Saturday, December 19, 2009

Today's Topics: Global Warming and Health Care

First, I got into a bit of trouble at Facebook when I posted a link to the 1974 TIME magazine article on the coming Ice Age.  My friends uttered, "What's the point, John?" .  They were passionate in their defense of the Global Warming movement.  I chose not to debate them on my Facebook page.  I did consider personal emails, and I drafted them, but so far, I have decided to leave them unsent.  

If they ever find my blog, I refer them to this American Thinker link which discusses the misuse of science by the Global Warming movement people.  My friends seem to be shocked and astonished that there are thinking people in the world who doubt this theory.  I wish they would open their minds a bit.

On the Health Care front, the Democrats have gotten their 60th vote.  What an immense amount of power the last few holdout senators had.  Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson of NE.  These guys would be good poker players.  They were going to vote for this thing, but they bluffed well enough to get goodies for their states or other concessions important to them.

It is sad that the mainstream news media is not launching a campaign of outrage over the way this mess is being shoved down our throats in the dead of night during Christmas week.  It goes without saying that they would not be so acquiescent in the face of similar Republican maneuvers.

Now the 2010 campaign can largely be about the repeal of this Obama-Reid-Pelosi Health Care monstrosity!  It should be fun!  Bye-Bye Liberals!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


As I told my wife, I can't believe I "supported" this guy in the 2008 Democratic Primaries.  Okay, I didn't ever actually vote for him nor did I send his campaign any money.  But I rooted for him against Hillary Clinton because I was so tired of the Clinton "dynasty."  

George W. Bush is looking more and more like the bravest, strongest and toughest President we have ever had.  Okay, that's a lot of Presidents, but still he was unafraid to take bold new chances and actually wage a WAR ON TERRORISM.  I urge you to read this George W. Bush speech on the War on Terror from 2005 and even watch the video.  Creating Guantanamo as a place to keep enemy combatants and using non-traditional means to deal with them.  That used to be the way we fought a war.  FDR was unafraid of hurting people's feelings and rights because he wanted America to win World War II. This guy, Obama, has pulled right back to where Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter had put this country.  Being tepid and timid and weak against terrorists.  Obama is so concerned with his Nobel Peace Prize image that he will no longer wage this war against terrorism -- he will treat it as a criminal matter.  

These last two weeks have shown Obama is just going to drive this country as far to the left as he can make it go.  He's lost the center, as seen in the November 3 elections, so he's pushed for a Health Care takeover vote by the house, he's minimized the significance of the Fort Hood Terror Attacks by Nidal Hasan and now he's bringing Khalid Sheikh Mohamed from Guantanamo to New York for a trial.  And he is dithering about Afghanistan, which he had declared a year ago as a war we should be fighting.  Now, since his left wing wants out, Obama refused to affirm General McCrystal's request for an increase of 40,000 troops so we can wage this war properly.  All he has left, politically, is his far left base and the mainstream media.  All he can hope is that he can get them so enthused by his far left liberalism that they will overpower the independents and Conservatives who are just apoplectic at what has happened in just the last ten months under this guy.

I usually try to write with respect towards the office of the President but I am so  peeved this week that I have not addressed our President with the respect I usually do.  I will try to do better in the future...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I'm No Longer A Democrat

1) Foreign Policy -- During the Cold War, liberal Democrats (yes, there used to be conservatives in the Democratic Party) continually sought to downplay the harshness of communism and attempted to accommodate rather than confront the Soviet Union.

Today, Democrats again seek to accommodate rather than confront terrorism.  The Ft. Hood shooting was clearly a case of Islamic jihad and yet the President and his supporters strongly resist the obvious.  

Yesterday, a friend on Facebook posted something observing the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Someone commented that the fall of the wall was probably a good thing, but that the "trillionaire" politicians needed to create a "War on Terror" to keep the military industrial complex making money.  Thankfully, my friend could write from real experience in living in Germany in the 1970s that there was terrorism and that the communist countries made their citizens terrified.  

Oh, for the clarity on the war on terror that George W. Bush had!  

