Memorial Day thoughts….

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on May 29th, 2017 by admin

Today is Memorial Day.  In America that means hot dogs, burgers, the end of school and the beginning of pool season.  It might even mean a mini-vacation and a host of cold libations contrasting the sudden heat of summer.  And that is sad.  Some of you at least attempt to appreciate the intent of the holiday and might fly a flag.  You might go to a parade or visit a local DFW lodge or even visit the gravestone of someone you knew who served.

While these latter items are indeed noteworthy and no doubt appreciated by those so initiated, it still misses the intent of the holiday for me.

To remember is a start, I think the important part of the holiday is not just remembering but it is about reflection.  We must in our hearts contemplate and appreciate those that supported, in many cases with their lives, the ability to enjoy the freedoms we have.  We must honor them and the ideals they held.  We must carry on and defend those that attempt to circumvent, tarnish or destroy those goals of ideological perfection first documented over two hundred years ago.  We must stand guard, stalwart and unwavering to these principals of liberty, of equality, of righteousness.  They are constantly under threat not just with foreign nations both envious and intimidated of our success but internally as well where despotism, greed, injustice and apathy attempt to decompose that which is unequivocally right for that of personal gain.

The founders of this nation were clear in their intent.  We were to be a free nation, comprised of free men and women with minimal governance which was empowered by the people to which it was indebted.  These people were assumed to be devout in terms of their intentions and responsibilities to this nation.  There were not to be burdens placed on individuals that were not expressly and without hesitation condoned by some sort of great power that looked over and protected people.  It was not the government but to God that people owed their freedom through a set of natural laws.  They consummated this deep acceptance in this conviction in a simple bold statement where they “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with inherent and inalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”.  Today we are not governed so with overbearing regulation, rights infringed upon instituted as a means of some better good as envisioned by a set of elitist who no longer serve at the will of the people but empowered nevertheless through coercion, concessions and a camouflage of intent.  As such power is consolidated it is fortified and its foundation difficult to breach.

It is this that the framers did fear as they know man is flawed even if spiritually pure.   The concern was to be mitigated by the concept of not only equal rights in representation (e.g. voting) but also in the alignment and separations of powers.  While the latter was effectively initially, greed, bias and conspiracy loomed large as steps were taken to eliminate these protections of the citizenry and instill a power based unfettered.  This was achieved over time through backroom deals, bribes and deceit as foundations of power, the guards of our freedom, were manipulated and instilled (starting with a non-equitable Supreme Court).  Without the checks and balances of this structure, it became difficult and impossible to guaranteed that original promise that Mr. Jefferson so eloquently penned both in our original declaration but repeatedly for its citizens.  He spoke and pleaded repeatedly that “the principles on which we engaged, of which the charter of our independence is the record, were sanctioned by the laws of our being, and we but obeyed them in pursuing undeviatingly the course they called for. It issued finally in that inestimable state of freedom which alone can ensure to man the enjoyment of his equal rights.”

Today, these rights are not equal.  There is a disproportionate amount that some say favor the rich.  And indeed, those with wealth have some advantages to common life but they fundamentally do not have expressed extensions of rights over other men except in cases where their influence has obtained that via the government.  The poor are said to have less rights and again, this is an exaggerated parable.  It is not less rights they have, it is less wealth, less means to potentially pursue happiness.  Again, this is a morally flawed argument in that wealth does not insure happiness or vice versa.  Happiness today and what was meant 200 years ago are at odds.  Happiness then was the ability to make your own decisions, to be able to change your job, your religion, your place of residence.  It was not about owning an iPhone or being able to take vacations.   The citizens of the past understood and lived under the pretext that they – not the government – were responsible for themselves and hence their happiness.  The level of effort they put into their work, good and bad luck and the willingness to sacrifice when necessary were fundamental to achievement of that goal.  The government – and as an extension its people, did not owe you anything except opportunity.  It was not responsible for you but simply had a responsibility to you.  It had one vision that again, Mr. Jefferson states clearly ‘”The freedom and happiness of man… [are] the sole objects of all legitimate government.”  Today, progressives use these words and others from that period such as “the only orthodox object of the institution of government is to secure the greatest degree of happiness possible to the general mass of those associated under it.” To legitimize their efforts.  Again, the point here is missed (or discarded) by inferring this mass represents numbers solely.  The inclusion of “associated under it” enforces the concept of citizenry in generally.  So, the passage really means simple that the government is there to ensure the principals of all with those principles again being the inalienable rights so enthusiastically adopted by the country.  Any doubt of this should be eliminated by further examination of text by its author “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”  Again, it was a different world and one where expectations and behavior were indeed for the betterment of man, not the betterment of a few men so selected and classified by an unrepresented government.  Jefferson, like many others at that time, including his ideological foe John Adams, agreed that efforts (or government) which tend to restore to man all his natural rights [are] convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.  In other words, contribute to the ideals of the government so it’s protections of your rights remains strong.

Today’s poor do not accept this.  Dependence on the government is now considered a right.  There is no need to work, to contribute to society or any other principal of ethical decency.  As power was consolidated, it decided the winners and losers, not the people.  And, to maintain that power, it has taken to bribing those that ensure their continuance.  The few that resist have become powerless and it is downfall of this nation.  The powerful use weapons of words, guilt and deception to leverage this power.  We reached the tipping point many years ago with Franklin Roosevelt and it blossomed with Presidents such as Lyndon Johnson and Barack Obama.  They each doubled down on this concept.  The Republic was supposed to be able to withstand such things as mob rule but over time these protections have been eroded.

Back to Memorial Day…. So I reflect constantly on the original intent of this nation, its greatness and its empowerment of rights I believe to be self-evident, even if under attack.  So, it is also a day that is critical to establish a bridgehead in our fight to take back the nation.  It is not a simple task as the majority is satisfied with the status that is.  This is no doubt because of the inequities that the progressives have instituted in wealth redistribution, taxes and such where the few, provide for the rich.  Conceptually, this would not be a bad system IF and this is a huge IF, the few that provide for the many had control over the many.  This is not an attempt to institute some form of servitude but simply a reflection on that if we are to take that which belongs on one, they should get something in return for it.  Progressives like to talk about the wealthy benefits one has.  That is fine.  Let them have the benefits.  They earned them.  Others can earn them to.  If I work hard, I deserve the rewards.  This is a lost concept for many that cling to extreme liberalism.  They put little stock into the how.  They simple want part of the result.  They do this to embolden their base.  Take 1 million dollars from a rich person (who can cast only 1 vote) and give a thousand dollars to a thousand people with no strings (but in mass a 1000 votes), you an very well build a base of supporters quickly.  And they have.  As it stands today, 47% of the population pays no income tax. That means, that roughly half of the country is legally stealing from the other half.  This has to stop but the means to do so is difficult with such a voting disadvantage.  However, we have to try and as such I consider it a responsibility to myself, my children and those that gave me this right to start with by their service to this country.

I know…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on March 21st, 2011 by Michael

Geez… my PC is flakey.  I so miss my little Mac.  It will be nice to get home to it.  And having a kitchen.  And sleeping in my own bed.   And watching whatever I want on it.  And picking out different clothes than I have been wearing for almost two weeks.  And, of course, not driving in crazy Houston traffic.

I also am looking forward to going through all of the pictures we took this past week (which sadly, I fear may have a “keep” rate in 20% range based on what I saw) and getting them posted (which may take some time).

And yes, I am looking forward to going to the store and actually hearing English spoken.   I know I am no longer in any majority status in Texas – outside of maybe in the majority of people actually paying taxes so others can live legally and illegally off of the revenue.  But, that is another story….

Sorry I have not posted in a while but not having my computer up and running when the thought hits me generally leads to me doing something else and not coming back to it.  Plus, there really is not that much going on.  And of course, WordPress – the app used for the blogging – keeps getting upgraded and that moves stuff around so I have to go figure out how  to use it all of the time.

Anyway, new POTW coming on Saturday per the usual custom.  I’ll figure out how to do it later from my PC in the event I am out of town again.  Everyone seemed to have a good time outside of the normal meltdowns by the kids.  At least they all have cowboys boots now.  Yes, even me.

I did go in search of an apartment to keep instead of hotelling it all of the time.  However, this area of town is very expensive.  I can’t believe I would almost pay the same as my mortgage for an apartment ¼ the size.  You would think 1000sq ft is big enough but it feels like a closet!  I think that is because 10% of the space is dedicated to closets.  Not sure why that is…  More on that as decisions are made.  At this point, nothing strikes me a perfect.  Good luck trying to figure that out on-line.  Not a review site out that can agree on an apartment complex.  They all have crime, roaches, bitches in the office, barking dogs, loud neighbors, etc.  Argh.

