I love listening to commercials that garuntee that you can “reduce your credit card debt” or “So and so helped me pay off 10 credit cards”.
I have to ask myself. Why do you have 10 credit cards? How did you get $30,000 in debt?
As I like to say. Seriously. My wife and I have a credit/debit card. Our “Credit Line” is what we have in the bank. We had one Credit Card about 11 years ago. But we learned very very quickly that it was a debt we couldn’t afford. We paid off the remaining balance, canceled the account and cut the cards into very very small peices.
Now, I won’t say we don’t have debt. We do. But our debt is more common. Car payment, student loans, bills, that sort of stuff.
The surprising thing to us is, we aren’t really problems in this economy, knock on wood. In fact, the bad economy helps us out. Gas is cheaper for us. In general, the drop in prices are very much beneficial. We don’t have money in the stock market, other than 401ks, so we didn’t loose money there. We’re at least 30 years from needing our 401ks and we’re pretty sure the economy is going to recover by then.
In the final analysis, how we can expect a company survive when they are paying other people’s expenses and only getting maybe 50% of that money back? It’s rather indicative of the state of our economy. Our economy runs on the exchange of money. It stopped being backed by real assets in the 1960’s. Money is an idea, currency is 1’s and 0’s floating around in the banking network. Business is there to make a profit, pure and simple. Why else do you think they are ratcheting up their intrests rates?
Forgive the interest and penalties. Ok, I can understand that, and even support it. But if somebody is going to be foolish enough to spend the “Plastic Money” like a drunken sailor, they need to be held to account. Without the consequences of their own stupidity, they will never learn the fiscal responsibility that is the duty of all Americans to make our markets work.
I mentioned this in a previous comment, so I decided to present my litmus test that anyone who claims to be a “Conservative”.
1. Objectivity – Emotions vary from American to American. What’s good for one person destroys another when based on one groups’ opinion of what should be. A Conservative strives to be objective. He/She sees through the emotional, subjective bull to the issue. They recognize that the only way to make a fair decision is to apply the rule of law regardless of race, nation, or creed.
2. Personal Responsibility – Those who wish to rely upon the largess and charity of others are a drain on the resources of the rest. A Conservative recognizes that they are the only ones that can recognize what is best for him and his family. They reject any notion that others are responsibility for his/her actions and accept whatever consequences arise. With that knowledge, a Conservative knows that, through his own actions, he contributes to society as a whole.
3. Privacy – The intrusion of others into our personal lives leads to the unfair penalization for any actions we take that are not approved by those that are intruding. A Conservative recognizes there is a separation between Public and Private lives. They recognize that once our influence extend beyond our house, or our actions begin affecting others, they are subject to observation and a reasonable amount of scrutiny. A Conservative is also aware enough to protest any unfair intrution and support legislators who establish policies that are acceptable to their views.
4. The role of Government – The larger and more intrusive Government becomes, the more unfair it becomes to the individual. The Conservative recognizes that this is not due to an inherently “evil” government. They acknowledge that it is simply too much for the plate of one body of individuals. They recognize the benefit of the republican (no, not the political party) method of government heirarchy is that it leaves the vast majority of the legislative power in the hands of the local government. They recognize that the lower and more direct the government to it’s governed the more efficent it is to govern. The more “fair” it is to those that share the relatively same points of view and philosophy. They recognize that, while the privacy of the individual is the prime right, government’s only purpose is to adjudicate the actions between two Americans and remains aloof from the actions that one takes that only affects their lives.
5. Belief in a Higher Power – God, Allah, Yahweh, whatever you call him, a Conservative recognizes that there is something special in this universe. Something wonderous that created all men and women equal with equal responsibilities towards themselves and towards others. They realize, and recognize, that belief in a higher power is a unificating force, one that, in non extremists interpretations, imbibes each believer with a natural set of morals and ruler of “correct” behaviour. A Conservative realizes that we are all God’s children, regardless of race, creed or nation. They realize that they, not others, are accountable to their God.