2) Economic Policy -- Democrats are insistent that the free market is flawed and must have so many governmental intrusions and regulations for it to function fairly.  The health insurance debate, the "cash for clunkers" program, the $8,000 House Purchase Tax Credit are just three recent examples.

3) Social Policy -- Democrats believe that government should be intruding on most aspects of your life, except when it comes to traditional values like life ("abortion rights") and marriage ("gay marriage").  In those areas, they are eager to let everyone do whatever they want to!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Election '09

A huge victory for Republicans last night. Independents voted in massive numbers for the Republicans in Virginia and New Jersey. Will Barack Obama and the national Democratic party leaders listen or will they continue to take this country in a very unpopular direction? Perhaps, seeing the writing on the wall, Democrats will redouble their efforts to quickly pass whatever they can now because they know their powers will be greatly diminished after the 2010 midterm elections. The dramatic swing from Democratic support to Republican support in both of these states is quite reminiscent of the 1993 elections. Of course, it was in 1994 that the House of Representatives was won by a majority of Republicans for the first time since the Eisenhower Administration.

I was mostly surprised by the New Jersey gubernatorial race yesterday. I've watched over the years as Democrats have snagged victories from the jaws of defeats so many times in recent years. For example, Sen. Bob Torricelli was so tainted as a candidate that in October 2002, Democrats dropped him from the ballot in favor of former U.S. Sen Frank Lautenberg. This was all done after it was legally permitted to change the ballot in New Jersey. The courts in New Jersey allowed the changes nonetheless. It had become clear that Torricelli was about to lose to the Republican candidate. Other seemingly close New Jersey races eventually swung heavily to the Democrat in recent elections.

The Virginia race was an overwhelming landslide for Republicans. Just one year after then-Senator Obama was able to win a resounding victory in this state, a conservative Republican beat his Democratic opponent by a 59% - 41% margin. Two months ago, the Washington Post revelation that Republican Bob McDonnell had written a socially conservative graduate thesis at Regent University was supposed to be his downfall. Well, it turned out that the voters rightly paid no heed to such an irrelevant piece of information. In a time of economic crisis, are we really supposed to care what you wrote in your graduate thesis?

The race for Congress in what used to be Bill Baker's and then Ellen Tauscher's district in California was won by a Democrat, John Garamendi. This Congressional District has been so gerrymandered that Garamendi, who lives in Walnut Grove (near Sacramento) will be representing Alamo. That's a ridiculously drawn district which seeks only to maximize the number of congressional Democrats in California. In the 1980s, Alamo was represented by Ron Dellums of Berkeley. Only when the Democrats were unable to draw the districts in 1990 was the district an accurate representation of the area, linking the Alamo, Danville, San Ramon and Walnut Creek areas together, if I recall correctly. Although California still had a Democratic Legislature doing the redistricting after the 1990 census, the fact that the governor was a Republican kept Democrats from being the final say. Also, California had gained a number of new seats, and the 10th District was one of those new seats. I helped on the 1992 Bill Baker for Congress campaign.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Baltimore Sun article

I got quoted extensively in a Bal
timore Sun article on September 14th. The reporter had contacted me and helped to solve a problem I had with getting a refund from EZ-Pass, so I had a feeling that he would use my story for an article. I forgot to look for it though.

The reporter was Michael Dresser and I had disagreed with his support for the imposition of a $1.50 monthly fee for EZ-Pass accounts. I felt it was unfair to impose an account fee when, for years, the State of Maryland had practically been pushing the EZ-Pass system onto its residents. Supposedly, it would save everyone time and money. I felt it was an unfair bait-and-switch. But I still appreciated the effort and articles the reporter has put into the issue, so I wrote him a copy of my complaint. I never expected a follow-up call from him! The amazing thing was how quickly the agency acted to get me my refund once the transportation reporter from the Sun was on their case. Within two days, they had phoned me and asked to send a refund directly to my credit card and it was done. It was a small amount of money, but the principle of a government agency following through on its word mattered a lot to me. I wondered, how likely is it someone gets their complaint to just the right person to solve a bureaucratic hassle? I got lucky on this small issue, but I would hate to have to rely on a newspaper reporter to get my health care problems sorted out if we ever go to government health care.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Krauthammer on Obama's UN Speech