Yes, we did get an ipad2 – in case you were wondering.   MA set it up herself while I was gone.  No, we really didn’t need it but then again, need is so subjective.  If you are in a union, needs include significant income from unnecessary overtime, elaborate pensions, special work rules that stifle productivity enhancement, nominal performance requirements, guaranteed raises, etc.  the rest of us don’t see those as needs but as unnecessary and illegitimate power grabs.  But, that is another story too.

Not too happy about paying so much for gas…I guess Cheney and his big oil friends are back to making tons of money as they manipulate oil prices from the White House.  Oh wait, he is not in the White house any more.  So, I wonder… what could be keeping prices so high?  I know it is not issues in the middle east – we learned that wars with folks like Iraq , which actually pump a lot of oil for the US, are not the cause (it was Cheney, remember?).  therefore, it certainly could not be wars with Libya (which produces next to nothing <2% of the oil) that is driving it up.  I wonder when someone will ask Barack about that and accurse Joe Biden of stockpiling wealth (afterall – BP and other oil giants contributed heavily to their campaign).  No, not holding my breath on that one.  I doubt it will come up  if and when Barack returns from this critical trip to Brazil….  I wonder what he is going to say to the ambassador of Japan upon his return.  Probably nothing.  Pissed off the UK, our strongest ally.  Oh well.  Might as well piss off Japan too – -they have only been our most stable partner in the region.  True ‘nuff, but that too is another story.

BTW, my march madness picks have gotten a lot better after that initial drubbing.  Yes, some ref calls helped….

Whatelse… did you see that moon?  Wish I had had my camera and telescope.  Oh well, I am sure I can see it on youtube or facebook – you know, sources of information these days.  It use to be the media, before they sold out, and then there was Fox News, which is good about 50% of the time.  Of course, both of them went psycho over non stop coverage of nuclear fallout, random bombings and worse yet, Charlie Sheen…..

More later.

Feb is nearly over

Posted in Birthdays, Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on February 26th, 2010 by Michael

So too goes the Olympics, hope for civility in Washington and Max’s baby years.

First thing first. I have not been a big Olympic fan since the commercialization started and the split of the winter and summer games occurred. Plus, they all are about winning not competing and that is sad. You got disputes, you have boycotts, you got your twelve year old gymnasts forced into action by government tyrants, etc.

Of course, you also have the yawn factor. Not many winter sports I actually like outside of bobsledding, ski jumping and curling. I almost like the luge but really think it would be more interesting if they went down head first. I feel bad for the family and friends of the person that was killed in the sport but do not like the fact that they slowed down the course. I agree with I think it was Bill Simmons at SI, that the highest ratings go to Figure Skating since it is one of the few sports both men and women can watch (that would be Women’s figure skating). I mean, the ladies enjoy that pageantry and the guys like the hot chicks. Potato, potato. That all said, I really do not like “sports” that have an artistic component to them. Did I miss that requirement somewhere? I’d love to see that in racing, boxing or football. “yes, ladies and gentlemen, Miles Austin breaks free for a 74 yard touchdown. Normally, 6 points, but he did not high step into the end zone so the judges gave him a one point deduction”. Pa—leeze.

On to other depressing news, the debate on healthcare was a joke. The open forum gave 2x time to the democrats and at the end, instead of “let’s go think about this ” the output was basically, we are going to do what we wanted to do in the first place, thanks for playing… Yep, open to the options! Obama continues to be a joke on this topic “don’t want to get into the numbers”. Well, that is what it is all about.

The Republicans went back and forth from whiny to brilliant (Paul Ryan). The Democrats continued to hold the company line and spew lies about how this is critical RIGHT this second since people are dying. I guess they forgot about the laws of the country that prohibited the denial of service for those in life threatening situations or the existence of Medicaid programs for the poor. Oh, but wait they didn’t since reduction of costs for emergency visits (outside of rationing care, cancelling Medicare Advantage, finding mysterious waste that they have never been able to find, lowering doctor’s reimbursement 22% and of course taxing everyone but unions) is their way of paying for the inclusion of an addition number of people into the system (that is already bankrupt). But don’t worry, the 400K new government employees required to administrate this option will solve that issue. Plus, it will help make the unemployment numbers go down. A win win !!! Now, if they can figure out a way to blame Bush more, it would be the trifecta.

I especially like the Democratic line about how people can not afford insurance because of a lack of competition. Well, then pass laws that allow inter-state options – this is what Republicans are asking for. It is what will enable the free market to work. But no… if successful, that would negate the “emergency” that allows them to “act” and create a public option (or exchange). Yeah, introduction of an anti-trus 800 pound gorilla is competition. BTW, it just dawned on me… public schools vs private schools. Which are seen as superior? Which has what funding model? Hmmm.

Enough of that. It gives me a headache.

This is supposed to be week of my vacation but that was short lived by pressing issues in the work place. However, I did make it out to visit the kids in Hot Springs, Arkansas. During my short tenure, we went to visit the Clinton museum in Little Rock. Not a big fan of Clinton (he gets a lot more credit than he deserves but was at least smart enough to get out of the way when necessary – – listen up Barack), but I do find the history interesting. This one less so than others I have been to but mainly because it was not really history for me. I lived it. Still, I plan on seeing more of them. Thankfully, Texas has the most (or will).

It is amazing how many guards they have there. They could use some of the rooms for Fort Knox overstock. Pleasant people though unless you touch something you are not suppose too – like the carpet in the oval office exhibit (no, not the one pictured to the left – that is in a public space). I get it was the carpet in the White House but still, most of the other carpet in the White House ended up in a dumpster. I really doubt decades from now, that people will be that enchanted with it (“OMG, that is the real carpet from the White House”). And secondly, so it was touched. People – thousands of people (especially those that did favors for Bill) walked on it (this is a PG site). I don’t think touching it is going to harm it in any way – it is CARPET. Of course, that is just my opinion. I don’t get paid six figures by the parks bureau (funded by me through taxation) to make that call however. I’m just glad the federal officer didn’t pull his weapon on us.

The waterfront there in Little Rock is really nice. Probably a great place to spend a spring evening. They even have a free fish and game exhibit area behind some of the restaurants. Really nice. I actually do not mind spending some of my tax money on things like that.

We also took the time to celebrate Max’s 2nd birthday. He is in a new phase of not liking pictures taken (the girls each experienced that as well). So, this will likely be the least represented year of his young life. That said, he warmed up a bit once the sugar from the cake started to take hold.

It was a fire truck theme since he seems to like them (Mackenzie’s favorite truck is the cement truck for those keeping score at home).

We also went to the Wax museum which was not that interesting but it was open (unlike a lot of things in Arkansas in Feb). Then we wondered through the hot springs and various bath houses. Funny what people use to do to themselves in the name of health. I have no doubt the next generation will say the same thing about us and our obsession with exercise. I’m a futurist hence I am already cutting back on that barbaric treatment of my body (though admittedly I have been considering putting a few miles on the bike this week before I have to hit the road again.

I guess that is it for now……….

Good intentions

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on February 26th, 2010 by Michael

Yep, they don’t mean squat when it comes to output as evidenced by both this blog’s meager collection and of course, the state of our government.

I’ve been busy doing the bidding of my economic master this month but lots of these efforts are now starting to wind down. I like being busy but there is a point where you just want to say enough is enough. I frequent that point often. Maybe I am getting lazy in my advanced years. It is pretty damn obvious that I am not getting any wiser.

Speaking of wisdom, I continue to enjoy the hypocrisy of the global warming conspiracy theorists. So, how many conferences – that they JET to with enormous carbon footprints – have been postponed or cancelled due to snow? I know, it is now “climate change” since they can not find evidence to support the global warming and if they do, they have to retract it later when it is learned that documents were not properly maintained, that data collection efforts were suspect and lacking scientific oversight, not to mention validity and/or my favorite, that they based their evidence on a student paper. Don’t see a lot of news coverage about these retractions. I wonder why? Oh yeah, it doesn’t support their end goal and objective. We have had record global warming here in Texas and I have inscrutable evidence.

Don’t worry, I will make time for my trip to Norway next year… And for the record, I am FOR reducing our carbon footprint. I am opposed by the means of forcing one to do it.

Not really sure what else is going on since I have to do this from memory and that is subject to years of attack by natural enemies of the synapses: hops and grapes. Suffice it to say, it was not that important!

I forgot about this one….

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on February 9th, 2010 by Michael

Okay, it is a new year… not sure that will translate into more consistent blogging, but we shall see.  I know this seems like a very simple exercise but there are more challenges in creating this than might appear.  

