everyone received what they desired.

For many this Christmas will be memorable for the horrid weather we experienced in the Midwest. Many were without power and shelter. Some merely wished to be warm with a roof over their heads for Christmas. The ice storm we witnessed showed some what’s really important during this holiday season.

The ice storm was symbolic to me indeed for it showed, like in life, we all have the most precious gift of all and that’s another day of life. It also displayed the power of God is greater than man’s greatest creation.

Perhaps if we slowed down and recognized the many gifts we already have perhaps we don’t need gifts at Christmas to validate us.

As I advance in age and wisdom I’ve come to believe what one can give someone takes precedent over what one receives. As a matter of fact I've grown not to expect gifts nor even care if I receive anything on Christmas. I try and live in a fashion where what I've done all year is reflected by my just being alive and well when Christmas rolls around.

For me Christmas is all about perspective and recognition. Some don't celebrate Christmas while many do. I personally don't view Christmas in the traditional sense like I was trained to when I was a child. I view Christmas as the opportunity to reflect upon the gifts given to me not by humans but from the Creator. I use this time to set the stage for the upcoming year to evaluate my past in hopes of elevating my future while remaining in the moment.

In my opinion the Christmas holiday has been vastly commercialized. The true of meaning of Christmas has been lost over time because many have been lulled into the routine of acknowledging the gifts that mean little when compared to the gifts we have but often fail to acknowledge. Just ask one of the nearly hundred thousand who lacked power during the week.

Some buy gifts to give to others that lack substance while some receive gifts without extending true gratitude. For some we give more credence to the gifts we receive from man than the gifts that come from God. More importantly many fail to acknowledge "the" gift we receive daily that means more than any X-Box, Plasma TV, or money anyone can give us. That's the gift of life.

For those who celebrated Christmas they received the ultimate gift. You got another 24 hour opportunity to live and utilize the gifts you were given at birth. For most you were able to see, feel, touch, smell, and talk about what you received on Christmas from others. That 24 hour opportunity is the ultimate gift that's often taken for granted-that gift allowed us to be present on Christmas.

I don't know about you, but there's no better gift than having another 24 hour opportunity to engage in the world and live.

Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. I'm not here to change anyone or judge. That’s not within my job description or jurisdiction. I'm here to simply lend a different vantage point. I don't profess to have all the answers. I'll never have them all but I’ll share whatever wisdom I do have without restriction.

We've all been given our special talents and gifts from God. Some acknowledge them and share them with the world while others ignore them and live life according the social script that's acceptable to the masses. I thank God for the gifts I have already.

While those gifts given by man are nice the ultimate gift from God himself are the ones I value most. For those of us who recognize the latter I suggest using your gifts given to you by God to make a difference without restriction, not just on Christmas. Don't worry about what others may say-just listen to that voice inside and proceed. As the saying goes, "Don't worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon."

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas holiday to the max. But more importantly I hope people realize the many valuable gifts we had in our possession prior to opening your gifts on Christmas day.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Simpson found guilty; headed to prison

O.J. Simpson will finally go where many thought he should’ve been 14 years ago and that’s prison. Accounts vary, but Simpson was sentenced Dec. 5 to at least nine years which could extend up to 33 year max. No matter the number of years Simpson will have plenty of time to think about his life and the mistakes he’s made in solitude.

The latter is rather sad, but it’s true.

Most people can recollect where they were when the verdict was read in October of 1995 when Simpson was found not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole-Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman hence ending what was hailed as "The Trial of the Century." For a year America was captivated by this case because of all of the intricacies involved. Race, sex, police corruption, celebrity, and affluence were integral factors in the murder trial. It was riveting stuff.

This trial clearly lacked the media attention of the murder trial, and rightfully so. In 1994 two human beings were murdered. This time around a 61 year old man bursting into a Las Vegas Hotel to retrieve memorabilia doesn’t have the same luster as a murder trial. Nevertheless many, like the Fred Goldman, feel Simpson is where he belongs. He stated, "It's kind of a bittersweet moment knowing that that SOB is going to be in jail for a very long time, where he belongs."

Simpson was one of the greatest college and N.F.L. running backs of all time. He was one a Heisman Trophy winner in 1968. Simpson had a great NFL career as well where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1985. His football talents lead to broadcasting and endorsement opportunities such as doing Monday Night Football and being a pitch man for Hertz.

