31 May 2009

TRUE Detroit Classics

Here's a nice collection from when the auto companies made cars people wanted and the unions worked in a collaborative spirit to assemble some of the finest quality cars ever made... Needless to say, we won't be seeing this type of craftsmanship coming from Detro... I mean...Washington...(hat tip: Mom)

An Unhealthy Infatuation with Obama

Investors Business Daily has a great editorial by Robert Samuelson that provides a true assessment of where the press is with their disciple...

I think this is the key line from the article:

"a great edifice of government may arise on the narrow foundation of Obama's personal popularity"

Never mind the numerous "Czars" he's appointed without Congressional approval or his abrogation of contract law with the automaker bankruptcies, what we need is a feel-good story about his grandfather.

In this case, the press fiddles...

(hat tip: Doug Ross)

30 May 2009

The Future of GM - Government Motors

Roughly $20 Billion and over half a year later, the government appears ready and willing to let GM sink into bankruptcy. This is bad for the taxpayer because, well, we lose ALL of the money the government so wisely invested on our behalf in exchange for what? Ownership in a bankrupt entity. Just like the government’s unwillingness to accept repayment of TARP money (because they like the power they now have), GM will never be a privately owned entity again.

But we will have to share this "public" ownership with the UAW – the union that helped transform this once proud icon of America into the suckling pig that it is today now run by bureaucrats who have intruded entirely too far into private enterprise. Meanwhile, like the Chrysler deal, the investors are last to the table once again succumbing to the government’s extortive “take it or leave it” offer of pittance on the dollar. Is this a great country or what?

But the bankruptcy plan (which we ALL knew was coming) is doomed to fail from the get-go for a myriad of reasons. Here’s my prediction… whatever entity(ies) come out of this disaster-in-the-making, they will all fail. Old GM. New GM. Doesn’t matter. GM will ultimately fail. Here’s why…

Let me give you a snapshot into the thinking of 55 million Americans who did not vote for the current CEO of GM. A lifelong friend of mine sent me an email today (hat tip: Nathan G.) sharing the following:

“I am a Capitalist and I believe you are on the same page with me. I am for every sized business to be successful and to grow within its possibilities. I hate to see a business fail, but it is natural for these things to happen. Supply and demand will always dictate one's profit. Customer service is what I believe sets one profitable company light years ahead of its competition. I digress...

As we have watched our economy seemingly swirl into the downward spiral we hear more and more about these companies taking bailouts...which I think is the most un-American thing in the world. Bankruptcy was created for failed business to pay off their creditors, but now we have a whole new level in effect. This is Fascism!

Here is where I stand. I am never going to do business with any company that has taken a handout from the government ever again. Yes, you read that correctly. The only sector where I might not be able to inject this philosophy is the banking world. I have sold my Tahoe, took the equity and put it in the bank. I would have never bought a Chrysler in the first place, but I am never buying a GM product ever again. As a matter of fact, Melissa and I sold both our cars and we have a new one and just one. Life is so much simpler. Oh, what did I buy? We got Melissa a brand new ML 350 which is, yes, a Mercedes, but it is built in Alabama by Americans. So, if the money may eventually wind up in a foreign country, the person who built it is right here and there is my oddball justification.

I want to see where this could lead, but I am sickened to think that if I bought a GM product in the future I am filling the pockets of UAW people who are nothing more than crooks in the first place and are part of the reason why the car companies have failed. Hmmm, Michigan....what a nice state you have there....how is the employment?”

My guess is that there are thousands if not millions of potential vehicle purchasers in the market at any given time. As the Obama administration takes the reins at GM, people will take their business elsewhere. People like Nathan will look for alternatives and they will find them. Toyota. Nissan. Hyundai. Mercedes-Benz. BMW. Others. There are many manufacturers to choose from who can meet each and every need any car buyer could want. Heck, the “new GM” may even save Ford and may even make them profitable!

So, as the “new GM” starts putting out small cars with small engines to placate the green movement, people will go elsewhere. As long as gas is under $4 a gallon, you can bet that Americans will continue their love affair with powerful, large cars. If the last price hike didn’t stop it, nothing short of $5 a gallon will – if then. (Couple that with the Obama tax increases and it may kill the economy anyway…).

Having the government as the primary owner of GM will not set well with a vast majority of Americans. They will express this displeasure both at the ballot box (eventually) and on the showroom floor. Regardless of which brands remain of GM at the end of the day, people are not going to want to deal with another bureaucracy for something so vitally important to them.

Soon enough, the new GM will be the old GM and the old GM will be ancient history. But the problem will be the same… an incompetent, inept management group that continues to anchor themselves to union labor and trying to rely on the political & ideological in order to run a major corporation. The government has never run anything efficiently. Education. Ruined. Social Security. Bankrupt. Now automakers, banks, and coming soon, healthcare

A Democrat-controlled government will always want to tell you what you can and can’t do because you are only smart enough to pull the lever for them in November. Other than that, you are a moron who needs to be saved from yourself. But feel free to have a couple of kids to fill the pipeline.

Hopefully by November of 2010 America will realize that the “Check Engine” light is on and trade their “new GM” in on a more reliable model.

27 May 2009

Quick Hits

More Identity Politics from the party who claims to be blind to such issues:
Question: Can someone please explain to me how Sonia Sotomayor’s nomination is any more historic than the first Hispanic Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the first African-American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, and the first African-American Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas?
Answer: She’s a liberal not appointed by Bush.

Side note:
Does Obama know that the fireworks coming out of North Korea aren't celebrations of the "historic" nomination? Obama fiddles...

US to paint everything white to go green:
Our ubergreen Secretary of Energy Steven Chu wants to paint everything white or shades of ecru and mother of pearl to reduce global warming. Something tells me this would have unintended consequences…

CA Court upholds gay marriage ban:
Proponents will use the courts until they find a friendly enough venue to win. It’s the mantra of the left. They think public sentiment is on their side. I predict their continuing to fight this will generate more anger against them than support for them...across the country, not just CA.

Assassination Chic:
Why is it that this was perfectly acceptable (even in Canada) against Bush but not Obama?

25 May 2009

How Memorial Day 2009 Will Be Remembered

First of all, I want to give a shout out to my cousin Nathan currently serving in the US Air Force stationed in Turkey; his father (my uncle), TJ, who served in various roles in the Air Force until retirement in the Air Force, my good friend Scott MacPherson who served in Gulf War I in the Airborne Division, and Bill Stein, who served in the Marines prior to his foray into higher education. Your service, in addition to all who serve, is valued by many and appreciated by all.

