Saturday, December 24, 2011

Stock Market Wants to Soar

Today's front page story on the WSJ is "Stock Market Hits 5-Month High." For years now the Dow and other major indexes have gone up and down. First getting over that 10,000 point market then for short time in the 14,000 range. The recent global recession saw it fall to the 7,000 point range in 2009 and come back to over 12,000 now. The question is why?

On Friday, the market went up on a pathetic piece of news that Congress passed a two-month stay on the Social Security payroll tax. Equity investors are looking for any news.

-- Unemployment not up as high as anticipated
-- New housing starts not as negative as thought
-- American consumer spending up from all-time lows
-- European central bankers agreeing to massive loans
-- Obama Administration's massive Keynesian spending and unimaginable debts buy us a few years.

If Congress would create positive economic conditions with lower taxes, fewer entitlements and decrease the scope government, this economy would soar.

The Democrats benefit from tough times because the poorer people become the more likely they will vote for entitlement and spending programs -- Democrat policies.

As the masses become more equal in a poorer direction, the few at the top become richer. This is the history of the socialism.

Friday, December 23, 2011

South Carolina Voter Law Blocked By Feds

The Department of Justice rears is ugly political head by blocking South Carolina's new voter identification law which requires would-be voters to show photo identification.

The feds claim that the law will effect poorer, uneducated people; i.e., African-American, who either cannot afford or do not know how to obtain a legal identification -- state-issued or military photo identification. Current law allows voters to use a printed voter registration card as identification.

This continues to point out the demarcation lines between the class warfare, liberal Obama administration and Republican-led state governments.

The federal Voting Rights Act specifies that states must prove that any changes in voting law don't have the effect of discriminating against minorities. (When I recently voted in Utah, I had to show my ID. I was thankful for that.)

Democrats claim the Republicans are trying to limit the right to vote. Republicans claim the law is designed to avoid vote fraud.

It is clear that the individual that is able to make it to the polls but cannot or does not know how to get a legal ID will only vote Democrat. Politics rules its ugly head for all the wrong reasons.

Payroll Tax Break, Extended Unemployment, Medicare Cut Debacle

After weeks of posturing, Congress approved a two-month renewal of payroll tax cuts for 160 million workers, unemployment benefits for millions and sustaining of current Medicare payment rates. The news is what a joke our Congressional leaders and President are.

The Democrats wanted the 2 month extension for the payroll tax; the Republicans wanted a full year. Neither will address the risk element associated with business in America.

Reid's error is thinking the two month extension will somehow benefit the American economy. What it will do is give the Democrats and President another chance to play class warfare in a few weeks. Boehner's error was thinking that 12 months was somehow better than two months. What it will allow him to do is by caving, he will be able to say he compromised.

Neither party appears to have any interest in solving our national economic woes.

The American people, and more importantly the nation, are not being served by its federally-elected officials. We have not been for years. And it is unlikely that this will change anytime soon.

As long as we allow our politicians to play class warfare games, the real effort to create a viable economic climate in America will never exist.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Citizens Pursuing Their Self-Interest

Our presidential nomination process is way too long. We know who the Democrat nominee is and what he stands for. For the most part, we know what the Republican candidates stand for. They differ on some things, are similar on most; the main differences comes down to personality, track record and electability.

The 2012 elections, as have the federal elections for the past century, offer a clear path for the nation. I want leaders, e.g., a President, that supports the following simple principles.

I want leaders with a clearly delineated vision, one not beholden to special interests and donors.

I want politicians that believe in a merit-based society, not an entitlement society. I want people to achieve their rewards based on their education, intelligence, work effort, and willingness to take risks.

I want a government that minimizes hurdles and costs businesses and individuals need to incur as they pursue their self-interest.

I want leaders that support an economy where individuals pursue what's in their self interest, not one based on a centralized group of planners who feel they know what is best for all.

I want leaders that follow our Constitution as the Founder intended, not a document tossed about by revisionist judges and bureaucrats.

I desire leaders that believe that America must lead in values, economic development and military, no those that go out of their way to support perversions, non-citizen preferences, ridiculous government hand-outs, and the why-can't-we-all-just-get-along foreign policy mindset.

Republicans as a rule support these principles; Democrats do not. Because of these personal beliefs, I have rarely voted for a Democrat (I did when I was very young...once).

The problem with many of today's candidates is that they are Republicans In Name Only (RINO). The Republican that will beat the Democrat Obama will be the one that best adheres to these "conservative" principles, not the middle-of-the-road, do-nothing posture of the independent.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Yogi Berra Quotes


Yogi Berra's second claim to fame is for being one of the most quoted figures in the sports world. He is credited with coining the deceptively simplistic observation, "It ain't over till it's over." But he's also known for his flubs. Here is a collection of the most notorious of these.

"This is like deja vu all over again."

"You can observe a lot just by watching."

"He must have made that before he died." -- Referring to a Steve McQueen movie.

"I want to thank you for making this day necessary." -- On Yogi Berra Appreciation Day in St. Louis in 1947.

"I'd find the fellow who lost it, and, if he was poor, I'd return it." -- When asked what he would do if he found a million dollars.

"Think! How the hell are you gonna think and hit at the same time?"

"You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there."

"I knew I was going to take the wrong train, so I left early."

"If you don't know where you are going, you will wind up somewhere else."

"If you can't imitate him, don't copy him."

"You better cut the pizza in four pieces because I'm not hungry enough to eat six."

"Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."

"It was impossible to get a conversation going; everybody was talking too much."

"Slump? I ain't in no slump. I just ain't hitting."

"A nickel isn't worth a dime today."

"Nobody goes there anymore; it's too crowded."

"It gets late early out there." -- Referring to the bad sun conditions in left field at the stadium.

"Glen Cove." -- Referring to Glenn Close on a movie review television show.

Once, Yogi's wife Carmen asked, "Yogi, you are from St. Louis, we live in New Jersey, and you played ball in New York. If you go before I do, where would you like me to have you buried?" Yogi replied, "Surprise me."

"Do you mean now?" -- When asked for the time.

"I take a two hour nap, from one o'clock to four."

"If you come to a fork in the road, take it."

"You give 100 percent in the first half of the game, and if that isn't enough in the second half you give what's left."

"90% of the putts that are short don't go in."

"I made a wrong mistake."

"Texas has a lot of electrical votes." -- During an election campaign, after George Bush stated that Texas was important to the election.

"Thanks, you don't look so hot yourself." -- After being told he looked cool.

"I always thought that record would stand until it was broken."

"Yeah, but we're making great time!" -- In reply to "Hey Yogi, I think we're lost."

"If the fans don't come out to the ball park, you can't stop them."

"Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel."

"It's never happened in the World Series competition, and it still hasn't."

"How long have you known me, Jack? And you still don't know how to spell my name." -- Upon receiving a check from Jack Buck made out to "bearer."

"I'd say he's done more than that." -- When asked if first baseman Don Mattingly had exceeded expectations for the current season.

"The other teams could make trouble for us if they win."

"He can run anytime he wants. I'm giving him the red light." -- On the acquisition of fleet Ricky Henderson.

"I never blame myself when I'm not hitting. I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up, I change bats. After all, if I know it isn't my fault that I'm not hitting, how can I get mad at myself?"

"It ain't the heat; it's the humility."

"The towels were so thick there I could hardly close my suitcase."

"You should always go to other people's funerals; otherwise, they won't come to yours."