Simpson’s once lovable persona allowed him to have a wonderful life until the summer of 1994. After the murder trial Simpson lost most of his luster in the mainstream-now I feel he’s lost it all.

I personally think the sentence rendered was rather extreme and there was a clear bias against Simpson stemming from his past. I believe the deck was stacked against Simpson for the jump. He faced an all white jury and a no-nonsense judge. I also think he was unofficially was retried for “The Trial of the Century.”

But I must add Simpson brought most of his recent turmoil on himself. If he’s guilty of anything he’s guilty of being rather stupid. Even in his plea to the judge he stated, "I wasn't there to hurt anybody. I just wanted my personal things, and I realize I was stupid."

Last year Simpson wrote a book titled "If I Had Did It" chronicling how he'd commit the murders from 1994 "if" he were to undertake the task. To me the latter oozes with stupidity.

Often the light that shines from the star can often be curse as much as it can be an asset. Stardom often makes some feel they are above the law. Being competitive, affluent, and successful often creates an aura of entitlement which sometimes takes precedent over rational behavior and exercising sound judgment.

Simpson's competitive nature, need for attention, and poor choices has all but destroyed him. He just couldn't find it in himself to play golf, collect his N.F.L. pension, and drift off into the sunset.

Sadly we won't remember Simpson as great college running back who won The Heisman Trophy 40 years ago; we’ll remember him for the poor choices he made off the field.

Simpson won’t be remembered for his Hall of Fame career in the N.F.L.; he’ll be remembered for getting away with a double-murder.

Simpson won’t be remembered for using his celebrity and excelling as a broadcaster and pitchman for Hertz. He’ll be remembered as 61 year old man being sentenced to prison in a Las Vegas courtroom because of his stupidity.

Simpson was a man who had it all but lost it but unfortunately lost it because his poor choices. It’s a sad story indeed, but unfortunately it’s true.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Weis lives; Irish Administration fail to pull trigger on Weis era


Self-anointed guru Charlie Weis managed to dodge the bullet. After being thumped by U.S.C. 38-3 last week many felt Weis had limped along the side lines as Notre Dames head coach for the last time. The Irish brain trust decided Weis is still their guy so they reframed from pulling the trigger on the Charlie Weis era.

Surprisingly Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick suggested The Irish are going in the right direction under Weis. He stated, “I am confident that Charlie has a strong foundation in place for future success and that the best course of action is to move forward under his leadership.”

Typically past success is a strong indicator of future success. Based on the latter what success has the Irish experienced the last two years that warrants Weis to continue coaching?

After playing one of the weakest schedules in the country this year the Irish still failed under Weis. After starting the season quickly at 4-1 they limped in at 2-5. Is this the type of faltering leadership Swarbrick wants leading the Irish?

How can setting a team record for losses last year (9) be viewed as going in the right direction?

Is setting a school record for the most loses in any two-year span (15) in school history the type he deems appropriate for the team?
Does Swarbrick want reward the Irish faithful by having Weis’ players having snow balls hurled at them from the home crowd for losing to a 3-8 Syracuse team they were favored to beat by 191/2 points?

Weis has demonstrated he’s a perennial side-kick, not a leader. He’s talks a big game like he’s Batman but he’s really Robin.

Other than coaching a high school team to a state title in New Jersey in 1989 he’s never been the guy. The reason why Weis ended up in the college ranks is because no one in the N.F.L. wanted him.

Why Weis has gotten a vote of confidence defines conventional logic. Local columnist Pete DiPrimio stated, “Critics will rip Swarbrick for keeping Weis, but it was the right thing to do. Five years is fair to build a program, especially with the kind of recruiting Weis has done.”

The latter statement is very interesting indeed.

If keeping Weis was “the right thing to do” how does one explain the Willingham firing? If five years is “fair to build a program” why wasn’t Willingham allowed to finish his five years?

Though the Irish administration won’t say it publicly I think they know they treated Willingham unfairly. When you compare Willingham’s record after three years (21-15) to Weis’s (22-15) I don’t see how Willingham got canned and how Weis got to continue. Based on the latter Weis should have been shown the door last year.

I don’t think Willingham was totally comfortable at Notre Dame in being the first African American coach in any sport in the schools history. He wasn’t their first choice and I believe, keeping with tradition, they settled on the unproven Weis to keep it status quo. In short, I don’t think Weis was ever the right man for the job, he was the white man for the job.

Hold your horses.