Of course, there is determining the subject matter.  Outside of what happens outside my world, there is just not a lot of news that occurs on a daily or sometimes weekly basis.  My job is not something I want to blog about and it too is pretty boring to most.  Same old stuff generally; I am just being on a different part of the urgency curve day to day (like now – it is going to get really, really busy this week). The kids do what kids do and unless one of them goes to the hospital (which we hope not, for obvious reasons, and of course, since we changed to a high deductible insurance program…), there are not a lot of things that happen there.  I can pretty much write them now – Meghan is defiant.  Mackenzie whines about something… Meghan taking her doll, having to eat what we eat for dinner, etc.  Max gets pushed down, started his “mine” phase.  He thinks it is funny to be loud.  No one wants to go to bed, Etc.  Outside of then taking care of the house (rearranging, painting, decluttering, etc), that consumes 90% of my waking free time.  I will plug in short movie reviews if and when we ever see any.  As it is, I am sure Netflix loves us since we are not very fast about the turnover process.

Of course, I could write about other things going on… sports or politics.  Both kind of leave me shaking my head.  There is still the rabid press fascination over Tiger Woods – again, don’t care.  Then, you got the Wizard players pulling guns on each other over gambling debts (considering they make millions…. That must have been some bet).  And of course, you got football.  Steelers continue to get questionable calls (hey, not just my opinion, even major news casts have mentioned it – sorry Jim).  You have the college systems flawed with an overabundance of money and bowl games while academically, tuition continues to rise.  BTW, I am for a playoff system.  My proposal:  Top 8 play in four bowls, top two of remaining four go for the national championship hosted at whatever bowl did not participate in the first four.  All games DONE by Jan1 except Championship game, which happens one week later.  Automatic bids go to four conferences only, rotated each year based on previous year’s performance.  Top 8 determined by BCS like system with top four not included in automatic selections getting in (none of this top 14 crap).  Finally, on the Mike Leach thing – all of those involved are acting like a “bunch of pissy little girls” (to quote Burn Notice).  Leach’s ego is too big.  The University AD resents it.  James is a being propped up by his dad from the bully pulpit.  It was all a power play.  Be men, not cowards hiding behind your lawyers.  The bottom line is that Leach will get paid and the University will look like fools.  They got what they wanted – 10 straight bowl games.  They made the deal with the devil (Leach).  I am not sure why they expected to change him (or did they?  They might have simply had their hand forced by James).  I don’t know.  I don’t care.  College athletics has lost its focus.  I’ve blogged about it before.  It certainly is not for the kids and their education.  Please…

I try and not pay too much attention to politics since nothing good is occurring.  Obama continues to champion the demise of America’s standing in the world while pushing hard to move towards socialism.  Now, some of you may support that.  You may agree that the rich have too much and we should simply take it away and give to everyone else.  I’m not one of those people.  I am about individual freedom and accountability.  Those that NEED help should get help.  Those that choose a life that is not conducive to helping themselves?  Well, I feel absolutely NO responsibility to provide for them.  America is great because we can make choices and we can be rewarded for our hard labor.  Those go hand in hand.  Take one away and you take both away.

I also continue to be dismayed by the lack of accountability the media has to us.  Or maybe they think they jobs are really about selling papers and people want to see things, not as they are, but how they want them to be?  Hmmm.  If that is the case, we should label them as entertainment and remove any legal protections they have.  On National Security, he has been a disaster… form the infamous (if you read alternative sources) radical republican terrorist watch list Homeland Security maintains to directive not to prosecute illegal aliens found crossing the border to the latest bombing attempt in Detroit.  Janet is a moron but no one seems to care.  Obama should fire her first and then Eric Holder and of course all of the other loons on his massive White House staff (like the pervert who is suppose to be overseeing our school system).

The swindling of money from TARP (which he takes credit for even though it was not approved by him) to payoff car companies and look for other private industry accounts goes widely undiscussed, though probably illegal.  Cash for clunkers was a mess.  When pressed about government’s ability to do things, he blames everyone else, then says the buck stops with him.  He has the gall to remind people of Katrina over an over again – which was an order of magnitude more challenging  – to deflect blame.   Note: his FEMA team could not even handle frozen roads in Kentucky – look it up.

And of course, the whole health care debacle really gets my goat.  From what I can read – and sorry, I am not lawyer so some of the things written are a challenge to digest – we cover a few more but not all (like it or not), we will encourage companies to drop their existing coverage of employees (cheaper to do so), we will get a ‘non-profit’ government run system that will pay doctors less and hence, drive them from the practice, we will miraculously find and cut all of the waste in medicare (in theory) as well as supplemental programs like Medicare Advantage to make it budget neutral. We will start to tax folks more immediately but not give them benefits for three more years (wasn’t there something about taxing without benefits about 200+ years ago?).  Quite frankly, I am not seeing any positives out of this, outside of the protection against pre-existing conditions.  If that is the case, let the government run a program for those individuals and leave the rest of us alone.  Well, no, help us by passing some real reform, not political speech making reform.  Allow companies to sell across state lines (and not only as part of the a government run alliance).  Implement tort reform (even if it takes most of your campaign funds away).  Create tax incentives for companies and individuals.  You know, do the right thing for the nation, not the large entitlement-voting block that pays for your trips abroad.

BTW, try spending some time in Washington working – not behind closed doors with your ‘advisers’ from unions or democrats – but doing what you are there to do.  I don’t think you really need to be in other parts of the world.  First, we have out own issues.  Second, you just seem to screw things up more.  And third, it is not very environmentally sensitive.  Aren’t you for that?   I thought I saw some press release saying you were…


Again, I could talk about all of that stuff in the blog but it gets me too excited and stress is a silent killer.  And, I am not even an over paid football coach living in Florida…

So, there is the dilemma.  That said, I will try and do better – maybe once a week like the POTW.  That reminds me that I need to pull all of these into a book.   Plus, I have to do the family books and the kids books.  Crap.  When will I find the time?  I just got the kids books done two months ago for 2009 and that was with MA front-loading a lot of them.  At least this is a labor of love, even if it impacts my nap schedule.

 I suppose it is resolution time and I’m not big on that but do appreciate the return to normalcy post the holiday madness.  Obviously, time management is an issue but that might be more around organization.  We have to get the kids into a schedule we can support and that probably will mean dropping some activity towards the end of the year.  I say that not just for us, but for them as well.  I am not going to be one of those parents that have their kid doing something everyday.  Kids have to be kids and while life lessons like competition, etc should be learned early, appreciation for what one has is equally important.

Our treadmill computer went crazy so we have decided to go with a bike to get some exercise.  Hopefully, that will last.  It is easier to do and watch TV or read so maybe it will have staying power.  My goal is 25 miles a week with 5 miles being added each week once I break the seat in.  I know that is not a lot but given what time I have, it is pretty good.  For me, it is more about blood pressure, etc. than weight loss. I know how to do that.  I just don’t like the methods of getting there.  MA has some new Wii things so I am sure that will start up once her heel feels better.  Of course, one day they may finish the park down the street… but that is being run by the government and so I have little hopes they will get phase 2 done any more expediently than they did phase 1, which ran 6 months late.

I’ll probably get more involved in political issues this year, since frankly it is obvious that if we do not take a stand, we will get run over.  I used to be much more passive about the government but then again, it was not eroding at the same pace back then.  Where is the time where the representatives went away with your best interests?  I guess gone.  Now, it is a full time job watching these people.  Hopefully, we will be able to send a positive message to Washington come November.  I hope it is not too late.

Now on the holidays

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on December 16th, 2009 by Michael

It has been a bit since I pounded on the keys. No excuse I guess, just other things have gotten in the way. And by other things, that would be my job, my attendance at swim lessons, my new Macintosh, my hours as photo editor and of course my lazy ass.

All compounded by a mean cold that seemed to take forever to leave me, zycam be damned. Then we had the kids get sick. Fearing the flu – which was an irritant since we had gotten them flu shots – it ended up being strep throat. Then the other two contracted “hand, mouth and foot” disease. That sounds like, but is not like, that malady that horses get. This appears to be a common disease for kids in public forums (daycare, etc). You get a fever and sores on your — surprise — hands, feet and mouth. Goes away in a few days. We are totally not surprised since Meghan will put anything in her mouth and her mouth on anything. We are walking Clorox wipe sample providers now.

All of that has caused a bevy of sleepless nights. Mostly, for MA since Max is pretty much a momma’s boy, even if his favorite word is ‘daddy’. All of this has caused disruption in our healthy eating plans, exercise routines and subsequently, the boulder continues downhill to a lack of energy and lost motivation by one and all. Ergo, I have suffered a bad case of LAS (lazy ass syndrome).

One could only hope that for the marketing machine of the democratic dumbasses who are working overtime in trying to discredit, misrepresent and otherwise, push through, without regard for the wishes of or wellbeing of our nation, bills that negatively impact our livelihoods and those of future generations. Of course, I give Obama a pass on this since he is actually on foreign soil and NOT apologizing. Of course, he continues his “you shouldn’t have but gimme” approach to governance while picking up this political and recently worthless award in Oslo. He continues to lie about almost everything but he is, a politician afterall… At least he and Joe Biden are in agreement that if they do not pass healthcare now, it will not get passed. Kind of makes you wonder why you want to push something that you know most people do not want and would not allow if they had the chance (which they will in 2010). Kind of makes you wonder why you have Harry Reid breaking the law of congress to change debating rules. That is rhetorical since we all know it is an ideological issue…. Got to create dependencies and secure future votes. And of course, claim credit. Obama is desperate to be able to claim something for this State of the Union address… So far, it has been all press conferences. At least his people have backed off selling this country for manufactured air credits…. That will probably start back up in January. Not sure how that will be Bush’s fault, but you know it will be.

