Saturday, February 28, 2009

Giving to Charity? That's a Taxing.

When times are hard, people are out of work, and charitable giving takes on an especially significant role in caring for the needy--what is one of the worst things a government can do?

Yet this is precisely what President Obama has proposed. Taxing charitable donations from those who can actually afford to give more. His proposal would affect individuals earning $200K and married couples earning $250K. This amounts to a greater tax penalty for married couples than for single individuals.

I think Obama has covered his bases when it comes to doing harm: the very poor, the charitable organizations and the institute of marriage.

I can't conceive the levels of hubris required to even suggest such an idea. I can only wonder if this scheme is simply a red herring to take the focus away from the rest of Obama's disastrous budget plans.

I recommend that anyone reading this contact their representatives in Washington and tell them to abandon this absurdity when it comes to a vote.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Mormons and the Mainstream

Here's a very insightful article from The American Conservative magazine discussing how the religious right is finding the grassroots organization and fundraising capabilities of members of the Church of Jesus Christ more attractive. It cites Mormon support of California's Proposition 8 that defines marriage between a man and a woman.
After Prop 8, evangelical opinion leaders exhorted their audiences to stop worrying and learn to love the Latter Day Saints. John Mark Reynolds, a professor at evangelical Biola University wrote, “In the battle for the family…… traditional Christians have no better friends than the Mormon faithful.” A petition to thank the LDS church for its participation in the Prop 8 campaign circulated on conservative websites, and James Dobson signed it. Presbyterian writer John Schroeder said, “We Evangelicals must thank our Mormon cousins. …… They, along with our Catholic brethren, were better organized than us and that provided a base from which we could all work together to get this job done.”
Is this a continuing trend or a flash in the pan? Time will tell--but a lot can happen in the space of just a few years.

Mitt Romney Maintains His Relevance

After losing a presidential election – especially a primary – candidates typically fade into the background and suffer a severely diminished sphere of influence. Not so with Mitt Romney. The Washington Post places him as the #2 most important Republican to watch.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, has the highest work rate of any modern politician we have observed closely. During his run for president last year, Romney's schedule would often be packed with six events a day, a stunning level of activity. He's keeping up that breakneck pace so far in 2009 -- using his Free and Strong America PAC to seed donations to up and coming politicians while penning editorials and providing counsel to congressional Republicans on economic issues. Another major advantage for Romney: much -- though not all -- of his political team has stayed in touch and intact , meaning that if and when he flicks the switch they will be ready to go from, well, day one.
Considering that the country will still be digging itself out of the cosmic-sized pit that Obama and Congress are leading us headlong into, Romney's economic credentials will be more relevant than ever.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Charlie Bit My Finger

This was just too funny not to post.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tripping the Light Fantastic - or Just Tripping?

Here's one way to combat your depression over the weather or the economy or your tragedy du jour. It happened today at lunch. She went on for about 10 minutes.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Obama: From Crafter of Hope to Monger of Fear

In his presidential campaign, when Barack Obama resuscitated the phrase "just words" in a speech defending his lack of leadership experience, he hit the nail on the head. In the business of politics, words, for better or for worse, make all the difference.

For example, Obama's campaign theme was HOPE. He carried a message of hope, even without any backing of substance. His words, though lacking the weight of logic and reason, made a huge difference in getting him elected.

Recently, Obama's words helped to push through the biggest governmental power grab in generations--again abandoning sound reasoning in favor of soaring rhetoric. Or, in this case, fear mongering.

In the Wall Street Journal, Bradley R. Schiller expounds on the president's recent rhetorical tactics:
President Barack Obama has turned fear mongering into an art form. He has repeatedly raised the specter of another Great Depression. First, he did so to win votes in the November election. He has done so again recently to sway congressional votes for his stimulus package.

Mr. Obama's analogies to the Great Depression are not only historically inaccurate, they're also dangerous. Repeated warnings from the White House about a coming economic apocalypse aren't likely to raise consumer and investor expectations for the future. In fact, they have contributed to the continuing decline in consumer confidence that is restraining a spending pickup. Beyond that, fear mongering can trigger a political stampede to embrace a "recovery" package that delivers a lot less than it promises. A more cool-headed assessment of the economy's woes might produce better policies.
Today the party in power has abandoned sound legislation for political gain, empowered to do so by a president who has mastered the rhetorical skills needed to persuade an increasingly weak-minded electorate. I don't hold out a lot of hope for our children.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thank the Democrats

Eight hours to read 1100+ pages? Examination and debate was never the intention here. I'm fumed.

Literally, Please Improve Your Vocabulary

One pet peeve I share with many others is misuse of the word, "literally." And this dude misuses it twice in one story regarding this week's collision of two satellites.

Infraction #1:
"At physical contact at orbital speeds, a hypersonic shock wave bursts outwards through the structures," Oberg said in e-mailed comments. "It literally shreds the material into confetti and detonates any fuels."
Yeah, the impact of two huge satellite spontaneously produces "small pieces or streamers of colored paper."

Infraction #2:
"The collision offers a literally heaven-sent opportunity for the Obama administration to take forceful, visible and long-overdo measures to address a long-ignored issue of 'space debris,'" Oberg said.
However this happened, I'm sure that "God and the angels" are involved, and want Obama to address the issue.

