And he is one…

Posted in The Family on February 25th, 2009 by Michael

On the day that the mail carrier finally decided to deliver our mail (I mean, they do have a test to become a mail carrier, don’t they?), Max made the milestone.

He has also made another as he has taken up walking (or stumbling). He has been thinking about it for a while but now, 8-9 at a time. He is ready and willing to make the leap from couch to couch, toy to toy, etc. Seems like think highly of himself when he does as well. Yipee.

Talking is next. He already has his one word “bo” which we translate to mean “what is that?” since it is in combination with a point to something. Mackenzie had a similar word but hers was “bobby”. Not sure where it all comes from. I just live here.

Revenge of the zombies…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, Ranting on February 25th, 2009 by Michael

Well, well well,

I trust those that blindly follow “The One” woke up today invigorated, ready to take on the world and to prove that we are not a nation of quitters (which seems somewhat ironic when asking the government to provide a check). I think we would all be better served to simply have those so indoctrinated to pull their head out of the sand and ask some question and look into the facts – not the rhetoric – of the day. For those that have a distinct difference of opinion, fine. I have no issues if someone chooses a different path or believe another solution is better, but to hide and veil it in political mumbo jumbo just pisses me off. We elected these people (collectively). They should put a stake in the ground and we should evaluate them against it. However, it just does not work that way. They – especially Obama it seems – believes in running a perpetual campaign. Make a damn decision – and yes, I mean a decision. And no, deciding to form a committee or hold a review (which shockingly are very expensive and somehow filled with political appointees…) is not a decision. Hey, I get that sometimes these things are necessary… but really. I feel the government is a consultant and the answer is always “it depends”. That is a fine answer for them since they are on the clock and I’m paying them…

I so wish for term limits in congress.

I’ll admit up front that I simply could not stomach the speech, his or Jindal’s. And, in reading snippets, it really goes to show how we as a nation are so manipulated by form and not function. As usual, Obama was in great form – this is his stage. Jamal, was a stiff. However, read the text. Was one dramatically better than the other? I would say no. I would suggest that most people would agree with most things said by both individuals (granted – easy to do when specifics are still somewhat generic). However, ask those that simply watched and you would get a very different answer. Interesting dynamic….and sad.

Worse yet is the editorial numb nuts that run the media – where they lead off with headlines like “Obama brings hope” versus simply printing the speeches and providing some semblance of a fact check. If they feel the need to offer results of an opinion poll, so be it but mark it as such. I guess I am not surprised…government wants to control your lives, the media wants to control your opinion.

Alright then. Mr. Hope and Change has got his trillion dollars and his parade out of the way. Now what? Still have to find a few democrats that have paid their taxes to fill out the cabinet (what is taking so long?!) . Key to this is this Health Care Czar – which he highlighted as a top priority yet has not even selected a leader. Hmmm… Of course, his foreign policy is a mess right now (no doubt spurred on by a little immaturity in the staff’s learning the ropes). Good thing he chose his first foreign visit to be Canada. I guess they are key in calming Middle East, Afghanistan and Korean issues. At least he didn’t have to send off a member of his staff in secret to take back all of his public anti-NAFTA talk this time. Maybe he was up there visiting all of the Hollywood elite that decided to move there during Bush’s term yet contributed money to Obama’s campaign. Wait, they didn’t actually move there… taxes are too high plus there is no media outlet that would air their personal opinions 24hrs a day. Ah, maybe he was up there learning about their crack healthcare system. After all it is nationalized…and only takes 45 days to get an appointment. I think Daschule may have a summer home there.

I just heard that Solis got confirmed as Labor secretary. Another winner. Super pro-union and unabashedly for the coercion that is to occur once the democrats strip out secret ballots (which the interestingly support for themselves and in other nations). Plus, I love how she forgot to mention she was Treasurer for a pro-union organization and well, she didn’t know her husband’s company had a lien on it for not paying taxes. Wait, that part must be okay. You do not need to pay taxes unless you are mega-rich and a republican. Isn’t that the plan? I just have heartburn over this bullshit about not knowing about taxes or liens (for her or one of the numerous other Obama cabinet members). I mean, we have a lien for $8 on our property for some sort of weed abatement program performed by the city five years before we bought the house. If there is ONE thing the government is good at, it is bugging people about giving them money.

Okay, I could write day and night about the failings of Obama (as I could about Bush, Clinton, etc. – face it, the guys on the top are easy prey since they 1) lie out their ass to get people to vote/fund them and 2) simply can not be on top of everything…). I could give write about Burris and the hypocrite Reid who after changing his mind about seating him (since he needed the vote) has gone deaf and dumb on the subject. Wait, he was already dumb.