However, this Memorial Day is not just a reflection of those who have fallen in duty to their country. Memorial Day 2009 is a look forward at those who have yet to give the ultimate sacrifice for this country. While I know that may sound particularly macabre, it is an inevitable fact that must be acknowledged. More US service personnel will perish in the line of duty protecting and advancing basic human freedoms around the world. It seems to me that more can be done to prevent the unnecessary loss of service personnel lives, not to mention those of innocent citizens.

What brings me to this is the news today of North Korea’s nuclear and missile launch tests. As I noted on May 20th, this president and his administration have been crisis tested just as VP Joe Biden warned during the election campaign. Each time Barack Obama has failed. And in doing so, he has exponentially emboldened rogue states and regimes to continue their illicit activities concerning nuclear and weapons development. Since Barack Obama took office, there have now been two missile tests from North Korea - with a third now expected, a nuclear test, a missile test from Iran, and a direct challenge from Iran’s president to debate ours at the UN annual meetings upcoming. And what has been the administration’s response? A sternly worded condemnation. And what has been the international community’s response? A sternly worded condemnation. How long will it be before these people recognize that the actions of North Korea and Iran speak louder than their false words of diplomacy?

During the campaign season, Obama stated unequivocally that he would meet with such regimes without preconditions. He tried to backtrack on those sentiments and suggested that there would be steps in place (lower level dialogue) to ensure that talks would be productive. Well, as Pastor Jeremiah Wright would say, Obama’s “chickens have come home to roost”. But these are nuclear chickens. In order to get elected, Obama tried to be so different, as former Looney Tunes characters used to say, “It’s so crazy, it just might work.” Well, less than 6 months in, we have our results of Obama’s foreign policy to continue to contain the possible threats of nuclear terrorism. Fail.

Both North Korea and Iran have directly challenged Obama and both have called his bluff. Today another finger-wagging, but again, no bite. Obama talked about pulling back on talks while Secretary of State Clinton just recently referred to six-party talks. Intelligence officials and those in the Department of Defense sent mixed messages about whether they were or weren’t surprised at this test. Now, through these repeated actions, they are raising their hand in class and Obama still isn’t calling on them. You can expect this to continue because the message the administration is sending now is that they have no idea how to deal with this. In fact, the setup Obama provided from the campaign until now has simply made it worse. Both countries know that their allies (China & Russia) will not do anything punitive, and now they know 120 days in that this administration won’t either.

President Clinton played this game and lost. No changes. President Bush played this game and lost. No changes. For the better part of fifteen years, no administration has had the courage to take on either band of terrorists who are as unpredictable in their motives as they are in their actions. John Bolton has been screaming this from the rooftops ever since he was appointed during recess by President Bush as Ambassador to the UN. Hasn’t anyone been listening? Oh, I’m sorry, I mean to anyone other than recent liberal media darling Colin Powell? Meanwhile the press wonders what enchants Mr. Obama most about the presidency…

The reason this makes Memorial Day 2009 so important is because it should mark a turning point in how we deal with these situations. Unfortunately, Obama has not given us the confidence that he can handle it effectively. He’s perplexed at why his approval ratings aren’t higher with them because of his hope and change message. This is not a political, bipartisan, or ideological issue. This is an American issue. Maybe we need to view these deliberate actions as the aggressive threats they really are and respond equally with military force. Rest assured that would send a message much stronger than a lecture you give an unruly teenager.

It’s time we changed tactics. Continued inaction reflects a true lack of will. How do we know this isn’t North Korea or Iran’s sales pitch to terrorists to see who can get successfully-tested nuclear weapons into Tel Aviv, New York or Washington? Can we afford to wait and find out? No. Can we continue to let UN Security Council resolutions go unenforced? No. How long before WE finally decide that OUR ACTIONS will speak louder than our words?

We keep daring these countries to cross a line in the sand. And guess what? They’ve done it time and time again. And what do we do? Just draw another line in the sand. Folks, we’re now standing knee deep in the ocean, and each line gets washed away as soon as we draw it.

Memorial Days to come will have us reflecting on these clear and present threats to international security and honoring those who gave their lives in the line of service defending against it. But the real question is, if we have seen this pattern emerge over three administrations, why is it that we don’t do more to prevent the ultimate burden from being placed on future generations of our armed forces?

It’s 3 AM, Mr. President. How will you answer the phone?

24 May 2009

Just How Fair-minded Are You?

This was sent to me today via email (hat tips: Brad & Nathan). I thought it was rather interesting...

If George W. Bush had made a joke at the expense of the Special Olympics, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had given the Queen of England an iPod containing videos of his speeches, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had bowed to the King of Saudi Arabia, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had visited Austria and made reference to the non-existent "Austrian language," would you have brushed it off as a minor slip?

If George W. Bush had tried to fill his cabinet and circle of advisers with people who cheat on their income taxes, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had ordered the firing of the CEO of a major corporation, even though he had no constitutional authority to do so, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had a Republican Congress allocate billions of dollars for a civilian volunteer security force, as “strong and well equipped” as our military forces, and under his personal authority, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had proposed doubling the national debt, which had taken more than two centuries to accumulate, in one year, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had then proposed doubling the debt again within 10 years, would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had promised detailed tracking of the spending from a $787 Billion Stimulus Bill and then postponed that oversight until 2010, would you approve or would you think otherwise?

If Bush had promised 48-hour advance posting of the same bill on the internet and only released it two hours before congressional approval, would you wonder what was being hidden from the public?

If Bush's White House staff had spent over $300,000 flying Air Force One low over New York City (for a publicity photo with the Statue of Liberty) sending the city into panic, would you have expected Bush to make all the pictures public? Would you have approved?

If George W. Bush had been addicted to using a Teleprompter, and was practically never gave a speech without having one, would you have questioned his intelligence?

If George W. Bush had pre-approved/pre-picked the list of reporters allowed to ask questions at his press conferences and refused to call on the correspondent from a major news network he personally detest, would you have approved? Is that a fair and representative news conference?

If George W. Bush and a Republican Congress had given hundreds of millions of dollars to a group (the right-wing equivalent of ACORN) after its members had been indicted & convicted of voter registration fraud, would you approve of them to doing the 2010 Census, which will determine congressional districts for 10 years? Can you trust ACORN’s involvement for 2010?

Would you have approved of George W. Bush moving the Census from the Dept. of Commerce into the White House and putting his Chief of Staff in control of the counting?

Obama’s administration has done all this in 14 weeks. Do you approve?

22 May 2009

More Politics of Hurry

They did not know what was in the stimulus legislation.

They did not know what was in the TARP bailout legislation.

And now, Chairman Henry Waxman freely admits he does not know what is in his beloved Cap & Trade legislation. (hat tip: Michelle Malkin)

Do you ever get tired of these mental midgets creating laws that affect the 300+ million people in the US, when they themselves are blind to what they are actually voting on?!