"I didn't really say everything I said."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Blame Game with the Federal Reserve

Full disclosure, I am a Ron Paul fan. I loved his book End The Fed. When I read his 10/20/11 WSJ article "Blame the Fed for the Financial Crisis," it made me wonder what the other Republican candidates' opinions are on the worth and value of the Federal Reserve Bank.

This goes to the very core of what we think the roll of government should be. In a capitalistic society, government has no role in picking winners and loser. The markets decide. Unfortunately, politicians and key appointed leaders have a different view in most governments. They all believe in manipulation, that they know better. The fed is not exempt, in fact manipulation is what it is all about.

Arrogance is its Achilles' heel. They believe they know what is best for all. They are smart, we are not. Interesting, central banks are core to Marxist and socialist doctrine. Price manipulation is wrong, whether it be for commodities, interest rates or money supply. Why? Because they get it wrong more often than they get it right. Free markets get it right every time.

The Fed governors are like politicians: they must do something. They want people to know that they are smart and did x, y and z, even though x, y and z either causes the problems or dig us a deeper hole.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Democrats Win By Spin & Funding Local Unions

Elections are won in the so-called center, through voters who really don't know what they believe, rarely study the issues and just want everyone to get along. These are the targets of both parties, however the Democrats tend to do a better job attracting them.

Democrats can never win with the truth. They will never say that government is good, the bigger the better. They will never tell people that if they become more dependent on the government, they will always be mediocre at best.

Take Harry Reid's latest "jobs math." He had the audacity (that word again) to say the following:
It's very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it's the public-sector jobs where we've lost huge numbers, and that's what this legislation is all about.
Unfortunately, the numbers do not back this up. Since 2008 when the recession began, federal government added over 250,000 new jobs, a 13.5% increase in two years. Despite the stimulus funds designed to help state and local governments, government employment deceased since 2008.

On the private side, there are still over 2.5 million fewer jobs in America than in 2008. Hence the 9.1 percent unemployment rate. Harry has his facts reversed.

So what are Reid's goals with his (and Obama's) jobs agenda?

1) Put money into state and local governments, namely schools, made up of dues-paying union members who only fund Democrat candidates at the local level -- Senate and House candidates.

2) Claim that only the Democrats care about jobs because Republicans will not pass a bogus jobs bill.

Lies coupled with spin equals Democrat tactics. If it works, why should they care they win? All they want is the power. The mean of achieving it is a footnote at best, than know one really cares about.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Federal Government Continues to Spend Unabated

The U.S. federal government continues to spend as if it has unlimited revenue.
CBO says that overall outlays rose 4.2% from 2010 (1.8% adjusted for timing shifts), when spending fell slightly from 2009. Defense spending rose only 1.2% on a calendar-adjusted basis, and Medicaid only 0.9%, but Medicare spending rose 3.9% and interest payments by 16.7%.

Government austerity is a myth.
The Obama Administration continues to perpetuate the lie that many groups, including the Occupy Whatever, are buying into: that taxing the rich will go a long way to solving our fiscal problems.

When half of the nation benefits from some form of governmental dole, changes to our national budget is difficult at best. The masses increasingly prefer mediocre to barely sustainable lives. They will certainly vote for the grow-government Democrats. The Republicans are do-nothing fat cats that are unwilling to do the right thing for the nation. They appear oblivious to the slow, self-administered poisons that will relegate America to another fallen republic.

Democrats have no interest is doing what is right for the nation because doing right will remove them from power. Democrats must grow government. Democrats must spend. Democrats must make populous promises it can only dream of realizing.

Republicans have never been able to do what it right because they run on a suite of populous postures of their own. Their debates are unwatchable. The presidential nominee for 2012 will be another Bush 1, Dole, Bush 2 or McCain -- boring, uninspiring and non-conservative.

There is really no hope that America's course to suicide will change. It might be prolonged but it will occur. The system is set-up and perpetuated to grow government. Spending will continue to grow annually. Austerity will never exist by choice.

America as a great nation is history. We are nothing more than a depraved, mediocre nation with limited freedoms. Obama's legacy is firmly written.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Occupy ""Whatever" vs Tea Party

Only a dolt like our inept Vice President Biden could compare the Occupy Wall Street demonstrators to the Tea Party members.

Tea Party members are employed or otherwise contributing members of society. The Occupy "Whatever" participants are not.

Both groups are disgusted with the status quo of the federal government. This could be the Zeitgeist of this present era. Greed rules Wall Street and major corporate hierarchies. Re-election and self-aggrandizement are the norm for politicians.

Obama's Job Bill is a piece of accomplish-nothing rubbish. He is the no-one-is listening-to-you President. When he appears on the radio or TV, I quickly turn the dial or channel. He's nothing more than a lying spin-machine as is his administration.

What is core to Obama administration and the Occupy Whatever groups is their class warfare diatribe. Take all of the unemployed, under-employed, welfare-receiving, union-loving and hate-the-rich jealous voters and you have a critical mass of dolts. It is this class that Obama is counting on.

Protesting symbolizes freedom in society. The irony of what many of these individuals want is the exact opposite of what a free capitalist society provides. The everyone-is-equal-society is pure communist doctrine. Obama and those rich Wall Street types that fund him prefer mass equality -- at a third-world level -- so long as they are in power and living a first-class lifestyle.

Tea Partiers prefer capitalism and freedom it provides. Occupy Whatever prefer communism and its non-freedom.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Is Ignorance At Its Finest

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The undergrad student who does not need to work to support his/her room/board/tuition, the too-much-time-on-his/her-hand grad student, the unemployed MS or PhD apparently have jobs across the nation in a city near you: protest capitalism. I support civil protests, but come on... The latest Occupy Wall Street, etc. protests are Hypocrisy defined.

Few think it good policy to see huge bonuses paid out to investment and banking executives after helping cause the recession and afterward being bailed out by tax payers. There is no doubt there is corruption between big corporations and the government. It has been so from our founding. But to assume that this is the domain of Republicans is idiotic.

The Occupy Wall Street crowd, while claiming on paper "to welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to participate in [its] daily assemblies," is a 100% liberal entity. Its members want four more years of Obamaism. Nevermind that Obama's 2008 campaign was bankrolled by Wall Street and whose 2012 re-election campaign is reliant on Wall Street to an even greater extent, and whose cabinet is filled with Wall Street operatives.

The men and entities behind the protesters are the same cast of characters we have some to despise: George Soros, The Ruckus Society, the Tides Foundation and the Ford Foundation (never bought a Ford, never will).

The protesters are being lead and funded by rich socialists and communists for their personal gain, not to rectify social inequalities. Capitalism is not the issue here, rather the greed and collusion between large corporate leaders and government power brokers -- elected and appointed.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Dream Theater Live Salt Lake City

I have seen Dream Theater on five different occasions. This year's tour was every bit as good as those in the past, if not one of the best.

The A Dramatic Turn of Events CD/album was released in the US a few weeks ago. It has some excellent songs, tunes that are worth hearing and seeing pefformed live. Although we are not familiar with these newer songs, hearing six songs off the new recording plus a drum solo by new drummer Mike Mangini, made for an epic experience.

What I noticed this time around is that Mangini provides much needed energy to their stage presence. As sad as it was to see Portnoy leave, Mangini has turned out to be a fun and talented musician. It has also given Petruci a greater role as he is now the back-up singer.