Anyway, what I want to comment on is fear. Obama, like many other politicians, has used this as a cornerstone of his campaign, and now extended campaign as president. He talked more about “change from Bush” than he did about “Change to Obama” ideals. In fact, I bet that if someone did a search on his speeches, Bush would be the third most used word! Again, not surprising since he didn’t have a plan outside of change. Of course, he hasn’t changed much in the first month… Anyway, he used fear and gloom and doom to get this pork packaged approved. Interestingly, he is talking about hope and American idealisms now (I guess that comes with an extra $16/week in your pocket). Hypocrisy. But I am not here to talk about the fear mongering that the Democrats are putting forward full press. I am fearful of the response. The swell of people who are unhappy with these things is growing. Quickly. People are starting to catch on that it makes no sense to add 800+billion to the deficit when it will not stimulate the economy (some professor analyzed one of the states and found something like 8% of the money could actually lead to real growth). They are getting mad that more of their future money is going to provide for SOME that choose not to provide for themselves. They are curious why we are looking to revert to days of foreign oil dependence (that is what reinstating bans on drilling will do) when gas is starting to rise again. People are getting mad that we are financing folks that took a risk and failed yet still get to keep the fancy house while our life savings are going down the tubes. They are getting mad because democrats are blasting from the roof tops that it was the republicans that got us into this mess when they controlled the congress during the beginning of the slide (and people believe them!).

And today, our idiots in Washington passed a $410 billion bill to increase domestic agendas. Wasn’t the stimulus suppose to do some of that? Oh and is it important? Well, there were some earmarks – 8750 of them if you believe the watchdog group, “Taxpayers for Common Sense”. One of them highlighted by MSN (yeah, the liberal online rag) was $200K for a tattoo removal machine. Yes, it was put in there by a democrat from California. I’d be okay with it, if we could get rid of one of the representatives from California. Make it budget neutral. They go on to mention that the PMA is getting some money – yes, that is the group (soon to be under indictment) and whose president just happens to have been the top aide to Democrat John Murtha (a big time jerk) who also just HAPPENS to be the chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds these programs. Hmmm. And people were bitching about Halliburton ? Please….

By the way, the White House projects this year’s budget shortfall will be $1.5 trillion, triple the previous record of $455 billion in 2008. Somehow, this is going to be Bush’s fault too…

It all makes me mad and I am not in any shape or creed, the poster child for the radical right.

In any system where you reward stupidity, well, it is stupid. Some interesting facts have been bantered about. Some are suggesting that if the mortgage rates are lowered to 2%, still 40% of those who are at issue today with their mortgage will still default. Okay, so why are we throwing money there? Secondly, why shouldn’t I – who is paying his mortgage (and given this hefty tax bill I have, other’s as well) be getting a refinance at 2% courtesy of the Feds? Shouldn’t we reward people? I’ll take that extra cash and stimulate the hell out of the economic world of cameras, golf, beer and Taco Bell. Again, not our way. Just like changing welfare reform. States are will soon be encouraged to get more folks on it since the Feds will send them more money (read up on it… interesting stuff). Sadly, you have something that is very necessary – and something I support – turn into a sham and instrument of abuse. We are all ashamed of the Octomom situation but we have that times 10000 in inner cities today, just not all at once. More kids = more money. As a stand alone program (without additional guidance or controls), how stupid is that? It is time for an American Intervention.

Again, this is my point. I am hearing about this more and more. Something has to give. I hope it is peaceful. I hope it is constructive. I hope it rights an obvious wrong but I am not sure. Whenever there is extreme despair in a community, the extreme step in to resolve it. We do not need another far right person to tip the scales all of the way to the other side, just like we didn’t need a far left person (or persons as we have today) to tip the scales from the previous environment. Anyway, I do hope you will all in your daily dealings remember this and get us back to a world of common sense, fairness, accountability, responsibility and compassion.


Posted in Michael's thoughts, Political Opinions, The Family on February 22nd, 2009 by Michael

Got back and started in on the normal mess of things….one thing about getting back – you always like coming home but the pile of work to do (unpack, laundry, etc.) sort of makes you feel like you need another vacation. So, it is…

Happily the UPS guy left me my packages. One from Scotty Cameron and one from Traeger. I spent the last bit of time outside retrofitting my new digital thermostat controller to the grill. A little hole here, some wire running through there and boom. All fixed. A man without a grill is not a happy man you know. I turned it on and it works. So, I am a happy man.

There is no doubt that some meat will be tested against the forces of heat soon.

