Friday, December 21, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Debate Is Pure Political Posturing

Come January 1, 2013, taxes will go up on everyone. The President wants this because he a) will have more money, as he claims, to spend on government programs, and b) can blame it on Republicans.

The President's (and the Democrat's) position cannot be clearer: more spending, stimulus, and taxes, and a permanent removal of the debt ceiling limit.

The Republicans are not much better. They are willing to concede most of these things if the tax increases can be disguised as closing deduction loopholes.

When Congress compromises and regardless of how it is spun, the result will be higher taxes for most Americans, fewer jobs, and lower growth and GDP, yielding fewer tax payers and higher debt.

The right thing to do for the country is to extend the Bush tax cuts for all and to do no stimulus spending.

The debate over who is rich and how much they should or should not pay in taxes is political posturing for idiots. The extra revenue from these higher rates will do little to address the deficit.

The fiscal cliff debate is the same old argument just with new words. The Democrats want bigger government -- more taxes and programs to enslave the masses. The Republicans are unable to build a compelling and understandable case for smaller government because they are not committed to the premise. Politicians do not get elected or re-elected, so they think, by shrinking government, rathering by showing their constituencies they did "x" and "y" for their state or district.

Obama will get his recession and he and the media will have success in blaming the Republicans for their desire to protect the most wealthy.

Few mention the elephant in the room: government is too big and individuals and corporations are taxed too high.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gun Control Starts With Fewer Gun-Free Zones

Whether it is Columbine CO, Red Lake MN, Blacksburg VA, Ft. Hood TX, Tuscon AZ, or Newtown, CN (to name just a few of many since 1988), all mass shootings are tragic. The extra tragic nature of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, if that is possible, is the age of the victims.

Leftist groups and politicians across the board are quick to react. Their haste usually results in the wrong conclusions and the wrong legislation that pretends to address a problem knowing full well it will accomplish little.

In America, unlike other nations, we have a Constitution that gives us the right to bear arms. Gun control arguments about whether one really needs to carry a firearm, the merits or limitations of a conceal carry permit, the size of magazines, the calibers of firearms, and types of ammunition, and where one should or should not be allowed to carry, will go on forever. Debate is critical to our republic.

So it makes little difference what the English, Russian or Chinese think about our gun policy. Quite the contrary, whatever they say, we should do the opposite.

Certainly, only a mentally unstable human would shoot another without cause or threat. But even the most troubled mass murderer picks and chooses his victims. They know that many public places are gun-free -- schools, camps, churches, theaters, etc. Since they are predetermined to kill, they know that they will be able to inflict the most damage in places where the likelihood of an armed defense is minimized.

There are excellent examples of where the damage assailants could do was limited by armed people in the area.

Congress will try to do something -- limit the size of magazines or ban semi-automatic assault firearms -- but it will do nothing to stop mass shootings.

Thanks fully, America has an armed populace. Unless the Constitution is changed, the right to bear arms will not change.

If you want to do something about stemming the tide of mass shootings, consider reducing the number of gun-free zones and expanding and improving the conceal carry laws (inter-state transport, better shooting skills and practice, situational awareness training, etc.) The next time a person enters a school to manifest his mental disease, there should be a dozen or more of scared, all be they confident, individuals with their own firearms to minimize the damage on the innocents.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Hamas, Israel and the PR Battle

On the surface, you'd think that Hamas has no leg to stand on. For years now they have been launching random missiles from Gaza into southern Israel. If Israel retaliates, Hamas tries to make it appear that it is the mean bully Israel that has caused all of the despair in Gaza, if not the West Bank. The latest actions are drawing the two parties very close to a hot war.

Hamas, primarily a terrorist group, that was elected to government Gaza, is a failed government. They results after three plus years are poverty, hopelessness, and a large cache of missiles. They unify the people on a continual diatribe of anti-Israel hate.

Over the past month, Hamas has launched over 1000 rockets into Israel. They do so from civilian neighborhoods near mosques, playgrounds, civilian factories, gas stations, etc. Their hope is that an Israel retaliation will hit and kill a child. The resulting PR both within and with the international media has worked for them in the past.

When the Hamas rockets hit and kill Israelis the PR opportunity switches sides.

Every nation has the duty to retaliate for any military incursions into their land. I am shocked that Israel has waited as long as they have to respond with direct hits into Gaza. Israelis seem 100% behind Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

The Israeli call-up of 30,000 reserves and the threat of a ground assault has sparked Egypt’s prime minister, Hisham Qandil (Muslim Brotherhood leader) to push for a cease fire and for a lead at the Arab League table.

We will hear about the imbalance of "war-related" deaths. Three plus years ago it was a 1000 Palestinians to 10-15 Israelis. Today it is 19 to 3

It is the same old story. Israel will forever be the enemy. The Arabs (and Persians) will never accept Israel's existence. It is tough to sympathize with the Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank. Politically they cannot operate on anything other than hate. They refuse to focus on economic growth, education, healthcare, and peace. At some point, Israel will let go with a massive military assault, all but destroying the once-occupied territories of Gaza and West Bank.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Benghazi Disaster, Sex Scandal, and Same Old Obama

President Obama held his first press conference since March. The topics of the day -- fiscal cliff, idiotic generals, and a cover-up greater than Watergate.

How long did the FBI, the State Department and the White House know about the extra-marital sexual relationship between CIA Director Petraeus and his biographer, Paula Broadwell? The chances it was only last week are slim to none. He did break off the relationship four months ago. I wonder what spurred that action? This news coming right after the election was certainly not by chance.

The revelation of this sex scandal, which is rather minor in the big picture, did not come forth at this time by accident. It has diverted the attention of the worthless press from one of the most significant cover-ups in modern history.

The fact that on the anniversary of 9/11, terrorists killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy personnel, including two former Navy SEALs working as security contractors in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration wants us to believe it was just a Muslim reaction to a stupid anti-Mohammad movie was and is offensive.

They picked the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, to be the fall-gal by sending her, not the Secratary of State, to speak on the Sunday morning talk shows on 9/16/12. They tasked her to spew the "insulting video" angle. How insulting.

Fast forward to today and we have made zero progress on revealing what the White House, CIA and State Department knew about the events leading up to and including the actual assault as well as the aftermath of the embassy attack and murders in Benghazi.

The Benghazi cover-up will include Petraeus, Clinton and Obama. This has the potential to being more significant than Watergate. However, it is doubtful the media has the same motivation to tear down this president like they did forty years ago with a Republican in the Oval Office.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Election Results 2012: Thoughts From A Utah Mormon

This time, I got it wrong. Based on historical evidence, given the state of the economy, I thought Mitt Romney would defeat Barack Obama. I felt Romney would win by a landslide in the popular vote and squeak by in the Electoral College. When Romney lost Ohio and Virginia and was behind in Florida, it was clear: America has forever changed.

We are clearly a divided country but that division will forever move left.