The setlist on 9/30/11 at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, UT was as follows:

1. Bridges in the Sky
2. These Walls
3. Build Me Up, Break Me Down
4. Endless Sacrifice
5. Drum Solo
6. The Ytse Jam
7. The Silent Man (acoustic)
8. Beneath the Surface (acoustic)
9. The Great Debate
10. On the Backs of Angels
11. Forsaken
12. Through My Words
13. Fatal Tragedy
14. Outcry
15. Under a Glass Moon (encore)

The songs including the acustic numbers coupled with the light show made for a great 2.4 hour performance. There were only two negatives: the long line for DT shirts (so long that I chose not to wait in it) and the warm-up band Trivium.

Dream Theater spans three generations. They have a class that many bands lack. Trivium, despite it metalcore roots, just can't seem to help itself by using foul language on stage. Where it might make sense in one setting (sad to say), it did not work here. My wife and I left after a few songs. Not what we paid our money to hear.

Dream Theater has done it again with a masterful album and tour. Well done guys.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Obama's Bus Tour Is A Non-Listening Tour

When has Barack Obama ever listened? His ego would never accept an idea from anyone other than his liberal peers. This midwestern bus tour is nothing more than an opportunistic presidential bully pulpit.

The thing that a sitting president has over his potential opponents is his record. Because Obama's record is pathetic, he needs to lie and decieve his way out of the mess his liberal, socialistic policies have placed us in. What Obama is trying to do is the only thing he can do: shift blame onto the evil Republicans.

When Obama talks of broken politics, that is code for: "if it weren't for Republicans, I could have MY OWN WAY".

For the most part, I like gridlock. The more gridlock, the less laws get passed. In the recent debt ceiling debate, I would have been perfectly fine with no action.

Modern American politicians, from either party, can only do one thing: create more laws, more programs, and more costs -- more government. The party difference is scope.

These next 15 months will be pure hell for America. We will have to listen to politician after politician make promises that either cannot or should not be kept. The American political process has become the age of populism. It is bad for Latin American and it is bad for the USA.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Consumer Spending, Consumer Saving, Consumer Confidence

Let me start off with a disclaimer: my family is comprised of savers, not spenders. According to the media and economists, we are bad for the economy. They feel that the economy is primiarily driven by consumer spending.

What is it we need to buy? With age, our buying patterns have changed. We really don't need anything. We have a house (paid for), multiple cars (all paid for -- none newer than 2005), furtiture (paid for), clothes (paid for). We spend our money on insurance, food, and utilities. We eat out once a week at a moderately priced restaurant (rarely spending more than $10 per person). We have no credit card debt -- pay it off monthly (credit cards are for convenience, nothing more).

Our biggest expense these days is college tuition. Our three oldest attend state schools. They all work. We cover their tuition; they cover everything else. We disagree with those that believe children are entitled to a free education and do not need to make their own financial contributions.

I have little concern of people's spending patterns. However, from my observations in helping people move or closing up someone's home after a death, people spend money on some really useless things. Some much of this stuff goes in the trash.

We are savers. We would much prefer to save money than spend money on things we really don't need. We always consider the need vs want metric. Rarely to we splurge. Christmas and birthdays are holidays, not occasions to spend excessive money.

We always have had a pessimistic opinion about the financial future. When markets flurish, we are unexpectedly happy. We opt for a year's supply of cash -- the rainy day fund. All purchases are made with cash or credit card that is paid off that month. We do not pay interest.

A headline from today is: "U.S. Consumer Confidence Drops to Three-Decade Low." This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if it forces people to save more and make more prudent buying decisions.

As consumer spending declines, the economy will right-size, if only the government would allow it to.

A decline in consumer spending and confidence is a movement to a more normal baseline. Despite the numbers, I see lots of money being spent today. Movie theaters are full, restaurants busy, athletic ticket sales good, smart phones and pads ubiquitious. We are living pretty comfortable lives.

Where we lack are personal freedom from government opression and moral decadance. Subjects for another time.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Obama's Archaic Government

The so-called debt ceiling bill was nothing more than a waste of time and a fraud upon the American people.

Why would anyone think that this shame of a bill would do anything toward national solvency. Obama clearly knows that it will do nothing. For him, it gave him more time to engage in more stimulus spending, printing more cash (quantitative easement III), and to find ways to attempt to buy votes for his next election.

These politicians are not idiots. They know they are spending money that does not exist. They know they are spending future generations' money. They just don't care. They hate capitalism in favor of power. Consider:
US debt shot up $238 billion to reach 100 percent of GDP after the government's debt ceiling was lifted.
The bill's requirement for a twelve-man committee will be comprised of Washington Congressional insiders -- tax and spend Democrats and RINOs. They will do nothing with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare -- the real budget killers.

Collectively Republicans caved yet again. I am thankful my two Senators (Hatch & Lee) noted NO. I have a Democrat for a Rep (Matheson) and he usually tows the Party line and voted for the bill in the House.

The winners were Washington insiders. Tea Partiers lost big. Americans lost big, even those that will "benefit" from federal handouts -- kept fat, dumb and happy.

After all is said and done, the debt ceiling bill was normal, corrupt Washington politics. Speaker Boehner and Senate Minority Leader McConnell are RINOs despite their rhetoric. They are gutless and let us down.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Debt Ceiling Debate Worst Than a Joke

How many times have we heard the media use the phrase "raise the debt ceiling?" As if that will solve all of our problems and avoid a downgrade.

Do they ever think to ask the question: "where does the money come from to pay these Congressional commitments?" Regardless of what the dolt in the White House says, America has spent beyond its means and the bulk in Congress do not have the desire to solve the real fiscal problems. Raising taxes on the rich is a class warfare tactic and will do nothing to address the spending problem -- the real problem.

Congress has no plans to address the real spending issues, the so-called entitlements.
According to the most recent government data, today some 50.5 million Americans are on Medicaid, 46.5 million are on Medicare, 52 million on Social Security, five million on SSI, 7.5 million on unemployment insurance, and 44.6 million on food stamps and other nutrition programs. Some 24 million get the earned-income tax credit, a cash income supplement.

By 2010 such payments to individuals were 66% of the federal budget, up from 28% in 1965. We now spend $2.1 trillion a year on these redistribution programs, and the 75 million baby boomers are only starting to retire.

None of this includes the ObamaCare entitlement that will place 30 million more Americans on government health rolls.

In three years the debt has increased by more than $4 trillion thanks to stimulus, cash for clunkers, mortgage modification programs, 99 weeks of jobless benefits, record expansions in Medicaid, and more.

Congress has made so many promises to so many Americans that there is no conceivable way those promises can be kept. Tax rates might have to rise to 60%, 70%, even 80% to raise the revenues to finance these promises, but that would be economically ruinous.

Yet Mr. Obama and most Democrats still oppose any serious reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. This insistence on no reform reinforces the notion that our entitlement state is too big to afford but also too big to change politically. This is how a AAA country becomes AA, the first step on the march to Greece.
All of this debt ceiling discussion is a waste of time. Only the Tea Party Reps are making any viable attempt to address our spending problems.

None of the debt plans will do anything to protects the nation's AAA rating. It has taken 75 years but we have finally become a broken socialist state patterned after the Europe we escaped from so many years ago.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Another Code Phrase: Balanced Approach to Debt

What is it we have heard every MSM talking head say about the dept crisis? What is it we hear every Democrat say about raising the debt ceiling? Answer: "we need a balanced approach."

These past few weeks, everytime President Obama talked about the addressing the US's debt crisis, he has said it must included both spending cuts and revenue increases (taxes), his so-called "balanced approach."

Balanced approach is the political answer to the fact that we have two parties and one party cannot have its own way, whether that party is right or not.

I heard a congressional Democrat actually say that a balanced approach is the way real businesses addresses its woes. Here's a man that has never lived in the real world and has never read a book on economics.