Healthcare is on deck, people... expect more of the same with even greater consequences.

The Democrats Want the UN to Raise Your Kids

Pay close attention to this... and then write your representatives...

If you need your Representatives & Senators contact information click here for the SENATE and here for the HOUSE.

21 May 2009

Modern Day Indulgences - The Cap & Trade Scam

Have you ever heard of "indulgences"? I'm not talking about sitting down with a box of Lofthouse cookies or going elbow deep into a hand-packed pint from Baskin-Robbins... I'm talking about the difference between asking for permission and begging for forgiveness. In essence, an indulgence merges the two concepts so that you can be totally absolved of responsibility, well, beforehand, kind of... Let me explain…

While that is pretty much the layman’s understanding (for those laymen who have heard of the idea), the church doesn't specifically see it that way. Work with me here, we're building to a salient point. While the church has (had, they technically outlawed the practice long ago) specific guidelines regarding indulgences, throughout history, when indulgences have been sold by the church (for whatever reason), people viewed them predominantly as paying cash to the church to absolve one's sins - beforehand. Now the church gets very semantic with this and says that because forgiveness is presupposed for a believer, the indulgence is really a way for a person to avoid the personal punishment required for sins committed. Or as I understand it, permission to sin.

Okay… so that’s a brief overview. If you want to know more, check Catholic.com for a “primer” on the topic as well as learning about the “myths” of indulgences. I've tried to be as representative as possible based on my non-Catholic understanding of the topic. The NY Times, not an often quoted source, does a fair job of discussing their resurgence in today’s society though…

Okay, with the “indulgences” concept in mind… switch gears and think about the latest buzzwords Cap & Trade. This is the Obama administration’s wild-eyed plan to … you guessed it… sell modern day indulgences. But they'll be selling to businesses whose operations emit CO2. See how that all comes together?

Basically, here’s how Cap & Trade works: The government will set an arbitrary “cap” on the overall amount of CO2 emissions that can enter the atmosphere from all American companies in a given year (if it sounds ridiculous now, you can stop reading and begin opposing the policy, otherwise, it gets better). Then, the government will sell these licenses, i.e., indulgences, through a FREE-MARKET system (more government intrusion into private business) to all these businesses whose mission it is to pollute our skies. Some businesses will use their allotments wisely and they'll be fine. Others will be under their allotment and most will probably go over. That’s where the “trade” comes in. Companies who are under, can sell their licenses to those who go over so that it all balances out.

The Pew Center goes into a bit more detail, but you get the idea… Think carbon offsets for big business and the government. (Side note: what an incredibly stupid idea carbon offsets are. See for yourself. You may as well keep your money and burn it for heat! At least its tangible!).

Here’s the problem. The Cap & Trade program does NOTHING to curtail emissions. Bigger “polluters” will still go over, but they will BUY the permission to do so. And then, if they go over further, well, it will likely only be a fine to the government. The indulgences will be bid up in times when the deadline for compliance is near and as those license bidding costs go up for those who pollute more, guess what? So will your energy bills. Using many of the government's own data, the Heritage Foundation has excellent resources on the impact this legislation will have on businesses and consumers.

It’s sort of like the luxury tax in baseball. If you go over the salary cap, you pay a tax. But in baseball that tax is passed on to fans who buy tickets, concessions, merchandise, etc. In energy markets, those costs will be passed on to consumers who buy gas, turn on lights, use air conditioning, i.e., you. Corporations do not pay taxes. Consumers do. It’s all built in to the prices of goods and services. They pass it on 100% - if not more. And you can bet that companies will overestimate their costs to play in cap & trade and make money while you sit in a 90 house in the summer, a 60 house in winter, and your car sits in the driveway – all the while paying for their in CO2 pollution indulgences.

Here’s another thing… the biggest polluters on the planet, China and India… well, they don’t bother with such trivial things. They will still pollute freely at amazingly exponential levels compared to what American business does today. We also do not know how government operated installations will fare in this madness. Will they too be forced to buy indulgences? Or will they be exempt?

So, to recap… The government picks a number between 1 and a gazillion and then sells licenses to pollute that amount. These are then bid on and traded between polluters. As a consumer of energy, you are abused like a casino ATM spitting out winnings to a drunk. For reference, the Democrats estimate it to be about a $300 per year increase while the Republicans estimate it closer to $3500 per year. Clearly they have all this climate change down to a science and the numbers prove it, right Mr. Gore?

Of course, those who think this is such an outstanding policy are those with a vested interest in the whole scam. Never mind the fact that there is no conclusive science that the same CO2 that comes out of your mouth when you exhale damages the “environment” – ambiguously defined as the atmosphere around anyone interested in global warming…

I urge you to oppose the Waxman-Markey Climate Change bill with every fiber of your being. Even with some smart Democrat resistance, this will be pushed through Congress this year. Count on it. It will also likely be signed as fast as possible with little debate or scrutiny of what the actual legislation entails (remember the 5-day online review promise for final legislation? Obama doesn’t either…).

Once again, the “politics of hurry” will win out and taxpayers will be left out in the cold… literally.

20 May 2009

The Middle East Gives the Middle Finger to Obama

Joe Biden was wrong when he said that Obama would be tested during his first six months in office with a foreign policy challenge. As Politico's Richard Benedetto points out, he should have said that Obama would be tested, then re-tested, and then given follow-up tests on a regular basis... all of which he will most likely fail.

To recap...

Iran's president has openly stated his desire to wipe Israel from the face of the map.

Iran claims it's nuclear program is for energy and it's missile program is for defensive purposes.

Like North Korea, Iran also test fired a missile - theirs capable of carrying a "peaceful nuclear" payload a distance equal to that of... Israel.

Test failed, Mr. Biden.

The last one is the most important given Obama's visit this week with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. With the missile test launch, Iran is basically telling them both, "You two sit around and keep talking. We'll be with you shortly." Meanwhile, North Korea is emboldened by not just this, but also by Obama's clear lack of any "consequences" he so sternly finger-wagged while on his European road trip. As former Ambassador John Bolton notes in today's Wall Street journal, they're about to do it again.

Test failed again, Mr. Biden.

So, again, the "leaders" of the world simply sit and watch and talk while Iran's nuclear program goes chugging along. As you said yourself..."Just words?", Mr. President? I wonder what harsh words the Obama administration press release will use to describe the mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv.

Looks like we're short a #2 pencil...

Just When You Thought...

Again, as discussed this time not less than 12 hours ago, Michelle Malkin and Reuters confirm more of what I posted here last night regarding the government's newfound love for running private enterprise.

