Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fantasy NFL Addiction Begins

Two drafts this week: one with my family in Utah and one with my family and friends in Ohio. Here's what I have to work with for week one:

Utah Team
========
Michael Turner - RB
Clinton Portis - RB
Ronnie Brown - RB
Jay Cutler - QB
Calvin Johnson - WR
Wes Welker - WR
Antonio Gates - TE
Patriots - D
John Casey - K

Bench
------
Marshawn Lynch - RB
Julius Jones - RB
Chester Taylor - RB
Lee Evans - WR
Kevin Walter - WR
Anthony Gonzalez - WR
Tory Holt - WR

Ohio Team
========
Frank Gore - RB
Clinton Portis - RB
Darren McFadden - RB
Kurt Warner - QB
Larry Fitzgerald - WR
Braylon Edwards - WR
Owen Daniels - TE
Giants - D
Jason Elam - K

Bench
------
Ahmad Bradshaw - RB
Willis McGahee - RB
Antonio Bryant - WR
Percy Harvin - WR
Chris Chambers - WR
Zach Miller - TE
Matt Hasselbeck - QB

Spreading the Wealth Since 1917

Friday, August 28, 2009

Obamacare, Privacy and the IRS

There are fewer things that upset conservatives more than hearing the decreasing number of Obama-lovers lie about his health care intentions. We also know that a reasonable man can reasonably predict that abortion and illegal immigrants will be covered in his health care plan. We know a court -- it only takes one judge -- will rule that specific conditions must be cared for under the federal health care plan and that this specific group of people must be provided, regardless of nationality.

A reasonable man knows it is ridiculous to replace a great, albeit a problematic system that need fixing, with a less quality, more expensive one. We also know that throwing out the existing system because a certain number of people aren't covered -- he says 47 million but most claim much less even less than 10 million -- is not prudent. Obamacare is not about health care, rather a Democrat power grab.

Perhaps the greatest concern, which should be a rallying point for liberals everywhere, is the loss of privacy.Section 431(a) of H.R. 3200 (Obamacare) says that:
The IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."
The application of this is that if you elect not to buy insurance, the federal government can fine you. If you don't pay your fine, they will be able to garnish your wages just like they can do if you don't pay your taxes.

Obama and Pelosi are attempting to create a form of government that is un-American. America is not a socialist society. They are sowing the seeds of revolution, for all the wrong reasons -- personal power. There have been revolutions fought over less. I hope it does not come to this but these oppressive means, actions and laws are reaching a critical mass.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Obama & Holder Renege on National Security

As has been written repeatedly here, I am against most government. They are inefficient and bureaucratic, with no real motivation for quality because they have no competition. Competition makes better offerings for most. However, there are things that only the federal government can do, for example, interstate transportation and defense.

Yesterday, President Obama and Attorney General Holder named a special prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogation methods used five plus years ago on the heals of the 2001 attacks and evolving terrorist plots against the USA. This announcement came after the Department of Justice released (by ACLU-won court order) a CIA redacted report on the CIA's interrogation program.

Some of the findings makes for interesting reading and have certainly curtailed modern interrogation techniques. See comments from the Washington Post and New York Times

Obama and Holder are looking back, not forward, and going against things they previously said:
It would be unfair to prosecute dedicated men and women working to protect America for conduct that was sanctioned in advance by the Justice Department. – Attorney General Eric Holder, April 2009

As a result of my analysis of all of this material, I have concluded that the information...warrants opening a preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations. – Attorney General Eric Holder, August 2009

There is nothing more important than protecting the identities of CIA officers. So I need everybody to be clear: We will protect your identities and your security as you vigorously pursue your missions. — Barack Obama at CIA headquarters, April 2009.

One of my first acts as president is going to be call in my new attorney general to review every single executive order that’s been issued... to overturn those that are undermining the Constitution, undermining our civil liberties, that are promoting this cockamamie theory of Unitary government, that says that somehow the executive branch does not need to obey the Constitution. — Barack Obama, radio interview, 2007.
The unredacted CIA report was presented to Senate and House Intelligence Committees and to the Department of Justice in 2004. It was determine that each interrogation case (less one) was not worthy of prosecution. The interrogators were operating as directed (although some of these means have since stopped).