I really didn’t pay that much attention to the news while at Pinehurst, but I did get the gist of the standard political BS that is making waves. Obama is bitching about the 1.3 trillion dollar deficit that he inherited (from BUSH not the democratically controller congress that actually approves all spending, mind you) while simultaneously taking credit for the work his administration is doing around banking and home loans. Newsflash – a good chuck of that deficit was approved in the last couple of months of the previous administration to fund these very things his team is doing. Oh, and since he took office, the project deficit really is again 50% higher given the $796B of bills passed under the first month. That is pretty remarkable. Added together, over 30% of the deficit was created in less than 30 days. Of course, Americans are not hearing that. They are hearing and believing the haggis around “no tax cut has been implemented faster”. Okay, that works out to $720 (for the YEAR!) for “most Americans” or 95% of them as he likes to highlight. Newsflash again: the bush stimulus checks (which were stupid) totaled $1200. So, maybe someone should do a little reality check…. And, I hear today he was going to slash the deficit in a couple of years by 50%? I’ll take all bets right now. How? He is going to be out of Iraq (yeah, yells all of his supports – but newsflash again, Bush already signed the agreement to withdraw the troops… so what is be actually “doing” again? Oh yeah, continuing on what the previous administration did but with better spin and support of the media. Much like the “state secret” rule which Bush was torched for but Obama is doing to without so much of a mention). BTW, again, reality check— he said he is going to raise taxes on the rich (which most Americans and specifically democrats LOVE to hear so again, he is their hero). Hmm, but is he? Well, not according to what I am reading. He is going to let existing tax laws expire. Huge difference. It is this kind of ‘talk’ that really makes me disbelieve politicians. To quote the x-files…. The truth is out there. Just good luck in finding it (from anyone elected, not just Obama). I swear they must have a mandatory course to take on verbal manipulation when you win an election.

Anyway, the cold I had is mostly history. Max acquired it however. Add in one new tooth, and he was not a good sleeper. That of course, translated downhill to the rest of us.

I might need a new camera. This one seems to add 15lbs to all of my pictures.

I’ll write about Pinehurst either in the blurb or golf section but suffice it to say, I’ll be going back. It really is like stepping back in time to a kinder/gentler era. It is not showy, not high tech, and certainly without the hustle that most of us are use to. The hotel was obviously grand in its day and instead of updating it, they preserved it. The rooms were not especially large but they were comfortable with everything you would need. There are no soaring atriums or other things you find today at most resorts. Just lots of chairs, open sitting areas, etc. I mean, they have writing desks – with stationary – in the public spaces so you can write a letter. I mean WRITE one. Wow. The porches are full of rocking chairs. They EXPECT you to simple sit, read and converse. That’s old school and that is cool. Anyway, more about the golf course, the food (including the 24oz pork chop – yes, you read that right) and the whole experience in another forum. Look for it in a couple of days.

Got a cold and am really fed up

Posted in Political Opinions, Ranting, The Family on February 15th, 2009 by Michael

Survived another Valentine’s day. Actually, once I gave up caring, it got easier. What a horrible excuse for a holiday. The kids do enjoy chocolate however. They didn’t make it to bed until nearly 10 last night. Okay, to be honest, I think MA enjoys it too – especially if it is fancy Dark chocolate (even if they are from, gasp, Costco).

I think I will give up chronicling all of the campaign promises broken (which all Presidents do), the lies, the media bias, etc that Barack’s administration continues to provide since frankly it is too consuming. I mean this lists is disproportionately large given he has been in office a month. Like wow, large.  I will highlight things that concern me however.

Things like the aforementioned “research director” in the ‘white house counsel’s office’ that surely is there to drive policy and of course, noting that his political leader, Patrick Gaspard, has a west wing office… something that has only been done once before – under Clinton. There goes taking politics out of good governing. We know democrats are for bigger government and Barack is taking that to heart with his own staffing! Frankly, with all of the people Barack is hiring into his office, I am surprised one of those “shovel ready” projects he talks about is not expanding the White House.

I’ll get off this stimulus bill here shortly (I still have to try and read the entire 1000+ page final version) but I am still dismayed that after swearing to the American’s public the transparency of his government, the absolutely hypocrisy of this bill – the fact it was crafted behind closed doors and voted on and passed by the house literally hours after Pelosi agreed to it and without any time to actually print it and have congressional members READ it, is telling. Democrats are already out there saying they will use this and the tax cut (ah, the whopping $800 to married couples!) as a central theme to defeat Republicans in the upcoming election (e.g. we care about the middle class). I’d really like republicans to counter with the “did you read it before you voted on it” question. Anyone besides that bill’s architect themselves could not answer in the positive. I’d also like them to ask what stimulus occured by giving money to those that do not make enough to pay the government taxes.  Isn’t that really, some sort of welfare program? 

Couple of more points….when is Barack going to stop campaigning and start governing? I’m not sure he ever will. He is good at campaigning (gifted actually) and having Axelrod (now Sr. Advisor to the President) draft tight speeches for him makes a nice combination. Really resonates with the people. Plus, it is so much easier to blame things than to fix things moving forward. Of course, any talking head on MSNBC could do that.