Republicans have lost five of the last six popular Presidential elections. This trend will unlikely change. The nation has become a statist nation, where entitlements rule. With more and more people becoming dependent on the government either through welfare programs or employment, little will change this.

Race again played a big role in this year's election. Whites have become a minority in the sense that all other races together surpass whites in numbers -- blacks, Hispanics, Asians, etc. Republicans have not been able to craft conservative messages that will be understood and accepted by these groups.

Statism begets more statism. Those dependent on the state know where their bread comes from -- even if they really don't -- and they will not consciously discard what they believe to be a good thing. That's why the "tax the rich" dogma appeals today and it has for centuries.

America has changed these past four plus decades, and not for the good. Wholesome values and morals are scarce. Self-responsibility and living within one's means, are diminished. Consumerism and the what's-in-it-for-me attitude are the rule.

History clearly has shown us that most great nations are destroyed from within. Obama's remarks during his victory speech may sound good but they are implausible in the country we have allowed him to devolve us into:
It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.
As I read The Book of Mormon this year, I could not help but notice the parallels of those degenerate societies to what we have today.

The premise in Atlas Shrugged is looking rather prophetic.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Election 2012: Doubling-Down On Failed Policies or Not

Four years ago, Obama was all about hope and change. Bush's appeal was limited and his replacement wannabe McCain was a terrible alternative. Now we have four year of failed policies and a government that is so indebted we may never recover.

Obama, like most liberal Democrats, must hid who they are. They cannot run a socialistic campaign. They must use emotion and entitlement rhetoric. They must spin the record. They must lie. Obama has not run on his record, rather has ran on trying to destroy his opponent's character and fabricate his record.

Four years ago, Obama was taking about Bush's failed policies, our national debt, America's image from abroad -- a very centrist approach. Once elected, he tossed all of that out and ran a pure liberal agenda with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They focused on a tax receipts (income) redistribution, and a whole series of debt-increasing/Keynesian spending programs from Cash For Clunkers, crony stimulus programs, payback and unnecessary shovel-ready projects, TARP, bailouts and banking/financial institution restructuring often at the expense of real investors in favor of unions and other insiders, unemployment benefit extensions, massive food stamp promotion and growth, limited-appeal green industry "investment," Federal Reserve-based Quantitative Easing I, II and III, and last but not least, Obamacare (arguably the worst piece of legislation in American history).

Obama and his congressional cronies have no budgets. They just spend and spend, buying indulgences from the ignorant. Telling is how blacks plan on voting this year despite the record. Jason Riley wrote in his op-ed "For Blacks, the Pyrrhic Victory of the Obama Era":
Four years ago, 95% of black voters went for Mr. Obama, and he is likely to win something approaching that percentage in his re-election bid, notwithstanding economic data showing that blacks have lost ground on his watch. When the president assumed office, unemployment was 12.7% for blacks and 7.1% for whites. Today it is 14.3% for blacks and 7% for whites, which means that the black-white employment gap has not merely persisted under Mr. Obama but widened.

No matter. The president's approval rating among African-Americans is pushing 90%, and a Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll last week found that 97% of blacks plan to double down on him in this election.
He has never had any intent to work with Republicans. Remember the "Great Bargain" with Speaker Boehner that did not happen, the Super Committee to avoid automation cuts, his slam-the-Paul Ryan budget and the passing of the Affordable Care Act without due process?

If America re-elects Obama, America will forever be changed. It will become an even greater entitlement society, without morals and personal responsibility, financially insolvent, and ripe for complete destruction, if not anarchy, from within.

I believe the American people will not re-elect Obama. I believe that Romney will be America's next President. But even then, I doubt the founding principles of the American Republic will resonate with the masses in the future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Superstorm Sandy, Preparation and Reaction

It is interesting watching how various people, towns, cities and states deal with natural disasters. With in-your-face TV, radio and Internet coverage, we have an encyclopedia of cause/effect. Whether it is tsunamis in Asia, tornadoes in the heartland, earthquakes along the Pacific Ring of Fire, floods in the Asian sub-continent, famines in Africa, cyclones in the Pacific, or hurricanes in the Atlantic, Mother Nature wreaks its havoc, discriminating against none.

As members of the LDS Church, we have been counciled for decades to prepare for the unexpected, which could be man-made or natural. Food, water, shelter, clothing, power and a plan are core to any emergency preparedness plan. Despite advanced warnings, some prepare, others do not; some heed the advise of the weather and government experts, others ignore it.

We have little control of what happens during a natural disaster. However, we do control what we do prior to ingress of a natural disaster and how we react afterwards. New York and New Jersey residents, for the most part, acted exemplary. Of course the media covers the exceptions.

True character comes to the surface in times like these. How we react to the loss of a home or car, the absence of power or gasoline, the lack or running water and waste disposal, is telling. Some take advantage of those in need, whether it is charging unreasonable prices, issuing blame without full knowledge, or participating in aggressive language and dialog.

In more cases than not, it is those in blue, urban areas who do the biggest complaining. It is those in red areas that realize the government is limited and that it is better to take things into your own hands.

Government has a roll but blaming it for not getting what you think you need is the entitlement mindset of those that favor more and bigger government.

On the eve of a presidential election, those that think the government is the answer to most of our problems will vote for more of the same. Those that realize that the government is not the end-all will for a change.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sunday Store Closing: A Town's Prerogative

This year, Highland, UT residents have a proposition to vote on. Traditional retail commerce is not allowed on Sunday. Stores are closed. Earlier this year, the City Council passed an ordinance to allow Sunday openings. Here's how the referendum reads:
PROPOSITION NUMBER 6
A Referendum Placing Before the Voters of Highland the Issue of Whether to Approve or Reject an Ordinance Allowing Businesses to Operate Seven-Days-a-Week.

On July 17, 2012 the Highland City Council passed Ordinance 2012-12 which removed certain restrictions regarding the days of operation for businesses within Highland. The Ordinance amended the Municipal Code to allow businesses to operate seven-days-a week, except between the hours of midnight and six a.m. A voter desiring to vote in favor of the ordinance which allows businesses to operate seven days a week should mark "For." A voter desiring to vote against the ordinance should mark "Against."

[Here's is what appears on the ballot]

Proposition 6 - Sunday Closing Referendum (Vote for One)
[] For
[] Against
Those for the referendum feel that by not allowing businesses to open on Sunday it impacts their freedom to operate a business. They believe that by allowing commerce on Sunday, more businesses will open, giving residents (and others) more shopping options. They feel it will increase the tax base. They claim they do not wish to impose their values on others, that "to shop or not to shop" is an individual's prerogative, but must be allowed.

Those against the referendum prefer Highland the way it is. Highland is a religious community where the bulk of its residents are LDS. Not shopping on Sunday is integral to obeying the commandment "remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy." If any resident desires to shop, they can drive 3-5 miles east, west and south and find plenty of commerce to indulge their need to buy stuff.

Communities should decide what is in their best interests -- what they want for their image and families. This referendum is about freedom -- the freedom to decide what a community wants.

