Friday, September 28, 2012

Ten Debate Questions I Would Ask President Obama

  1. Would you sign a bill into law that sought to criminalize offensive religious speech?

  2. Would you support across-the-board actual cuts to the federal budget (i.e., no outlays excluded)? (NOTE: reductions in increases to budgets do not count.)

  3. What percentage of incomes above $250,000 would you consider to be a tax rate at which those individuals are "paying their fair share"?

  4. What would you say to people who remember your statement, "If I don't fix this in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition"?

  5. Considering the United States has the second highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world and is one of the only countries that taxes corporations on foreign revenue, what would you do to improve the American business climate?

  6. If sanctions fail, what concrete steps would you take to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons?

  7. When the number of people on welfare rolls increases, do you see this as a success for the program, or a failure?

  8. Considering the CBO is projecting an 8% annual increase in healthcare costs between now and 2022, what specific steps will you endorse to reverse this trend and cut costs?

  9. What countries in the Middle East do you see as American allies and how will you utilize those alliances to combat Islamist extremism?

  10. Why is the prison at Guantanamo Bay still open?

Coming on Monday: Ten Debate Questions I Would Ask Mitt Romney

Monday, September 24, 2012

Horace Is Home

We're still getting settled into the new house in Horace, ND, but we're having a great time doing it. We've finished up most of the outdoor projects just in time for the weather to start cooling off. All that's left is a little bit of weeding and trimming. The indoor projects are another matter.

In the meantime, the leaves are starting to turn so I thought it was the perfect time to take some pictures...

A view from the driveway

Brink Drive

A view of the dining room. You might notice a familiar couple on the wall...

The lounge area

A view from next to the shed

The backyard

A few of our beautiful trees

Trees along the grassy area on the west side of the house

View from the northeast corner of the property

Grove along the north side of the property

MJ's room is the first one we've finished redecorating. She designed the whole thing.
Instead of a traditional closet, she has a wall of cabinets and drawers.
Another view of MJ's room

A view of my playroom. Needs some redecorating...

The living room. We're still in the middle of decorating.

My other playroom. Tbe green will be going eventually.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

An Instructive Juxtaposition

The Obama administration's views toward free speech with regards to religion seem to be predicated on how violent the proponents of a given religion are willing to get. This is vividly illustrated with a couple of headlines from the end of the week: State Department spending $70G on Pakistan ads denouncing anti-Islam film
The American Embassy in Islamabad, in a bid to tamp down public rage over the anti-Islam film produced in the U.S., is spending $70,000 to air an ad on Pakistani television that features President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton denouncing the video. In the ad, Obama is seen talking about America's tradition of religious tolerance and Clinton is seen saying that the U.S. government had nothing to do with the video that contains vulgar depiction of the Prophet Muhammad. "We absolutely reject its content and message," Clinton says in the advertisement.
This, on top of earlier outing the filmmaker and an American Embassy's initial response and defense of an apologetic tweet shows an administration incredibly sensitive to the feelings of Muslims. Compare that with a piece of "art" that offends another well-known religion: WH Silent Over Demands to Denounce ‘Piss Christ’ Artwork
Religious groups are blasting President Obama for not condemning am anti-Christian art display set to appear in New York City and one Republican lawmaker said he is “fed up with the administration’s double standard and religious hypocrisy.
Maybe if Christians attacked the gallery where the piece was being shown en masse and killed some people along the way the White House would pay attention. No, that isn't a call to violence. But it is an idea that is being promoted by an administration that bends over backwards to apologize for free speech while ignoring the concerns of the "bitter clingers" to a religion that has done more to earn the moniker "religion of peace" than Islam. For the record, I don't think the administration should publicly denounce either the anti-Islamic film or the "Piss Christ" piece. But it has invested a lot of time and money in bowing and scraping to Islam in order to promote the idea that the United States respects all religions. If that's true, then be consistent. Right now, the message is that the U.S. will respect any religion that is willing to burn and kill.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Define "Everybody"

President Obama was quoted as saying, "If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone." I was wondering, does "everyone" include:

The "bitter clingers" of the midwest?

The non-union plant workers of Delphi?

The voters who don't vote for the right guy?

The shops who don't support the right right candidate?

The donors who don't write the correct name on the pay line?

The states that know how to manage their finances?