BTW, did anyone notice the press coverage in headlines of Barack’s comments right before passage of the deficit growing bill news that Caterpillar would be hiring people back if this bill passed yet not many covered the Caterpillar’s CEO stating after the bill passed that more layoffs would be coming? Hmmm.

When is someone going to call Barack and the other caption grabbing naysayers on all of this “8 years of the past” bullshit? A few facts during the tyranny of the Bush era… Democrats ran the Senate in the first 2 and last 2 years of that ‘horrible’ 8 years of Bush administration. In fact, Democrats controlled both houses the last two years. Question, what was the Dow Jones average right before they (democrats) took over then? Oh yeah, it was 12,031 (on Nov 1, 2006). What is it today? 7,850. BTW, it was the republicans that started having hearings on executive compensation in the Senate then too since some felt they were “out of control”. Too bad they lost their majority before they actually got things done.

And for the record, Barack, before you go out and talk about all of the change that the voters brought to Washington, there needs to be more than 15% turnover in the congress…. Frankly, the voters bought back more of the same…. Be factual, please (oh wait, he is a politician).

Oh, and who claimed that Fannie and Freddie posed no “threat to the Treasury” and no risk to taxpayers, adding that “I think Wall Street will get over it” [if something went wrong] ? Right, Rep. Barney Frank (D), current chairman of the same committee overseeing this bailout. In 2003, the White House (you know, the evil ones that caused this problem) called for stronger regulation of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government-sponsored housing financiers, saying that “even a small mistake” in managing their risks “could have ripple effects throughout the financial system.” (look it up!).  Barney Frank (Democrat!!!! not Bush) blocked this and added that the [evil Bush] administration’s position is driven by concerns about the financial safety and soundness of the companies “to the exclusion of concern about housing.” So, yet another smarty move killed because those that write sound bites put up another “Bush policies discriminatory towards the poor” — the base of the democratic party voter – banner. You know, you say something long enough (e.g republican’s only care about the rich, only democrats care about the environment — except CO2 burning Obama, etc.) people believe it as true.

So you bring all of that together and you have to ask – regardless of political beliefs: 1) how did Barney get re-elected and 2) why do people think that Democrats are better at handling the economy?   It really really boggles the mind.

Okay, my chest cold has morphed into a full on cold and I’m not happy about it. Max has taken to having a growth spurt it seems when almost constant need for food [during the middle of the night]. Meghan continues to be two [argh] and after much waiting in line, we now have Z signed up for school [yeah].

Finally, I am trying to figure out how to make the blog font more readable so stay tuned…If you prefer serif or not serif, let me know via email.

Moving on with a rant

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

By now, everyone has had a taste of the new website, new blog template and of course, the new photo gallery. I’ve got a gazillion images to post into it so that will take some time but be advised that its contents are likely to change every week. I’ve tagged some images so that they can be searched (or dynamically pulled into a new albums – cool!) but that takes even more time. I’m still not sure how to move forward… maybe continue to due them by month?  We will see what I come up with.

It is February, though with it being 75 outside, that is kind of a tough sale for some of us. With this month comes my least favorite holiday. I absolutely abhor valentine’s day. As I’ve said before, it is Halloween for single people and even though I am not single, it still lingers with me. BTW, I don’t like Halloween either. You would think my emotional reactions to these holidays would have changed once I got married and had kids, but … nope. Guess this old dog, ain’t going to hunt. Yes, go ahead and feel sorry for MA.

[Government inaction alert notice]

Speaking of which, feel sorry for all us with this stimulus nightmare. Better than it was, but less bad still isn’t good. I agree with many economists… this will fix itself in less than a year. Economies expand and contract. This bill is not going to do much to change that cycle. I enjoyed the congressman from Arkansas when he had a press conference outside of Pelosi’s door highlighting that this was how decisions are made in the Democratic house (eg by the leadership, behind closed doors). Sad but true. Even sadder is how after they announced an agreement — without anyone having seen it besides a few insiders – and then wanted to herald this as a huge achievement. Bite me.