I know Willingham didn’t get it done as the Washington Huskies head coach but at least got a fair shake. Willingham couldn’t revamp the troubled program he inherited from former coach Rick Neuheisel. I know Willingham’s team posted a 0-11 record this season. On Oct. 27 he was notified the end had come and I totally concur. The bottom line is producing wins and 0-11 is not acceptable on any level of coaching.

But the latter is beside the point. The point is Willingham was held to a higher standard when he was coach than Weis is currently being held to.

Days after Media Day in South Bend prior to the start of the season I stated, “I don't think Weis was the right man for the Irish job. Also, I don't think he's doing a better job than the person he replaced. Without question, Weis should be on the hot seat. If he doesn't produce big this year, his head should roll like Willingham's did.”

Today I’m suggesting the Irish administration should’ve walked their self anointed guru to the gallows. The Irish administration had no problem pulling the trigger on Willingham; they shouldn’t be so gun shy in pulling the trigger on Weis.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Obama: Selecting Clinton as Secretary of State was a mistake


On Monday Barack Obama made the speculation official by naming Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. Despite their bitter primary battle Obama believes Clinton will be a good fit for what he’s trying to accomplish with respect to getting the country back on track.

To me Obama is throwing his rock but hiding his hand. He’s merely assembled a cabinet filled with allies who served under Bill Clinton and his wife. It appears he’s acquiescing to his foes rather than administering to the voters who got him in the White House.

Is selecting Bill Clinton’s guys and his wife as Secretary of State the change Obama professed during his campaign?

Obama will be sworn in come Jan. 20 in Washington D.C. but based on Obama’s cabinet selections it has remnants of a third Bill Clinton term. To some this comes off as a surprise but not to me. Remember a few days before Clinton was to concede the primary race to Obama the two met secretly at undisclosed location?

Remember?

During that meeting I think a deal was struck between the two candidates. Since Clinton couldn’t win the nomination she negotiated a way for her and her hubby have access to the White House.

No, I wasn’t at the meeting but viewing how things have transpired I think the following occurred. Clinton would begrudgingly agree to step aside so long as Obama would take care of her when the time came. Obama agreed to select some of Bill’s old guard and give her a job. She’d then campaign for Obama, make sure Bill kept his mouth shut, and endorse him with a smile.

In exchange Obama would get access to the information and connections the Clinton’s amassed during their White House years and beyond.

I think Obama’s and Clinton’s most recent meeting in Chicago was merely to finalize details of what they already discussed.

What do you think?

After Colin Powell endorsed Obama I thought he’d at least extend a roster slot to him. Instead of opting for the seasoned veteran like Powell Obama went for unproven rookie Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State. Let’s examine the facts.

Powell is a military man through and through. From 1989 to 1993 he was the youngest (age 52) and first African American to serve as Joints Chief of Staff. It’s the highest military position in the Department of Defense. Powell was the first African American to serve as Secretary of State from 2001-2005. Seems like to me he’d be capable of doing a job he’s already done.

When Hillary Clinton was in the White House she was a first lady who became Senator Clinton of New York. I don’t think she has the experience to be Secretary of State. But then again, it’s not about experience. It’s about who you know and what they can do for you.

When I think of Hillary Clinton I think of the bold-face lie she told about avoiding sniper fire on a trip to Bosnia in 1996. During her campaign she stated, "I remember landing under sniper fire," she recounted in a speech. "There was supposed to be some kind of a greeting ceremony at the airport, but instead we just ran with our heads down to get into the vehicles to get to our base."

After a video surfaced confirming Clinton lied she stated she “misspoke” about her travels to Bosnia.

It’s no secret Hillary and Bill fought dirty in trying to wrestle the Democratic nomination away from Obama. Bill attempted to diminish his accomplishments and sway voters by stating Obama was living a “fairytale.” Hillary invoked the assassination of Bobby Kennedy in 1968 that ignited a universal discussion about the possibility of Obama being bumped off.

Just like in sports you are only as good as the weakest link. You need a team built with people you can trust. Can the Clinton’s be trusted?

Why would Obama want to associate with people who did so much to try and thwart his journey?

Though Obama is on the front-line to me it’s looking like another Clinton Administration starring Obama as the poster-boy. Its’ looks like a re-run of what it once was with strings attached. This puts Obama is in a no win situation. If he does well it’s because of Clinton’s people but if his term goes south then it will fall on Obama’s shoulders.

I think Obama should have gotten all of his own people rather than regurgitating the past. Again, is this the type of change Obama professed during his campaign?