Liberals were in an uproar over the "outing" CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson a few years ago. Today, they are betraying covert CIA operatives as if it were the very essence of virtue.

The action demoralizes a front line organization. They must use "sissy tactics" that are unlikely to yield any meaningful intelligence, especially when time is important.

Historically, special prosecutors go out of their way to find something. They have little oversight. Finding things that stick is crucial to their personal careers.

By threatening to prosecute CIA officials, the Obama Administration is taking ownership of future troubles in a way that will only do itself harm. Americans will once again see that the Democratic Party cares as much or more about settling scores against fellow Americans as it does about fighting the war on terror.

You wonder which side they’re on. You must question the sanity of Justice picking a fight against, of all potential targets, the CIA.

We continue to fight simultaneous external and internal wars. The biggest threats always seem to come from within.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Liberal Lies About Obamacare

John Hawkins wrote a succinct article today entitled 5 Liberal Lies About Obamacare. Here are the five lies:

-- The public option won't kill private health insurance.
-- Illegal aliens won't be covered.
-- Abortion won't be covered by the bill.
-- The health care bill will lower costs.
-- There will be no rationing of health care.

Business conditions -- lack of free market -- will kill the private health care option. Illegals will be covered, like they are today. What Congress will not give them, the courts will. Abortion is part of every socialist society's plan for "birth control" and "female reproductive rights". If it is explicitly there, the courts will explicitly overrule.

I guess those writing and marketing the new health care product think the people are stupid. Only an idiot will buy into an argument that this new health care program, aka, socialized health care, will be cheaper and better.

The liberal fascists continue to tell lies in order to gain power and control over the masses. It has happened all over the world, from 18th century France to 20th century Germany, Russia and Italy. American fascists from Wilson and FDR to modern Reid, Pelosi and Obama are seeing the complete control over the lives of Americans.

Every time we put our trust in government, we sacrifice a bit of our personal freedom. Government controlled healthcare is the ultimate sacrifice.

We all say "when you have your health you have everything." But when the government has our health in its hands, what do we really have? An inefficient, bureaucratic system that sporadically delivers poor quality diagnosis and treatment that will continues to worsen and cost more over time.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Oil Sources & Refining Production If Cap & Trade Becomes Law

We have been waiting to hear from the oil industry about the impact of the American Clean Energy and Security (Cap & Trade) Act which passed by a narrow 219-212 vote in the House in June (H.R. 2454). Not surprising, the U.S. will be more dependent on imports of petroleum fuels and refining production would be shifted overseas (if the bill becomes law). According to the American Petroleum Institute:
Investment in U.S. refining capacity could plummet because the cost of doing business could soar. Production at U.S. refineries would drop while production at refineries in countries that do not limit their own greenhouse gas emissions would rise. The impact on global refinery greenhouse gas emissions would be minor as reductions in U.S. emissions mostly would be offset by increases in emissions in other countries.

“This study clearly shows the devastating impact this legislation could have on U.S. jobs and U.S. energy security,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “Climate legislation should not come at the expense of U.S. economic and energy security. Congress needs to analyze carefully the impact of any climate policy on ordinary Americans, American jobs and American companies. A deep decline in U.S. refining activity would have a ripple effect throughout the economy, affecting jobs in sectors beyond the oil and gas industry. Steelworkers, construction workers, even the shop keepers, school teachers and waitresses working in communities where refineries operate would feel the pinch.”
Waxman-Markey allowances will not come close to covering what is required by our energy suppliers. If a price is placed on U.S. carbon emissions, domestic production and exploration will have to decline. What is not done here will be done elsewhere. CO2 reductions here will result in CO2 increases elsewhere. Jobs also will move abroad.

See API report HERE.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Unassisted Triple Play -- A Rarity

Only 15 players have turned unassisted triple plays in the history of baseball. See the list <HERE>. Three have happened in the past three years -- one each year.

Today, Eric Bruntlett, second baseman for the Philadelphia Phillies, did it in the ninth inning in New York against the Mets. See the coverage and video <HERE>.