Following up on my Obama and media shill comment from a previous post, the Wall Street Journal had the guts to mention this in their paper yesterday. Of course, still no other news organizations…. Likely out of fear that they will be shut off from access to “the one” in the future. Ratings sell baby. BTW, as they and others have stated, the President can do whatever they want in terms of a press conference – the part that bugs me is that 1) this behavior is not limited to press conferences, 2) this is not widely known by the public at large so they probably still think the press is holding people accountable and 3) Barack almost broke his arm patting himself on the back when talking about how transparent, open and ethical HIS administration (calling out a difference to others) would be. Let’s see… three cabinet members had tax issues, one withdrew his name (more later), exceptions galore to the lobbyist ‘claim’, lack of truth around this “five days on the web site before laws get enacted so they are not “rushed” into” (I speak of the stimulus here – which I know technically has not been signed into law yet), claims to close gitmo (remember the press conference?) but his own officials now validating that permanent incarceration is required for some, slamming Bush for the “state secret” card but using it himself this week in US District court and oh, the biggest one, this hiring of a purely political operative (e.g. Shauna Daly as the “research director”) to sit in the White House Counsel’s office (remember that claim that politics have no place there? Yeah, short lived). Why has no one asked why this person, whose previous jobs have been to dig up dirt on political oppositions, has been named to the White House Counsel’s office (and paid for by your tax dollars)? I mean, she is not even a lawyer … plus, the Counsel’s office is already much bigger than most under previous Presidents (including GWB’s until the end when the lawsuits came a flying…). Wow.

Final point on the government today….Well done Mr. Gregg for saying no thanks to the offer as scapegoat and lapdog (e.g. Commerce Secretary). Interesting how the White House is saying that he begged for the job (to which he denies). Anyway, if all appointments are basically going to be shills, at least be honest about it. I get Barack is the Pres but I would hope he respects the input from those abundantly more qualified in their respective areas to offer sage advice. Now, they have no one to pin the stimulus disaster on (wait, that is GWB’s fault) and can go ahead and skew the census however they want without anyone raising a hand. I don’t know the inner workings but Gregg should have known he wasn’t going contribute before he accepted the offer. That last minute play is not cool but is better than doing what Spector did. And, he was at least gracious in his words… Anyway, bad day for America…I predict someone like Sebelius will be nominated for the position. The administration seems to have a short list of people they like and now it is a matter of filling in the remaining holes. Specific qualifications not withstanding.

[alert over]

On a non-partisan topic, I have a chest cold and it is pissing me off. Lots of little coughs. Irksome. At least, no puking.

MA put out some fertilizer today for our evil brown lawn. At least we do not have to worry about attack of the crabgrass like we did in Missouri. Of course, if we lived there, the ground would still be frozen… Spring should be a time for some golf for me – or so I do hope. I had my clubs regripped with Patriot grips (red/white/blue). Part of my $5.99 went to some fund to help families or fallen soldiers. Probably a nickel but that is better than 0 cents.

Got some Dundee beer at Costco… the Wheat was very delicious. The Pale was okay, the Bock wasn’t bad. I can’t believe that they had 40in LCDs for $600. Really pisses me off since I bought mine four or five months ago for almost a grand. Not that it matters since we can’t seem to finally convert to digital format… Wankers.

Finally, as I have mentioned before, I have a small bit of creativity within and wanted to get it out. So, I drafted a little 20 page children’s style book during lunch yesterday. It was funny to me and it is in very limited release. While not on the NY Times best seller list, it will have 100% critical acclaim…. Yahoo.

on to other matters…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on February 11th, 2009 by Michael

I have mostly completed the redesign (or simplification) of the website.  You will get pictures and blogging.   Easy.  Not sure when I will post it. Doing it in a way that doesn’t break what was there (after all, I am trying to re-use) is not so easy.  I suspect there will be many a broken link for some time.  Be prepared and be patient. 

I’ve still not figured out what to do with the kids section….I know, it is the biggest part.  I’ve been distracted though with tons of fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Whatelse is new?  Max decided to give up puking.  That was nice of him.  He has taken up being a little fussy though.  Meghan is still two – the longest year ever.  Mackenzie has become a puzzle putting together machine.  Don’t worry, I have 10 more already purchased for her birthday.

My traeger bit the big one.  Well, just the temp controller board.  I was off to order a replacement to find they have digital ones now.  I ordered it.  Looking forward to testing it out on some fine boston butt in the near future.  That reminds me, I have to turn the auger.  That will be somewhat messy.  The “T” really needs to go to a spa and get a complete work over.

TV is going back to hit or miss…. last 2 second reviews: Big Bag Theory was better than normal, CSI Miami was even more unlikely than normal, NCIS was weak, Mentalist was called in and on the bright side, Leverage is starting to get good. 

BTW, if you buy that Under Armour compressed fit workout gear, does it make you look like you have muscles (e.g. like the pictures) or do you end up looking more like the Pillsbury dough boy?  Seems like a huge risk for a $45 shirt.

Don’t read if you love the stimulus package.

Posted in Political Opinions on February 11th, 2009 by Michael

I suppose I might just be paranoid but some facts are facts.  If you will indulge me for a [vomit free] moment.