Businesses are always trying to increase revenues. They are always weighing the expenses versus revenues equation. When revenues and revenue forecasts are down, expenses must be put in line. Few established businesses actually make new investments -- take out loans to invest in new products. Their cash position may help short term but expenses must always be in line with revenues.

Democrats cannot do anything in government that does not involve higher taxes. They try to disguise it as "just a tax on the wealthy who can and should pay more."

The balanced approach is just another way of saying tax increases.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Taxes Are Now Referred to As Revenue

Subtle but very real, the White House, Democrats and many in the media are now referring to taxes as revenue.

The government increases its revenue by levying taxes. The government does not make or produce anything. It can increase "revenue" by increasing tax rates (the traditional Democrat method) or it can realize additional revenue through economic growth (the traditional Republican method).

When we hear government and revenue in the same sentence, it is almost always code for higher taxes.

If it is not clear now to Americans, Democrats are fighting this debt ceiling battle doing the only thing Democrats can do: demand higher taxes. The problem with its position is that higher taxes always mean higher spending. That's what politicians do, spend money, create programs; Democrats are the superior party at doing this, but Republicans do their share (hence the reference to RINO Republican).

A vote for a Democrat, regardless of how nice a man or woman that politician is, will always favor higher taxes and bigger government. Only a true Republican (today they are called Conservatives) will favor lower taxes and smaller government.

That is what this debt ceiling debate is all about.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fixing American Economy Mandates US Markets Fall Big

For months now, the story is that if Congress does not raise the United States' $14.3 trillion debt limit prior to 2 August, it could have "catastrophic" consequences.

The leaders of our current out-of-control government -- Bernanke, Geitner, Obama, Reid, Pelosi -- are trying to sell us a "necessary" tax increase in order to save the economy. If they had their way, there would be minor sending cuts but only within Republican strongholds; i.e., the military.

America should pay a price for reckless government. Collectively, we elected the dolts and allowed them to spend, tax, borrow to the point of no return. We are at that point.

$14.3 trillion in debt is more than enough. When real men and women find they have lived beyond their means, they don't declare bankruptcy. They do the hard things and reduce spending below their incomes. They sell assets. They downsize. They cut all expenses. We must demand our government do the same.

So what are "catastrophic" consequences? The key markets fall 50%? The result might be catastrophic but if we get our house in order, it will make us stronger as a nation. It will have shown that some politicians can do the right thing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

$4 Trillion in Cuts Plus $1 Trillion in Taxes

In our world of political compromises, the latest attempt to raise the debt ceiling calls for $4 trillion in cuts and $1 trillion in new taxes.

So let me get the straight: there are politicians that want to go on record for increasing taxes $1 trillion?

I really don't see it. I don't see any Republican who hope to keep his/her campaign promises or hopes to run for re-election signing off on this.

In the great poker stakes that this is, I would not cave. I would not vote for this massive tax increase. I wonder how many Republicans will fall for this? Will claim it is the best thing they could do given the politics? Maybe. But when you run on a no-new-taxes campaign, you must stick to your guns.

The bottom line is this country is broke. Even after $4 trillion in cuts over many years, the tax burden will continue to weigh on the economy. We are still talking about raising a debt ceiling. Monetary policies will continue to devalue our currency.

This will be a surgical dressing on a botched surgery.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lower Taxes Drive Economies

The Congressional/Presidential/Fed/Treasury debate over raising the debt ceiling is the very thing that has divided this country from the beginning: the size and scope of government.

The Democrats and current administration favor larger government, hence higher taxes and less personal freedoms. The true Republicans -- not RINOs -- in the form of tea party conservatives and libertarians, believe in small government, hence lower taxes and more personal freedoms.

The Democrats believe that in order to reduce the deficit they need to increase revenues -- directly impose very high taxes on the rich. They only are willing to cut spending as a negotiation tactic. They never want to give up their social programs because it is those programs that keep the masses more and more dependent on the very government they want to control.

Class warfare has served them well so there is no need to stray from the blueprint. They pick on the rich because jealously is easy to manipulate. They do it under the guise of protecting the middle class, because they are the actual voters. All higher taxes even on specific classes impact us all.

-- Higher marginal rates influences incentives in the economy because financial decisions are based on after-tax returns.
-- As tax rates rise, the tax base shrinks and ultimately reduces revenue.

Taxes are stifling to everything except larger government, a government that will ultimately cave in on itself. Payroll taxes, federal income taxes, state income taxes, local/city income taxes, Medicare, Social Security (Ponzi scheme), corporate taxes (a hidden tax we all pay), property taxes, sales taxes, etc. are unrelenting for the producers of society.

Democratic policies are easier to sell because they play on emotions. Most vote on emotion, not on facts and logic. The Obama/Pelosi/Reid plan is to increase taxes. Higher taxes fail every time. They do nothing to shrink the size of government.

This debate is to the core of our ideologies. If anything, taxes need to be decreased. Tax loop-hole eliminated as they are nothing more than the product of American political corruption.

Long-term, America would be best served by not raising the debt ceiling. It would be best served by reducing tax rates, but forcing everyone to share in the burden. It would be best served by eliminate tax loopholes. It would be best served by reducing expenditures across the board. it would be best served if entire departments were done away with -- Energy, Education, Labor, Housing & Urban Development to name four.

It will never happen because politics and want to do things; doing thing requires money; money means higher taxes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Debt Debate Now Racist

Leave it to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, to claim the debate on raising the debt ceiling was being held up by members of Congress because President Obama is black.

Desperate times call for desperate tactics. The racism is call is desperate and offensive. For all of the legitimate racist cries, this one continues the most recent fictitious claims.

Ragarding racist, Obama was born of black father and a white mother who raised him. Obama was raised in a world of the privileged. Bill Clinton was "blacker" than Obama.

Obama is hated because of his politics, not because of his race.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Curse GE and Its CEO

We are are now being lectured by the CEO of the company that paid no federal taxes in 2010. GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt stated:
The people who are part of the business sector, the people in this room, have got to stop complaining about government and get some action underway. There's no excuse today for lack of leadership. The truth is we all need to be part of the solution.
This socialist diatribe and payback from a man that benefited specifically from this Democrat administration.

He attempted to buffer it with some comments about the need for policy changes by Congress and the Obama administration.

The problem with hiring is not because business leaders don't want to hire, they are hesitant because of the inherit risk that this government has laid on every America with its high taxes, growth of debt-ridden entitlements and its incessant regulation and bureaucracy.

The arrogance of these people. I for one will try my best to avoid all things GE, as difficult as that has become.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Do Not Raise the Debt Ceiling

The American people -- those alive today and those that will be alive for the next hundred years -- have been failed by every US Presidency and Congress since WWI. For nearly 100 years, those elected to lead have felt that it is their "duty" to build a bigger, more consuming and controlling government -- by accident or by design. Up until 2001, it was more subtle. Since 9/11/01, politicians continue to fail us, party affiliation aside.

It is clear that the US tax code is designed by politicians to repay supporters and to buy votes within their states or districts. It is broke. There is no justifiable reason that Congress should increase taxes on individuals or businesses in order to help reduce the national debt.

America is broke, regardless of whether Congress raises the debt ceiling. They will raise the debt ceiling with nothing more than IOUs that cannot be honored. Raising the debt ceiling is perpetuating a governmental lie.

How can anyone believe what Geitner, Bernanke, Reed, and Obama say. They are financial and economical dolts, despite their resumes.

Obama has no intent to control the debt. His rhetoric is transparent. He, his party and most politicians cannot stop spending.