Just to remind folks, I’m pretty green. Probably more so that most of you – damn sure more so that Al – burn more carbon than most cities – Gore. I remain conflicted on global warming given the appearance of credible data – but less than credible sources – on both sides. Who do you believe? I am not sure. The whack jobs on the left have given me NO reason to believe anything they have to say with damning inconsistency in their message and suspicious data. The nuts on the right seem more concerned with interpretive challenges versus acknowledgement that there is potentially a problem. Given their ostrich approach, can I believe they would be forthcoming if the data supported it? I doubt it. Frankly, I do not have the time (who does?) to go try to separate the lies from the liars. That said, replace your light bulbs, keep lights off when not needed, unplug devices that are not needed, buy a hybrid if you can justify it, recycle where you can, put in energy savings constructs in your home and wear a sweater in the winter (stylish and cost savings benefits). Best of all, please write (on recycled paper if you have it) to your representatives and ask them not to tax the crap out of me to finance some dictator’s regime in the rainforest. That’s important you know because there is unprecedented global warming going on – really, I read it so it must be true. Max is prepared. Get ready for that Nebraska beachfront property in 2017.

This brings me to more debate – Tiger Woods. First, not sure why it is that important and dominating to the news. Yes, his decision to take a break from the game is news that transcends sports (huge hits coming to charities…like him or not, there are lots of people who will suffer while he sits this out). However, whether or not he boinked a few (or few dozen) women just doesn’t register with me. Given his popularity and the absolute circus around him as he travels, I’d be surprised if he didn’t step out (though, let’s face it, Elin’s a totally hottie). Anyway, you got groupies and you got superstar groupies. Self respect vs stardom. Guess which wins ? Couple this with the fact that he has lead a pretty sheltered life and now has those control points released with nominal ramifications, is anyone surprised he explored his wild side? Ask Todd Marinovich. Ask Magic Johnson. Ask Jim Nantz. Ask half the rock stars alive today. I mean, if Steve Tyler can get hooked up, you KNOW it happens. It is not right (to me) but it happens. Of course, we are ALL overlying some sort of moral standard on him (that he might not share) and we are ALL assuming facts not in evidence. Who knows what arrangement he had with Elin? Was this a marriage of convenience like Michael Jackson had ? I have no clue and I don’t care. Do I feel bad for Elin? Sort of. I would probably have cared more if she was not open to refinancing their prenup. If it is all about the money, then what does that make her? Does it make him anything more than a bad businessman? Anyone who puts a price tag on a marriage shouldn’t be in the marriage and shouldn’t be surprised with the marriage is over. The bottom line is that I like Tiger because I am in awe with his golf game and ability to do things I have never seen before. I don’t track, invest in or care about what he does once the scorecard is signed. I mean, it is not like he is an elected official or anything.

What else… for those wondering, the long trip down tooth land is over. Got the final crown installed on Friday. That was the easy part. I am still not a fan of the dentist and have no understanding of why someone would want to go into that profession – outside of money, I suppose. Outside of those that work on the other end, it has to be one of the least glamorous of specialties.

My new iMac and I are struggling to get along. That damn screen is so big that I actually have to move things from side to side to see them well (IPS technology is not as good as plasma from angled viewing). That said, once I get something displayed, OMG! It is crystal clear and detailed like no other. Ironically, it exposes all of the flaws in previous images that I thought “were pretty good”. The biggest challenge for me is the software suite. I’ve been brainwashed in the windows world for a long time and have to unlearn some things (like using a one button mouse). Plus, I have to move to new tools that are different. What use to be simple is not so much anymore (like bulk renames) and what was hard (organization) is now easy. Of course, as I learn these things, I have no idea if I am learning them efficiently or not. Time will tell. It does get expensive though buying new noise reduction software, album managers, wireless keyboards, etc. Of course, I would have had to do that at some point on the PC too. At least I don’t have security updates to load every week.

Our Santa picture search was kind of a bust. Max, the king of cheese, just didn’t want to comply.

We did a church St. Nick bit and also ventured out to Bass Pro Shop (of all places) for a Santa picture. I guess I’m cheap. Anyway, they had a digital option which I bought only to be disappointed with the low resolution. I guess there is no low cost lunch. Anyway, that pissed me off enough that I decided I would not buy prints from them and set off using some of the above software tools to enlarge, de-noise, sharpen and add detail to the images I did have. I think they are passable after about 30 minutes of work. I’ll post them here closer to Christmas and of course, they will be in the gallery. They are not on the cards that got sent out today. Those are either a non-color corrected split shot from my misadventures with the light meter or a pajama pictures (ask MA – I just live here). As usual, there was also an annual poem (this time mostly penned by MA) and a recap of some adventures that some will receive. I ran out of toner while printing so if you did not get one, you can download it (3megs) from HERE .

I guess that is about it for now. I need to buckle in for the upcoming holiday madness and several year-end deals that need to be wrapped up while trying to juggle everyone’s vacation availability. It is going to be a stressful time but isn’t that what this time of year is all about? Seems like it.

If I do not blog again this year, hope everyone has a happy holiday and that you try, in spite of it all, to remember what is important and special.

Yes, I know.

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on November 19th, 2009 by Michael

Haven’t blogged in forever. Normally, it is relatives that start in first, then not so subtle hints from friends, but when then wife piles on, well, you know it has been too long.

I’ve been busy people. Not sure doing what, but something. I know I feel tired and that HAS to be because I’ve over exerted something more than the remote control.

Let’s see. November is pretty much the topic since it has been that long. Wait, it has been since October. Okay, that has been a long time.

Yes, I had a birthday. ‘Nuff said.

On the political front. Pelosi and friends continue to lie to the American public and try and screw us as they take steps to socialized the government through their oligarchy. I could go on and on about the Healthcare nightmare, the problems with it, the disdain over the political process that is denying true debate on the subject, lamenting over the fact that it doesn’t solve the problem they keep talking about, etc. but that is for another day.

Obama still doesn’t know what he is going to do in Afghanistan while our troops are being hung out to dry. Eric Holder, who seems to now be a complete idiot (I gave him a sort of pass on the pardon’s he recommended as political pay offs), is endangering America more with this KSM trial being put in Federal court. Now, I do not want to buy into the conspiracy theory but he is not saying anything that in anyway helps him out. He looks like a complete fool yesterday in front of the Senate committee. This is a disaster waiting to happen. Last time it did, we gave out intelligence to our enemies. This time, it could be worse because it truly creates a precedent. Of course, I don’t think they care. I think they are too jacked up on appeasing their liberal friends and continuing to vilify Bush. This will take the pressure off of them (which there has been so very little given the media’s continued love affair with this administration). Oh, the best part, NY, which is broken, even with the billions of free money given to them (or their banks) via TARP, has asked the feds (i.e. you and me, if you pay taxes) to pay up to 75M — yes, freaking MILLION dollars to provide security for the trial.

Speaking of the media, they (actually 11 AP reporters) are off fact checking the times of the day referenced to show that Palin was taking some poetic liberties in her book. Didn’t seem to see that with Obama or Clinton’s books… Hell, they seemed to gloss over the whole Gore global warming BS tour altogether… Now, I was never a huge fan of hers. Yes, she is pretty spunky but I didn’t think she had the experience to run the show (even though, yes, she had a lot more than Obama – and his inexperience shows greatly now). However (and I have not read the book), she seemed exceptional on the talkshows I heard yesterday. Granted, she is well practiced in her delivery but still, it was an impressive performance. Does that mean, I’m ready to vote for her? Nope. However, I think it does show that those that dismiss her as stupid ,etc. are incorrect. I believe that if she doesn’t get ahead of herself, she has a lot of potential. Of course, in today’s world, we tend to jump first…

Oh course, sometimes even if you are in over your head, you have a cloak of invincibility… Sometimes that is because you choose, like Obama, not to get his hands dirty with any of this stuff – much like healthcare, let’s his people do it but then comes in at the end for credit. Well, this time, the disappearing president under crisis, went to Asia (versus Europe) while his AG played the monkey on the hill and his minions attempted to finalized disastrous legislation behind closed doors. So, did we at least make some progress in China, whom we now beg to fund socialist programs? Well, he got basically bupkis there, actually less than bupkis. He got chastised by China, of all countries. No, global warming agreement, no financial reform agreement, no human rights changes, no protectionism changes. Basically, he spent a few million dollars for a photo op. I guess those on the mainland don’t read how great he is in the NYT or maybe his folksy populist (but unsubstantiated) tripe doesn’t translate well into Mandarin.