Last week, President Obama announced to the world at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh that Iran had another formerly secret uranium enrichment plant in use. He spoke tough words, but after it became clear that this news was known for some time, I wondered why did he not bring this up in front of the United Nations earlier in the week. After all, Iran's president was actually in attendance. Here's what Charles Krauthammer wrote today:
Confusing ends and means, the Obama administration strives mightily for shows of allied unity, good feeling and pious concern about Iran's nuclear program -- whereas the real objective is stopping that program. This feel-good posturing is worse than useless, because all the time spent achieving gestures is precious time granted Iran to finish its race to acquire the bomb. . . On Sept. 24, Obama ostentatiously presided over the Security Council. With 14 heads of state (or government) at the table, with an American president at the chair for the first time ever, with every news camera in the world trained on the meeting, it would garner unprecedented worldwide attention. Unknown to the world, Obama had in his pocket explosive revelations about an illegal uranium enrichment facility that the Iranians had been hiding near Qom. The French and the British were urging him to use this most dramatic of settings to stun the world with the revelation and to call for immediate action. Obama refused.
Krauthammer's opinion is that Obama did not want attention diverted from his speech which dreamed of a nuclear-free world. Check out the whole Krauthammer piece. It really demonstrates the naivete our president exhibits in foreign policy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Racism Charges

In an effort to deflect and shut down criticisms, the Obama Administration has sent out high ranking surrogates this week to declare that the opposition to the Administration's policies are rooted in an unwillingness to accept a black man as president. In other words -- racism.

The label of racist is, rightly or wrongly, the most damning one that an American can be given. It immediately shuts off discussion of the issues as the heart of the alleged racist is examined.

Because Joe Wilson of South Carolina got a little too excited during the Presidential address to the Congress and uttered out "You Lie," Jimmy Carter and others have resorted to the unfounded charge that this only happened because it was a black man that was president. Ridiculous! Like conservatives would just smile and look the other way as we see the radical changes being enacted and proposed for this nation. Conservatives loudly objected in 1993 and 1994 as Bill Clinton attempted to enact health care reform.

Ironically, while racism allegations were tossed around with no basis in fact this week, an ugly incident on a school bus where a bunch of black kids beat up a white kid on a bus was quickly brushed off as a mere bullying situation. R-I-G-H-T...! So, the Congressman who expresses policy differences is a racist while a bunch of thugs who beat up on a kid are not racist. Come on! Let's get real, here! They didn't beat him up because of the color of his skin but because of the content of his character, to paraphrase MLK, Jr.?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ralph Peters 9/11 Column

Ralph Peters' September 11, 2009 column:
"Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

\Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them."

Hit Counter Accuracy

Although there has been a lot of news to comment upon this Summer, I did not do a lot of posting here on my politics blog. I spent a lot of time getting familiar with Facebook. Sometimes, I engaged in a bit of political discussion on my Facebook page. I try not to do that, but a few times I posted links about the Cash for Clunkers plan or President Obama's health plan. I also could not always resist the temptation to disagree with some of my Friends' comments.

So, I have not been very active here and yet imagine my surprise when I came by here yesterday to write about 9-11 and saw that the hit counter had gone from about 250 to almost 12,000! How could that possibly be accurate when I have done no publicity on this and have mentioned the site address to just a few close friends?

Given that none of my posts have inspired anyone to comment, I am inclined to believe that the hit counter is inordinately high because of some type of robotic spam effort to harvest e-mail addresses or something. I don't know how that is done, but getting this many hits on this site makes no sense.