It is rare because everything needs to be just right and the ball needs to be hit right into the defense.

It also sums up two seasons for two teams heading in very oposite directions -- Phillies up and the Mets down.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Unfortunate Release of Lockerbie Bomber

Was the release of the convicted Lockerbie bomber tied to an energy business deal between the Scots/Brits and Libyans?
Libyans welcomed convicted terrorist bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi after being freed from a life sentence in a Scottish jail on compassionate grounds because he is dying of cancer.

He was the only person convicted of the Pan Am jet that carried 259 passengers -- most of them American -- that was blown up over Lockerbie in Scotland in December 1988, killing all those on board and 11 people on the ground.
The Brits are denying it. If so, how can the Brits be trusted to support and enforce no tolerance for terrorism laws?

There are plenty of prisoners with life sentences that have been allowed to die in prison. THAT'S WHAT LIFE IN PRISON MEANS.

It throws it in the face of those who lost their lives and their families that this man was allowed to return to his homeland -- to a hero's welcome -- to live out his remaining years as a free man.

His penitence was just a dozen days per victim. This has created a new definition of terrorist leniency.

The Brits have certainly given hope (and change) to the terrorists around the world. There's hope with overly "compassionate" administrations or those willing to do anything for a "business deal."

The fall of the British empire continues its pathetic downward spiral.

Friday, August 21, 2009

CIA's Assassin Program with Blackwater (Xe Services)

The headlines in both NY Times and the Washington Post on Thursday, 20 Aug 2009, were along the following line: In 2004, the CIA hired Blackwater USA (now Xe Services) as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.
The assassination program -- revealed to Congress in June by CIA Director Leon Panetta -- was initially launched in 2001 as a CIA-led effort to kill or capture top al-Qaeda members using the agency's paramilitary forces. But in 2004, after briefly terminating the program, agency officials decided to revive it under a different code name, using outside contractors, the officials said.

"Outsourcing gave the agency more protection in case something went wrong," said a retired intelligence officer intimately familiar with the assassination program.
President Ford signed an executive order in 1976 that barred the C.I.A. from carrying out assassinations
a direct response to revelations that the C.I.A. had initiated assassination plots against Fidel Castro of Cuba and other foreign politicians.
President Bush felt that killing Al Qaeda members
was no different from killing enemy soldiers in battle, and that therefore the agency was not constrained by the assassination ban.
It seems logical that if a nation is not fighting another nation, rather terrorists and independent militants, new tactics are required.

Targeting direct terrorists -- individual combatants -- are within the bounds of the new rules of engagement, rules they have defined.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Cash For Clunkers Crashing on Its On Success

Cash For Clunkers is great for those who take advantage of it. Who would not want a $3500-$4500 discount on a new car? I know a number of people who have taken advantage of it. In our discussion about it, they feel a little guilty of taking advantage of it because they know that it is a false subsidy.

All of us in the room that have not taken advantage of the cash for clunkers program are helping those that have taken advantage of it.

The money for it does not exist. It was never budgeted. The only way the government can pay for it is to print more money.

But like most things the government does, they are incapable of managing a fast paced economic program.

The paperwork is immense for the buyer and the dealer. The dealer is getting the shaft right now because it is not getting reimbursed in a reasonable time from the federal government.

Dealers are beginning to pull out of the program because they are not getting their money back. The government seems to have no understanding of working capital management; i.e., cash flow. Dealers can only float this money for so long before they need to come up with the cash to cover the expense.

And you want to be my health care insurer and provider...

Best MLB Players by Their Jersey Numbers

The Sports Illustrated article Best Baseball Players by Number gives an interesting insight into some of baseball's best players. The list tends to break down at around #60 and beyond. My favorites from this list are:

#6 - Stan Musial
#14 - Pete Rose
#34 - Kirby Puckett
#45 - Bob Gibson

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Implications of Brett Favre as a Viking

Let me be clear, my favorite NFL team is the Cleveland Browns, an AFC team. My favorite NFC team is the Minnesota Vikings. The team I dislike the most is the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team I dislike the second most is the Green Bay Packers. One of my most disliked players is Brett Farve.