Those are my 5 standards that I judge the actions of anybody by. I think that this represents a good yardstick of what a Conservative is. This can be taken to extremes, into the realm of the Arch-Conservative. All things can.
In the final analysis, we’re all accountable for our actions. The entire purpose of Government is to separate indivdual actions and rights. Government remains aloof in all but the most general issues that affect the nation as a whole.
On my way home tonight, I was listening to my normal talk radio. It was a show that I particularly liked. Listening to him is always fun. Then he threw a bomb on me.
My jaw dropped and I almost had to pull over because I simply couldn’t believe my ears. Illegal Immigrants can no longer be proscecuted for stealing somebody’s identity unless it can be proven that they knew it was somebody else’s.
Needless to say, not another illegal is going to be proscecuted. All they have to do is plead that they didn’t know it was your SSN or credit they were using.
I don’t know. I’m almost literally dumbfounded and speechless. Two thoughts spring to mind. One, they know they are here illegally. Two, they know the identity that they are using is not theirs. Who else is it that has that information? I seriously wouldn’t be surprised to find out that I now work at a steel plant in Pittsburg while I’m picking apples in Washington State.
Yes, I’ve read the opinion and I encourage you to read it for yourselves. I’m talking to one of my friends, a good guy even if he is pretty far left. J/K man.
He brings up some good points that the guy was brought up on the INCORRECT charges.
While, I agree with that opinion, I have to seriously disagree that it was the correct decision. The law in question is 18 U.S.C 1028A(a)(1)
(1) In general.— Whoever, during and in relation to any felony violation enumerated in subsection (c), knowingly transfers, possesses, or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person shall, in addition to the punishment provided for such felony, be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 2 years.
The whole point was niggling around the word “knowlingly”. In my opinion, knowlingly in this context means that the person is aware that the identification they are using isn’t thiers, fake or real.
I agree that this is a poorly written statute. The loophole is there, stupid as it is, it’s there. But seriously, we’re debating semantics here.
I have no problems with Immigrants. They are welcome to the American Dream as any immigrant has been in our country. The problem I have with illegal immigrants (All nationalities) is that they ARE illegal.
I’m not going to get into the facts and figures of the cost of Illegal Immigration on the US. The numbers are there, we’re not going to debate them here. I’m talking about the rule of law here.
I guess this is one place I loose my objectivity. I can’t get over the fact that I’m doing what’s required of me. It’s me that’s doing all I can to follow the law and be a good citizen. I also know that as soon as I step outside the line, I’m nailed. Busted. Forked.
See, I don’t have high priced lawyers to help me out. I don’t have a “minority” group to stand behind me. Us fat white guys are basically screwed, to not put a fine point on it. But that’s another rant.
So yes, it is a moral knee-jerk reaction. Hey, I’m a blogger not a saint. I do my best, and I hope you all know that.
In the final analysis, this blogger can’t help but be a jerk. I can’t help it that I want others to follow the same rule of law that I follow. I can’t help that I want that black lexus that burned my doors off going by me to be stopped when I’m following the speed limit. And I can’t help wanting an illegal immigrant to be as much a part of America as I am.
And that’s what it boils down to on my part. Being brutally honest of myself, I have to admit that I don’t feel as if they contribute to the idea of America. That they don’t devote their lives to making her a better place as the rest of us do. They don’t have a stake in her future. My impression is one of the scavenger. Many times they simply come here, normally paid under the table, and then they send the money back to their families in Mexico.
Is it unfair? Probably, each man has a responsibility to support his family in any means necessary for comfort. But standing in the local Safeway watching a line of people, whom I believe are illegal migrant workers, wiring money back to Guadalajara, makes me fume.
The use of false identification is wrong. It’s unlawful. The sophistry of semantics provide precedence for further cases to base their cases on. This is a slippery slope that the Supreme Court has placed our feets on.
So the question is, what right do they have to the American Dream when they have no stake in it?
Whether we want to admit it or not, religion plays a large part in our lives. I believe even athiests have the occasional qualm about their non-belief, but that’s for another post. Nothing is as important to us, or as subjective as our belief in a higher power. We look out at the world and we feel small.