Now, should I go ahead and predict that: (1) this won't be the last company this happens to, and (2) one of the banks will be next to do something very similar? I have to wonder how many people actually know this is happening. This shoudl be front page news, but the US media is also looking for a bailout so there will be no truthful coverage of the Obama administration's continued foray into running all aspects of the country...

19 May 2009

2009 = 1984

Go ahead, call me paranoid. Me and all the other whack jobs who seem to think that this administration is slowly, but obviously, changing the fundamentals of the American way of life. Okay, feel better? Now let’s have an honest assessment of where things stand:

AUTOMOBILES: So GM/Chrysler CEO Barack Obama has now unilaterally (that’s right, this is not up for congressional approval) forced what are considered by many rational people to be unrealistic expectations for fuel efficiency and emissions controls on ALL cars by 2016. In the process, the Auto Designer-in-Chief openly admits that the cost of a new car will go up by around $1300. But goes on to presume that the savings in fuel will pay off in about three years – once the car is in your driveway.

So, let’s analyze… First of all, current hybrids have a huge negative environmental impact on the environment based on the manufacture of the battery alone! In addition to the amount of that pesky pollutant CO2 emitted into the air by all the modes of transportation to shuttle the various parts around the world for manufacture and assembly, oh, and also the mining impact itself, they haven’t even begun to address how to dispose of or recycle these batteries yet! For a group of people so environmentally conscious, they aren’t thinking about these toxic batteries impact on the environment in 2014. Much like the other “politics of hurry”, they have no plan.

Second, Hybrids are significantly more expensive than their regular combustion-based counterparts. In some cases, the unit is almost 50% more (Hybrid Tahoe = $14,00 more), or for that matter, Escalade Hybrid = $12,000 more). Why? Because the technology and the demand aren’t there. In a free market system, demand would speed up the development of the technology. But that only happens when gas prices are over $3.50 a gallon – artificially I might add. This doesn’t make sense when gas is under $3/gallon. In fact, automakers have openly admitted that they need for gas prices to remain relatively high for them to be able to manufacture and sell these eco-friendly cars at a profit. But hey, with government bailout on speed dial, why worry about that?! (see ENERGY below)

So, we now are going to be flooded with a choice of small cars, hybrid cars, and other eco-friendly designs that they think will be fine for shuttling people around – never mind the fact that ALL goods and services will be impacted by the higher costs of transportation by smaller vehicles making more frequent trips. In addition, those of you who are being encouraged by the very same government to go out and buy a new car to save the auto industry, well, how will your investment play out over the next few years in terms of operating costs? Something to think about when you get ZERO value trying to trade it in on a zippy government-approved hybrid. And another point, why haven’t car companies brought European technology that is available for diesel and other cars that get 40-60 mpg to America? Unions? Consumer demand? I don’t think it’s the latter because the MINI is wildly popular here.

Costs and environmental aspects aside, the government does not have a plan for how the car companies will get there. Jim Lentz, President of Toyota Motor Sales stated on Great van Susteren’s show (5/19/09) that the technology is proving difficult to reduce costs and increase efficiency – especially in hybrid batteries. And to think that with government interference, that development will go even slower. History proves this point time and again.

So, what we have is the government meddling in another free-market system expecting idealistic results. If anyone truly believes that this will be good for Americans pocketbooks long-term, think again. But there’s yet another neglected impact…

ENERGY SOURCES: The administration is not making any projections as to what the cost of a gallon of fuel will be in 2016 or any time more than 6 months out for that matter. So, they cannot say with any degree of certainty that these cars will pay back with savings at the pump. What they can say with certainty is that they are not remotely interested in producing any more energy domestically because they are beholden to special interest environmental groups. Much like the Clinton and Bush administrations before them, they do not and likely will not have a comprehensive energy policy outside of silly regulations like were announced today. No opening up of domestic sources for exploration and development. That lifting of the ban you recall from last October? Election posturing. Wait for it... Forced conservation is not an energy policy, its parenting. And we don’t need parenting from the government (although 53% voted for it!)…

You might want to ask yourselves if the intention is to drive the government’s hand into energy markets to manipulate oil prices and gas futures for this very reason. There are no indications that this is expected, but given their unwillingness to relinquish the TARP hold on financial institutions tells me that they like the power that type of control brings. While we’re on the subject…

TARP PAYBACKS: So the government forced banks and FI’s to take TARP money because it was an “Emergency” and they went so far as to guarantee that the money would be paid back to taxpayers, most likely at a profit or with interest. Well, the banks are clamoring to pay the money back to get the government back out of the establishment. And well, well… what do you know? Now the government says you can’t pay it back. We’re still involved and we like it.

Does this pass the smell test with any reasonable person? Of course not. Couple the newfound control of the banks with the ability to dictate (along with unions) what car companies can manufacture, and you’ve got yourself a government with new toys to play with. New ways to tell you how you can live and where your money will go.

But I digress… it’s been one of “those” days. Let me give you an example of why all of this prudent observation ultimately may not matter… Here in Louisiana, the House unwittingly passed legislation that overrode Governor Jindal’s rejection of $98 billion in federal stimulus money. He did not want the funds because of the burdens it will place on taxpayers for ongoing programs when the funds run out. So, the Democrats, playing dirty politics, added an amendment that no one bothered to read or understand, and whoops… once it was approved and passed, they read it and found out. Thus, they created a monstrous headache for the governor and another black eye, not just for the uninformed, incompetent pols in Louisiana, but once again illustrating that this sort of thing is rampant at all levels of government – federal, state, and local. Most politicians don’t have the IQ to read a bill in its entirety much less comprehend all of the intricacies of the laws they are all too happy to blindly vote for – WITHOUT READING. Heck, if they can do it with a $787 BILLION package in DC, well, it must be okay everywhere else, right?

The problem is that politics and intelligence don’t often mix. People who are smart figure out ways to make laws work to their advantage to make more money in private business than in the political realm. And in response, the politicians who aren’t bright enough to do that, keep making laws to take more of what private business seems to make. It’s an endless cycle. But one day, smart people are going to have to suck it up and play dirty with the career politicians because they aren’t going to stop running for office. They need to be replaced from top to bottom. They’ll never get critical mass for term limits, but that’s what is needed.

Short of that, smart people are going to have to take some time off and get involved. I call their current unwillingness to do so “jury duty syndrome”. That’s when otherwise perceptive, smart people do whatever is necessary to get out of jury duty because they see it as a waste of their time and a poor way to earn money. And look at our criminal justice system. It’s being run by appointed judges who answer to no one with juries of our peers consisting of people who watch Oprah and Rachel Ray all day. And people wonder what is wrong when we hear jurors being interviewed saying things like, “Well, the evidence didn’t matter…”

There’s an old saying that a lot of people need to think about again. It says, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I rather like it… I just need a lot of other people to like it too.