One can apply the same argument for "Open on Sunday" to many other consumer options. For example, why limit it to traditional retail? If one wants to allow fast food company X to establish a presence on Sunday in the name of freedom, why not allow a business that sells alcohol or one that peddles voyeurism? The answer is that it is up to the community residents to decide its culture. They set the standard.

I have heard people laughing at those against the proposition using the "religious imposing their views on the others" argument. Mormons living their religion want to keep the Sabbath Day holy. They want their community to follow suit. They do not want their children to choose between working for a company that requires some Sunday labor and or not working. Sure the Mormons are imposing their values. They have that prerogative.

In Highland, there are a number of national chains that are open on Sunday in most places but not in Highland -- Wendys, Taco Time, Papa Murphys, Little Caesars. They made it work. Highland is perfectly fine without Sunday retail. It is one of the last bastions of religious observance one can find in a secular nation.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Rage Against America

Unless you are an out-of-touch, just-having-a-good-time, happy-to-get-out-of-bed, a-political American (over half of us qualify), you realize that America has taken a step down in global opinion. This is not about how nice America is, rather the position America has in the world as a global leader.

The current leadership is not one we can be proud of as representing American interest abroad. The foreign leaders that prefer the current, weaken state are our traditional "enemies" -- Russia, China, most Muslim countries, Cuba, Venezuela and other Chavenitsa regiems. A strong US president that a) looks out for American interest #1 and b) provides meaningful aid with strings attached, are typically what America has had in the oval office.

America use to be respected. It use to be feared. It has quickly morphed into a state with a leader and legislature that knows and cares little about foreign affairs. They are hesitant to act in fear that it may offend another. They put others' agendas ahead of our own.

Traditional allies, namely European states and Israel, have less confidence in American resolve to aid in time of crisis. America is not taking firm stands. And if it pretends to, most know that it is just words and little if anything will be done to back up those positions.

The latest attacks on American embassies in the Middle East should be seen as nothing more than acts of war against America. The anti-Mohammad movie is just a catalyst and rallying point. The sovereign status of embassies is ubiquitous. The governments of those nations are responsible for ensuring their safety from attack and mobs. These governments shoulder a big part of the mod-rule blame, failing to maintain civility.

America's roll in encouraging and aiding the so-called democratic process in these nations is a failed policy. The autocratic governments that have existed for decades in most of the Middle Eastern nations has served America well. We knew what we had. We could manage the risk. The proliferation of radical Islam states do not bode well for America. They oppose the freedom we enjoy, even if the results of that freedom are debauchery and paganism.

The rage against America will continue if the voters continue to favor weak, populists politicians. We are being lead by bad parents that hope to indulge their children's desires, even though those desires have negative long-term effects.

When immature leaders lead, they are exploited by other, more savvy and opportunistic nations. America needs a change. It needs to return to a time where American interest are number one, where American might has an element of fear, and where our word is gold.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Chicago Teachers, Unions and Democrat Politicians

As the Chicago Teachers Union continues to strike, the realization is they are arguing with like-minds. And the politicians know this.

Modern unions, any union, benefit its members. They do not benefit the other stakeholders. The Chicago teachers want more money, more guarantees for laid off workers, more benefits, better and more secure pension plans. Wouldn't we all. Though their customers are the students and their parents, the union's concern for them is minimal compared to its concern for its financial well-being.

The Chicago city politicians, all Democrats, do not have the revenue base to meet the union demands, despite one of the highest tax rates in the US. The city offered significant pay raises over the next few years, but it was not enough for the highest paid teachers in the USA. On day three of the strike, the union has only signed off on six of 49 articles within the proposed contract.

Will this go on for a few more days, a few weeks, or more than a month? Who knows. But the union officials and its members will continue to vote for Democrats. They have no choice. Locally, they will find Democrats who give them the best chance for financial gain. The Party is secure though its individual politicians may not be.

When it comes to liberal causes -- labor, environmentalism, morality/sex/marriage, gun control, anti-religion, big business, etc. -- they will only vote for Democrats. They are the bastion for socialism American style -- the great social safety net.

The opposite -- capitalism and Laissez-faire-style policies -- has all but disappeared in America. Work/reward and self-motivation are supplanted by government "help" programs. Republicans, fence-sitters for the most part, offer the only real choice. But the choice is one of major comprise for Libertarians or Constitutionalists.

In our two-party political system, the lines are very clear. Individual politicians may pay a price for a stance, but the parties never will.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Gas Pricings and Vulnerable Tourists in Orlando

The other day, while in Orlando, I needed to fill my rental car up with gas. There are a couple of gas stations on the south side of the airport on Semoran Blvd. that were charging almost twice what the normal rate was in Orlando.

The scary thing was that there were people using those pumps, filling their tanks.

When I noticed this, I could not believe it. Sure enough, right there on the pump, the price per gallon was 2x what the "normal" price should be. I said to the guy next to me, "are you sure you want to pay that price?" He did his own double-check, quickly realized what he was doing, put the pump down and drove off.

Some companies take pride in taking advantage of frazzled tourists returning home after a week of paying Disney's high prices. $6 a gallon of gas when the going rate is less than $4 is exploitative. At least you know Disney is going to take a large portion of your pay check, if not all.

PS: whenever you hear how expensive gas is in Europe, for example, realize that the price of a gallon of gas is about the same as it is everywhere else (not including those nations that subsidize it). The reason for the higher price per gallon at the pump is due to taxes. American taxes -- city, state, federal -- might add around $0.50 per gallon, these other countries add 2x - 10x that amount.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Chick-fil-A, Marriage and the Insanity

There is real insanity in society when a man cannot share his opinion on religion and the role and definition of marriage without a massive counterattack.

When Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy shared his views on marriage during a recent radio program, a few voices were heard: one supporting his right to speak his mind, one who agreed with his opinion, one that did not agree, and one that was just baffling. Cathy said
"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.' I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to redefine what marriage is about."
If it were not for a few activist organizations, it would have gone unnoticed. These opportunists have launched an anit-Chick-fil-A campaign attempting to label them as anti-gay and intimidate other businesspeople into thinking twice before exercising their freedom of speech.
In virtually every culture, marriage is an institution involving a public commitment between a man and a woman. The complementary nature of men and women points to the unique purpose of marriage: to bear and raise children. One can recognize this fact and so conclude that "same-sex marriage" is an oxymoron—without being "anti-gay."
We can agree to disagree. But the insanity is demonstrated by a few lunatic city politicians -- Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee and New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. How they can refuse building permits, operations and expansion in their cities to a company because a senior (Chick-fil-A) executive share a religious opinion is mind-numbing.

It apparently does not matter that no discrimination occurs with the people it employs or the the people it serves. Stupidity is on display in cities across the USA.

Whereas Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day this pas Wednesday was a big hit (record sales), the counter Kiss-in protest was less so. Some protests are miss-aligned. The pro-gay marriage group blew it on this one.