If I am indeed getting real visitors to this site, then I hope they will leave a comment here.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Anniversary

Some quick thoughts about the attacks that took place eight years ago today.  In the news today was a report about efforts to develop a curriculum for teaching about 9-11.  Since I home school our kids, I thought it a worthwhile site to look up. It is .  Although I did not yet purchase the curriculum, my 12 year old daughter and I did view the 12 minute video which summarized what happened on that day.  She was only four when it happened, but she does remember so much of that day as we were getting ready to check out of an Illinois motel and drive to our Maryland home.  We had the TV on in the motel room as the terrible events transpired and we packed up our stuff for the long drive ahead.  She remembers our discussing the wisdom of driving to Washington as we traveled on near desolate highways contemplating the attacks that had been going on that day.  Here we were, in the middle of central Illinois, far from any targets, and we were headed straight for the Washington DC metropolitan area.  No one could say for sure what would happen next, so why not stay in the midwest for a few days?  Well, we just kept on going and got home and thankfully, no attacks have been committed on U.S. soil since that day.

Today, I was reminded of how it felt to watch that first tower collapse to the ground at 10:00 AM.  The plane crash and fires and explosions were bad, of course, but somehow the pancaking of the entire tower brought the true nature of this awful and devastating tragedy home.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cash For Clunkers

The Cash for Clunkers program has cleared out new cars from dealerships across the country.  That's a good thing, I suppose.  But the postings by a Facebook friend who works for a California dealership got me to thinking.  The utter waste that is involved in this program as hundreds and hundreds of perfectly good engines are destroyed with a chemical solution added to the engine.  As someone who believes in using things until their useful life is over, this just seems so wrong.  

How much energy in all its forms is used in building, transporting, and selling one new car?  If we take a perfectly good used car off the roads five years before its time, then are we really saving any energy with this program?  And we, the American taxpayers are paying $4,500 for every one of these transactions!  Now, I understand that if everyone was like me, the economy would slow and car production would be drastically reduced.  But still should we be really going all out like this to push people to discard perfectly good cars that could at least have been used by people who cannot afford new cars?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Elitists look down on us

A friend who moved from Washington DC to New York 15 years ago is on Facebook and I am really learning first hand what a New York liberal elitist attitude is.  He recently met up with a "right-winger" on a golf course.  While the guy sounded rude, I think the biggest shock to the liberals was that this guy had conservative ("Right-Wing") views.  They probably never meet such neanderthals in their circles.

Here's a recent set of comments from him and his friends:

[MY OLD FRIEND] I was punished for cutting out of work early to play golf. I was paired with a right-wing pot smoking Brooklyn psycho who started yelling at me by the third hole. I'm sorry freelance gods, I'll work hard and be good today.
Yesterday at 8:43am 

[FRIEND #1]Sort of like my friends husband yelling at me comparing the Democratic Party to the Nazis in 1933 and thinks Glenn Beck is a genius. I don't know what I did to deserve that, but I better get painting too!
Yesterday at 8:48am

[MY OLD FRIEND] A third guy with us and I decided to egg him on with his rants in the hope he would wear himself out and shut the f*** up. We started saying stuff like, "Do you think Obama is really a citizen?"

He talked himself to exhaustion and lost the will to live by the 16th hole.

[FRIEND #2]Now that's a new tactic -- and I like it. Just rant back in little pecks and nits and hope for apoplectic shock! Don't spell check that!
Yesterday at 9:11am

[FRIEND #3]Ha, sure he loved golfing with Yang too! A dang fernner....
Yesterday at 10:45am

[ME]:Thank you for providing ANOTHER reason not to ever take up golf. And to think you had to PAY for that experience with that rude Brooklynite.

I was about to leave an additional comment, but then decided not to get into a fight:  "an alternative, crazy method: Simply be direct: Tell the guy that you're there to play golf and that the others in the foursome would appreciate it if he would keep his opinions to himself. A little less fun, perhaps, but a little more grown-up too."

And if you are asking, why do I consdier this guy a friend, well I'm wondering the same thing myself.  I enjoyed his company 15-20 years ago, but I don't know if I fit in with him any more.  What if I told him I LIKED Sarah Palin!  Oh the mocking and snarky comments they would make!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Nine Months Ago . . .

As I have become a Facebook user over the past month, I have been uncertain as to how to use the blogs that I have created.  There have been some political items I have brought up in Facebook, but I am now thinking that I would be happiest to keep politics and Facebook separate.  Kind of the way Michael Jordan never endorsed Democratic or Republican candidates because why would you want to alienate half of your audience.  