I’ve been trying to  get my head around this stimulus package.  Of course, it is 800 pages long and has had no committee hearings or investigations since that would simple “take too long” and Barack has to have a press conference on President’s day about the second coming of the government, and, well, who needs it anyway. The One (Barack, as he is referenced jovially outside the traditional media love fest) is for it so it must be good.  Does his action on this issue – the prime time events and campaign rhetoric being spewed to any and all around the country he is crisscrossing (global warming be damned!) – remind anyone of anything?  Replace Obama with Bush and stimulus with iraq and the parallel’s are eerie.    Have we not learned anything? One of the biggest future decision of our nation and we have to have it done without due diligence to meet a press conference… Damn.

Anyway, besides it being suspect from many economists, there are some good parts and some bad parts in this rush to claim victory.   Let’s start with the parts that should make your hair stand on end…First, as mentioned, I doubt most senators read it.  If so, how could they vote for a new health care concept (which was taken from Daschle’s blueprint)?  I mean, one that creates a computerized inventory of your records and allows…actually requires… the government to evaluate treatment and its cost effectiveness?  It also allows for targeted mass mailings based on what is in your records.   You think you get a lot of SPAM and junk mail now… This was pointed out to a few Senators by Bloomberg and they were shocked.  “I didn’t know that was in there.  Well, we will have to get that fixed.”  No shit. BTW, I am for automation and improving record keeping – but the devil is in the details and who ever wrote this, certainly did not vet it with anyone that has ever heard of privacy rights.  Again, let’s vote for something we do not understand or have seen. I mean, they sent a car to bring Kennedy to the Senate to vote for it since they need 60.  This is the same Kennedy that has not been seen in public since the Inauguration.  Inspires confidence. I really, really want to assume that these folks in Washington are working day and night for me so I do not have to worry, but given things like the above, well, I just can not.

Other things that bug me include giving ‘cash’ to people that don’t pay taxes.  Face it, they are not going to stimulate the economy.  I said this back when Bush tossed out his $300 checks.  Nor is extending unemployment benefits, etc.  Not that I am opposed to the latter, but again, not a stimulus item.  This “buy American” provision is really concerning when blended with Obama’s orders to use union labor.  When you think of over priced and inefficient activities, what comes to mind?  Yes, union work and the government.  Combine them with no oversight and that $400 hammer is going to seem like a bargain.  Now, I get the “buy American” concept but it should be tempered.  I see a lot of contracts for government agencies… and they usually stipulate American or even local use of labor.  Of course, they pay twice the price for it and pass it along to you and to me.  We are a global economy or not.  Someone needs to decided.

Now, I do think the house credit and the car credit are good ideas.  A lot better than just writing checks to Detroit or Wall Street.  This situation is not going to be mandated away but has to come from the bottom up.  That is you and me buying things.  I know I do my part.  It appears that this is still a first time home owner credit… which makes little sense but at least it is not stupid.  I’d like a tax break too.  I’m being pounded with taxes this year and I am not happy about knowing where my money goes.  Believe me, I worked my ass off for it last year.

I’ve still got more to read about this package but alas it is morphing in the compromise committees so I might wait. That said, there is nothing good on TV tonight.  Saw a poll that support is starting to decline for the bill and an interesting parallel was that more people knew, the less likely they were to support it.   I can’t remember the source but it was not a ‘conservative’ poll either.  I found it interesting… and was encouraged.  Too bad we are not an informed country, in general.

BTW, I thought this Tim Geithner was suppose to be brilliant or something.  So much so that democrats didn’t care if he paid his taxes, etc. to confirm him.  Well, after two postponements, he delivered his plan for the economy and it said nothing.  I mean, I am not being overly harsh here…it is political babble that talked about things needing to be fixed with ZERO means discussed on how to fix them besides hinting we needed another trillion or two dollars (I think it was the WSJ that called it a “plan without a plan”).  I recognize that Obama doesn’t know anything (like almost all presidents) but I thought he was trying to get some good folks into the mix (outside of the friend and political advisors, of course).  If this highlight’s his administration’s capabilities (and I hope it does not), we ought to be scared.  Freaking scared out of our minds.  Wall Street didn’t care for it either as it cratered yesterday…I’m already down 37% for the past year…. How low can it go?

By the way, when did a press conference become a room of shills?  Does it bug anyone but me that Obama now has a preplanned list of reporters to take questions from during these “press conferences?”  It goes like “Ah, thank you SO much Mr. President for taking my question…. Can you tell us how your administration is good and the past one caused all of the issues in the world?” to which there is a canned response:  “Hmm.  Great question.  It was clear that the people wanted…. I inherited the worse everything (no mention democrats were in congressional control)…  the perfect storm of challenges… I won… Join me in passing my agenda… visit my website and read how we are changing the world (oh, and donate money]… [sic]….”