The sky is falling. It has already started. Raising the debt ceiling will postpone the inevitable. America is Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain all rolled together.

Obama, his cronies and supportive industrial media complex, are banking on class warfare to get the debt ceiling increased. Just like all multinational corporations are bad except those with boards that are Democratic-leaning, the tax loop-holes they will close for the rich (revenue boosters) are 100% targeted at Republican districts. This money will never be used to reduce the debt.

The debt is a 100% spending problem. I pray my congressional leaders stay focused on spending and do not vote for a revenue:spending bill.

America is broke, let's get on with doing the hard things and cut spending to match revenues. A balanced budget Amendment will never pass. Hence America is a fallen nation. Obama is the the figurehead. It continues to be "entertaining" to watch how he tries to deflect the blame.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Release of Not To Release Bin Laden Death Photos?

The debate over whether or not to release the death photos of Osama bin Laden is interesting. Both sides of the argument have decent points. However, I come down on the side of full disclosure -- the photos should be released.

The key constituency is the American people, not those that already hate America. It is not going to incite additional violence as President Obama claims. If there are 10 million people that want violence against the USA, will these photos somehow double or triple that number?

There is no more real risk that these photographs will inflame Muslim or Arab sensibilities any more than the photographs of the dead Saddam Hussein or his sons did.

These images should not be any more disturbing than any other gruesome photos are. The photos of a few of the others killed in Abbottabad are no less disturbing. Newspapers printed gangster deaths in the 19020s. TV and Hollywood do not hold back from what they show us. How about video games? Come on, the gruesome argument no longer flies (sadly).

Sure, there will be a contingency that will say that the photos are not real, rather a product of Photoshop edits. Some people are conspiracy theorists at heart. No evidence with sway them. God bless them. I am glad they exist. I am not one of them.

Bin Laden is not a trophy. We have already shown that we are not fans of long-lasting triumphalism. I was bored of this story within a half-day. What the photos will help communicate is that bin Laden's end result will be the outcome lesson for all terrorists. The brutality of his death is key to the message.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Obama Admin Spinning Bin Laden Assassination

The killing of global public enemy #1 Osama bin Laden on 1 May is a significant milestone in the on-going global war on terror. The effort and expense that has gone into that manhunt was enormous. Seeing him killed by USA Navy SEALs is a fitting end to an evil man. However, the Obama administration cannot help itself by trying to spin it for political gain.

Here are some questions that we'd like answered...they will be answered eventually:

-- Was bin Laden armed? Did he resist? After hearing two loud helicopters landing, multi-minutes worth of gun fire, a man that was almost always pictured with an automatic rifle, all in a compound with high walls, barbed wire, security cameras, it seems logical that he was.

-- Did he kill himself? Did he want America to get credit for his death or would he have rather taken his own life like many paranoid leaders have done in history?

-- Was there a real gun battle? Did any of our SEAL get hit? Seems reasonable there was a gun battle, just how intense?

-- How did bin Laden's wife get hit in the leg as she tried to interfere, another woman killed in the cross fire, and bin Laden hit with two direct head shots? These are the best in special forces. They killed who they wanted to kill and did not kill who they wanted left alive.

-- How did one of the helicopters crash in a 'vortex' caused by the compound's walls? Seems more likely that it was shot down by an RPG, some other surface-to-air explosive, or damaged in a fire fight.

-- Was the assault video recorded? Of course. There was no blackout. I would guess that every single SEAL has a head camera. It would be dumb if they didn't. Secretary Clinton did not have her hand over her month because of an allergy; it was because of what she was seeing. There was no ~30 blackout during the assault as the CIA Director Panetta was forced to say.

-- What took ~40 minutes? Seems either resistance or what is probable is the collecting of evidence and the bodies they took with them.

-- Dead or alive? Obama chose death because he could not handle bin Laden's Gitmo detention. It would have been better for intelligence if we took him alive. It is better for national positioning if he was gunned down like the dog he was.

-- Buried at sea? This seems to have been the right decision, eliminating the shrine potential. Not saying where in the sea this occurred seem wise also. Obama's people made sure there were proper Muslim witnesses as they went out of their way to make sure the religiously-perverted bin Laden had an Islamic burial.

-- DNA verified? We are lead to believe the DNA testing and verification is a multi-hour if not multi-day event. Sounds like they did it in minutes.

It was a targeted assassination okayed by President Obama. A very tough thing to do for a liberal like him. But it turns out it was the right thing to have done, despite all of the cover-up the administration is in the process of doing.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Public-Sector Unions State of Denial

Ever since Wisconsin Governor Walker stood up against a segment of the Wisconsin public-sector unions, I have tried to figure out what planet I live on.

This battle continued throughout the Midwest and yesterday reared its head in Massachusetts. If Mass cannot support public-sector unions, which state can?

When there is no money, there is no money. What part of that don't these people understand? When public-sector workers and their retired counterparts believe it is their right to get large annual pay raises, continue to get amazing benefits, and be immune from economic downturns, they have clearly demonstrated their ignorance.

Unions do what's right for their selfish needs, anyone not party to this be damned. The unions are all about power, never about right or ethic. Fortunately, liberal policies can only be carried out so far. Money does run out. Spending more does not make things better. Printing more notes is not the panacea. The big government bubble will burst. The result is not a tough time for a few people, it is the ruin of a nation.

Sure, America will still exist, but not as it was founded. Freedom American-style has become a thing of the past.

When we elect people to do what is right and support the will of the people, and they rule as autocrats, we have passed that tipping point.

Public-sector unions are just another bad liberal idea that is helping to bring down this house of cards. America tried democracy for 235 years but it crashed from within.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Obama Admin's Keynesian Policy Failures

The Friday, 4/29/11, main WSJ editorial entitled The Keynesian Growth Discount has nailed my personal beliefs of the financial damage done by this current administration.

1Q11's GDP of 1.8%. Couple this with continuous high unemployment (nearly 9% officially; probably 18% in all). This is clear evidence that the massive government stimulus has done more harm long-term than good. There is little confidence to invest by businesses and consumers because this administration's monetary and fiscal policies are not only unbelievable but clearly erroneous.
First came $168 billion in one-time tax rebates in February 2008 under George W. Bush, then $814 billion more in spending spread over 2009-2010, cash for clunkers, the $8,000 home buyer tax credit, Hamp to prevent home foreclosures, the Detroit auto bailouts, billions for green jobs, a payroll tax cut for 2011, and of course near-zero interest rates for 28 months buttressed by quantitative easing I and II.
With this year's deficits likely to hit over 1.6 trillion, I am sure that the Keynesians out there including BHO think we need to spend yet more...$2T or $3T (aka, print more increasingly devalued notes).

Too many of us have no idea if we will be employed tomorrow. Too many of us see inflation sucking us dry -- we buy gas, groceries, and pay our bills and see prices skyrocketing. Too many of us see our incomes remaining the same or in many cases diminished. We are in the stagflation state and have been for a few months now.

This week while traveling with work in Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, invariably the conversation came to the economy. Not once did one person think the stimulus was good. Not once did one think we needed to pass a failed budget to keep the government "open." Not once did I hear anyone feel that raising the debt ceiling was a good thing.

Obama and most of those that support his policies are blind to what is really happening in America. For most, we have passed that monetary and fiscal tipping point. Unfortunately, the world I work in across the southeastern USA believes that things will continue to get worse before they get better, if at all.