On the financial front, Joe Biden proves again that one, he is an idiot and two that the federal government doesn’t know what they are doing. He comes out to talk about the “stimulus” package and the transparency around it. First, we have fact after fact showing how dismal the stimulus money has been on the economy and jobs. After all, it was about the jobs, right? These jobs created are costing us on average around 10X what they are actually paying to the worker. Nice ROI. I’d like to run a business that looses $90 on every $10 sold. Secondly, the number of jobs created is several orders of magnitude less than proposed.. Thirdly, this “great” website that describes all of the money? Well, how did it cost $75M ? I mean, really, how can one spend that much money on a web site? Secondly, how can it be so wrong? I think that the fact checkers are still checking but found 5 districts that received millions of dollars that didn’t exist. How does one trust this ? I expected better for 75M…

How can we trust this group to run healthcare ? And they are going to do it more efficiently too….. Bullshit.

Okay, one point on healthcare… who is really stupid enough to believe that this is deficit neutral? Does anyone care about the 400B+ that is being cut from Medicare? Does anyone even care that the CBO even admits some of the programs are likely not to endure (aka, government speak for fantasy language…)? Do people even know that part of the reason it is so “Cheap” is that we pay for it for 3 years before a single service is enacted (and they only count the cost of the last seven years and call it a 10 year projection)? And by the way, on what planet is spending nearly 900B dollars to insure30M people considered cheap? Isn’t that like 30,000 per person? My insurance is not cheap but it is not that expensive. Oh wait, this is the group that thinks 75M is a fair price for an inaccurate web site.

On my financial front, we changed healthcare coverage to a high deductable. Hopefully, injury and illness will be foreign to us this year (doubtful – see below). I still have not pulled the trigger on a new computer but will (I think) once they arrive from China. I refuse to pay the local tax and third parties are getting sourced after the Apple stores. It is a lot of coin. However, I really really want to get to a computer that just let’s me do my thing without having fuss with stuff. I don’t want to upgrade, get extra drives, or any of that other crap. I want to surf the web, write my book (if I ever start it) and catalog photos (and probably video at some point). I really do not need a Mac to do that but most pros in the graphic arts are Mac people. They must know something. That said, coexistence with PCs is a needed thing since java is not java and people (idiots) still write to certain browsers.

Some of my finances have been spent on some new cabinets for the office, which was recently reshuffled. Of course, I wanted ONE cabinet but they no longer sold it in the color I wanted so I “had” to buy two of them in a new color. We recycled one to our bedroom and cascaded the rest with one soon to find a home at goodwill. Anyway, there was just too much junk in there. I like things simple. Still some work to be done in cleaning that out but hopefully over the holidays.

As part of this process, I started to decompose our budget spend… not on a monthly basis but on a daily one. It was really illuminating. I forget about some bills that are annual (like property taxes, car insurance) or IRA contributions. But breaking it down to cost per day really makes you think. I was surprised that healthcare was 4th or 5th. I still pay a lot for it, but not nearly as much as I thought on a per day basis. I did a similar thing when thinking about a new car. Would I really get $14 a day – every day — of enjoyment out of it? As much as a lust for it, hard to say yes to that.

On the family front, the nightmare of holidays (Halloween) came and went. Limited pictures were posted. Surprisingly, our neighborhood was not too Halloween friendly. I would have though suburbia was a wasteland for that kind of thing. Still, there were pounds of candy returned to our house by the little ones. All seemed to enjoy it even if this concept of porch light on was a challenge to understand.

Of course, I would have gotten better pictures with my new camera but it came a day later. Plus, it took my a while to figure out who to use it. Complicated these things are… I am digging it though. Definitely, more meaty than previous generations and I was a big fan of the 50D.

I attempted to take some family photos but they were not exposed correctly due to my playing around with some remote triggers. I think I will be able to figure that out or will go back to the alien bees umbrella. I have time before the Christmas cards have to be sent. This year, I think people will get a choice – kids only and kids plus parents. Not sure yet.

We also have to wait for Max to recovery from his jumping/playing on the bed incident. He smacked his face pretty good (or pretty bad, as the case may be). Blood all over the place. We delayed going to the hospital since it seemed to stop bleeding but finally had him checked out. It is recovering nicely, though ‘scarman’ may be a future nickname. Fortunately, not is a super noticeable place. In some ways, I am glad we did not take him (well, it saved me a lot of money) but they would have put stitches in. I think the scare would have been the same and given the location, it would not have been a pleasant experience for any party.

On the Max scene, he has finally decided not to sleep in his crib any more. He prefers the floor. We were going to get him a racecar bed to go with this décor but we found a different one at goodwill (while dropping off a van full of crap). It is blue not red, but will have to do for now. I just have to put in a base for it.

He got his first or second night terror. Those are not good. His lasted a lot longer than Meghan’s did. That is some weird freaky stuff.

On to Meghan… she continues to be a pain in the butt but I guess that is what kids do at that age. She also doesn’t want to be called Meghan but Mackenzie or Alicia. Not sure why. They have taken up swim lessons (had two thus far). She can’t swim or really kick that well but at least she doesn’t scream or have a tantrum while with the [kid] instructors. We call that a bonus.

On Mackenzie’s side, preschool continues to motivate her. We have collected piles of “craft’ projects that seems to consume their day. Still likes to draw and is practicing writing. They both have dance class once a week. I’m thinking there will be a little 15 minute show soon. As a parent, I should be looking forward to it.

MA and I popped out for a little mini vacation. Photos to be posted some day in the future. A little beach for her and a little trip to NASA for me. Shuttle was on the pad. That was sort of cool. Not sure why I like it so much, but space is just cool. Speaking of which, Star Trek arrived Tuesday on blu-ray. Reviews are good for the transfer. Might make a viewing this weekend. Did get it loaded onto my iphone in case I am ever stuck somewhere and need 93 minutes of distraction.

We are also on a semi-detox program. No processed crap. Nominal artificial ingredients. Fish at least once a week and of course, nominal booze.  Worse thing? Jack in the Box just opened down the road. Once Thanksgiving passes, maybe too will this diet approach? Eating healthy is not cheap but I need to lower my triglycerides.

I had to get a root canal on this tooth that was hurting. Not sure why a “dead” tooth hurts but it does. Took two sessions to do what they do. They found a small crack and are not sure if it is good or bad yet. Still have to get a crown thing added on. Of course, I’m like a big ass dental baby so they hyped me up on some drugs. Didn’t think they really did much for me but I did fall asleep once I got home so maybe I was mellowed out. Maybe I should get the juice in the morning before work. Dental work is also expensive and like many doctors these days, they only do one thing. Of course, that helps since they each get their deductable per visit. Sort of irks me. Of course, at least I get care now.

Work is work and the only good thing I can say about it is that I’m done traveling for the year. Yeah.

Event Catch up time.

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on September 27th, 2009 by Michael

Starting with a small rant…

I started in last time with good intentions of staying above the fray and then the stupidness that is the government and media and general populous of the US got me going… Even though Obama continues to claim victory on what amounts to nothing more than rhetoric for foreign policy, I am going to try and stay away from the debate. This is hard given this constant chest bumping about how caring we are as a nation (which comes immediately after apologizing for something) and yet how tough we are when necessary (even if we do nothing about North Korea, the Iranian issue has been known for some time, indecision around Afgan support, and of course, meeting with folks we consider foreign terrorists or at least bad dudes).  The latter, who seem to share kindred feelings with him and want to have him come by for a sleep over if not adoption.  Ah, how sweet.

The bottom line is that while I have no illusions that we should force our will on others, I also do not believe our role is to sit on the sidelines on this world field and simply sends checks to other nations. I firmly believe this apology tour, this reluctance to engage, and this thought that if we all play nice, the world will work its differences out in the near term is pure poppycock. The radical Islamic contingent doesn’t give a rat’s ass if we play kissy face or not. We are, by virtue of existence, are evil and the enemy. Of course, we can stop interrogating terrorists, we can send them to resorts and we can give them “American rights” (which is ironic) and hope for the best. I fear we are setting ourselves up… I hope I am wrong.One minor thing about healthcare – I find it interesting that he Chairman of the Senate committee released his bill without support of the committee (either side). Yet, is open to debate and change – as long as it can get done in a hurry. Also, the numbers are interesting… First, Obama was preaching the 47M uninsured and now he says that is 30M (still too high, but what happened ?). He claimed in his rhetoric driven bully pulpit that it costs each of us “thousands of dollars” for those without insurance yet on this Tv tour that number seems to be $900 (even if non-partisan groups call it $200). Again, why the change? Did something happen in the past week or are the lies simply being corrected when no one is there to call them out? I guess I have that same question on illegal aliens… if it was not covered why the amendments to preclude them now? I guess we are fixing phantom issues…

Okay, I’m sitting here watching Tiger let another one through his fingers but it is not over yet and that dude, when his head is in the right spot and doesn’t get a horrible draw, is unreal. Still a few holes to play. So, we shall see…. Then again, the Lions won so there is something cosmically unhinged today.