The LDS Chursh's position (and mine) is clear on marriage. From the The Family: A Proclamation to the World:
Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.

The family is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity.
Same-sex attraction aside, most of the discussion around same-sex marriage is really about religion. The liberal diatribe is 100% focused against freedom of speech when that speech does not agree with theirs.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Obama vs. Entrepreneurs

A politician does not make a businessman. Obama was nothing prior to his speech at the 2004 Democrat Convention, merely a community activist and non-practicing lawyer. His business and economic ineptitude is well established. He added another plaque to his wall with his “You Didn’t Get There on Your Own” comments.

Assuming we give him the benefit of the doubt, his comments seemed to be along the line that someone or something helped the entrepreneur, like a road and airplane, a police office that gave him a warning instead of a ticket, a public school teacher that showed up to class most of time, a postage stamp to mail a letter of recommendation.

One does not necessarily need to be super smart to start a business, but one does need a good idea, a competitive advantage, an ability to execute on that idea, some financing, and lots of hard work and long days.

There are some things only a government can do -- military, regulate commerce with foreign nations, establish a uniform rule of naturalization, coin money and deal with counterfeiting, establish post offices, etc. The role of entrepreneur is not one of them. The President pretending he knows what it is like to be an entrepreneur is just pathetic. He is delusional to think that man needs government to succeed.

He would never even consider the fact that entrepreneurs would be even more productive, more people would attempt to start their own business, and that success would be greater if government was less intrusive in the process.

Only a demented person would talk off teleprompter on a topic he knows absolutely nothing about.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Romney Speech Highlights NAACP's True Colors

The media roar has mellowed after Romney's speech at the NAACP convention last week (instead it has opted to hammer him about his work in the private sector.)

The NAACP may have started out as a viable, meaningful organization, but its usefulness for those it claims to aid has all but disappeared.

Most racism in America is kept alive by organizations and leaders who benefit from racism. NAACP is no exception. Having Romney speak at its convention is a sham to begin with. Those members and participants have no intent to consider the policies he and the Republican Party espouse. Obama will still get 90% of the black vote because a) he is black and b) because he promises things they like to hear (which only benefits the black leaders and continues to enslave the black people.)

The NAACP does not represent the mindset of the average black voter. It is nothing more than a liberal entity that benefits from big government spending. It has no intent in solving America's racial inequality problems. Doing so would make them all get real jobs. It only benefits if black people are dependent on government programs.

The programs Romney and non-liberal organizations would like to implement to address healthcare, education and jobs in black communities get booed because they are the opposite of those favored by tax and spend liberal politicians and the organizations they mutually support.

It was a good speech, perhaps Romney's best. The end result was to see the NAACP's true colors as an organization that only desires continued racism, which it helps keep alive.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Unlimited Bailout Authority - Government Overstep

When the Senate passed its disastrous financial grab act in July 2010 known as the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, it did nothing but add massive bureaucracy and certain inefficiency that will create more harm than good.

Like all big government programs, the intent was well-intended but it overstepped the roll of the federal government and what is outlined in the Constitution for it. Consider the following three entities from Dodd-Frank:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) -- an agency that started in July 2011, has a stated purpose of regulating consumer protection in the U.S., namely dealing with credit cards, mortgages, bank products and services, private student loans, and other consumer loan complaints. It is an independent unit located inside and funded by the Federal Reserve, with interim affiliation with the Treasury. There is no Congressional oversight. In other words, they can do what they what, when they want, and there is no real recourse.

Office of Financial Research (OFR) is part of the U.S. Treasury Department. Its intent is to improve the quality of financial data available to policymakers and facilitate more robust and sophisticated analysis of the financial system. The data it collects will be for the express benefit of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.

Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) was established to monitor and ensure the stability of our nation's financial system. The Council is charged with
identifying threats to the financial stability of the United States; promoting market discipline; and responding to emerging risks to the stability of the United States financial system. The Council consists of 10 voting members and 5 nonvoting members and brings together the expertise of federal financial regulators, state regulators, and an insurance expert appointed by the President.
This is an impossible task and bureaucracy personified. All it will do is give the federal government subjective control over whatever they want in the realm of finance and banking. Its meetings will not be open to the public because they will claim they will be discussing confidential items that will prevent destabilizing market speculation.

Every time government expands, all in the name of the public's well-being, it actually means less liberty and greater taxation. Dodd-Frank was no exception.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

He Has Refused to Pass Other Laws for the Accommodation of Large Districts of People

After enjoying another July 4th in this greatest of all nations, I relished in re-reading the Declaration of Independence. It reaffirms itself as the main document that states our unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A divinely inspired text if there ever was one.

As we witness similarities between our modern Presidents and King of Great Britain in the mid-1700s, we see a "history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states." Fact #3 of the Declaration of Independence states:
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
Today, like in colonial times, America has drifted away from a representational form of government to one of special interests driven by large money and its associated bribery.

Many of our elected federal representatives -- House and Senate -- have its constituencies in mind when they vote on laws. However, the voices of the majorities are more often than not ignored in favor of some feel-good policies and related laws that are beyond the scope of government and which are also un-fundable.

The right of representation is a citizen's main voice into government. When that voice cannot be heard, is usurped by legal wrangling or by an Executive that elects to enforce or not enforce the laws as he sees fit, our liberty is greatly demised.

Congress has figured out how to become a lesser branch of government. The three-legged stool that is our Constitutional government is significantly out of balance.

Fact #3 of the Declaration of Independence applies today as it did in the mid-1700s.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train

There are few athletes that can actually live up to the label "hero." Walter Johnson is certainly one.

Born in 1887 in Humboldt, KS, raised in Orange Country, CA, played his minor league ball in the West, and built his Hall of Fame pitching career in Washington DC, arguably without rival.

Barney began with the Washington Senators as a 19 year old in 1907, he spent the next 21 years into 1927 with the Senators throwing one pitch -- one of baseball's greatest fastball.

Washington was rarely competitive in those 21 years, winning the AL title only twice and the World Series once. His .599 winning percentage was only 118th place all-time, however his 417 wins places him in second place all-time behind Cy Young's 511, two records that will never be surpassed. Yet his demand for a trade or his desire to join another team was minimal. He was Nationals baseball for twenty years.

Like most baseball biographies, they are packed full of statistics. "Walter Johnson: Baseball's Big Train" by Henry Thomas, is no exception. Each chapter is basically a year of his professional life sandwiched between his formative and retirement years. However, what is amazing about Walter Johnson is less about baseball and more about quality of character.

By all accounts he was a model son, brother, husband, father, son-in-law, player, teammate, coach, and business partner.

In 1947 Frank Graham wrote "Walter Johnson had all the virtues commonly but not always truthfully attributed to athletic heroes: honesty, decency, dignity, thoughtfulness and a genuine modesty. A simple man, he was, a great man."

As I have read the stories of baseball's inital five inductees into the National Baseball Hall of Fame -- Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson. Without a doubt, Walter is the most compelling and likeable, the one historical sports figure I would love to meet in the afterlife.