Meanwhile, while the President says it has been a waste of time to address his birth issue, he is off to an Oprah taping. I dislike this man and everything he stands for more than anyone at anytime in my life. He is the new dictionary definitions of phony, failure, con artist, and anti-American. Why anyone swoons over him and his useless wife is beyond me.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Obama Goal #1: Redistribution of Wealth

It has become abundantly clear that President Obama's number one political goal is the redistribution of wealth. Everything he has done, supports and wants to do surround this point. These programs have always been and will always be government theft.

-- Social Security -- legal Ponzi scheme entitlement
-- Obamacare -- non-scalable entitlement for middle class resulting in overall worse coverage
-- Medicare & Medicaid -- medical entitlement for the elderly at the expense for the MDs & hospitals
-- Welfare -- program to help those who cannot or elect not to help themselves. Those on food stamps eat way better than my family and I do. Go to any grocery store in a lower-class neighborhood (try Wal-mart) and watch how the heavy-set gal with a loaded cart pays for her groceries and notice what she is buying versus what you are buying.
-- Taxes -- With about half the nation paying no federal income taxes, there is a growing base of people that want to "sock it to the rich" as that is their "gravy train."
-- Government-backed education -- America's educational system is and will always be a failed effort because 1) it is based on 75 years of failed policies and 2) is driven by unions with a focus on its adult members and not on the children.
-- Public employee unions -- this is just a ridiculous concept perpetrated by a group of arrogant leaders and idiotic members.
-- Agriculture/Energy/Environmental subsidies -- political pork projects based 100% on graft. Instead of funding pet project, the investment should be in R&D (how to make alternative energies scalable and affordable, how to make car get 100 miles per gallon without sacrificing power, etc. -- hard stuff)

When you despise American ingenuity and loath capitalism; when you lack a moral fabric and fail to understand free agency, when you feel government will solve more of life's woes than open markets, you have a socialist in the mold of President Obama.

After a escaping the shackles of British tyranny some 235 years ago, President Obama has done more harm to the America than all his predecessors combined.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

NO to 2011 Budget, NO to Debt Ceiling Increase, No to New Taxes

After Obama's most dishonest speech in modern presidential history, the Republicans should vote NO of the Boehner-Reid 2011 budget. There are no meaningful cuts and they should start over by shutting down the federal government.

Republicans should put everything on the table. This posture of no military cuts on the table is idiotic. Everything in our government is too big, including the the military. Maybe this will force us to end our involvement in these 2.5 military money pits -- Iraq, Afghanistan and Lybia.

Republican leaders seem to think that the MSM is going to somehow love them by "doing the right thing." They never will. There is no history of this. The Republicans need to fight the fight the right way and use the non-MSM as their outlet. They need fight fire with fire. They need to take the upper hand and shove this budget down the Democrat's throats.

The Republicans should not vote to raise the debt ceiling. The Republicans should literally curse Obama on his tax increase desires. Our problem is not on the revenue side but 100% of the spending side (as well as our broke monetary -- print more money -- policy). They can prove that Obama's soak-the-rich tax hikes won't work but it is not worth the effort with the MSM. Too many people dislike the rich and their opinions will not change. They need to focus on right-sizing the government and making sure the government does what it was founded to do 235 years ago. The fact that the average person is forced to turn over 50% of their income (in federal, state, city, country, property, sales taxes) to the government is cause enough.

Message to Republicans: vote NO to the current 2011 Budget proposal; vote NO to the increase in the debt ceiling; vote No to new taxes for anyone.

Fantasy NHL

I just finished my first year of playing fantasy hockey. I joined an 10-team Ohio league with ESPN's Fantasy Hockey. It was a bit different than fantasy NFL and fantasy MLB. The key, besides having skaters that score, assist and have good +/- numbers, and goalies that have wins, saves and few goals allowed, is to have players actually on the ice and in the line-up each day.

ESPN allows you to set your daily lines-ups a week in advance. Because in our league we had a four-man skater bench and two-man goalie bench, it is important to make sure you don't have active players that day sitting on the bench. You also need to make sure your don't have injured guys in your line up. In a ten-man league, there are plenty of viable skaters and goalies option to have on your roster, so there is little reason to keep injured players on your roster.

I finished second in our league. I made the second most roster moves; some guys made none, obviously starting the season but never returning to the site. The guy that won the league was in first place from start to finish. The draft has a great deal to do with your success but more-so it is the injuries you have or do not have. A team that makes very few moves after 82 games and remains in first had a great deal of luck. Other guys that try to manage their team, sometimes have little luck, despite the effort.

Fantasy Hockey -- a fun experience. It really does not take as much time as people claim. 15 minutes a week to play a game is all I spent.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Obama -- Destroyer of Real America

Obama appears to only feel comfortable as a campaigner. A political leader he is not. He is the worst example of a leader I think I have ever seen.

Obama's deficit speech was nothing more than political wrangling. It was 100% geared toward his 2012 re-election campaign. It was positing him as not having anything to do with the the financial mess we have found our nation in. It is still Bush's mess that is perpetuated by the traditional Democrat message of anti-Republicanism "starve the children," "kill the elderly," and "tax the rich."

He has no interest in bi-partisanism. He has no interest in debate. It is his way or no way.

He, along with his congressional cronies, have their interest first and foremost, not what is best for the nation. He is a liar and as egotistical as they come.

He assumes Americans are dumb. Certainly many are -- they could care less about politics and are incapable of understanding simple economics. This is his base. But enough Americans know that his arrogance has run its course.

He has no plan to address our spending and ballooning deficits. He only can criticize the Republican/Ryan plan. The king of "hope and change" says that the Ryan plan will fundamentally change America as we know it. Yes, that is the idea. We are a broken nation with Obama unwilling to lead. The Republicans had better lead. If they don't the past two years of "hope and change" will kill America and relegate it to historical greatness.

Republicans must start by refusing to raise the debt ceiling without massive spending cuts. This government must be shut down and the out-of-control spending must end; not in six months but now.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Moral Responsibility to Care for Oneself

One big difference between Republican and Democrat political foundations is that the Republicans feel that there is a moral responsibility to care for oneself. The Democrat position is that the government will do this for you.

Health care, retirement and job training/preparation/education are primarily the responsibility of the individual, not the government. This is core to Paul Ryan's "A Roadmap for Americas Future" document.

Democrat policies and appeal are there to make more and more people dependent on the government. The more people dependent on the government for their daily bread will enslave more people. These people will always vote Democrat -- they know where their sustenance comes from.

Government's size and roll has spiraled out of control. It is crumbling under its own weight. Democrats, with Obama at the helm, know and encourage this. They have no intent to solve our fiscal and monetary problems.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
Every American has a moral responsibility to care for oneself. This is what makes America great. Anything other than this is the exception, not the rule that the Democrats adhere to.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Unions Equate to Money Laundering Organizations

How long has it been since labor unions actually cared for its members? Fifty years? Seventy-five years?

Today, labor unions exist for one main purpose: to launder money for the Democrat Party. Most other benefits union members receive are minor in importance and significance.

If you are a teacher, city or state employee, employed in certain trades, you often have little choice in belonging to the related union. It is part of your terms of employment.

Unions keep its members by the contracts it negotiates with "management. This despite what it does to the underlying financials. Who cares if the automobile company can make a car people want to buy. Who cares if the tax revenues cannot support the payouts. To these union members, these entitlements are just that, something they should receive as part of their terms of employment regardless of the underlying finances.

It is human nature that if you receive a handout, you get use to it and will get upset if that money flow is disrupted. We see this in labor and public employee unions every day now.