15 May 2009

Hello Mrs. Pelosi? I Have the Truth on Line One.

Nancy Pelosi's hole deepens as she states that the CIA has lied and misled Congress. Bold. I don't even think her teammates can support her on this one. She's going to have to bat cleanup on her own. You want a truth commission, Madame Speaker? Let's do it. You're on deck.

Good Research Falls Victim to Poor Journalism (again)

A recent article by John Cloud of TIME Magazine is a prime example of another uninformed writer looking to make a splash with some selective journalism. As a future professional in the field related to the article, I had to take exception. Here goes…

Mr. Cloud seems to be making the argument that kids PE, well, it really doesn’t matter. In his article, he presumes that at the end of the day, kids will get all the “movement” they need to live a healthy lifestyle replete with low blood pressure, healthy weights, and positive body image. Oh, and that PE really doesn’t matter to our nation’s young people.

So, on what information does Mr. Cloud base his lofty assertions? Well, he apparently got some information from the European Congress of Obesity during a meeting last week in Amsterdam. In his article, he cites a study of “206 children ages 7 to 11 from three schools in and around Plymouth, on the southern coast of England.” Of the three schools, one is a private school for wealthy families, the others are a village school and an urban school. He used this study to compare the amount of actual daily physical movement (note I did not say physical activity) of the kids in each school. The study used accelerometers (a common device similar to a pedometer, but measures more than steps), which he scientifically referred to by their brand name, ActiGraphs, to measure daily physical activity for the kids. So, using the limited information in this study, Mr. Cloud makes the following statement:

The findings are remarkable: No matter how much P.E. they got during school hours, by the end of the day, the kids from the three schools had moved around about the same amount, at about the same intensity. The kids at the fancy private school underwent significantly more physical activity before 3 p.m. than the kids at the other two schools, but overall, when you look at entire days, they got no more activity.

Remarkable indeed. Remarkable in the fact that there is no distinction as to exactly WHAT type of movement the kids engaged in during or after school. Remarkable that in no way do 206 kids in coastal England represent millions of kids enrolled in PE across the US. Remarkable that in discussing intensity, well let's just say that it doesn’t lend itself to being drawn out over the course of a day. Aside from all that, remarkable that kids at these ages are sometimes predisposed to manipulating the devices when unsupervised. While I’m not saying that’s what happened, it is a possibility Mr. Cloud did not mention. Perhaps the authors did.

So, why do I bring this all up? Two reasons…

First, let me clearly state that in no way am I disparaging the research conducted. Without reading it firsthand (unlike, or possibly just like Mr. Cloud), it looks legitimate on the surface and I’m certain that the researchers were professional in their study and were well-intentioned in the objective. It is not an uncommon type of study and there have been many studies similar in nature. I do think that the age groups are not particularly representative to studying the true effects of physical activity on long term health. Kids in the age ranges are still growing and adapting to their bodies. True effects on health are not often known until later ages.

However, Mr. Cloud seems to think that this study of 206 kids on the southern tip of England is somehow representative of kids in the US who participate in PE. This would be like me stating that 200 kids from the coast of Kennebunkport, Maine who ran fast in a relay race means that all kids in England who participate in relay races also run very fast. And the ActiGraphs prove it!

Culture plays a big role in physical activity, especially in how/what kids are taught during the day, and moreso in what activities they engage in outside of school. In addition, finding a cohort of kids to study consistently in the US is challenging enough, which is why multiple studies are done to verify the phenomenon holds true across geographical regions as well as cultures within the US. Mr. Cloud's editors must have heard this point, and suggested he venture for more data…

Lo and behold, there’s more! Mr. Cloud goes on to bolster his assertions with what he describes as a “set-point” study, that much like climate change, clearly settles the “PE“ argument once and for all. He cites a SECOND study - this time of 47 kids near Exeter (England) - to support the first study! Now, this is better journalism per se', but the problem is the same. He has cherry-picked TWO articles that support his notions that PE is unnecessary. The press would never do something like that, would they?

So, I guess my doctoral studies are now obsolete, and my department and many like them at universities across the nation can be folded so money can be given to other departments like, um, I don’t know… JOURNALISM?!

The second reason is that Mr. Cloud is trained to regurgitate interesting, perhaps even useful information, but has no inclination as to how to consume professional research. If he were truly concerned about the issue, rather than writing a puff piece for sensationalizing it, he would have sought out at least a few more studies (perhaps ones using American kids – you know, the ones to which he so easily generalizes) to see if what he was citing was broadly supported – especially in the US. But, alas, that's the media here in the US. As Rush Limbaugh says, the “drive-by” media. Set-point, Mr. Cloud.

If it were as simple as Mr. Cloud's two-study theory presents, we would not have an epidemic of childhood obesity. The reality is that kids DON’T get enough physical activity. They get plenty of junk food and video games. CDC and ACSM standards have recently been revised and increased with respect to how much moderate to vigorous physical activity is deemed beneficial for health. If this article was the final arbiter, it's proven that PE doesn’t do anything positive for kids health and they can do it all on their own... you know, after school... in their spare time... when its convenient.

In the end, this is but one article that I happened upon. Is it wrong? The research? No. The article? In my opinion, it couldn’t be more wrong than if he wrote an article that said that all kids in England had perfect teeth. Okay, that may have been harsh, but it proves the point that the media has problems with intellectual honesty across all topics and the confirmatory nature that what is presented in the media is always factual. But again, as I continue to ask those of you who read this, always think critically and ask questions. Limited information helps few, but hurts many…

11 May 2009

Calls Grow for Pelosi to Resign

Echoing earlier sentiments, and expanding greatly on the issue, Doug Ross is also putting out the call for Nancy Pelosi to resign as Speaker of the House for her selective memory related to Congressional knowledge of EIT's being used.

From yesterday...

Nancy Pelosi channels Bill Clinton. So Nancy Pelosi claims she did not know waterboarding was going to be used as an enhanced interrogation technique (EIT). She who would be 3rd in line for the presidency is claiming semantic ignorance. Okay Nancy, here’s the deal: If you knew about the EIT's, and said nothing, then you are a hypocrite for condemning them now. However, if you really only thought that you were being briefed on EIT's for future use, then you are both naive and also a hypocrite. By the way, waterboarding has been used as an EIT since the Spanish-American War. Regardless of what you knew and when, if you were grounded in principles and not politics, your position would have been consistent from the start. But as the political winds shift, so does your position. Someone at your level playing politics to CYA is disingenuous and shameful. You should step down as House Speaker immediately. You'd demand the same from a Republican for far less an offense.