I’m a believer. Baptist if you want to get precise. I grew up in a little Freewill Baptist church in a little town of about 50 people or so. My religion is strongly biased in that regard. I’d like to believe that I have a very strong connection with God. But, my views have differed from Freewill to the mainstream Baptist, and how that hurts.
I’m one of those that don’t believe that science and theology are at odds with one another. In my view, I see a universe, made by God, for us humans to play with while we learn what we need to in this life. A sort of cosmic Gordian Knot. I don’t see creationism and evolution as being mutually exclusive. Evolution makes to much sense. Then again, the Big Bang makes little. I think that one fills in the gaps left by the other.
As I live my life, I try to be objective in all I do, removing as much emotion and subjectivity from an issue so I can make a well-informed, unbiased opinion. Sometimes this sets me at edge with my beliefs. Religion, in and of itself, is an emotional expirience. Faith doesn’t adhere very well to terms like Logic or Proof. If it did, it wouldn’t be faith. As for me, I KNOW God exists. I have felt him in my heart and seen him working in my life. (Yet another post) I can’t look around this world and just think this was all an accident.
So, I’ve had to rethink my beliefs to really wonder what God has in mind. And, of course, it’s completely subjective. You’re not going to have the same views I do. If you did, it would be a rather boring world. In that rethought, I found myself challenged with a few original epiphanies that went against the grain of the tenants I had grown up with.
One tenant I grew up with, and one that is very prevalent in most religions, is that ours is the only way. As I grew and met others, I thought to myself. Is God going to condemn this great person because they are Jewish? or, Is God going to open heaven’s gates to a peice of scum like this because they say they are Baptists? That rock solid belief of my youth began to give way to the grays of reality. I simply couldn’t believe a God that condemned over 99% of the population of the world because they didn’t attend my church. Or read the Koran. Or worshiping Yahweh in Yiddish.
I came to the realization that God doesn’t care. He doesn’t care by what road you come, only that you come to him. I looked at all the religions I could find and I kept finding a few common threads, baring the extremist elements, of course.
Observation #1 : The easy one, acknowledge there is a higher power. Call him God, Allah, Yahweh, which ever.
Observation #2 : Obey his word and commandments.
Observation #3 : Have Faith in his judgments and actions.
Observation #4 : There is an afterlife, a place of reward for the good and proper believers, and one of punishment for the wicked.
Observation #5 : A believer’s prime job is to recruit converts to following Him.
Yes, I know those are broad generalities, but I believe those are relavent. When all of the world’s religions are boiled down, they are astonishingly similar. Which, in turn, makes our petty fighting over God vs. Allah rather petty.
I don’t know the answers. I wish I did, it would take away alot of my anxiety. If I did, I wouldn’t be writing this blog. I’d be making millions preaching to everybody on world wide television. I don’t think that anybody really knows what awaits us. If they say they do, they are lying to you. That way leads to a world of fanatics and zealots. That way leads to the corruption of all that is holy and sacred. That way doesn’t depend of faith, it depends on fear.
In the final analysis, we’re all family. We sprang from the same bloodline, children of Adam and Eve. I don’t condemn those of another faith. I welcome the thought of other faiths. Think about it. How many people out there think the way that you do? It would make sense to create multiple paths to God. I would seriously be concerned if there wasn’t such diversity in our religious community. One and only one religion leads not only to stagnation, but also corruption of the soul.
Blaise Pascal said it the best in his “Great Wager”. To Paraphrase:
“Is it better to believe that there is a God and die to find there is none and loose nothing? Or is it better to not believe there is a God and die to find out there is and loose everything.”
I think I’ll hedge my bets here.
I’ve begun listening to talk radio. Here in the the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex we have a great station and some great shows. I’m listening to one talking about a good topic. It struck a chord.
They were talking about public schools vs. parochial schools. A very valid question, in my opinion.