Golf has not reached it yet, but we are in the silly season already for things. Events galore are starting to stack up and we are trying to pack them in. We had the Balloon Festival come and go. Lots of balloons and nice weather. Got a few shots… it was crowded and we, with three kids and a wagon, were not very proactive about staking out spots. That said, we hit a few bounce houses, ate some overpriced vendor fare and we saw what we needed to see. They did a balloon burn at night and that was interesting (flames are pulled on balloons to music – sort of a fire ballet), even if we did not see most of it (the kids were pooped and pooped kids are snots). Of course, Meghan didn’t care about any of it once lemonade was introduced to her. A single focused mind, that kid.Some of these shots you will see on the site at the end of the month were shot pretty much in the dark, so if they are less than perfect, you will just have to deal with them. With chasing kids, it is shocking that I was even able to take one photo…..
Okay that was then, and the parade of events is not over. We had the city maize festival too. Also challenging photographic conditions – mainly because it was bright and sunny. These are very harsh conditions for today’s modern dslr cameras due to their extended dynamic range. I did the best I could do in between kid duty, which again, decomposed into whining about water bottles for Meghan (and now Max). I think they would have had almost as much fun just going in the backyard…

Next up with have a church event and then the annual pilgrimage to the Arboretum for Pumpkin days… Of course, all of this is before the entire madness of the holidays…At least Canon came out with a new camera – which I will be possessing. Suppose to have wickedly fast autofocus and a few other things. My current model is quick but subseconds count when trying to capture the moment. Plus, I might as well get it for myself for my birthday. Speaking of which, two of my friends celebrated birthdays this past week – Jill and Angela. The latter of which I spaced recognizing like a not so good friend which is horrible given what a good friend she is. All unintentional. If only people would tell me these things before hand….I know, I should write them down…

Well, I have to depart now to mow the grass and paint the backdoor, which I finally got around to scrapping and prepping. Not my favorite thing to do on a weekend but better than working, which I will be doing later tonight.

Had some time… was fed up

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on September 13th, 2009 by Michael

Well, maybe a little family life stuff and then, hmmm, maybe some thoughts on this whole Health Care debate and of course, the deceitful, ” Remarks to the Joint Session of Congress”.

I have been fortunate not to be on the road for a little while though I have to pop down to San Antonio for a day here pretty soon. I’m about 8K miles short of reaching status on AA and while I hate hate hate to fly, I do like to be able to board the plane early when I do. At least then, I have a shot at some overhead bin storage before those arrive that seemingly cannot fathom what that little display showing what actually fits aboard does.

Since Labor Day arrived along with many pounds around the mid-section, I was going to start a “slim down Michael’ program. That is starting off with less internal support than expected. It is multifaceted program: stop drinking beer (check), eat less junk and processed food (mostly check), exercise (uh, nope). I have thought about exercising on more than one occasion however. That is sort of like those invisible waistbands in pants – yeah, you thought you were a 34! Got a couple of tough weeks at the office forth coming but I do think I will be able to get the ball rolling soon ….to success right before the holidays and kick the shit out of that concept.

Also pleased that we have had a break in the weather from warm and muggy to just wet. Of course, not really sure why we have to get a month’s worth of rain in a day, but those are details.

Starting to get intrigued by that new car buying scent again. Really, it is almost for a practical reason. My car runs fine now that I reattached the underneath skid plate but the leather on the steering wheel has rubbed away and the LCD navigation screen has lost its mojo. Neither a really big deal unless I want to fix them and then biggish bucks will be required. Also, we do get to deduct sales tax for this year. That is like getting four months free in reality. Still on the fence but I have narrowed down the options to two models just in case. Now, if only we can get through this post clunker price gauging and dealers go back to being a little more desperate before the end of the year.

Two of the three kids got their flu shot. Me, nope. I’m not keen on needles. I not keen on giving quacks my money (yes, MY money, not the government’s – though that too is really mine) and I am really not keen on shooting a virus into my body, even it is inert. That said, I am into Keen Eddie, which was sadly canceled way too early in its broadcast career.

Took a couple of pretty sweet images this month (like the POTW). Too bad I have no place to put poster size printouts of the kids. This is also the month for a lot of events so I have no doubt I will be needing a larger hard drive soon – especially if I break down and get the new Canon 7D, which history tells me will happen. Not that I do not like the 50D I shoot with now – I do. Probably been the most satisfied with it versus other bodies, but come on. A new camera. All shiny. That is like catnip for dads.

It is also a big sports day. At our house, peek a boo is a sport. For those that do it for money, Tiger seemed to shake that semi-funk he was in and kicked some birdie butt at Cog Hill. Notre Dame lost (also makes me happy since I dislike elitists). Of course, Ohio State lost in the last minute to USC – which pleases very few reading this blog. As expected, the press is hailing the USC QB as the next great thing – even if it was the running back that really won the game for them, well, that and some horrible play calling. I’ve said this before and I probably will have to say it again, but Jim Tressel is the worst play caller in football. He has cost his team – a team that he otherwise seems to coach very well – several games with bad plays and bad timeout management. Enough said on that point.

And I finally got around to hanging the art that we bought. Got here early. We like it.  Well, I had to hang it twice.  Measuring is a good thing…

Okay, now for the political thoughts of the day so those drunk on the koolaid might as well stop reading here.

Let me summarize by saying that based on the actions thus far, I believe Obama to be either dumb or a disingenuous man.  I think he is proving time after time that he is not qualified for the job. Hillary was right on that account. I say that even after living through 8 years of Bush, who most know I was not really a big fan of (I did like his dad, who got a bum rap), he does not seem so bad in comparison.  Yes, he did some things that I questioned but at least I do not believe he was nearly as manipulative as Obama is (WMD, discussion notwithstanding).  I wanted to give Obama the benefit of the doubt even as he did ideologically affronting things based on my respect for differing opinions/experiences/etc. Plus, he is the President, duly elected. My feelings are not so much ground in governmental roles – though I honestly think anyone who took his courses on Constitutional Law should have their diploma revoked since the man either knows nothing about the Constitution or simply doesn’t care about. My feelings are about character and trust.

Before I get into it too much, I know there is a lot of swirl around Joe Wilson. No, I do not believe it was the time or the place for such outbursts. Regardless of the lies being spewed from above, tradition dictates a great amount of deference to the POTUS during these speeches and he should respect that. That said, it is not the second coming of the apocalypse as some Democrats are claiming. First, Obama seems to be permanently in campaign mode with more speeches, more interviews, more prime time announcements that I can remember any other president ever given. So, he is squeezing out most of the debate to start with. And, well, Unfortunately, I liked the outcome of it. It did force an awareness of the issue. As someone had said, if he would have said this in a speech afterward, not a peep would have been reported by the media. At least now people are talking about it – however, let’s move past the man and the comment and get to the issue, can we? No, didn’t think so by the buzz. I also think it is enormously telling that the democratic machine immediately began calling on people to donate money to his competitor – with no regard to the feelings of those in his district. What happened to politics being local? Not anymore. Yes, the republicans then responded. So, what happens? Well, MILLIONS of dollars will be spent on this race in SC by people who have never been to SC. Makes me sick. Sort of like some of the town halls where people (yes, mostly, but not completely, by the democratic party) were bused in to appear to drive public opinion. They should have limited seats to locals – or at least the questions unless occupancy was not an issue. We need the truth and until big business or big politics is removed from the equation, we are certainly not going to get it. Anyway, censor him and then Nancy Pelosi who said worse things about President Bush and while you are at it do, Harry Reid too since he also called the then President a “loser” and a “liar”. No apologizes forthcoming…

Okay, what gets me about Obama ? Well, the policies obviously but again, we all have different ideological views and if those are what people want, that is what they want. Of course, the issue is that these specific issues are never really addressed. Perfunctory vagueness and populous notions are all that seem to be viewed and then of course, those start to get cemented into one’s psyche in ways they choose to believe they are to be executed (in other words, talk high level and let people assume what they want). I think that there are some that understand the consequences and vote that way. Fine.  Others just assume all good things happen and do not care for the details. Others are greedy little self-serving bastards that are happy only when they get to receive –with no concern or care about who has to give to make it so. Redistribution of wealth is NOT was an tenet of the Constitution and in fact, the framers of said document deplored all members of the first congress to make sure it was not. Sooner or later, we will run out of money to steal from others…and then what? We will have lost our ability to make it ourselves, which will result in not only a depression, but not doubt some sort of massive tyrannically state. I have said this before… Wall-E is an excellent movie on the topic. Democrats are running the ship and what very much to have us all take the cruise… Anyway, my point is towards the latter two groups: those that assume the highlight reels tell the story and those that are fed from someone else’s table. Obama and friends focus on these two groups and it is a disservice to America and those that are in the other group (the informed).  He and the many others in his party, prey on these folks for support.  They are bottom feeders…

BTW, I also have no respect for fear mongering either.  Not keen on the hoopla on the “death panels” which was a stretch even if technically, one could make the argument given what the bill states and Obama’s own people (Emanuel) have said.  That was political.  Obama, ironically, called this out in his speech as bad but then in the next breath, he claimed that not passing the bill would have dire consequences.  So, he is a hypocrit.