10 May 2009

Random Observations: Weekend Roundup

Welcome to Baton Rouge, DC. Legislators in the state capitol have placed $11 million in pet projects into the House Appropriations Bill for next year. This includes things like boat ramps, neighborhood associations, and museums. According to the article, the Senate is expected to add their own.

By comparison, the first two places targeted for spending cuts are healthcare and higher education. LSU is due for a budget cut of almost $40 million which will set the flagship agenda back nearly 10 years. Louisiana consistently ranks near the bottom in healthcare primarily because of the charity hospital mentality pervasive in the state. Doctors do not want to spend 8-12 years of their lives to come here and not earn a proper living. While I’m sure we have some good doctors here, the best and the brightest leave for greener pastures. And this doesn’t just apply to doctors anymore. People are voting with their U-Hauls these days.

We’ll see if the GOP’s rising star Bobby Jindal has the fortitude to veto anything that comes to his desk with more “pork”. He waffled on legislators designs on doubling their own pay last year and that cost him some serious political points.

Get credit flowing! This is the mantra from Wall Street and Washington. What I can’t seem to understand is that those clamoring for credit for businesses and consumers don’t’ seem to realize that’s exactly what got us into the mess we’re in. As a nation, we have been living well beyond our means for a long time now, and this is the result. People maxed out their credit cards and then turned to their houses as ATM’s (home equity). Families making six figures or better are living paycheck to paycheck so they can give the appearance of living a lifestyle they cannot afford. What’s the solution? Government reduction or elimination of the bad debt using taxpayer money.

How many times have you heard commercials on TV or radio by companies promising to reduce or eliminate your credit card debt as your “right”. Under what law is that your right? So, what’s their plan? Never mind personal responsibility. Reduce the credit burdens and start over. A perfect example of the cure being worse than the disease.

What message are we sending to the Carrie Prejeans of the future? Well, if you happen to disagree with a clearly partisan homosexual gossip blogger who has no business being a judge of a pageant, the message is clear. If you plan to be representative of the country in any way, especially by way of a pageant, then check your personal beliefs and opinions at the door because there is no tolerance for people who have principled positions in this country. Granted, what we see on TV of kids getting entered into pageants at such early ages is mind-boggling behavior to say the least, but to openly quash a dissenting opinion is simply the wrong message to send. Didn’t Hillary say dissent was patriotic?

Nancy Pelosi channels Bill Clinton. So Nancy Pelosi claims she did not know waterboarding was going to be used as an enhanced interrogation technique (EIT). She who would be 3rd in line for the presidency is claiming semantic ignorance.

Okay Nancy, here’s the deal: If you knew about the EIT's, and said nothing, then you are a hypocrite for condemning them now. However, if you really only thought that you were being briefed on EIT's for future use, then you are both naive and also a hypocrite. By the way, waterboarding has been used as an EIT since the Spanish-American War.

Regardless of what you knew and when, if you were grounded in principles and not politics, your position would have been consistent from the start. But as the political winds shift, so does your position. Someone at your level playing politics to CYA is disingenuous and shameful. You should step down as House Speaker immediately. You'd demand the same from a Republican for far less an offense.

Comedian in Chief. I’m saddened and a bit surprised at Obama joking about the AF1 flyover of lower Manhattan as a “joy ride” stunt pulled by his daughters Sasha and Malia. It clearly was no joking matter to those who have to live and work in the area hit by the 9/11 attacks. To make light of the issue is as insensitive and irresponsible as the flyover itself. He laughs while likely thousands of people were caused undue stress and anxiety thinking they were in the crosshairs again.

Meanwhile, Obama also gets a huge chuckle out of Wanda Sykes wishing death on Rush Limbaugh. Such behavior is not becoming to a president, but since Obama seems to revel in the celebratory spotlight, he’s proving that he’s more enchanted with the trappings of the presidency than being a principled leader – one who would have indicated that such things still cross the proverbial line.

Monica Crowley lays it all out in terms of how taxpayer money is being used… Obama promises to cut the deficit in half after he’s more than doubled it on his own. What?!

ACORN in our side. Can anyone explain to me how an organization with such a shady past and now under official indictment for corruption and election fraud continues to get millions if not billions from the government? How is it that such an organization is expected to truthfully assist with the 2010 Census? I guess the corrupt ACORN doesn’t fall far from the corrupt congressional tree. If this was a conservative organization, this would be a completely different story.

09 May 2009

A Real Western Gunfight

While I don't see a secession coming into play, I do think that this flexing of state vs. federal rights will be interesting. On the surface, it looks like Montana has the upper hand and can quite well move forward. If this shows promise, you can bet that other states will follow and state rights pertaining to firearms will be primary and have the full faith and backing of the 2nd Amendment.

Montana Challenges the Federal Gun Laws
(click for story)

A good read... (hat tip: Hot Air Green Room)

07 May 2009

Contact Your Representatives to Support HR 1207

In order to hold the government accountable for the astronomical amounts of money they are borrowing and spending, we need to repeal legislation prohibiting the audit and examination of the government's checkbook, aka the Federal Reserve. Please see the following letter from our House Representative Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and contact your representatives urging them to support or co-sponsor this critical legislation.

May 7, 2009

Mr. Ware,

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the Federal Reserve.

You may be pleased to know that I am a cosponsor of H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act, which was introduced by Representative Ron Paul on February 26, 2009. It is currently prohibited by law to audit the Federal Reserve bank's monetary policy and actions, as well as its transactions with a foreign central bank or government. Rep. Paul's legislation would repeal this prohibition and require the Government Accountability Office to perform an audit of the Federal Reserve. This is an important step in making the Federal Reserve's actions public and transparent.

It is essential that an institution as powerful as the Federal Reserve be held accountable to Congress and the American people. I am pleased that we agree on this issue, and I will work to bring this legislation up for a vote in the House of Representatives.

Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this important issue. Please visit my website at
www.cassidy.house.gov to sign up for my e-newsletter or to share your views on another issue.


Bill Cassidy

Member of Congress
Representing Louisiana's 6th District

06 May 2009

Random Observation: Twitter

"Do you "tweet"?"

"What, you mean like a bird?"

"No, are you on Twitter?"

You have to be very careful about how you answer this question. Seems like Twitter is all the rage. In fact, I think that the main reason Facebook recently changed to its latest iteration is due in large part to the defection of loyal Facebookers to Twitter. By the way, if you don't know what Twitter is by now, I don't think you are going to be cool or savvy enough to "tweet".

But I have one question about Twitter. What is it really for? According to their website:

Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?