Let me begin by pontificating my views of our education system here in America. I believe that a minimum standard of education is a responsibility of the government.
Now before I get skewered, please let me explain. I didn’t say we were entitled to a basic education. I don’t believe in the idea of entitlement. It’s a stupid argument that leads to a slippery slope. I said it’s the responsibility of the government, and by extention us, to provide the basics. It is in the intrest of all of us to have neighbors that are educated. Without that basic knowledge, our standard of living would simply be impossible.
Consider this. How many of our jobs out there do not rely upon a basic education? Perhaps your trade jobs such as welding, car repair, etc… but that’s about it. You can get by with no knowledge other than an appreticeship where you are taught how to do the job.
But, that is quickly getting thrown to the wayside. Electrician used to be an apprentice position, and in many ways still is, but the sheer amount of calculation to get above simply a wire gopher is amazing. Even a job at McDonalds requires at least some basic mathmatics and reading skills. How else are you going to enter an order or count change?
Education is the building block of our society. Without it, very few people would be availible for science, research, architecture, all the stuff that make our lives better. How many people are still alive because of the drugs produced by a well educated scientist?
Now, having said that, what is the place of government in our education system? I’m glad you asked. The proper place of government is certification and funding.
Me and my wife (A teacher) both agree that a public school is the best for our children. Home schooling is good for teaching the values the parent wishes to instill. We believe, however, that the social interaction is necessary for a well rounded individual. But that’s a debate for another day. Government doesn’t need to be setting policy. I simply needs to set criteria all students should meet before recieving a diploma. Provide each public shool with a budget, based upon a standard allocation per student, and stand back.
Allow those students who wish a parochal or private education to recieve the same funding. Ditto for home schooled students. It’s the education that we care about, not who provides that education. If a parent believes that the values the child is imbiming is contrary to what they believe in, they need to have the option to either create or choose an enviroment that suits their views.
Teacher James Corbett just recently lost a lawsuit for an anti-christianity rant. Is that the value you want your child to have? If so, great, they are in the correct enviroment for that. If not, why are we forcing them to drink the cesspool water?
Two reasons present themselves to mind. One is financial. Parochial schools are expensive. I’m trying to find an average cost, but what I’m finding is a range between $4000 to $10,000 a year in tuition alone. That’s a rather large chunk of change for about 60% of the population. A stipend for each student, payable to the school, would ensure that they have the chance to recieve the same education with a value system the parents approve of.
The second reason is pure sloth and apathy. Public schools have become a glorified day care for the parents. A time of relaxation or work that the absence of their children provide. Parents in this category usually don’t have an opinion of what values their child is receiving.
I also believe in self-certification. Why go through years of classroom time, wasting taxpayer money and the student’s time when they are already proficent in that grade level? If they can test out, and prove they are proficent in that area, move them onwards. We should care about the quality of education, not the methods of education. A student sitting in a classroom doodling on the desk because he’s knows the stuff back and forth isn’t learning anything. If nothing else, are we doing more harm than good?
Think about it. If we could self-certify and test out, what doors does that open? If you could find a way to get through the boredom of school by learning enough to test out, wouldn’t you do it? I know I would. Think about the cost savings to us. Just because we’re allocating an education stipend doesn’t mean that the child will use all 12 years of it. If a student could get through the process in 8 years vs the 12 years, assuming about $10,000, we’ve just saved ourselves $40,000. Combined with the sheer numbers that could do the same thing, we’re talking a rather large monetary benefit.
We can also extend that straight through to the college and adult levels. I know right now, that I can’t afford to go to college. It’s not going to happen. I made the choice to support my wife through college so she could learn enough to graduate.
Which means that I’m sitting here with a high school diploma and no prospects of a higher job. The irony of the situation is that my knowledgebase has trippled since I graduated. I know so much more than I did 13 years ago. Why shouldn’t I be given the oppurtunity to learn on my own and test out to earn the degree that will improve my chances at life? Think about it. How many people do you know who are so much smarter than they are on paper? How much could we improve the workforce if they could just get a job?