Three weeks ago when he said he was staying retired, that he could not get up for another season in the NFL, I was glad. So today, after signing a two year deal with the Vikings, I have very mixed emotions.

It is obvious the Viking leadership was not comfortable with Sage Rosenfels (picked up in the off season), Tarvaris Jackson (Viking draft pick) and John David Booty (Viking draft pick) as their quarterbacks.

Having watched Farve's highs and lows, he is more likely to realize his lows at this point in his career. He has always been a QB that has poor mechanics and often times bad judgement. He throws into triple coverage. He throws off-balanced. He tries to do things he could do 5-10 years ago but cannot do today.

The question we must ask ourselves is will he throw more TDs than INTs? Will his ratio be two TDs to every one pick? Four to one?

He is going to a great team. They are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. The expectations are high. If he gets them to the Super Bowl, he'll get all of the credit; if he does not, he'll get all of the blame.

I will force myself to pull for him, because I want him to do good for my team. But I'd rather he faded away. I'd have taken my shot with lesser QBs, given all of the other talent they have.

The Vikings many not win any Super Bowl or even make the playoffs, but they will sell tickets, increase sponsorships and move Viking paraphernalia. The Vikings started selling Farve #4 jerseys today. They have a Frave Central section on their web site.

I have a sneaking suspicion that DBs in Green Bay, Chicago and Detroit are licking their chops. Sadly, I don't see him leading the Vikes to the promised land. I hope I am proven wrong.

BTW, only thing worse than a smiley Steelers fan is a happy Packer fan.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

VA-like Medical Care Is the Best Government Can Provide

I have had the opportunity to spend some time with some of the VA facilities in the US. The men and women that work for the VA do an admirable job caring for the men and women whom have served in our armed forces. More often than not, most of the patients seem to come from the lower class of society -- not covered by their employers' health care insurance programs. The federal government provides for these individuals at over 40 hospitals throughout the USA.

Because is it taxpayer supported, the employees are not as well paid as those that perform the same jobs in the private health care sector. This leads to medical professionals that may not be as good as their colleagues in the private ranks. More often than not, we take jobs that pay more, if available. The medical care being provided by the medical profession is the same, only the quality differs.

The conclusion I have drawn, right or wrong, is that this is really the best medical care the government will be able to provide Americans under a single-payer system.

If given an option, few would elect to get their health care from the VA. There are better options in the private sector, money aside.

The VA is a microcosm of the government's best medical program. If the government tries to provide medical care for all, the best we can hope for is VA-like health care.

Because of the scale and scope of a universal program, we can extrapolate and state with confidence: health care quality will diminish, availability will be rationed, and costs will be higher. This is exact opposite the politicians claim it will not occur if Obama and Pelosi get their way. Prove me wrong.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Affordable, Quality, Ubiquitous Healthcare? Pick Two

I am not sure how many people actually feel we need to overhaul the health care in America. But our elected officials sure feel that way.

My congressman, Jim Matheson, wrote in an email to his constituency today. One of his statements read as follows:
As someone whose family includes doctors who count many Utahns as patients, and as a father who wants a healthy future for his children, I have a deep commitment to passing comprehensive, deficit-neutral health care reform. Such an overhaul should lower costs for Utah families and businesses, increase the quality of care provided and expand access for every American.
Sounds all touchy feely...why can't we all get along...it is for the children...mumbo-jumbo politicians are good at spouting, weak at delivering. Is it really possible to have health care that is affordable for all, of the highest quality, and available for everyone? Absolutely not.