Hmm. I don't know about you, but I'm comfortable not knowing what my friends, family, and especially my co-workers are doing or thinking every minute of the day. I don't need them "tweeting" constantly. Don't we get enough random life updates on Facebook these days?

But in a larger perspective, isn't Twitter just reflecting the society we've evolved into? We are a world of instant gratification, headlines, short attention spans, and the dreaded "so five minutes ago". Twitter reflects and encapsulates this social evolution perfectly. But, does this signal social progress or just technical gadgetry?

The unfortunate thing about Twitter is that it serves as a replacement for conversation. It isolates us from other human contact. Can you share in someone's emotions via Twitter? Can you convey the true spirit of your thoughts with Twitter? It's no wonder that the social and communication skills of our society are eroding as people communicate in short, grammatically and spelling-challenged "tweets". And this passes for communication. Just ask the nearest teacher.

I asked my brother once why he texted so much instead of just calling the other person. He said he could just text something short and not have to engage in a longer conversation. I can see his point, but then why have the text-based “conversation”?

With this advance of technology, it shows that people are becoming more detached from one another. This is straining our ability to communicate information of value, and more importantly it is communicating something about our values. As we seek to live the fast-paced lifestyle and keep others at a "tweets" distance, how are we to expected to grow socially instead of regressing because we fail to properly communicate?

I've had the benefit of living across generations. I've been through the "play outside until the streetlights come on" and then go home and change the TV channel by physically touching the knob on the TV set. I've also seen the internet come of age at a time when some people have known virtually no other existence. Ironically, many urban developers today seek to bring back those traditional neighborhoods like our parents and grandparents grew up in. But why? Are they expecting a return to traditional neighborhood values? I doubt it is their primary objective.

And now we have Twitter. I suppose it can have some social benefits. But from direct experience, the ability to communicate properly in both oral and written means is becoming a less recognized and valued skill. I fear there will come a day where people who make decisions about the importance of communication are not going to be able to articulate it very well. But perhaps they’ll just “tweet” it instead…

05 May 2009

Assault on 2nd Amendment - As Predicted...

Here it is... just what I was talking about earlier today in terms of reading between the lines... I'm glad that GOA is on this. NRA probably is too. Nonetheless, it's important to stay informed and vigilant. Otherwise, something like this passes quietly in the night...

Just as predicted - less than 18 hours ago. They won't call it "gun control", but ironically, this does more than just add new gun laws. This could be the first salvo in opening up U.S. law to foreign reference and opinion for interpretation and even legal standing to bring lawsuits against U.S. citizens. It would be an immediate threat to our sovereignty and independence as a nation, but something the Left in this country seems to be fine with... heck, they're actively pursuing it.

However, I still believe that the gun lobby is sizable and smart enough to translate this politi-speak and expose it for what it is... gun control of the highest INTERNATIONAL order.

What's the difference between the US and Venezuela?

Well, at the top of the food chain, perhaps not much. It seems our cuddly leaders have more in common than a handshake, hug, and NY Times bestseller these days. This comes from Mary Grabar, a professor in Atlanta:

"Obama rivals the tyrants of history in his race to nationalize companies and banks. Although he asserted during his town hall meeting that he has no interest in running companies, he has forced financial institutions to accept TARP money and then refused to allow them to pay that money back. He has fired the top GM executive and forced the merger of Chrysler with a foreign car company. He told bank executives that only he stands between them and the “pitchforks” — after Soros-supported “protesters” showed up at executives’ homes days earlier. The repeated refrains by Obama and his administration that “we won” to upbraid dissenters reveal a profound divergence from the traditional notions of national service. This refrain is suited to the leader of a coup."

Interesting. Americans appeared to be angered when Hugo Chavez began nationalizing oil companies (especially those interests based in the US) and banks in Venezuela. However, the exact same thing is quietly happening here under different pretenses, is it not?

We are told that this is an extreme situation that REQUIRES government intervention so that it doesn't get worse. Since when has government intervention made anything better? Sometimes it is important to ask for a little restraint from knee jerk reactions, especially those with billion dollar pricetags and huge implications for the future of our free market economy.

Who knows what the true intention of the administration is. I "hope" it is legitimate, but there is something unseemly about the frenetic pace of these dramatic changes in American business within the first 100 days - not to mention Rahm Emanuel's notion that you "never want a serious crisis to go to waste". Much like the halls of Washington, there is considerable disagreement on whether this is the best course of action, or if it is the administration's desired course of action. Is it leadership or manipulation? We need to ask more questions of Washington and stop accepting their "honest assessments" of critical situations. Very little coming from our nation's capital is honest anymore.

During the campaign, Obama did say he wanted to fundamentally change the country. Were 53% of us not really paying close attention? We need to now.

Annie get your...Congressional Representative?

What you won't hear from the regular media is that as other topics carry the headlines, other more nefarious agendas are playing out in the back pages of Capitol Hill legislation. These issues range from "back door" controls on local media ownership & higher education benefits for illegal immigrants to a research outfit in New York being awarded a research grant to study the effects of alcohol consumption by Argentinian homosexuals. But no other issue is being silently attacked more than the 2nd Amendment.

A recent opinion article clearly outlines the intention of the Founding Fathers with respect to the citizens being armed, and it doesn't stop at the "well-armed militia" straw man that gun control advocates like to use. Congressional leaders, especially Democrats, recognize that gun control is not a very popular idea right now. However, that doesn't mean that like other publicly unpopular issues, they will simply drop them in favor of issues that resonate with the public. Thus, you will hear them say, "We don't want to take anybodys guns away." (Populist rhetoric).

What you will see, if you look closely, is increased activity surrounding the registration & licensing of firearms, difficulties in obtaining permits, microstamping of ammunition (not to mention the expected astronomical tax-related increases in cost), a renewal of the assault weapons ban (which, conveniently only applies to guns - although many devices are considered assault weapons - way to go, Congress!), and the insistence that guns from the U.S. are responsible for the drug battles on the Mexican border. Don't be afraid to read between the lines because politicians are not afraid to send messages there. No matter how much they talk up what remain isolated cases of irresponsible people with guns, the fact is that people are ultimately responsible for their actions. Well, they should be.

The problem is not with gun ownership. Gun owners have to jump through a dizzying array of hoops and laws in order to keep their weapons. Criminals don't. The problem is not with more gun laws. It's about enforcing the CRIMINAL laws we have today consistently and forcefully. The courts have seen to it that gun laws do not really apply to criminals since the criminal justice system cannot seem to control them as people. So, they seek out that which they can control (guns) and the expected submission to legal authority of citizens who respect the rule of law to possess them.