Core to the problem is that too many people are now working for the government and are dependent on the union-supplied cash flow and benefits. They are hooked. There are enough of these people that they will continue to vote themselves pay-raises. This will happen until someone forces a reality check or there is a complete financial meltdown; i.e. government bankruptcy.

Unions were useful a hundred years ago. Today they are money laundering organizations for the Democrat Party.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Protecting the Libyan People Means What?

A month or two ago, Libya was just another insignificant Arab country with some oil and a dictator with at least two crimes committed over a decade ago against America. Now America is leading a "NATO coalition" with warships, missiles, jets and who know what else in a program to "protect the Libyan people".

Today, the all-wise-one stated in San Salvador: "we will continue to support the efforts to protect the Libyan people, but we will not be leading them."

Those people that favor Gadhafi are also Libyan people. He is obviously taking sides. It is okay to kill some Libyans, just the other ones.

A few Libyans, encouraged by their Tunisian and Egyptian neighbors, elected to move on their dictator, hoping he would do what their neighbors' leaders did: abdicate and depart. However, in this case, Gadhafi was able to garner a sufficient group of supporters -- mostly from his tribe -- and fight against those trying to take over. This has been carried out thousands of times in global history.

America elected to spend billions, dedicate military resources and will eventually sacrifice American soldiers' lives to support a bunch of unknowns in a country that is of little concern to America.

Obama's unilaterally decision to go into war is even questioned by some as being in conflict with our Constitution.

In Obama's corner is the idiot John Kerry. The anti-Vietnam dolt is now fully behind the military intervention. He says the goal of the mission in Libya is limited to saving lives, not necessarily getting rid of a tyrant.

If America has a problem with Libya, it is with Gadhafi. America sure goes about addressing a problem in a convoluted and costly manner.

Monday, March 21, 2011

American Military in Libya Is Terrible Policy

What good is going to come from American military involvement in Libya? Getting rid of Moammar Gadhafi seems to be the only logical reason. This "protect the oil" reason seems flawed.

Let's get this right: America is leading a UN-sanctioned military effort to keep the Libyans safe. It was suppose to be a no-fly-zone enforcement effort but they have shown this also includes a no-drive-zone.

Obama wants Gadhafi to step down. Where's he suppose to go? Has Obama given him a palatable exit strategy? Not that we know of.

Who are the rebels? Will the rebels and the eventual leaders be better than Gadhafi? We have no idea.

We are trying to protect the Libyan people. Who are the Libyan people? There are over a hundred tribes, more tribal-oriented than Libyan nationalists. Those that support Gadhafi benefit from his policies. Those on the outside want what the insiders have. If they change positions, who becomes the "bad guys" then.

The cost of foreign wars are always money pits. Missiles/ammo, fuel, war/hazard pay, etc. It does not take long for the bill to reach a billion dollars. And the bill will continue to escalate.

This is America's war, not the UNs or NATOs. Why all of a sudden do these rebels who we don't know, become the focus of our good intentions?

American military involvement in Libya is terrible foreign policy.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Scalped Tickets for Spring Training

Last week, I was working in Florida. I found myself in Ft. Myers on Saturday. I was hoping to take in a Twins Spring Training game.

I arrived at the ballpark about two hours before first pitch. I thought I was late and that the game was ready to start. There were thousands of people there already.

I got to the ticket window -- no line, a bad sign -- and the agent said it was sold out, no standing or outfield seats, no nothing.

Ticket scalpers were everywhere. They were selling tickets in the $60-100 range. For Spring Training? Half the players are minor leaguers. No way would I pay that kind of money for a ticket. I would not pay that kind of money for a regular season game between great teams with top pitchers matching-up.

I thought I liked baseball, a lot, like way more than 99.99% of the people in the country. But apparently not. These were not just blue-haired, snow-birds, but families getting out of the frozen tundra, taking a day off of Disney World.

Recession? What recession. I wonder how many of those present were paying for the trip and tickets on credit cards -- with money they do not have?

I will attend MLB games but will never pay $60 for a ticket. And I definitely will never go to MLB Spring Training games ever again -- in AZ or FL.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Orlando's Airport -- America's Worst

When our children were small, we did Orlando. It was painful then. Going back on business is torture.

Orlando has the things in American culture I detest: forced entertainment, chain hotels and restaurants, and spending money on useless things; e.g., t-
shirts and souvenirs.

The recession has not hit this area that hard. Of the few places I saw boarded up, I would guess the reason was mismanagement rather than lack of customers. There were plenty of people spending money they did not have.

The restaurants were packed. Twice, we waited an hour for a table. This is something my wife and I would have never have done. Thanks goodness for soft seats and my Android phone.

The airport is the worst. It does not cater to business travelers. At best, each terminal has one location with TVs (other than crappy CNN). The one's I saw only served liquor, no food items. They say you can buy food next door and eat it in the bar. But the waitresses don't make any money that way and they let you know that the seats are for paying customers.

An airport during March Madness with no TVs. Ridiculous.

I watched one game in the bar with my next-door food. I still had extra time so I decided to head back to the central hub via the tram system. Guess what? Once you do that, you MUST go back through security. TSA and the security process in Orlando is anal.

Who goes to Orlando? Large families and elderly. Most are not used to traveling. So you are given the opportunity to practice patience.

I dislike Orlando and the glitz that created it. It is hell on Earth that most are willing to pay large sums of money to visit.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization

Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power, and Civilization is one of the most timely and pertinent books I have ever read.

In October of 2010, I attended the third annual WaterSmart Innovations Conference in Las Vegas. At the time, I was working for a company in the irrigation industry. My company helped sponsor the event and I even provided a poster session.

During one of the lunches, I sat next to Steven Solomon. At the time, I did not know he was the keynote speaker. We had an interesting discussion about our industry and what were were doing to help address smart irrigation. Before long, I found out he was an author and had done some extensive research on the role water has played on mankind these past few millennia.

His 500-page book Water, is engaging. It not only provides a great review of global history but it clearly describes the interaction between man and water. The book is broken down into four sections:

-- Water In Ancient History
-- Water and the Ascendancy of the West
-- Water and the Making of the Modern Industrial Society
-- The Age of Scarcity

Successful societies have figured out ways to make water an asset. But for many, the methods used are non-sustaining.

It is the story of the Haves and Have-Nots -- how the Haves tend to get more and the Have-Nots tend to get less. It explores the historical aspect -- the successes and the failures -- and what the future has in store as we strive to keep a balance between:

-- Environmentally sustainable use of water
-- Equitable access to water
-- Efficient use on existing supplies

Because water is directly related to energy, food production and economic development, we can foresee where the economical and political problems lie. The biggest problem areas are China, India and the Middle East. These nations and regions know they have a serious water problem. Some are actively engaged in addressing it. Others have elected to all but ignore it, opting for borderline insane policies.

Fresh water is finite, extremely limited and unevenly distributed. Water is the the new oil. Those societies that are able to create and implement prudent, sustainable policies will be the societies that will flourish in the 21st and 22nd centuries.

Monday, March 07, 2011

iPad and General Authorities

For the past couple of years, I have heard various local Church leaders in multiple locations talk about the "evils" of electronic media being used at Church. Many have the opinion that electronic media is inappropriate for church services, Sunday School, Priesthood, Relief Society, etc.

I can only assume they feel this because by leaving electronic media at home will remove the temptation of using it for non-church-related activities; e.g., texting, checking sport scores, etc.

One could say that the same argument is that if we don't have electronic devices in our homes, we will be less tempted to view "inappropriate" items on the Internet.