Why wasn’t there a single question to him about overwhelming evidence that most former gitmo detainees simply go back to their terrorist organizations and the impact of closing the facilities?  Right.  No independent press.  Personally, I want to know why Nancy is opposed to putting them on Alcatraz… Actually, I know the answer to that one but it would be interesting to hear hers.  After all, in the past two weeks she has told us that ‘contraception funding’ was absolutely needed as part of the stimulus package (actually, I think that was for the ‘stimulate package’ down at the local motel…) and that she had to step up and write and pass this measure in the house without Republican input since 500 MILLION American jobs were being lost each month.  I thought GHB was the only inept one in front of the press…

Why wasn’t there any questions about how he decided to move the function for taking the census from the Commerce Secretary to the White House (and partisan dog, Rahm) ?  If Bush would have done this, there would be HOWLS from the roof tops.  This is a power play to ensure democratic re-election.   Not a word from the press.

Another executive power encroachment ?  No mention of Barack changing the scope of the NSA and consolidating power there under his control.  Hmm…  Again, if Bush suggested this, ‘Chaney and evil empire’ comments would be burning up the blogsphere.

Finally, why no uproar with Barack and Barney Frank (who said Fanny Mae didn’t need more oversight)  and the rest of the democrats spending a couple of days at the very swanky Williamsburg resort – these are the same people who expressed “outrange” that banks and other people on the taxpayers dime were off on retreats, right?  If you have to go to a resort… at least have the evil lobbyists pay for it. J

It is all enough to make your head spin.

So close…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on February 7th, 2009 by Michael

Scratch that about being a good day. We had a good day but Max decided to ruin the streak. Might be a milk thing. Not sure. Now, I am feeling nauseous again. I do not like it!On to more important (possibly) things… I have been working evenings on a new website design. I understand that most look at it for the images so I have installed the coppermine gallery software on the site and am in progress of moving a lot of stuff around. Starting with the archives first. Not sure really how I want to deal with pictures of the kids. This was after I went in and spent a few days messing around with Expressions 2.0 to try and build a more sustainable web site. It was only time… and the price of the book.In the future, I think the site will be pretty straightforward… a blog and a photo album. Somewhere in there I might add some text pages to provide some historical insight on things. Not sure. Expect to see a rollout of the new parts in a week or so.Right now, I don’t feel like sitting behind a computer… I can only imagine how much fun it is going to be when they go to school and bring back even more germs for the rest of us to enjoy.

Don’t read this if you get squeamish…

Posted in Michael's thoughts, The Family on February 7th, 2009 by Michael

It is a good day today…why? Not because the idiots in Washington finally listed to a a few republicans and pared back this pork laden ‘stimulus’ bill but because it has been more than a day since someone in the house has puked. So, when faced with the mental perils of going to work, the natural aches and pains we all have, watching the economy go south, paying taxes (crap, don’t get me started there…) or whatever, if you are not puking your guts out, consider that a win.

As has become almost an annual tradition, I think the winter violent vomiting bug flew through the household. This time starting with Meghan. That was a two day event and luckily occurred remote to me as the family was off to Austin for a mini-retreat with the Dugan clan. AustinOf course, they come back and I start to hear things like “my tummy hurts”, etc. Well, Saturday night, MA goes off to what I thought was a relaxing soak in the tub to find out that it was really episodic vomiting. Ignorance is so blissful in these cases.

For those that know me, you know that I am very much anti-vomit, in all shapes, consistencies and form. Human or animal. I just say no.

Well, around 11 that night, I hear cries from upstairs to which I discover that now Mackenzie has chosen to get into the act. And in typical fashion for a three year old, she doesn’t puke in the bathroom or even in one place but ALL over the place. It appeared as though she was some sort of ping pong ball bouncing about. While taking off the bedding, her clothes, desperately looking for Febreze (which is semi-ineffective here), MA comes up to help. Well, the smell of vomit sent her back for rounds 5 and 6. That got all taken care of (with future DAYS of steam cleaning iterations). Most interesting is that Meghan slept through the whole thing and Mackenzie, armed with a new doll from the other room (yes, there were causalities), went right back to bed.

Then about 1 or so, Maxwell starts the process all over again. Fortunately, he was contained… Of course, by now the washer is going into over drive trying to keep up with it all. All is well…until about 2am Monday morning, when I decided that I just could not hold out any more. I’ll not wax poetically about the vigor of which violent vomiting can exit one’s body but suffice it to say, it is surprising. Or so, I recall thinking, as I sat there nearly tear-laden over the events. It may not have the force as blowing your nose, but it is close. How is that ? I am very curious – but not curious enough to go find out.

The good thing about this particular virus is that it is short lived. Normally a day or so (even though Max did go on, once a day or so for about 4 days). The bad news, outside the obvious vomiting part, is that it affects you at both ends of the spectrum. I don’t need to be too graphic there but it really was insult to injury. Suffice it to say, we have really, really clean bathrooms now.

Anyway, that is all done now. And it makes me happy.