In the final analysis, I don’t agree with big government, generally. But, here I’ll make an exception. Education isn’t a right or an entitlement, it’s a benefit to us all both domestically and on the world stage. However, we need to watch what we do to encourage that environment. Simple is best. Dish out the funds and establish a set of criteria, and stand out of the way. We’re Americans, we can do anything. The only thing holding us back is ourselves.
Some would call this a report card. I call it an evaluation. Obama, like every other President, is an employee of Americans. He serves at our pleasure. We “hire” or “fire” him in four years. Unless we can recall him sooner. So instead of a student, an employee get’s a review.
I’ll try to make this as neutral and objective as possible. But, I have to warn everybody that I’m completely biased against Obama, so I may grade a little low.
Poise : B+
Obama has a great speaking persona. He comes across smooth and majestic. His easy smiles and cool mannerisms do make him a joy to watch.
When he has the teleprompter.
Yes, a low blow, but look at his performances when he has the oppurtunity to plan his speaches, and compare them to when he has to ad lib responses.
For his dependence on the teleprompter, Obama gets a B+ here.
Domestic Policy : D
I’ll have to admit. This one took some soul searching. On a gut level, I’m convinced Obama is a complete disaster on the domestic front. Not 60 days into office, and the US budget is tripled. Our grandchildren are going to be working to repay this. And most likely their grandchildren.
The only thing positive I can think of is that Obama is involved with the domestic policy. That and he adopted a dog.
Foreign Policy : F-
This one wasn’t even close to being an internal conflict.
Obama has been a disaster on the foreign stage. The “Bow”, Debacles with the British Prime Minister and the Queen of England (Our staunchest allies I might add), the “Apology Tour” of Europe, driving away our new (Pro American) French Prime Minister as an ally, gladhanding a man who has repeatedly spouted anti-american trash, etc… I could go on. If you want the sources, I’m more than willing to hand them over. But I think these have been publicized well enough.
Obama has publicly humiliated us. He has insulted our allies and nurtured those who wish us harm. For that he gets an F- . I don’t know if it exists, but he still gets it.
Connection to the Citizenry : D
Obama shows enough connection to get himself elected.
After that, it completely fails. He has already angered people by pushing the Stimulus Bill. He’s refused to attend the National Prayer Day. He’s shown that he has no compunction to following an agenda that half his “consituency” not only opposes, but most are offended by his actions.
Since he’s representing his fringe beliefs, Obama shows a little connectivity. Just not enough to keep America together. For that he gets a D.
After writing a little further. I realized I definately graded this one to high. I remembered the hijacking of an American Flag Freighter named the Maersk Alabama. I also remember a President who didn’t say a word about the incident. I remember his silence. He desrves an F, but I’ve already given him a D.
Cabinet : F
Obama is simply a man. He can only do so many jobs at one time, wear so many hats. For those he can’t wear he has to invite people of like mind to assist in his dream for America.
Which is worrisome. Obama’s picks for his cabinet have been disasters.
Clinton : Not only was a “reset” button a completely inane prop, Clinton doesn’t have the ability to ensure that the word being used actually means reset. Not “Overcharge”. I, for one, would think that a simple call to a russian language expert, or any russian speaking American, would have saved us from an embarrassing mistake.
Holder : We are a nation of cowards. My blood boiled at this statement. He made it in the context of our inability to tear down the racial barriers and face racism squarely. As if 40 years of integration after the stupidity of segregation wasn’t facing our racial issues. I have my own opinions on the racial divide. You can find it on my blog page page called the Race Card. Refering to an issue that is being fought, and obstructed by things like Affirmative Action, as cowardly is a slap in the face to all of us.
Geithner : $25,970. That’s the amount of money our treasury secretary owed to America (Technically you and me) . From the Wall Street Journal
During the vetting of Mr. Geithner late last year, the Obama transition team discovered the nominee had failed to pay the same taxes for 2001 and 2002. “Upon learning of this error on Nov. 21, 2008, Mr. Geithner immediately submitted payment for tax that would have been due in those years, plus interest,” a transition aide said. The sum totaled $25,970.
