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.

First Day of School

Posted in The Family on September 4th, 2009 by Michael

To go along with the POTW (which will be out at it usual time). Here is a transcript of my conversation with Mackenzie on her first day of school… Other images are in the monthly photo gallery as usual.
Q: Did you have fun at school today?

A: Yes.

Q: What did you do?

A: Play on the playground.

Q: Did you do anything else?

A: Yes.

Q: What else did you do?

A: I colored and read.

Q: You read?

A: Yes

Q: What did you read?

A: I read a book.

Q: What was the book about?

A: It was the “hand” book. I read the “hand” book.

Q: Was it good?

A: Yes.

Q: Did you meet some new friends?

A: Yes.

Q: What were their names?

A: I don’t remember. Mommy, you tell him…

And the interview was ceremoniously ended as she went off to do something…Obviously, the lesson plan of the day was around vocabulary.