This past Sunday, I saw and heard Elder Claudio Roberto Mendes Costa of The Presidency of the Seventy use his iPad during his Sunday a.m. talk in Stake Conference. He called his iPad and iPhone (holding both up) something like his "can't leave home without them" devices. He spoke for 45 minutes without paper scriptures.

Smartphones and tablets provide a wealth of information at our fingertips. Reading scriptures, church books and manuals on these devices will become the norm.

I have read the Book of Mormon a couple of times on my mobile phone. I doubt I will ever return to reading and carrying paper scriptures and class manuals to church. In Sunday School and Priesthood, I find it easier and more efficient to reference materials via my hand-held device.

No longer do we need to guess what a general authority said in a General Conference or what Talmage wrote in Jesus The Christ. We no longer need to guess as to what political or cultural life might have been like 2500 years ago in some obscure location in the Holy Land.

Electronic media has become mainstream, especially when you see a General Authority using them in a Stake Conference.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Unmarried Mothers, Natalie Portman and Mike Huckabee's Message

This week, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a 49-page report entitled Sexual Behavior, Sexual Attraction, and Sexual Identity in the United States: Data from the 2006-2008 National Survey of Family Growth.

The most interesting finding was that the number of young people (15-24) that have never had sex with another person increased to 27 percent of males and 29 percent of females. This is a good trend. The MSM should have launched onto this because this is a good thing.

Contrast this with Hollywood's message: sex at any age, with any one is acceptable.

The MSM went out of its way to make a fool of itself by completely missing the real facts behind Mike Huckabee's comments on out-of-wedlock moms. Morality aside, young unmarried women who elect to have and keep babies (not giving them up for adoption) are a blight on society, the girl and the child. Motherhood is hard; it is real hard for an uneducated, young mother with limited means.

He referenced actress Natalie Portman who is unmarried and carrying a child. She has the means to hire nannies, provide for the upbringing of the child, and can even stay at home as a full-time mother (like that's going to happen). Most young women do not have this luxury. Ever seen MTV's Teen Mom?

The MSM can't stand anything that has religious overtones, even thought it is 100% spot on. Thanks goodness for Mike Huckablee and Michael Medved (who did the interview) for standing by their guns and stating the facts on this important issues.

Friday, March 04, 2011

What Many Don't Understand About LDS Church, BYU and Athletics

It is amazing how much of a national issue Brandon Davies' suspension from BYU's basketball team has been. For the most part, the decision to remove Davies from the team for violating BYU's honor code has been praised nationally. That Honor Code is:

-- Be honest
-- Live a chaste and virtuous life
-- Obey the law and all campus policies
-- Use clean language
-- Respect others
-- Abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse
-- Participate regularly in church services
-- Observe the Dress and Grooming Standards
-- Encourage others in their commitment to comply with the Honor Code

Every students agrees to this as part of his/her admission. Violation of this can result in their dismissal. One does not need to be LDS to attend BYU but every student must agree and abide by this code.

On one hand, it is too bad for Davies that his transgression went public (premarital sex). On the other hand, it has brought national attention to BYU and its honor code.

Ex-BYU student athletes including Danny Ainge, Ty Detmer, and Reno Mahe (who was suspended for the same reason as Davies), among others, have expressed their positive opinions.

This past week, all four Salt Lake City sports talk radio stations covered this honor code topic in depth. As I was radio station surfing, I caught ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd, whom I can't stand listening to, felt BYU needs to
loosen up and join the real world
. He stated that it puts them at a disadvantage in the national picture. Perhaps. But BYU and the LDS Church are not about becoming more mainstream or dropping their standards.

BYU will never drop its standards to become more accepted. It will not play on Sunday's (so what if they cannot play in major athletic conferences). It will support the Church's standards to the best of its abilities. Everyone there is not perfect but everyone tries to do the right thing. If a student, teacher or administrator does not agree with these rules, then BYU is not for them.

Thanks goodness for BYU. I just wish more religious schools (Norte Dame and Boston College to name two large ones) would adhere to their Christian principles principles and help set the bar high. There are Eric Liddell's (Chariots of Fire) out there that practice their faith.

We Mormon's hope we are more than and athlete, businessman, scientist, teacher, rather that we are God-fearing people that are always striving to lead a course of personal righteous, serving our fellow man, and leaving the world a better place for having been here.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

First Amendment & Court Protects 'Hurtful' Speech

Just because certain actions are hateful, hurtful or idiotic does not mean it should be against the law. Only delusional dolts would show up at a funeral with signs that read "God Hates You" and "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

Albert Snyder, the father of Lance Cpl. Matthew Snyder, who lost his life in Iraq in 2006, felt strong enough to sue for emotional damages when some members of the Westboro Baptist Church celebrated the death of this soldier. A Maryland court awarded Mr. Snyder $5 million in damages. the Supreme Court overturned that decision. As sad as that is, the First Amendment protects that right.

I was listening to Mr. Snyder on the radio today. He was very upset over the ruling. I would be also if it were my son. He believes all hateful speech should be against the law. I don't.

But when you start ruling what is allowable speech and what is not, it moves down a very slippery slop. We must accept the bad with the good, as offensive as some speech might be.

The winner this week was not the Westboro Baptist Church. There's nothing wrong being vehemently anti-gay as this church is, but their methods leave must to be desired.

The winner in this case is the Constitution and the First Amendment.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Libyan Tribalism Trumps Nationalism

America ought to realize that for Gadhafi and his followers, Libyan tribalism trumps nationalism. Gadhafi cares more about protecting his and his tribe's power base. He has no problem killing all of his non-tribal countrymen in the process. His "fight to the last man" stance should be heeded.

It bother me to hear about American warships queuing off shore, Marines on stand-by and the establishment of a no-fly zone. If America gets involved by sending in actual troops, striking with missiles or supplying weaponry, then America will become the mutual enemy for most Libyans (and Arabs). The Obama administration, aka America, has everything to lose and nothing to gain by engaging the Gadhafi administration.

America must take a neutral position with respect to these Arab conflicts. It was wrong to get involved in Iraq and was wrong to get involved in Afghanistan. They are money pits, death traps, ruiners of many American families and individual lives, and will never result in the democracies America deems appropriate.

It is not as Farrakhan claims -- that the Jews are pushing the U.S. into war -- but Israel welcomes U.S. military action in the Middle East.

I hope the Obama administration does not make the same mistake in the Middle East as the Bush administration did in Iraq and Afghanistan. Lets stay out of these battles. Let's make every effort to become energy self-sufficient and limit our need to pay for Middle Eastern stability.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Presidential Oath and the Defense of Marriage Act

On the federal level, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) favors traditional marriage. It defines marriage at the federal level, for federal programs. For those that favor same-sex marriage is not about individual rights, rather about gaining societal acceptance. Other legal recognitions are fine and should be left up to the states, but those same-sex unions should not be called marriage. DOMA protects states rights. It is not the federal government's domain.

Last week when U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said that the U.S. Department of Justice will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, he set a terrible precedence. It may not itself be unconstitutional, but it is unprecedented and regrettable.

Refusing to defend this law or any law makes me wonder what Obama is thinking after swearing an oath on the Bible? He said:
"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Article II Section 3 of the Constitution also states that the President "shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed".

I firmly believe that it is the President's duty and responsibility to defend the law of the land. A President does the office a disservice by picking which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore. The exceptions to this are extremely rare.

DOMA protects states from the unintended consequences of radical changes to family law and social policy. Obama and Holder have set a terrible precedence; tossing some significant fuel on their "burn the Constitution" fire.