Okay, back to Obama himself. In this speech he referenced his plan something like 40+ times. Has ANYONE seen his plan? Oh wait, he has a plan – he has held two national press conferences on it — wants health care to be available, cost less and provide better levels of service. People, that is not a plan but the populous and media gives him credit for it being one! Republicans want the same thing but want to get there in a different way – and to which they are regularly and with great malice, vilianized as being against health care reform. That is BS with a capital B and they know it. Obama talks about wanting Washington (and by strong implications the Republicans) to stop playing games…. Well, this is a game he is playing.  He says he wants to work with Republicans but blasts them in his speech and again this weekend on the talking heads that  Republicans only want to stop reform for political gain.  That is a lie.  They want to stop this slide into unmitigated spending and socialism.  They fact it pisses off the Democrats and highlights their direction as counter productive to American values is a plus.

He talks about being open to all good ideas but has his leadership team push through bills without input and debate (and then praises them during their offsite retreats!). Again, where is his bill that has all of these ideas in it (many which came only after Republicans thumped his approval ratings)? His says (to Wilson’s point) that illegal aliens could not get care but the bill doesn’t provide for any enforcement of it (in fact, when Heller tried to put an amendment in there to support this, it was shot down by EVERY democrat on the committee). So, is it in there or not? This out both sides of his mouth crap is what angers me…. The same with Abortion rights…yes, one could argue existing statues exist to preclude such actions but this bill does not and in fact allows it either directly through definition of services (which will be determined by a political committee) and in directly through “exchange” dollars that are not subject to the above committee. His band of media elves went out and hammered home the number of 46M were uninsured yet only after some fact checking and some other pressure, he decided in last night’s speech the number was 30M. Hmmm… I love how they tramp out facts about 1/3 people under 25 were without insurance at some point in their lives… Well, so? I was one of them and thank you very much for not mandating some on me. Why don’t we ask the right questions instead of assume? Wait, we know the answer.

He alluded to choice and competition… He even highlighted certain states where near monopolies exist (facts, were a little exaggerated, but…). What a crock. This is what Republicans want – they want to allow interstate commerce to increase competition and drive down costs. Obama and friends, only see the government as a viable option. Of course, these “choice and competition” hawks are also the ones that stand firmly behind expanding unions. Hmm, is there a lot of choice in areas where unions have a strong hold? Well, no there is not and the prices are MUCH higher for a comparable service than were you have open competition.  Am I the only one seeing this?  Folks, America is powerful due to its ability to remake itself, to be flexible, to reward the innovative and risk takers. I used this example before but look at Southwest… they would not be in business while airlines were regulated. They would not be in business if they didn’t take the risks and try and change things. Is it is surprise that the traditional, union run shops all went into bankruptcy at some point (yes, I know SW has a union too but it was created later to fit the business model). The bottom line is that if there is open competition and the big insurance company are not receptive to their clients, new companies WILL emerge and take those clients away. In the end, all prices will be lowered (again, look at fares to airports that service Southwest versus those that do not). The government will NEVER do that… they will simply raise taxes to pay for things, not offer things (yes READ the bill) or drive it into the financial ground (like Medicaid/medicare).

Anyway, the public plan thankfully looks to be off the table but Obama has flipped flopped on this issue so many times, I guess we will not really know what will happen until the next poll numbers come out. BTW, I am okay with a public option IF and ONLY IF, it is limited in scope to preventative and catastrophic care, it is run by a board independent of the government, it is for citizens only and it does not raise taxes or otherwise tax or incent current insurance practices.

He brought up tort reform and even gave some props to Pres. Bush and some states (Texas is one of them that limits malpractice). EVERY republican out there has asked for this. Is it in any of the bills? Well, no. Again, he tosses out these “ideas” to take credit for them yet does not back them in any way. The bottom line is that if there was a bill out there that had tort reform and interstate commerce, this bill would have been passed in a day (well, maybe not since the liberals like Pelosi, may have held it up). To come to the party late and talk about these things that his “opponents” have brought up and also chastise them for lack of ideas, is absolutely wrong and yet the SOP for Obama, it seems. Ironically, the former Democratic party chairman, stated that tort reform was off the table because and only because they didn’t want to have to take on trial lawyers (John Edwards, ring a bell?). No surprise given the MILLIONS of dollars that Obama got from lawyers in his campaign.

What else was ludicrous in his speech… well, the “I will not sign a bill that adds one dime to the deficit”. Hmmm. Still waiting to see his bill since the CBO is saying every one of the ones in congress will add hundreds of billions of dollars….Of course, I am sure they will come up with some fancy math to explain it away — they often do with rosy projections on growth. I love how waste in medicare is going to bring in billions…well, if it is there, why not try and save medicare now?

Let’s not forget the favorite tag line for democrats and that is to blame Bush…for the war and the tax breaks for the rich. Well, congress, not Bush authorizes the expenditures of funds and the democrats control both houses….. and secondly, the tax breaks were done with a republican congress and personally, I think it is great. They pay too much ( I only aspire to be in that class – the rich, not the part that pays too much). When you have a society where 1% of the population is paying 40% of the taxes, well, that is not sustainable. Search the archives, I’ve done the math for you before I think. I want to encourage people to earn more, not earn less. Isn’t that the American way? This extremely progressive tax is not the way to do that. Of course, he blames Bush (not Frank or Dodd) for the economy and takes credit for rescuing the financial institutions (of which he was not involved in TARP – that was Bush —even if I do not agree with it). His claim to fame is the so called Stimulus package which is pretty much a bust from a value proposition and of course the omnibus bill filled with 9000 earmarks that he swore he would not support (hence the reason I have NO doubt he would sign a health care bill that adds billions to the deficit). BTW, I love how he takes credit for not losing MORE than the 2.4 millions jobs that have already been lost under his administration. I mean, really, if you are going to write fiction that can not be substantiated with any facts, why not?

I actually could go on and on about this but I actually have to do some work (you know that that thing that I do to provide for my family – and many others based on my taxes).

Plus, I want to address the Nation’s security and what he has done to erode it and also question why no one in the press questions why folks like Emanuel and Johnson are on the Government’s payroll still but that is heartburn waiting to happen.

Random thoughts and catch up

Posted in Birthdays, Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on July 30th, 2009 by Michael

It has been a little while since I typed out a thought or two on this fantabulous MacPro machine, even it is a little dated compared to the new models. So, here you go. Fair warning, random thoughts…

What has been happening outside of lies in Washington (or on the road via Barack’s carbon footprint killing tour)?

Well, I had a wickedly bad Charlie horse in my left calf – after that pain subsided, I got a week of residual soreness out of it. That always puts one in a good mood.

Another birthday came and went – this one for my father. Another birthday is coming up soon – this one for my daughter. We, at times, never thought “two” was going to end. Will the gray cloud be lifted? Thinking not immediately.

In Dallas, we broke out of the string of 100 degree days with a series of humid ones interspersed with severe thunderstorms. I’m generally keener on the latter types but not when it is 4am and not when it takes out parts of your house (which thankfully, we have not had happen in the last 3 years).

I have a toothache now and it is irking me. Thankfully, I have insurance than I am paying for so I can get treatment if required. Speaking of which, the girls went in for their first dentist’s appointment. No screaming. Was thinking maybe we should have them come over for bedtime.

On bedtime, the challenges continue. Now, Max man has taken up the banner. Seems that if he doesn’t go to sleep right away, he get s a second wind that lasts until about 11p. Not what we want… The girls room is now completely purple per Meghan’s request. Looks like Barney puked in there. Her new bed arrived and was assembled – with some help and hindrance of the girls themselves. Now, everything is done and symmetry achieved.

After not having bought any “art work” in some time, we got another invite to a weekend away. This one is in Dallas (versus the last one, which was in Branson). We might go just to get a free meal or two. We are not going to buy anything. That is the law and it is being laid down now. That said, we need to come up with some sort of theme to hang what we have. I’m still looking for ideas on how to go about it in the family room – can’t seem to find any examples. Maybe something will come to me.