Greatness is found in all professions, in all cities, towns and neighborhoods. Walter Johnson will always be a fascinating figure in American history, albeit sporting history.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Freedom Stolen, Evil Reigns

We have lost a great deal of freedom this week in America. We are now closer to a Latin American dictatorship that a Jeffersonian republic.

States are powerless and no longer allowed to protect its citizens from human invasions; amnesty has been granted to nearly a million illegal aliens; and the federal government can now tell you what you must purchase, calling anything they deem to be in the best interest of the nation a necessary tax.

Burdensome taxes are evil. It enslaves everyone -- some that choose to be enslaved and others that are forced against their wills. Taxes stifles mankind.

We read of numerous accounts in the Book of Mormon; e.g., Mosiah 7:16, where the government mandated undue tax burdens upon the people. In all cases, the governments were led by evil men.

America is no exception. America started out as a chosen nation with divinely inspired Founders. Now we are ruled by those that can only get into their political positions through costly campaigns. These campaigns are funded by the rich elite who demand favors in return. Politicians succeed only if they participate in the corruption and conspiracies.

We have witnessed this week how the Constitution is meaningless to many in power. It reaffirms the words of Joseph Smith Jr. who stated that the "time would come when the Constitution and government would hang by a brittle thread and would be ready to fall into other hands".

Evil conspiracies do exist from the street gangs of LA and America's penal systems to the highest levels of corporations and federal government leaders.

From publish discourse: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."

From scripture: We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Thursday, 28 June 2012, was a sad day for America. Not because a few more people are able to have healthcare, but because the federal government has and will continue to take greater control over our lives.

We have less freedom today than we had a couple of days ago.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Obamacare Stands As A Tax

In a surprising ruling, the Supreme Court today upheld the Affordable Care Act. The 5-4 ruling lets stand the Obamacare mandate that requires just about everyone carry health insurance or pay a fine. The ruling calls the fine a tax, allowing the law to escape arguments that it violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution.

This is one that I thought would have been overturned by 5-4 or 6-3. The most surprising thing was that Chief Justice Roberts again sided with the reformist Justice. Roberts will no longer be viewed by conservatives as a originalist Justice. Roberts will forever be grouped with Ginsburg, Sotomayor, Kagan, and Bryer, those believing that it is their lot in life to legislate from the bench.

It was a win for pro-government and socialists. It was a loss for freedom.

For a couple of years now, we have heard from Democrat leaders and President Obama how this was not a tax. The Court today called them all liars. Obamacare is a mandatory payment of money for "medical care" -- a tax. It is arguably the largest tax increase in the history of this country, if not the world. And it is a regressive tax with the middle class being the hardest hit.

Roberts' true character has shown. His statement "because the Constitution permits such a tax, it is not our role to forbid it, or to pass upon its wisdom or fairness" is one made by a coward, not wanting to appear as an "activist."

Add one more thing to the list we are forced to do as the government dictates. This was not about medical coverage rather about the federal government taking more control of our lives.

Like all liberal beliefs, the premise sounds so compassionate -- helping the uninsured obtain health insurance, not denied coverage for preexisting conditions, allowing children to remain on parents' policies until they are 26 -- but they fail to understand a) the cost, b) who pays for it and c) that the government is unable to do anything with any skill, efficiency or quality.

There is nothing in the Constitution that supports the Affordable Care Act. Justices Scalia, Kennedy, Thomas and Alito agree. The Roberts' opinion is wrong. This will be his legacy. It is a shame.

Many will elect to pay the fines in 2014, 2015, 2016, because they will be lower than the premiums. But what happens when the fines are higher than the premiums? The insurance companies will be the tax collector for a few year. The IRS will be the enforcer.

This ruling is another step down the enslavement path. It is a huge step in giving the federal government the ability to tax anything they deem in the best interest of the country. They are now able to dictate anything with our so-called private property.

America lost today. Freedom was lost. The Constitution was trampled upon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Supreme Court Ruling on AZ Immigration Laws

On Monday, the Supreme Court upheld the main issue in the Arizona anti-illegal immigration laws: the ability of local law enforcement to determine the immigration status of anyone they stop or arrest if they have reason to suspect that the individual might be in the country illegally. However, the majority of the Justices rejected measures that would have subjected illegal immigrants to criminal penalties for activities like seeking work.

Arizona passed these laws because the federal government has elected no to enforce the federal laws. The illegal immigrates cause serious financial and criminal issues, costs born mainly by state and local governments.

The White House reacted immediately by refusing to cooperate with AZ law enforcement entities that have taken illegals in custody as a result of not being in the country legally.

Romney responded by trying to cow-tow to the Hispanics by claiming he will try to loosen some restrictions on foreign-worker visas but also leaning toward his form of amnesty.

This Court ruling came as a surprise in that Chief Justice Roberts joined sides with the reformist justices that legislate from the bench.

America lost a bit of its freedom on Monday. It continues to show that the rule of law means little in America. It demonstrates an administration will select to enforce that laws it chooses to enforce and ignore the ones it dislikes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Obama Permitting Young Migrants to Remain in U.S.

Most liberal policies seem to be so compassionate. The premise being that the government needs to help certainly people or causes because it is the "right" thing to do. The latest from Obama calling for policy to allow young illegal immigrants to remain in the USA.

We have hundreds of thousands of people that came into the USA illegally with their parent or guardians. They have attended America schools, read and write English, and by all accounts are integrated into American society. In the mind of many, they are Americans and the federal government's policy should make it official.

The Obama administration picks and chooses which laws it chooses to enforce. The rule of law is selective to this branch of government that is elected to enforce the law, as created by Congress. There was no consultation with Congress. This was unilateral action with political intentions the primary motivator.

The DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors), a legislative proposal introduced in the Senate in 2001 and reintroduced in 2009, 2010 and 2011, would provide conditional permanent residency to certain undocumented individuals of good moral character who graduate from US high schools, arrived in the US as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment. It has not passed. Why? Because it is an amnesty program.

Where these people should be low on the list of immigration enforcement, they are here illegally.
My wife and I, born in the USA to parents (and grandparents) that were born in the USA. We adopted our youngest daughter over twelve years ago from outside the USA. She is turning 16. She would like to get her driving learner's permit. However, after a week of dealing with incompetent Utah DMV personnel, we came to the conclusion (along with some help from others who had a similar experience), that she cannot get a driver's license without a U.S. birth certificate, even though she had a U.S. passport when she came here. We had to spend $500 with an attorney and his paralegal to get this addressed. We needed this because our older children have had to show their birth certificates for various things in life.
How do illegals get driver's licenses? How do they get marriage licenses?

Whereas these young people should be a lower priority for Homeland Security, they will shortly become adults. They will be undocumented adults.

Just because many of these young people are victims of circumstances, the Presidency cannot take this action unless directed by Congress.

Like most liberal actions, it sure seems like a nice thing to do, however the Constitution and the current laws do not endorse this action by President Obama.