Don’t read this is you LOVE Obama

Posted in Political Opinions on February 7th, 2009 by Michael

Okay, I’ve been sick (physically) but now I am sick emotionally. I think I have decided I am sick of Obama. I thought first it was just the love fest that the press had with him but I am starting to think it may be around the arrogance of him and his handlers. That is not to say he is a bad person – any more than say Brittney Spears is – but sometimes things/situations just spiral out of control.

Things that irk me this week:

Obama’s failure at FEMA. After a HUGE and public lambasting of the Bush administration over Katrina (which was not ALL of the Fed’s fault), Obama has failed to act in helping those in Kentucky who ASKED for assistance. Guess no celebrities or pro-democratic votes live there. BTW, where is the press on this issue?

His lack of morality around lobbyists. Okay, he got brownie points for saying lobbyists were not welcome in his administration (in a press conference, of course), but now it is being reveals that no less than 12 of his officials (e.g. ones with deputy secretary or chief of staff titles) were registered lobbyists in the last five years. Granted, I don’t think being a lobbyist is all that bad – many lobby for important and just causes – but then again, I didn’t call a press conference about it. BTW, outside of mentioning it once, where is the press of this hypocrisy?

Does any one in the Democratic Party pay taxes? Well, we know the Secretary of the Treasury does (well, only after being promised a cushy job). We know that Tom Daschle (his pick to run H&HS who has “unwavering support from the White House” that was until the New York times (the democratic Koran) called for him to withdraw) doesn’t. We know his grow the government “chief performance officer” nominee Nancy Killefer didn’t pay them either. Hmmm. No wonder democrats want to raise taxes – they don’t pay them!

Obama says he plans to run an administration with the “strictest ethics ever”. Throw in Richardson and well, he has had more issues in the first two weeks than Bush had in his first term (Press anyone ?). This is not to mention that it appears that he was in violation of Illinois law for all of the extra money he made for speaking engagements while part of the legislature (2000-2002). Why didn’t anyone ask about that while on the campaign trail? Well, this was probably because the Clintons dine on 50K speeches regularly and that would be unseemly to bring up when one is ‘the party of the people’. Remember, Biden and Barack are just middle class folks… At least he paid his taxes for it.

Let’s talk about the hypocrite Eric Holder. This concept that he will reinvigorate the Attorney General’s office with “no politics, no ideology”. I guess he changed his position from when he recommended pardon’s for Clinton’s money laundering friends. This is the same guy that will help support more of your money being spent by the democrats in congress on the Gonzales witchhunt. I got no special beef with Holder or Gonzales for what they have done. People do things that we do not agree on. They were legal. They should held accountable for their actions proportionally… So in this case, call them an ass and move on. My problem is all of this historical revisionism (much like how Clinton solved the economic crisis when he came to office, when facts show that recovery was well underway during the last months of the Bush presidency).

Finally, we will not talk about his foreign policy failures since I personally believe that he was just blowing as much smoke as he could on the campaign trail and thankfully, he is not going to enact all of them. So, again, no beef here…That said, there is a rumor going around about him reaching out to certain foreign entities before the transition (e.g. that “there is one president at a time” comment was bullshit). More interesting is that it might have been against the [logan] law. Of course, we will never know as the press or the democrats in the congress are not likely to push this issue (e.g. it will be the anti-iran-contra). Don’t believe me? Look for it – you will not find it.


The press should be an independent entity that protects America and investigates the truth, be it republican or democratic issues. Today, they are little more than fanboys. I mean, CNN is selling Obama t-shirts on their website! Recently, one press member was stopped by the Secret Service for getting to close to Obama… he wanted his autograph! Impartial, my ass.

Obama, should be standing up to those glad handlers around him, and applying those principals he speaks to in his speech. That is, if he believed them. Probably is, things are too easy so why rock the boat. I mean, he talks about bipartisanship then goes off having speeches to condemn the republicans for holding up the packages (when they really just wanted to have some input). Then he calls some to the White House for “talks” then goes off to a democratic retreat and has a “we won, screw them” lovefest with Pelosi and idiots). I guess it is good to be the king….

BTW, I read last week he had a closed door with democrats in congress asking them to remove the pork from the stimulus package so republicans could vote for it. That is an excellent step in the right direction, but doesn’t that go to show that the democrats put a lot of crap in there to start with (and secondly, aren’t they all being a little cowardly in that they want someone else to blame too…) ? I wonder how much damage this is really going to do to us long term. Most economists suggest the next 3-6 months will be the low points and then recovery will occur (sans stimulus package). Why all of the hoopla then? Well, easy… Scare people and they will follow. It is a vehicle that allows you to get a lot of other things done ‘under the radar’. Not that I am opposed to everything in the bill…Just an interesting observation.