Yeah, I know he's not a writer by trade. That doesn't mean it still can't bug me.

Politics Always Trumps Economics

It's the sad and unfortunate truth, as explained in the article.
"I think (doing) nothing would have been better," said Ed Yardeni, an investment analyst who's usually an optimist, in an interview with McClatchy. He argued that the plan fails to provide the right incentives to spur spending.

"It's unfocused. That is my problem. It is a lot of money for a lot of nickel-and- dime programs. I would have rather had a lot of money for (promoting purchase of) housing and autos . . . . Most of this plan is really, I think, aimed at stabilizing the situation and helping people get through the recession, rather than getting us out of the recession. They are actually providing less short-term stimulus by cutting back, from what I understand, some of the tax credits."


Another reason that some analysts frown on the stimulus is the social spending it includes on things such as the Head Start program for disadvantaged children and aid to NASA for climate-change research. Both may be worthy efforts, but they aren't aimed at delivering short-term boosts to economic activity.

"All this is 25 years of government expansion jammed into one bill and sold as stimulus," said Brian Riedl, the director of budget analysis for the Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy research group.
You reap what you sow. And you deserve whom you elect. Bravo, America. Bravo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

UPDATE: Stabenow Backs Off Fairness Doctrine

Hey, it looks like my email to my dear senator had an impact. This article looks into the skirmishes between right-wing radio hosts and left-wing politicians, citing Sean Hannity's role in bringing the issue of the Fairness Doctrine to the forefront. For the record, I wasn't aware of Hannity's role, rather forming my opinions from what I read on Google News.

I'm glad, though, that Stabenow backed off her earlier comments. Nobody likes people yelling at you, and apparently her skin is thin enough for it to matter.

On a related note, Camille Paglia says this about the Fairness Doctrine:
The failure of liberals to master the vibrant medium of talk radio remains puzzling. To reach the radio audience (whether the topic is sports, politics or car repair), a host must have populist instincts and use the robust common voice. Too many Democrats have become arrogant elitists, speaking down in snide, condescending tones toward tradition-minded middle Americans whom they stereotype as rubes and buffoons. But the bottom line is that government surveillance of the ideological content of talk radio is a shocking first step toward totalitarianism.
Read the previously posted email I sent to Stabenow.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Another Letter to my Reps

This time it's about the "stimulus" bill. I'm not quite as cordial in this one.
Please vote AGAINST the final stimulus bill.

Dear [Senator/Representative] [Levin/Stabenow/Peters]

I am writing to let you know I am extremely disturbed by the "stimulus" bills passed by the House and Senate, and that I am strongly against final passage of any legislation that even remotely resembles what is currently on the table.

This bill is so incredibly and blatantly filled with earmarks, and so devoid of real immediate stimulus, that I'm dumbstruck that anyone could actually support it. Even the Congressional Budget Office says that the bill would leave us worse off in 10 years than if Congress didn't pass anything at all.

Supporting this bill is insanity. I fervently urge you to reconsider your earlier support of this legislation if you want to retain any semblance of common sense. Again, your voting record on this issue has me dumbfounded.
Did you know that if all those hundreds of billions of dollars were given back to the people, it would pay off almost everyone's mortgage? Instead, let's fund long-term "social infrastructure." Give me a break.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Mitt Romney Quote of the Day

In the final analysis, we know that only the private sector -- entrepreneurs and businesses large and small -- can create the millions of jobs our country needs. The invisible hand of the market always moves faster and better than the heavy hand of government.
Taken from remarks to the House Republican Conference. Read the entire excellent excerpt.

Economists Against Stimulus Package? Impossible!

How in the world can economists discard the foregone conclusion that huge government intervention is needed RIGHT NOW to avoid financial catastrophe? Oh--because they understand economics, and don't turn a blind eye to history.

Here's an ad from libertarian the CATO institute castigating the Obama administration and its support of the proposed government "stimulus" package, signed by various faculty from hudreds of universities. Click on the image to read the entire piece.

So if reducing the government burden on the economy is Economics 101, why are all the leftie politicians so gung ho about the stimulus package? As White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel put it, "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste." Yeah, way to put country first there, Rahm.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Letter To My Senator

After reading this bit linked from Drudge, I responded to my dear senator with this email message:
Dear Senator Stabenow,

I was alarmed and dismayed to learn today of your intention to push for "accountability" on the airwaves. Reinstating the Fairness Doctrine would only diminish the accountability of radio stations toward their customers, the advertisers. Worse, rather than increasing the value of the marketplace of ideas, it would severely limit the sort of information and entertainment the radio listening public clearly wants. On top of that, it would place an undue financial burden on radio stations forced to air unpopular programming to meet an arbitrary political quota, naturally resulting in lower advertising revenue and diminished service to the listening public.

I strongly urge you to drop your support of the Fairness Doctrine, or whatever you decide to call it. It is the height of hubris to dictate to the market what it can and cannot listen to.
Before now, I was only mildly annoyed at Stabenow. But today I'm putting her on Hummus or Hubris. It's only fitting.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

This looks cool.

If only I owned a game console.