Saturday, June 02, 2012

US Economy: The Problem Is the Policies

I wonder how many people continue to believe that we need more "hope and change" policies that have dominated the economy for the past three plus years?

On Friday, the reports were that the American jobs engine stalled in May, with the economy adding just 69,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate climbed to 8.2 percent. This marks more than three years of unemployment at or above 8%, despite an economy that ostensibly emerged from recession in July 2009.

The U.S. Commerce Department lowered its estimate for January-March growth from an initial estimate of 2.2 percent. The downward revision was largely because consumers and governments spent less than first estimated, businesses restocked more slowly, and the U.S. trade deficit grew sharply.

The White House blames the third slowdown of its four-year term on Republicans for blocking the President's policies. "Cash for clunkers," "quantitative easing" I and II, ObamaCare, multiple housing bailouts, Dodd-Frank, and the list goes on. Bush authorized TARP but Democrats were all in favor. Would "cap and trade" and "union card-check" have made things better?

The policy- and law-makers have failed the American people. To say they do not understand economics and what motivates business risk and consumer confidence would be a leap in the wrong direction. Thy understand it, however they know that their base does not. The Democrat base knows mediocrity and and government assistance. The base does not know where jobs come from. They understand the arrogant rich and feel wealth redistribution is a good thing.

Three plus years of Obama and Reid policies will never do anything to change the tides. The past three "summers of discontent" will turn into a "decade of discontent" if Obama is re-elected. Democrat polices have failed in a big way. If Romney cannot defeat Obama on his record, then America will forever become the land of the average and home of the coddled.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Obama's College Loan Interest Strategy

This past week, Obama, the President, was on on road visiting college campuses as a Presidential candidate. He was trying to relive part of his successful 2008 run to the White House by appealing to the youngest voters.

As strategy would have it, back in 2007, the Pelosi Congress cut the interest rate on student loans down to 3.4%. The political kicker was that in the middle of the 2012 campaign, the rate would double. It would, like most government subsidies, become a "they said / we said" discussion that would appeal to the less-than-informed.

Listening to the President, he made it sound like that if Congress did nothing, on 1 July, all outstanding student loans would go up to the new rate. He did not state that it would be for all new government-backed loans. A politician should never miss an opportunity to mislead his constituency.

The problem with most government programs is that they pick winners and losers, at the taxpayer's expense. They could subsidize hamburgers and drive up the demand for hamburgers. Eventually the hamburger subsidy will end and hamburger joints will go out of business. Same thing with government-back student loans. 3.4%, barely above the 3.1% rate the Treasury is paying on the 30-year bond, is a great deal for the individual student but not for the taxpayer.

The problem with student loans, regardless of the interest rate, is students need to re-pay them. With poor job prospects and most starting incomes at rates that fail to enable normal life, the loan default rate is increasing. With the government being the main lender, it will be the taxpayers that will cover the defaults. It is very similar to the housing debacle.

Obama's rhetoric is just that. The problem is that his policies fail to incentivize a critical mass of entrepreneurs and business risk-takers to move the economy forward. You can't "Huey Long" the federal government, despite his best attempts.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Babe Ruth: Life, Times and Some Thoughts

Leigh Monteville's The Big Bam is a good read. Published in 2006, one would question, as he does, as why we need another biography on America's most well-know baseball player? As baseball fans, we all like to step by in time and wonder what it would have been like to have lived during that era. Was George Herman "Babe" Ruth really the greatest?

Babe was almost larger than life. Raised in less-than-ideal circumstances, he lacked a real family experience. His uneducated father seems to have earned his living in bars and taverns. Little is known about his mother. He was molded by his years in St. Mary's Industrial School in Baltimore. When he was through with school, his baseball skills were good enough to get him a job as a pro ball player.

A great pitcher for the Red Sox, he loved to hit. Because he could hit so well, he was able to transition away from pitching to hitting. If he would have stayed a pitcher, he probably would have been a Hall of Famer.

His transition to a position player changed baseball forever. From singles hitters, he introduced the long ball. Timing was good because the ball became tighter and could be hit much harder and further. People thrill in things they cannot do and no one could hit a ball higher and further than Babe. That ability brought him fame. And it was the fame that made him a very unlikable person.

His baseball statistics are undeniable. He was one of if not the best hitter of all time. But his off-the-field life was a disaster.

He was an extremely selfish man. He was a terrible husband, twice. He was a terrible father. He was a terrible friend -- he did not really have any. He was a slave to his vices, namely unhealthy food, alcohol, gambling and women. It appears that he had sex with thousands of women, while married. He only signed balls and visited boys because of a prudent PR man.

Of all of the famous baseball players, he would be low on my list of people I'd like to meet.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Obama Panicing and Posturing Over Court'sPotential Affordable Care Act Ruling

Only hours after the Supreme Court hearing on the Constitutionality of Obama's and the Congressional Democrat's Affordable Care Act, the Obama re-election team is posturing against a potential Supreme Court invalidation of "his baby."

Obama stated yesterday: "I'm confident that the Supreme Court will not take what would be an unprecedented, extraordinary step of overturning a law that was passed by a strong majority of a democratically elected Congress." Unprecedented?

Obviously the Constitutional lawyer has decided that over the past 2oo plus years, the Supreme Court has never invalidated parts or all of countless laws on grounds that they violated the Constitution. Likewise, he seems to have ignored that
all of those laws were passed by a "democratically elected" legislature of some kind, either Congress or in one of the states. And no doubt many of them were passed by "strong" majorities.

As my long-standing Senator Orin Hatch stated:
It must be nice living in a fantasy world where every law you like is constitutional and every Supreme Court decision you don’t is "activist."
The Obama team's reaction is bordering on panic. They will never admit to a law that was rushed through Congress with only hours for the members to read (which they didn't); a law that was and is disliked by the majority; a law that will create a financial nightmare and stifling entitlement; a law that rang unconstitutional from the get-go.

If the Court rules against the Affordable Care Act all or in parts, it will be an anvil around Obama's neck during his re-election bid. Could not happen to a more egotistical human being.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

He Has Forbidden his Governors to Pass Laws of Immediate and Pressing Importance

From the Declaration of Independence, the second "fact" that the then King of Great Britain had a history of "repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States:"
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing Importance, unless suspended in their Operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
The King would not support the laws passed by the colonies or would delay acknowledging them for years.

Replacing King with the name of any modern U.S. President, we have seen how our federal chief executive and his administration have constantly attempted to thwart the efforts and laws of the states to do what is in their best interest. As Jefferson stated, the laws were "neglected in England for years, neither confirming them by his assent, nor annulling them by his negative."

Modern "laws" involve such subjects and debates as immigration, commerce, housing, transportation, military bases, death penalty, assisted suicide, gay marriage and the medicinal use of marijuana.

America was founded on the principle of a small federal government and stronger state governments. American federalism has been inverted by power hungry financiers and large corporations through their support of specific politicians and related movements.