But this site is for politics and if you're here you know where I stand.  

I wanted to take note of the fact that the S & P 500 today reached 1000 again for the first time since Election Day 2008.  The beginning of what I earlier called  Obama's Crash of '08.  His election marked the beginning of a steepening downward fall for stock prices.  Over the last three months, stocks have finally recovered to their November 4, 2008 value, and it is only fair that we note that.

Why is this happening?  I do not know.  I am an inactive trader right now because I do not feel confident that I understand the market and the government's efforts to intervene.  Perhaps the fact that Obama is facing struggles to implement his agenda is buoying the market.  It is certainly making me more optimistic!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Sarah Palin's Resignation as Alaska Governor

I am a big fan and defender of Sarah Palin's.  I was not pushing for her to be the V-P nominee last Summer, as many conservatives successfully did.  I thought a Mitt Romney would be more conventional.  But I had seen her months before on C-SPAN and she impressed me.  And as I learned her life story, I really grew to admire her.  And once she spoke to the convention, I was blown away!  Wow!

However, her decision to leave the Alaska governorship does not please me.  I like it when our elected officials fulfill the "contract" that they signed when they sought election.  I could see her stepping down when she learned she was pregnant, or after the birth of Trig, or after she learned her 17 year old daughter was pregnant.  I think most of us would respect decisions to take care of family first.  The timing of this resignation just doesn't make the same kind of sense.  Yes, I have heard her say that Alaska deserves a governor who isn't fighting phony ethics charges all the time.  Maybe that's true.  But all politics is brutal these days.  I will agree that her family has gotten hit way too hard at a time when children of politicians should be off limits.  

We are 40 months away from the next presidential election.  That's a long time, so I wish Sarah well and we will see how things develop in the next couple of years.  I will not hold this decision against her.  Maybe it is important for some people to pick their candidates this early, but for most of us, we can wait until 2012.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Health Care/Insurance

So, this week, the Obama Administration is planning its takeover of the American Health Care system.  Let's see:  the banks have been taken over, as have the car companies; the federal budget has had an extra $800 Billion to spend in "economic stimulus" funds.  Unemployment is at a 25 year high.  So of course, move on to a new massive undertaking.  Do you like this stuff?  Having radical changes go on every month or so?   Is this what we elected?  

The term in favor today is "Health Care."  I prefer to call it medical insurance.  I suppose polls must show the combination of "health" and "care" elicits a more positive response than medical insurance.  The problem, so we are told by some of our political leaders, is that so many people do not have "health care."  What they really mean is that they do not have insurance which covers medical matters.  I grew up with no insurance.  I never had it until I was 24 years old, not counting college clinics.  And it wasn't something we fretted about.  If something came up, we went to the doctor and we got it looked at.  

But I cannot say that we can go back to those days of paying the doctor in cash or check with each visit.  Expenses are too high now.  Conservatives look at the high expenses and see a medical establishment not having to compete on the basis of price because consumers don't really pay the bill directly anymore.  They also see technological advances that are quite expensive playing a factor as well.  Liberals see greedy insurance company executives.  

The conservative solution is to have a catastrophic health insurance plan as well as a Health Savings Account.  Sadly, these initiatives have not gotten very far due to the roadblocks placed by the liberals in congress.  Now that they are in power, they seek to have the government be the one insurance company for all of us.  

I do not trust the federal government to create a better health insurance plan than the one I currently have, so I do not want them to interfere.  I also feel that their interference will hinder access for medical matters, and I do not want that to happen.

Most of all, can't we let the economy recover as well as deal with Afghanistan, Iraq, North Korea and Iran before we blow up our entire health care industry?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The New American Car Company?

A few weeks ago I opined that no entrepreneur would start up a new car company today in the face of so much government regulation.  Well, the cover story of the latest Forbes disagrees with that assessment.  They write:

"The implosion of General Motors and Chrysler has sparked a flurry of innovators like [Henrik] Fisker. They are reminiscent of the entrepreneurs in the car industry's early days, when Henry Ford, Ransom E. Olds, Henry Studebaker and many now forgotten dreamers competed for technological leadership with steam-, electricity- and gasoline-powered cars. By the early 1910s the internal combustion engine won out. Amazingly, the means of propulsion--indeed the car business itself--has changed little since then."