The first 100 days have brought a lot of "change", but don't expect it to stop there. There are many people in Congress with radical agendas, and many are now running unchecked by an unbalanced government. (Thanks 17th Amendment!)

Through the efforts of the NRA, GOA, and a "well-armed citizenry", the 2nd Amendment holds strong for those who believe it applies to "every man" as it continues to come under relentless, irrational attack from people who believe with all their being that law-abiding gun owners are more dangerous to society than criminals who could care less.

02 May 2009

Random Observations

  • I'm intrigued at learning that when it is "sloppy" at the Kentucky Derby, jockeys often wear up to EIGHT pairs of goggles to keep their field of vision clear. As a pair becomes covered in mud, they reach up - during the race - and pull them down around their neck, exposing a clean pair. The process continues until they run out or the race ends. Horses, by comparison, have a third eyelid that acts as a windshield wiper for their vision. Cool.

  • Did you know the White House has a "social secretary"? Her name is Desiree Rogers and I believe she may be the most active person in the White House. Good to know she is being paid by taxpayers to attend New York Fashion Week. At least the WH staffers who showed up on People's 100 Most Beautiful list aren't wearing the wrong clothes to match their wrong decisions. Where exactly are we cutting wasteful spending again?

  • Wow! The UAW is getting anywhere from 39-55% ownership of Chrylser and GM as part of efforts to stave off bankruptcy. Let's see just what kind of true business acumen Ron Gettelfinger and other UAW shakedown artists have now that they are on the other side of the fence. Looks like they will now have to run a business so that they can keep their union jobs too. Perhaps the unions will finally be victims of their own making...just like the industries they've destroyed (airlines, automakers, education).

  • Why aren't Catholics lumped in with the "religious right"? Seems like for a denomination so Biblically conservative in social causes, they sure do favor the Democrats and give high marks to Obama. Meanwhile the Notre Dame scandal will likely expose any divides in that church. More on this...

  • And finally... May 9th is National Train Day. "Trainiacs Unite!"... need I say..."Woo Hoo!" ?

The Media & the Miss

In a recent article claiming opportunity for the Democrats and doing their best to present gay marriage as an another issue that is beginning to fade with GOP voters, the media has taken a couple of recent court cases and made them the end of the discussion as to how Americans feel about gay marriage. Yet, pinning their hopes on the momentum of the Carrie Prejean issue (while also trying to assail her character), it is the media who "miss"-es again.

Now, I'll be the first to echo that heterosexuals haven't done such a bang-up job with the institution of marriage, but it isn't simply about the rights of gay people to marry. Those on the "pro" side of the issue believe that they can break down barriers by labeling others as intolerant, closed-minded, or even... here it comes...right-wing extremists (in the religious sense, no doubt). They really don't provide any argument FOR it other than people are simply AGAINST it. I've heard the issues around rights to property, insurance, adoption (a whole other story), legal decisions, etc., etc. But when as many people who oppose gay marriage are actually fine with civil unions that recognize many of the issues, then why antagonize and fight further for what people are already willing to concede?

Those on the "con" side of the issue recognize that you cannot open the floodgates of legal rights based solely on personal choices. They argue that if you open up legal protections based on these choices related to sexuality ONLY, then you must be more broadbased. What would people say about allowing people to marry multiple spouses? Animals? Kids? How about rights based on the sexual preferences of pedophiles? Rapists? Why would they be treated any different? How is it that today's gay community says that they are truly different in that regard?

Say what you want, but if there is no conclusive scientific evidence on climate change, there certainly isn't any on whether homosexuality is biologically innate or if as many agree, a choice. I have a lot of close friends with whom I have fantastic relationships. The law even offers avenues for me to make decisions for them or their kids in certain situations. But we don't have sex. And never will. And I'm certain they are glad that I've publicly proclaimed it... to borrow a phrase, "came out", if you will...

But in the end, where the media gets it wrong AGAIN, is that they fail to underestimate the electorate's willingness to amend state constitutions. This is where the issue actually ends. Not in the courts. In fact, I'm still waiting on California to try and have courts overrule a voter-approved amendment to the very state constitution they have the obligation to enforce. Imagine the comedy that would ensue when the courts attempt to say that a constitutional amendment is unconstitutional!

Voters have the power to legislate and have exercised it across the land. A couple of court cases have never been the "end" of the issue. I'm guessing voters will continue to fight these battles regardless of how much the media tells them the issue is moot.

01 May 2009


Ever wonder where that came from? Sometimes you hear people say something about their "two cents". According to Wikipedia (a bastion of useful, but perhaps not always accurate information), the term is used to preface the tentative stating of one’s opinion. By deprecating the opinion to follow the user of the phrase hopes to lessen the impact of a possibly contentious statement, showing politeness and humility. However, it is also sometimes used with irony when expressing a strongly felt opinion. The phrase is also used out of habit to preface uncontentious opinions.

So if you're here, reading this, then that's what you can expect. My two cents. I find that I express many of my own opinions better in prose rather than in person. That doesn't mean I'm unwilling to share an opinion in person, it just means that I will clarify my points if I have time to write and think crtically about a particular topic, idea, or situation.

You see, many times, people are called on the carpet for their opinions. The usual response, especially with public figures, is to retract the opinion in favor of political correctness. But there's the problem... people are no longer willing or comfortable to say what they truly believe out of fear of offending some other person or group. Well, I'm not one of those people. And if you know me, hopefully you have accepted that about me...and if you don't, hopefully it will be something you learn to appreciate by reading future posts. I do my best to be as respectful as possible and welcome the opinions of others, but understand that opinions are not necessarily wrong if they aren't shared.

Discourse can be healthy, but only if there is an honest exchange of ideas. In today's opinionated culture, there comes a point where people simply cannot agree to disagree. You may have noticed how people have hijacked the concept of "tolerance" - meaning you agree with them or you're wrong. Many people don't tolerate differences in opinions very well. That's when the conversation deteriorates into personal attacks because there are no valid arguments, rebuttals, or points to be made. I think you get the point.

The purpose here is to give myself an outlet to share opinions, make observations, and provide serious and witty analysis of much of what you see in the headlines. I like to think of much of my "rants" as based in common sense heavily influenced by my experiences. If you plan to read this regularly, be prepared to think and be challenged. I could care less about who is Dancing with the Stars or who sang what on American Idol. Most of what is on TV is relatively mindless and that's a major source of what I think is wrong with this country. I'm going to ask that you be informed. Know what's going on in the world. Analyze. Think critically about issues. Think about how you REALLY feel - and then express that... fearlessly. No "sound bite theology" or "regurgitation of talking points". If you don't know, I'm happy to share. Expect it to come with my "two cents"... but more likely with "both guns blazing".