"Fact two" in the Declaration of Independence as to why many British left Britain is present in American society today.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

He Has Refused His Assent to Laws

From the Declaration of Independence, ...the history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

Replace "King of Great Britain" with the name of one of our modern Presidents (Obama being the last of a series of tyrants) and their accomplices in Congress.

Although the claim in the Declaration deals with some of the colonies being required to submit their laws to the King for his approval. This is not what the colonies desired. They did not need the consent of the King.

In America, we know that whatever rights and resulting laws not derived from our Constitution belong to the states.

For decades now we have seen states rights denied and the federal government usurping its defined role.

The 10th Amendment states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

From the Constitutional Party platform (note I am not a current member of this party):
The Constitution delegated few, enumerated powers to the Federal Government, reserving all remaining powers to the States and the people. Thus, powers of the Federal were the exception.

Our federal republic was created by joint action of the several states. It has been gradually perverted into a socialist machine for federal control in the domestic affairs of the states.

The federal government has no authority to mandate policies relating to state education, natural resources, transportation, private business, housing, and health care, ad infinitum.

We call upon the states to reclaim their legitimate role in federal affairs and legislation (See Amendment 10 United States Constitution) and thus cause the federal government to divest itself of operations not authorized by the Constitution and extract the federal government from such enterprises, whether or not they compete with private enterprise.
I agree.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Christy Mathewson -- Gentleman, College Boy, Pitcher

Christopher ... Big Six or Matty ... Mathewson was one of those players in the early 20th Century that was instrumental in the rise of America's past-time. Raised in Northeastern PA, his life was shaped by a kind and religious mother. She insisted on a well-rounded education. She was willing to do anything to make sure her children were educated. She wanted her son to be a minister but Christy's athletic prowess on the football field (kicker) and baseball diamond gave him different opportunities.

Mathewson spent most of his 17 year Hall of Fame pitching career with the New York Giants. He was a workhorse, his numbers were amazing. He pitched over 300 innings 11 seasons. He won 20 games in 13 seasons, 30 or more in 4 seasons. His lifetime ERA was just over two and he won 373 games, tied with Pete Alexander for third all-time.

ERA / W / L / G / IP / SO / BB
2.13 / 373 / 188 / 635 / 4783 / 2502 / 846

He seemed ill-fitted for the New Your City big life. But he adapted. He was great friends with his manager, Hall of Famer John McGraw. The two could not have been more opposite. But together they thrived.

Big Six was a true pitcher, less of a flame thrower. He had great control and a wide assortment of pitches including his curve or drop ball.

After reading the book "Christy Mathewson: A Biography," by Michael Hartley, I grew to appreciate his evolution as a player (he was okay with the bat). He had some real bad games, ones where you don't survive the first inning. But he was able to over come and excel.

After serving his country in Europe in the Chemical Service -- a chemical weapons defense group within the Army -- he inhaled too much poisonous gas. He later developed tuberculosis. That eventually took his life, way too soon. He was only 45.

He is one player that one would love to have on your team. He'll show up and give you 100%. And there are few that were better or will ever be better than Matty.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Honus Wagner - The Flying Dutchman

What can you say about Hans Wagner? Local boy grows up and spends the bulk of his 21 year career playing professional baseball in his home town of Pittsburgh. And what a player he was.

Wagner started playing everything but his eventual Hall of Fame career as one of baseball's greatest short stop -- mainly in the outfield. For 17 consecutive seasons, he hit over .300 with 8 batting titles including 7 out of 9 years straight and a triple crown of H/RBI/Ave (prior to home runs replacing hits).

AVG / G / AB / R / H / HR / RBI / SB
.329 / 2787 / 10427 / 1740 / 3430 / 101 / 1732 / 722

Wagner was known for his stocky and barrel-chested build and his bow-legged. He started with the Louisville Colonels (1897-1899) and after that team folded, spent the next 18 years playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-1917).

He was a home boy, a family man, loving his Carnegie home, living his entire life within a few blocks of where he grew up. He was a perpetual bachelor, not getting married until he was 40. His off-season workouts consisted of playing basketball.

He loved fishing, hunting, his dogs, his cars. He hated spring training. He threatened to quit just about every year but always was in the lineup come early April.

He hated to manage. He was forced into it and lasted 3 games. His Pirates only made it to the World Series twice, winning one and losing one. His numbers were nothing to speak about.

The book, "Honus Wagner: The Life of Baseball's Flying Dutchman," by Arthur Hittner is a decent read. I liked it because it covered every year he played, providing details about specific games, specific plays, pennant races, and general baseball knowledge.

He shared much of his career with two Hall of Famers: the left fielder/manager Fred Clarke and long-time Pirate owner and baseball pioneer Barney Dreyfuss. The on-field action took place in two historic ball parks: Exposition Park and Forbes Field.

Wagner joined Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson as the original five in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Wagner was not only a great player but a great ambassador of the game and seemingly a fine man, one anyone would be proud to have as a friend.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Ty Cobb - My Life in Baseball

Ever since I was a little boy, I have been in awe of Ty Cobb. It was probably due in part to my father and uncles who had heard from their fathers and uncles that Ty was one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His career statistics are stunning:

AVG / G / AB / R / H / PO / A / E / HR / RBI / SB
.367 / 3033 / 11429 / 2245 / 4191 / 6294 / 406 / 274 / 117 / 727 / 892

The farm boy from Narrows, GA (nothing there now), raised in Royston, GA, chose a path his educated and somewhat strict father did not desire for him. Pro sports were not what they are today. A career might just pay the bills. His career almost did not take off. His initial minor league efforts in Augusta were quickly halted by a manager that elected another for his position after a few games. Upon his release, he found a team in Anniston, Alabama in a semi-pro league -- the Southeastern League. He performed admirably. With a little self-promoting and a change of manager in Augusta, was given another chance in the Sally League. Augusta's new manager George Leity had a profound impact on young Cobb. He told him about his great potential but with caution to focus, work hard and to quit goofing around. He took that advice. He moved up in quick fashion.

He played in Detroit 22 years (5 as player/manager) and his 2 final years in Philadelphia under Connie Mack. He succeed in Detroit despite one of the league's weakest and cheapest owners, Frank Navin.

Controversies surrounding Cobb seemed to be a direct result of his toughness, unwillingness to back down, and his extreme competitiveness. He probably had a cocky personality and a different sort of sense of humor. Jealousy by others of his tenacity contributed to his reputation. A dirty player he was not.

Cobb knew how to play the game. He was a student, a journeyman. He knew the fundamentals like no one else. Whether is was bunting, sacrificing, hitting in situations, base running, defending, he knew his craft. He was pretty good at teaching it also.

Cobb was financially very successful, a multimillionaire many times over. His Cobb Memorial Hospital (in memory of his parents) and Ty Cobb Educational Foundation are still operating today. His toughness and his chip-on-his-shoulder demeanor made him great on the field, perhaps not as great off. He died a lonely man, but very accomplished.