I read the article to learn if I had been wrong.  Yes, it is true that Henrik Fisker has a solid plan to deliver new vehicles to American consumers in the next three years.  But, he's looking at selling $88,000 hybrid sports cars.  Later, he expects to have a $50,000 plug-in available.  

I submit that the development of these specialty concept cars will not make a significant impact on the marketplace.  In my mind, the whole problem with the auto industry is that the vehicles are simply too expensive.  Fisker and the other entrepreneurs mentioned will do nothing to achieve broad appeal.  The startup costs for his company are very high.  In addition, he is seeking financial aid from U.S. government program.  So, is he really an entrepreneur?  

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Cars, Abortion, Crime

Big news has happened again over the last three days and I'm realizing that we're just repeating the same stuff again.  
1-GM files bankruptcy as the Obama administration asserts ownership of a company.
2-Notorious and unrepentant Kansas abortionist George Tiller murdered on Sunday.
3-14 Year Old suburban boy set upon by thugs and killed in Maryland on Saturday.

GM:  What more can I say about my feelings about government control of a car company?  It's a disturbing trend that would not have happened under Republican leadership.  Hopefully, there is still a philosophical difference in that Republicans would not take ownership of the company.  Maybe we'd bail them out with loans but to assert real control smacks of socialism.  

Abortion.  Tiller's murder was wrong.  That is obvious.  No justification for it.  What motivated the crazed killer to do it?  Was it the fact that Tiller just kept getting away with such depraved behavior (60,000 abortions!) that the crazed killer was so tormented in his mind that he unjustifiably felt it was up to him to put a stop to it?  

Murder in Crofton, Maryland.  Some older kids killed a younger kid who was riding a bike.  Is that the end of it.  Probably, but it would not be if the victim and suspects races were reversed.  As it turns out, the 16 year old being charged as an adult is named Javel.  Enough said.  But if the victim was named Javel, there would be hell to pay from Al Sharpton and the NAACP.  If the press wants to act responsible, then let them NEVER discuss race in these crimes whether the victims and suspects are white or black or Hispanic.  Of course, Hate Crimes laws specifically bring race into the discussion, and the press will always let itself be used by the race baiters in our society.  I don't like to discuss race but one of my purposes in writing this blog is to point out double standards.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

IRS and the Social Security Number

"Where's my refund?" I ask the IRS website.  After filing our taxes on April 14th, I knew that it was about time that the refund be deposited in our account.  Well -- it turns out that I made a clerical error in transcribing the Social Security Number of one of our children.  So, in the eyes of the IRS, my $700 refund has turned into an $800 balance due.  Dumb mistake, that's for sure.  Especially since I had made a similar mistake a few years ago when I thought I knew one of the kids' Social Security Numbers by heart.  Not Quite, it turned out.  So, that year I received a similar notice.

The solution is actually very easy.  Last time, I just phoned up the IRS and they brought up my file and I informed them what the correct SSN was.  They made the change, and the refund was processed.  I'm expecting it to be similarly easy this time.  

So, this brings up another subject.  If the IRS is so very vigilant and careful in establishing that SSNs are correct, how are so many illegal aliens able to find jobs when they are supposed to be using valid Social Security Numbers as a prerequisite to gaining employment in this country?  Twice in the last five years a federal agency, the IRS, has caught a one digit error in the Social Security Numbers used on our 1040 forms.  Can't the INS (or is it called ICE now?) or the Department of Labor be as effective as the IRS in screening out phony or invalid Social Security Numbers?  The answer is that the government clearly does not really care about the issue of jobs going to illegal immigrants.

I haven't even discussed the ridiculousness of having to obtain Social Security Cards for newborn babies.  Remember -- the first two letters of the Social Security taxes taken out of your paycheck are "OA," as in the Old-Age and Survivors Disability Insurance program.  Yet we require these ID cards for minors and pretend we do not have a national ID card in this country.  