Affordable health care? Quality health care? Ubiquitous health care? You can have two of the three, but not all three.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Adrian Rogers on Government By The People

A powerful quote from Pastor/Dr. Adrian Rogers (1931–2005):

“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

Friday, August 07, 2009

Helping Others to Help Themselves: Unemployment

From Helping Others to Help Themselves: The Story of the Mormon Church Welfare Program, Historical Department Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (1945):
A man out of work is of special moment to the Church because, deprived of his inheritance, he is on trial as Job was on trial -- for his integrity. As days lengthen into weeks and months and even years of adversity, the hurt grows deeper; and he is sorely tempted to curse God and die. Continued economic dependence breaks him. It humiliates him if he is strong; spoils him if he is weak. Sensitive or calloused, despondent or indifferent, rebellious or resigned -- either way he is threatened with spiritual ruin. For the dole is an evil and idleness a curse. He soon becomes a seedbed of discontent, wrong thinking and alien beliefs. The Church cannot hope to save a man on Sunday if during the week it is a complacent witness to the crucifixion of his soul.
Unemployment is both a temporal and spiritual problem. It is a problem that impacts all of society. There are many who are hurting. If you are like most, you may not be hurting now, but your time will come. Prayers from the more fortunate should never cease for the less fortunate.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Organized Opposition...Say It Ain't So

It is laughable to hear the likes of Senator Boxer whining about organized opposition to a proposed piece of liberal legislation.

This is right out of the Democrat play book. Acorn is nothing more than a group of liberal ideologues rallying around a group of smart people and their liberal agendas. When the opposition does the same thing, this time apparently in nicer clothing, that's unfair.

The Democrats do not need a single non-Democrat vote to pass their single-payer, socialized medicine health care programs. They own the House, Senate and Presidency. There is nothing bi-partisan about this. They just have a group of their own that refuses buy into this break-the-bank, crappy socialized medical system proposal.

The anti-Obamacare will go on. The anti-anti-Obamacare will try to as well. Pelosi and Reid will try to reign in the troops but many of the troops know that the tide is pushing against them. Many congressional reps know that if they push this socialized medicine program forward they will be out of a job in November.

By the way, I have now joined the millions of Americans with no health care insurance. The company I partially own and help manage can no longer afford it. It was either pay $1350 a month for medical and dental (average care 70:30) for our current policies (where other group members' costs are born by the others), or go out on my own and find it cheaper. I think I can find it much cheaper, and better. But if Obamacare takes hold in 2013 or so, the federal option might be cheaper but one can rest assured it will not be better. It might be okay for a few years but over time, it will become as inept and unappealing as the British NHS.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Which Obama Is Believable?

Those of you that follow my comments, which I really appreciate by the way, know that there are very few politicians I actually like. Okay, there are none. Politics, by nature, is a dirty business. One cannot get elected to a national office without some questionable dealings. It is always a choice between the lesser of two evils in my mind, third-parties aside (they never win elections are by and large are a waste of time and money).

Recent videos of Obama talking about private insurance vs single-payer health insurance and his Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, keeping middle class tax increase on the table are telling of the real Obama plan.

Which Obama do we believe? We believe his socialistic ideology. He thinks government is better than the free market. Some people prefer socialism. Pick you favorite European country. I do not. This is my reason for opposing him from when I first heard of him -- a speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Obama is a socialist at his core. His hope and aspiration for change is to nationalize as many things he can -- from autos and energy to health and media. His admires Hugo Chavez -- he only wishes he could shut down all conservative talk radio like Chavez closed 34 stations that failed to comply with his rule of law.

Obama's hope and change is less freedom, higher taxes, and mediocrity for all. Take him at his word. His word is pure government control.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Cash for Clunkers

The cash for clunkers programs, if it works, would be something for many Americans. If you need a car and you could get $4500 for a car you could only hope to donate to Kidney Kars, etc. for a $500 tax credit, this would be a great deal.

You can buy some new cars for $10-15k, some probably lasting 5-7 years. If you can buy these vehicles for $6-10k, many might be able to pay cash for one or at least have relatively low monthly payments.

When I first heard about the program, I thought that it would only be for GM cars. Apparently it is broader. How'd the Democrats miss this one?

People aren't stupid. They will take advantage of a good deal, regardless of how it is funded. Congress is stupid for not forecasting the demand for a program this appealing. As such, it is running out of funds, almost before it got started. And you want the government to be your health care provider.

One must ask the questions: why cars only? Why not computers? Clothes? Restaurants? Hotels? Mobile phones? Wide-screen TVs? Furniture? Medical equipment?