In his autobiography, My Life in Baseball -- the True Record, he shared some interesting thoughts on baseball. He was of the Golden Age of Baseball and/or the Dead-Ball Era, long before the home run became the standard. He was a purist, believing in manufacturing runs. He was not a fan of the evolution toward the long ball. I agree with him. Baseball is more enjoyable watching strategy and execution. Many of baseball's true skills have been lost. Few know how to bunt, sacrifice, run the bases, throw to the right base, hit cut-off men, hustle. Those players that shine here are the ones I enjoy and appreciate. The home run hitter is all or nothing, striking out way too often. Baseball has become more selfish, less team focused.

His all-time great lineup, up until he died in 1961 (and he saw Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Mickey Mantel, Ted William, Duke Snider and even Willie Mays), was:

1st Base - George Sisler
2nd Base - Eddie Collins
SS - Honus Wagner
3rd Base - Pie Traynor
Outfielders - Babe Ruth, Joe Jackson and Tris Speaker
Catchers - Ray Schalk & Mickey Cochrane
Pitchers - Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Ed Walsh, Pete Alexander, Eddie Plank, Lefty Grove
Manager - Connie Mack

Tough to argue with this team.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

Along with the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, a visit to the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory is a must for any real baseball fan. The Slugger Factory is the factory that produces the majority of the bats used by Major League Baseball players. Since 1884 (made their first bat either for Pete Browning, Louisville Eclipse or Arlie Latham, St. Louis Browns -- still debatable) and through five generations of Hillerich's they have been producing the wooden bats used in MLB. They produce other baseball items like gloves, aluminum bats, etc., but not in Louisville (mainly in China).

The Hillerich & Bradsby Co. facility in downtown Louisville has four parts open to the public: museum, theater, shop and factory. Only the factory requires a fee ($11 on 2/29/12). The factory is the interesting part. For years they made bats by hand: an electric lathe coupled by a series of hand tools. it took a craftsman 25 minutes to make a bat. They would create the bat mold and make very close replicates. Today, it takes 30 seconds to cut the bat. Add to that the time to finish the bat -- logos and shellac (abut 6-8 difference colors including clear).

Approximately one million wooden bats are made in the factory each year, about 1500 per day in peak season. Only 2 percent of the bats produce are for MLB players. Those bats are made from the finest northern white ash and maple from Pennsylvania and New York. While there, I saw bats being made for one of my favorite players today, Joey Votto from the Cincinnati Reds.

You cannot buy a replica of your favorite player's bat. Those bats are licensed to the players by contract. They sign contacts with the Hillerich & Bradsby Co. while in the minor leagues. The firm pays them $5000 over three years (good money for most minor leagues). They could not pay athletes like Nike does for their names and identities mainly because of the limited market for wooden bats.

I am reading books on the players from the Golden Area of baseball, early 1900s. One such book is the biography of Hans Wagner, Louisville Colonels (1897-1899) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-1917). In 1905, he was the first MLB ball player to endorse a bat. So he can be considered the father of player endorsements of products.

The thing I find most interesting about the bats used by MLB players is that those used in the Golden Era were huge -- 38-40 oz and 37-40" long with thin handles. Today's bats are 31-34 oz and 32-35" long with thin handles. The Golden Era was all about run generation. Today it is all about the long ball. I prefer the former.

If you like baseball and find yourself in the lower Midwest, a stop into the Factory is well worth it.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Politicans That Pick Winners and Losers

The real difference between Democrats and Republicans is not that Democrats see a bigger role of government in the lives of its citizens (as it was at one time), rather it is the program winners and losers they pick.

One one hand, you have the warmongering and drill baby-drill camp while on the other you have the government-run healthcare and church of the environment camp. Both Parties seem to pick their favorite programs and try to pass laws in their favor. Where it really hurts is when they agree on programs and policies that are not based on the Constitution.

The latest is the Nat Gas Act. An attempt by a few in both parties to exploit ample reserves and affordability to speed natural gas adoption throughout the nation. The proponents want the government to subsidize vehicle conversion, service station equipment, and deeper distribution.

Again, those that favor this have a business interest in its success. Laissez faire policies apply when it is in the "best interest of the nation." When it does not, it is pork, strong-arming, and anti-American.

The federal government should not be in the business of picking economic winners and losers. It has no business of subsidizing oil, coal, natural gas, wind, solar, nuclear.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Obama the Puppet Liar

On Thursday, 23 Feb 2012, Daniel Henninger wrote a spot-on commentary in the WSJ: Obama's Virtual Economy.
With his recently announced campaign platform — An Economy Built to Last — President Obama has essentially constructed a virtual economy. Instead of the economy we all live in, he's making one up and inviting us to pretend we are living in it.
Just about every politician is a liar. Obama just happens to be one of the better one's. If you were to put all of Obama's pre-election promises in the left column, and what he has done these past three years, the items on the right hand column most would be opposite.

If Obama can lie his way through November, America will have completed its first major metamorphosis. If someone else gets in, then it will be delayed slightly.

Take your pick, Obama, Santorum or Romney will all be puppets. There is little difference between traditional Democrats and traditional Republicans. The difference is just a matter of scope, but both Parties will take us to the same devolution point.

It has become so very clear is that the as Obama has been the biggest Wall Street puppet to date, Romney will fit nicely. To the power brokers and bankers, their ends will be achieved with either.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Contraception...A New Women's Issue?

This latest trek down the women's right to choose birth control and contraception is a desperate attempt by the Obama media complex to create an issue that does not really exist. When you can't run on your record, you need to run on issue that are made-up.

Birth control can have a broad definition. Simply it is the ability a woman has to control pregnancy. Women have done this for millenia. Whether through abstinence, the rhythm method or some form of man-made contraception, women have the means to control pregnancy. (Note, abortion is not contraception.)

There are some organizations, namely religious sects that do not want its members to use any contraception. The points being let nature take its course and increase its likely followers. Even within religious sects, most women/couples make up their own minds.

As far as I know, the LDS Church has never told its members to not use birth control. Rather the guidance has been to make the decision as a couple through prayer and wisdom. There are certainly couples that elect not to use contraception, but this is their decision. If there is a couple where they are in disagreement, then this couple has other issues that should have been worked out prior to marriage. In my mind, this decision is weighted more on the woman's opinion. The male must provide but a greater burden is placed on the woman to raise, nurture and care for the children.

The whole issue being raised by the Democratic media complex / MSM is an effort to divert attention from Obamacare toward some made-up social issue aimed at labeling conservative and religious Republicans as non-mainstream.

The bottomline is that it is not the government's role to provide healthcare for its citizens. It is not something provided in the Constitution. One cannot force someone to provide a service. Likewise, it is not the government's role to provide contraceptive products -- to use taxpayers money to this end. If private insurance companies want to offer this as part of its healthcare coverage options, that is their right. In this model, the subscribers fund this with their fees.

The Republicans had better nail this head-on, not with an argument about the merits of contraception rather the role the government should play in healthcare.