Upon learning of his error is a curious statement. Trust me, I’m doing my best to keep the snide comments out of my tone, but it is a chore that is becomming more and more difficult.
Mr. Geithner is a financial expert. He’s ran big banks and federal instituions. I find it hard to believe that he committed an error on his taxes that left him short in a $25,000 debt he owes to all of us.
There is still some question of his ability in managing TARP as well.
Nepalitano : This is probably the hardest one to keep from snickering at. Janet Nepalitano has completely made a fool of herself. I seriously believe that you call a duck a duck. If it quacks you name it for what it is. Renaming “War on Terror” to “Overseas Contingency Operations” is completely insulting. For some reason we are afraid to use the words War and Terror together. This is posturing. Simply put they are sending a message out that this administration is different from the previous administration. For the sake of political advantage, the waters are muddied and no clear message is sent.
Terrorist attacks are nolonger in vogue, they are now Man Caused Disasters. Disasters are things like Katrina hitting New Orleans. The earthquake and resultant tsunami that butchered Phuket. The Alaska Earthquake of 1964, those are disasters. Things outside our control that create wanton loss of life and property.
Crashing planes into a tower isn’t a disaster. That’s an attack. Walking into the middle of a crowded mall and setting off a charge around your waist screaming Allah Ahkbar isn’t a disaster, it’s a murderous sin. Using children to carry hand grenades to our troops isn’t a disaster. It’s an act of terrorism.
Calling them anything other than what they are is insulting. Both to my intelligence, but to those who aren’t here because some psychotic bastards decided that they didn’t like us.
The joke around here is. They aren’t enemy combatatants or terrorists anymore, they are “really really bad men”.
Obama hasn’t just seen fit to embarrass us with his own actions, he’s brought others on board to help him do it. For that he gets an F.
Common Sense and Integrity : F
I hadn’t planned on being this verbose, so I’ve combined these two into one category.
When I was growing up (All 30 years of it) , no meant no. Dad made sure he put the exclamation on my rear when I needed the point emphasized. As I grew up, it became a badge of honor. My word meant something. With my honesty I had power over others. I influenced them because I was trustworthy and my opinion was respected because I talked logically and without bias. I told them my opinions without malice. If I thought they had their heads up their butts, they would laugh, smack me on the head and go on having their heads up their butts. But I was respected for that. I had power.
No earmarks meant just that. I was going to veto any thing that came across my desk that had even one penny of extra fat on it. That’s for me.
For our president, that meant 9,000 separate earmarks. Earmarks to thinks like nature reserves in Hawaii or Broadband to every community in america.
One earmark I can forgive. Perhaps I can even write off 50 or 100 earmarks as simply the cost of doing business in washington. But eagerly signing a bill with 9,000 earmarks, a bill that I’m pretty sure he didn’t read, isn’t wrong, it’s criminal. For that alone, he gets a solid F.
Obama has shown a complete lack of common sense. Flying Air Force One low over a city that flinches everytime it hears a jet engine is irresponsible. Doing it for a photo op is outside the bounds of reason. Forget the cost that little stunt cost us in money, it’s cruel to subject people to the terror of another attack when they lost 3,000 of their own.
Ok, in honesty, I should mention the argument is that Obama didn’t authorize it and the person who did is no longer an employee of the people of the United States of America. I question this. Air Force One is Obama’s personal plane, his fallback point should anything happen and he needs to be moved to safety. He would have had to know exactly where that safe haven was at all times. So he’s either incompetent or lying to us about his role in this. Either option isn’t good.
Overall : D
In the final analysis, I’m giving Obama the benefit of the doubt on this final score. I’m sure he’s done something redeeming that hasn’t been broadcast. Barely four months into his term and , in my opinion, this has been a debacle. Obama doesn’t have the qualifications or the qualities that we need to unite the nation. Perhaps no candidate did, but I think the lesser of two evils was defeated in November.
Thanks America. If this is hope and change? You can keep it.