Been going to Virginia a lot to work on this deal. Work may be a strong word for it. I guess I am their to make sure everything is coordinated. It is so boring to sit in a room with lawyers walking through redlines of a document. One of the many things that has gone horrible wrong with our country: litigation preparedness. This was a much better place back in the day when you could just agree to do something and then get it done. Hopefully, this deal gets signed sooner than later and I can move on.

To this point, think about the government for a minute… It employees how many millions of people? Okay, think about how many of those people actually perform value added services as defined in the Constitution? A shockingly few. Most are part of agencies set up to create rules and regulations – then other others to oversee those rules and regulations.

I’ve decided not to go to Ireland on a golf junket – mainly a cost cutting/value proposition. I’ll get a little golf in while visiting the conceptual Midwest. Might schedule a trip out in the future though. By then, exchange rates will be killing me given the anticipated nose dive for the dollar under the current administration. Oh well, pay now, pay later. Everyone just wants you to pay.

Okay, let me go off on a tangent for a moment to talk about what a ludicrous thing this Obama healthcare plan is….Well, maybe not. It would take pages and pages. The bottom line is that this is a socialist plan masquerading as a populous feel good promise. Some facts (and opinions):

  • The 46 million uninsured? 10 million are illegal aliens. Around 14 million are eligible for insurance but choose not to have it (possibly self insured?) and another 8 million or so make over 88K a year. So, really, the number of hardship cases is in the 10-15 million range. Yes, if I were one of them, I would be concerned, but frankly, that is less than 5% of the US. Should you tax the rest of us more to cover them? If you are a socialist, you do. Their mantra is to take redistribute wealth. That is un-American.
  • No one believes that a government run program is really competition, do they? It is a replacement. Look at the House versions which mandate participation in a Government approved program. Hmmm. Yes, nothing like the fox owning the hen house. Secondly, who is going to try and compete against a loss leader when it is the only product? The federal program loses money? Can’t happen, it just taxes us more.
  • The federal program will be more efficient? Yeah, right. I am NO fan of the current overhead that we have in the industry but I do not want the same people who handle my taxes and the DMV to handle healthcare. Insurance companies no doubt run a series of shuffles that make most Ponzi schemes seem like checkers. But, in the end, they are more efficient in doing what they do than current programs like Medicaid/Medicare. Administration is less, fraud is less, etc. Don’t believe me? Ask your own government. BTW, the new estimates have us adding a couple of hundred thousand people to the government payroll to administer this program. More jobs? Maybe, more non-value add jobs – not to mention all of those people who will be loosing their jobs when insurance companies go out of business. Wait, didn’t we just pay a few billion to keep one of those in business because it was too big to fail (AIG)?
  • Medicaid is pretty much bankrupt (if it was possible to do that to the folks that print money). The Massachusetts’ plan, what seems to get a lot of traction in this debate, is out of money. They don’t work. Interesting vote today in the House…. Republicans – you know the evil ones – out forward an amendment that would require identification of folks to combat illegal aliens using the system. Well, it failed 29-28, along mostly party lines. When you give everything away for free, you run out of stuff. Plain and simple.
  • For some reason, Obama keeps talking about this being cost neutral? He has heard of the CBO, hasn’t he? Even his own drones in congress are not saying that…
  • Somehow, Obama, in the same speech, told us that the government would not get between you and your doctor but also said we have to make changes in how healthcare is used. That means limitations, rationing, value assessments, or whatever else you want to call it. It means that some bureaucrat can deny you coverage or a test or something else if it is not cost effective. Those guys on House, M.D. are shitting a brick right now. Frankly, we all should, except those in the government that are immune to this program, including its namesake, Mr. Edward Kennedy. The fact that they, by statute, are not included in this legislation and no one cares is mind numbing.
  • By the way, if you know the government is going to set the price on a good or service, are you going to go out of your way to invest to create or improve it? Not likely. This will absolutely stall medical innovation in America. I don’t know the folks over at Merck and other companies, and I am sure they are nice guys and all, but they spend the billions of dollars they do in research to make money on the backend. No backend, no front end.
  • You can also forget about the influx of people trying to get into the medical profession too. Most are noble, but many want to make the money. They are not competing in medical school to be a civil servant. BTW, I am not opposed to government training of doctors on some level. Sort of like the armed forces – we will pay for medical school, you give us 5 years then off you go. You could even use these doctors to provide Medicaid/Medicare services or for those that do not have insurance versus this elaborate scheme to cross mix government and private practices. A separation there might even make sense but I have not thought a great deal about it. Probably would change a lot of political opinions…

The list goes on and on. I am somewhat please to hear that the rush to vote has been delayed so that people can actually voice some opinion on it. I am also surprised by the change in rhetoric (aka sales positioning) that Obama has taken in recent days… it is more about health care reform, than coverage. And, frankly I think he realizes that he may not get what he wants and that this is the right place to go.

Listen, no one is saying that healthcare in America is perfect. No ONE. I know the President, the press and the Pelosi police like to call out Republicans on this issue. It is the old, tired and untrue position about how they hate the little guys and are only for the rich. It is a game. I have not heard anyone on the right side of the aisle say they do not want reform, that it is not needed, etc. Have you? No, they simply do not want this reform. I don’t want it either. I do want us to take care of our people. How is the question.

We need to start at tort reform first. You take away these billion dollar threats and your insurance costs drop dramatically. In some cases, 75% + of what you pay a doctor goes to these companies. At 25% of today’s costs, could Americans afford it? I think the answer is yes. Would we be able to provide better services? I think so. I am for some other things in the bill too. I am for better record keeping. I am for doctor ratings. I’m for doing the right tests. These are good things but a drop in the bucket to the costs of litigation and that does not seem to be in the discussion. They are focused on lowering payments to the doctors… well, they have to eat too.

Is it is a surprise the amount of money that legal firms contributed to Obama’s campaign? Nope. You can call a lobbyist whatever you want but they still smell the same. Money talks.

Sorry Matt, but we have too many damn lawyers in this country.

Oh yeah, Obama acted stupidly…….I think some of the rose color wore off America’s glasses this week.

Switching gears, on the public news front, Michael Jackson died (or was killed by a doctor or suicide or something…). That’s too bad – I mean, it is sad when anyone passes away but those that are iconic to a generation (same with Walter Cronkite) – especially if it is a positive one, stings just a little bit more given the widespread impact. I liked his early stuff before he went crazy. The OxyClean guy too died as well as Farah. It was a tough month for public figures.

Kim Kardashian broke up with her boyfriend. First, who the hell is she and secondly, why is she in the news all of the time and have her own cable show? I mean, did Paris Hilton get hit by a truck when I wasn’t looking? Can we limit the waste of valuable bandwidth to one egotistical worthless dumbass at a time?

Emily Watson had a wardrobe malfunction at the Harry Potter premiere and is going to Brown. That’s okay, I still think she is all that and more. She deserves more bandwidth. We need more young women to emulate her instead of Kim or Paris. I mean, she is smart, kind (look at her charity work), has a keen sense of fame’s role in ones life and nice hair. Really, good stuff. Still have not seen the movie but MA and I will likely make it our fourth movie date when on vacation. One of the Harry Potter’s was our first, with an average James Bond and Star Trek rounding out the list. BTW, you can pre-order Star Trek on Amazon now (release date: 11/12, I believe). Best buy has an exclusive package that will include replica insignia.

Haven’t really spun up the netflex in a while – due much to traveling to Richmond but we did watch Gran Turino. That was pretty good. Burn Notice has found some of its form back ion season 3. It was renewed for another season so I am not sure what direction it is going to go. “In Plain Sight” has started to grow on me. I just bought the blu-ray Ultimate Dirty Harry Collection. Can’t wait to spin those up. Yes, it goes without saying but it will, make my day.

Tiger is in a slump according to the press and needs to win soon to salvage his season… Hmmm. Only guy with 3 wins on Tour. In 10 events, had 8 top 10s. Yeah, that season is in the crapper.

We got another camera – a P&S for MA to use. For the first time in a while, we did not go with a Canon but a Sony. Read some reviews. Has a strong flash unit and was relatively cheap so we are giving it a try. The first couple of images were okay… Has a smile feature (so you press the button and when the subject smiles, it shoots. Darn thing works too. The Lumix LX3, a fabulous but somewhat complicated camera that served as its predecessor, is probably going to go on ebay. There is a demand for them. Waiting for another one of their ‘sale for free’ days.

What else…. Moon landing anniversary has come and gone again. Watched a lot of specials on it when I could. I love space crap. I still hold out hope for an astronaut in the family. I think Meghan has a shot at it if she doesn’t become a grunge band singer. Mackenzie is a no, since it is dark out there. Max is a possibility but still too young to have the spacesuit fitted just yet. We shall see…. I think another trip to the Johnson Space Center is in my future.

Finally, chili should always have meat in it. Preferably cow but some pork and turkey are acceptable in moderation. That’s all I am sayin’ on the subject, for now.