Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thoughts on our Current Situation

I finally have a free evening at home which has been nice to relax and take it easy. With that being said, I thought I'd do another blog post. On this blog I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the current times in which we are living and would welcome any readers thoughts or feedback.

These are definitely very interesting times in which we are living. At the end of Friday February 19 the Dow Jones Industrial average was valued at the same value it was back in October of 2002. It has come a long way down in a matter of 6 months. As I read in an recent article in the Wall Street Journal analysts and experts don't really see a bottom right now. That is quite unsettling. While the Dow Jones Industrial Average is by no means the only indicator of what is going on in our economy I find that it gives one of the best and most easily accessible ways of tracking the overall confidence of Americans. Just as analysts and experts don't see a bottom in the Dow this seems to be the consensus for the overall economy as well. Right now, the prevailing discussion in the news and in politics is the economy and how we are going to fix it. There are all sorts of opinions and ideas out there right now whether it be from the left or the right. I find the discussions to be quite interesting which is why I am putting my opinion in this blog.

For starters, we are one month into the Obama Presidency and I am very thankful for a new President in office. The last eight years were quite incredible to say the least. We saw a President who led us into a war in Iraq that was deceptive, misleading, and cost of thousands of American lives and billions of taxpayer money. Along with the Iraq war we saw the Guantanamo prison that represents everything that America is not supposed to represent and we saw the creation of the Homeland Security Dept. and Patriot Act that severly repressed personal civil liberties. To top it all off we are in the current financial crisis. I will not be so ignorant or biased to lay all the blame for this current financial crisis on the Bush Administration but they can not be totally spared either. During the last few years we have seen very little regulation of Wall Street and we are now painfully seeing the results.

The Obama Administration comes in with a heap of problems that it is facing. Obama is tackling some very heavy issues right now. Of course we just saw the huge stimulus package passed and now there is heavy discussion in regards to the Auto Industry and the Housing crisis. There are many out there saying right now that the current stimulus is very flawed and the plans for housing rescue and auto bailout are flawed. Some will say that this whole mess should work itself out by letting the market do its thing on its own. My question is if we continue that train of thought with deregulation how far and deep can we go without any intervention. I think Obama said it well when he mentioned that all businesses are contracting, layoffs are being made, which in turn causes the consumer to hold back and start spending less. All of this leads to a viscous domino effect to where there is no stimulus coming from any sectors of the economy. To me it makes sense that when you have all of this contraction there has to be some positive jolt coming from somewhere and that would be the Federal Government. Also there has been heavy criticism of the recent plan for housing relief. The current plan would seek to lower interest and alter mortgage payments for current homeowners facing foreclosure. The Obama Administration would work with lenders on helping to share losses on these loans. Their is backlash as to why the taxpayer should be responsible for homeowners in this mess. Shouldn't they reap the consequences. This might be easy to say but when people say this how much do they realize that the more these foreclosures continue to happen and the more housing continues to drop this affects everyone. Failure to help stem this crisis will cause everyone's home and property values to decline. I'm not so sure that people will not want help then when they are telling the Government to not help those currently in crisis now.

I've only touched a little bit on the issues and kind of skimmed the surface on the current financial crisis. As I mentioned before if the experts an analysts are having a hard time figuring out this current situation then I would definitely fall into that category as well but I have tried to share a little bit about how I feel about the current situation. This past fall when Obama ran his campaign I really felt like it was a movement led to bring about change. I like many other young voters latched on to this enthusiasm and hope. It made you want to be a part of something that could make a difference. While I know that Obama and his Administration is not perfect and they are probably making errors and mistakes as we speak I have to give them the benefit of the doubt so far. They are trying to tackle these weighty issues and work for the people who elected him into office. It will definitely be interesting to see things continue to develop. I welcome your thoughts or feedback on this. Have a good upcoming week.

Friday, January 09, 2009

A new blog post!

Well it has been a little while since my last post and I figured it was time to finally update this thing. Quite a bit has happened since June 11 but I won't bother you with all the details, I'll just put up a few highlights of what is going on in my life since my last post.

I already mentioned in an earlier post about going to California early in the year but I was able to go out two more times in 2008 which was pretty awesome. The second time I went out was in July to attend the wedding of Tim and Sunny Arakawa. It was a very short trip but it was worth it to see two really great people get married. My third and final trip was in September where I had meetings out in San Francisco for my job. Before the meetings started I was able to spend a week with my brother Norman and his wife Joelle. The highlight of that time was being able to attend a youth conference called Southwest Youth Conference that my brother was in charge of. I have been to the last two conferences and this one was another powerful blessing. Just a quick plug but you can still listen to sermons from that conference on While on the topic of travels the last trip I will mention is back in June I was able to go out to Arizona with two of my buddies for a few days. We spent the time enjoying the Scottsdale area by playing golf and we also went up to Flagstaff to see some of the sights up there. It's kind of funny because we picked the hottest time of the year to go out there and play golf. One day it got up to 115 degrees! Needless to say we were able to play on courses that were very cheap at that time of year.

Life here in Tennessee is going pretty well. I am always busy at my job. We are entering another hectic time where we have to close the books out for the year and meet all of the tax deadlines and so forth. I am sure all that are reading would love to hear all about the details of this but I will spare you for now. To summarize though, I am still enjoying my job and am very thankful for it. I have been working at the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference for 2 years now. Kind of hard to believe. Just one more point about my job, for those of you who don't know I work as the Assistant Treasurer at the Conference. In this position it is very interesting to see how the economic challenges that are facing our nation is affecting the work of the church. Thus far we are very thankful because we have not seen the giving fall off and we are still seeing a slight increase for which we are thankful. It will be interesting to see how the coming months develop in the economy.

I continue to remain active in my local church in Gallatin, TN. I serve as church treasurer, elder, sabbath school superintendent, and sabbath school teacher. It keeps me very busy but I really enjoy it and am thankful to be there. We have a somewhat small group averaging about 50 in attendance on Sabbath. We are looking forward to 2009 as we are hoping to hold 2 lay led evangelistic campaigns. We look to get some good work in the community and Bible studies going before the meetings as well. I also lead out in prayer meeting on Wednesday nights and we are finishing going through a book entitled "Preparation for the Final Crisis" by Fernando Chaij which is availabe at your local ABC. After we are finished we will begin studying the book of Revelation.

I look forward to the new year and to what will lie ahead. To all who are reading I hope you had a happy New Year and that you will have a good year ahead. I am posting a few pictures from my trips below. Enjoy.
The pictures from top to bottom are as follows:

1. We are posing before playing 36 holes of golf on Sunday.

2. I am about to tee off on one of the holes at the The players championship course in Scottsdale, AZ

3. With my brother Norman at the Southwest Youth Conference at Pine Springs Ranch in Southern California.

4. A group of us who attended the meetings in San Francisco by the beach.

5. An overlook of San Francisco

6. Preaching at my home church in Gallatin, TN

7. Me with my sister April and my brother Norman.