The followers of any religion or just the ones that get violent?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Rich Aren't Rich Enough

After reading an article at Canfield Press (linked below) describing America's slide from a wealth creation nation to a wealth transfer state, I remembered a short piece I wrote a couple of years ago about waiting tables as a method of illustrating the flaw in collectivist thinking. That got me thinking about the whole "fair share" argument when it comes to taxing the rich. Setting aside the fact that our tax base largely comes from a relatively small part of the populaton, I wondered just how much more "just a little more" really was. How much would represent a "fair share"? Short of adding up all the numbers on Forbes' 400 list there was no definitive amoung given for the total wealth of all of America's billionaires. However, using some simple calculations of the data that was readily available, I got some interesting (though not unexpected) numbers.

The total wealth of the world's billionaires as of March 2012 was $4,600,000,000,000 (source). Dividing that by the total number of billionaires in the world (1226), that averages out to roughly $3,752,039,152 per 1%er. There are currently 425 billionaires in the United States, so a decent estimate of the total wealth of American billionaires is about $1,594,616,639,478. That certainly isn't a perfect way of estimating it, and the number could be a bit higher or a bit lower.

Now, back to that wealth transfer thing. In 2010, total spending on entitlements was about $2,200,000,000,000. This means that if we simply confiscated all the wealth of all the billionaires in the United States, it wouldn't pay for one year's worth of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, and all the other programs that fall under the Entitlements umbrella. The idea that if we just raise taxes, if we just ask the rich to "pay a little more", our money problems will be solved is fantasy. We're past the point where taxation can solve our debt woes. We're passed the point where we can ignore the reality that we have to spend less money. Slowing the rate of spending growth is no longer an option. Class warfare won't fix anything. The only thing that will work is to cut budgets. All of them.

The federal budget request for 2012 included outlays of over $3,800,000,000,000 and was based on predicted revenues of just over $2,200,000,000,000. In other words, we planned on spending nearly twice as much as we planned to take in. That's not sustainable, and it's not fixable with class warfare.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Four Excuses For An Obama Loss (And Why They Won't Wash)

If the ballots are counted in November and Barack Obama becomes a one-term president, the media will fall all over themselves to explain why. None of those reasons will encompass the simple truth that his policies have been a failure, that he wasted his solid majorites in Congress by focusing laser-like on Obamacare, or that the American people didn't buy into his class war rhetoric.

Admitting to those things would be to admit that the blame lies with the President himself.

Instead, the media will trot out ready-made excuses that place the blame solely on the American people. After all, we're just not smart enough to understand how lucky we are to have him. He is, after all, a lightworker, a man (or is he?) both devine and magical. Some even now refer to him as if he were the messiah.

Obviously someone so perfect can't be held responsible for breaking campaign promises (closing Guantanamo, fixing the economy, restoring transparency, rolling back rights abuses so (rightfully) decried in the previous administration). So certainly there must be some sinister forces at work to explain such a defeat.

1. Racism: Hey, remember when Obama was going to lose because Americans are a bunch of racists? Then remember when Obama won and suddenly Americans had "turned a corner" and we entered a post-racial era? Now Obama is up for re-election and guess what? We'll all be racists again. The race card is getting as played out as zombies-as-plot-device, but the media can't resist throwing it out there with a knowing glance and tut-tutting shake of the head.

The problem here is that for this to be a real cause, it means a lot of people suddenly became racist after voting for a black man for president. Where were these vast multitudes of black-hating Americans in 2008, who plainly should have risen up to vote, ensuring another white guy got to sit in the White House? Does racism exist? Of course it does. Does it explain why Americans may not relect Obama? Only if you ignore the fact that he was elected in the first place.

2. Money: The root of all evil. That stuff the 1% has and you don't. It's a total travesty that Republicans can buy an election just because they have more money to spend. Unless Obama has a good month. Then it's not so bad. Of course, this handwringing over money wasn't necessary in 2008. I wonder why? (Oh, and if you want to play the "pfft, Wikipedia" card, here is the original source. Look it up for yourself.)

3. Republican Obstructionism: Just think what could have been accomplished if Republicans hadn't been there fighting tooth and nail every step of the way. If only Obama had had a friendly Congress. Even for a couple of years. Wait. Well, okay, but if only Republicans had tried to work out a deal with Obama over the budget crisis, we could have... Crap. Well, at least senate Democrats tried to pass budgets as required by law. Maaannnn. Okay, well when the president's budget proposal went to the senate... okay, the House... Let's move on.

4. Dirty Campaigns: That evil Romney is always living in the muck. Accusing his opponent of favoring outlawing all abortions, even in the case of rape or incest. Running ads that purport to show women who are switching parties because of their disgust with their guy. Making up policy positions out of whole cloth. Blaming him for a woman's death. Shameful. Oh wait. Those were all attack ads for Obama against Romney. My bad.

If Obama loses in November, it will be because the American people don't believe he is the right person to lead this country. The media won't see it that way, but you'll know better.

(Crossposted at Say Anything)