6/02/09 UPDATE:  The phone call to the IRS took about 20 minutes of time, most of that on hold, but yes I had mistaken a 0 for a 6 on a Social Security Number and that caused the IRS to reject the Child Tax Credit and Dependent exemption.  I simply gave the correct number and the refund will arrive in about 20 days.  It's nice that they allow these mistakes to be corrected so easily. 

Friday, May 29, 2009

This Week's News

Although some big events happened this week (Supreme Court nomination, North Korean nuclear test, GM to be 72% government owned, California's Prop 8 affirmed) I haven't really felt anything was worth writing about.  Now all four of these are major, but they are also quite predictable.

The nomination of a liberal woman to the Supreme Court by a liberal President is not a surprise.  Sonia Sotomayor's viewpoints will no doubt be to the left on all issues but that's what you get when you elected Barack Obama.  One of my favorite journalists, Charles Krauthammer has some excellent advice in today's Post on how to deal with the nomination.  Simply talk about the real life consequences of her views and accept the inevitable that she will be confirmed.  

As for North Korea, can there be any doubt that they see Obama as weak and that they know that there will be no effective response to their actions?  This has been building for over a dozen years, since Democratic Secretary of State Madeline Albright looked the other way in the face of North Korean advances towards the development of nuclear weapons.  President GW Bush was weakened by Democratic efforts against him in the wake of the Iraq difficulties and thus by 2006 he lost his ability to treat North Korea like a part of the Axis of Evil.  Had we been able to put politics aside and unite as one, perhaps the North Korean threat could have been checked in 2005.

GM?  It just seems bizarre to me that the US government is going to own this company.  Boy, am I glad I realized that owning stock in a company that was under the thumb of the U.S. government was a big mistake.

Prop 8 Upheld -- Thank goodness the rights of the people of California were not overturned by the California Supreme Court this time.  Do you know what the US Census says that the homosexual population is in America? The 2000 U.S Census Bureau found that homosexual couples constitute less than 1% of American households. And yet, Americans when polled by Gallup, vastly overestimated the homosexual population to be closer to 25% of the population.  Why?  Because of the effective political and cultural campaign waged in the media.  They want you to believe their numbers are much bigger than they truly are.  

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol

What?  I thought this was a politics blog?  Sometimes the culture and politics intersect so I thought I'd  take a look at the results from last night's American Idol and what it says about the United States, if anything.

Here's what happened:  A regular-looking (okay, good-looking according to the female fans) 23 year old guy wins American Idol.  His competition, A 28-year-old man who many describe as flamboyant.  And he has a great voice.  But what it comes down to in this competition is popularity.  And, in my opinion, Kris Allen comes across as more real and authentic than Adam Lambert.   A guy who likes to wear eyeliner and dress up in costumes may do well on Broadway, but will he win a mainstream American popularity contest.  Apparently not.  Adam fits in well with performers like KISS and Queen.  Kris is more of a James Taylor kind of guy.  I like both kinds of music, and hopefully they both will have great careers.  But this week's vote shows that America is more mainstream than a lot of media people and others would like us to believe.  Is this analogous to the No on 8 result in California last November?  Perhaps.  The American people are generally quite  tolerant of alternative lifestyles but it is a big turnofff when they are flaunted in their faces.  

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Politics and Cars

Yesterday, President Obama announced that he will seek (or was it mandate -- does he need Congress to approve?) to require higher overall MPGs from vehicle manufacturers.  I believe this was also combined with lower emissions requirements as well.  Wonderful goals, right?  We all want to get higher miles per gallon and we want to emit as little pollution as possible.  So, why am I against this?

Three reasons.  One is that the government has just taken over two U.S. auto manufacturers and is now saddling them with even more requirements that will further reduce sales, because it forces the price to go up.  In one sense, it makes the most sense for the Democrats running the U.S. government to just run the car companies because they set up so many of the rules and regulations for how to build a car that they might as well just build the cars and trucks themselves.  Can you imagine being an entrepreneur today who wanted to start up a new car company?  No, the smart creative types are getting involved with computers and biotechnology.  

Remember how the Democrats chafed at the restrictions placed on embryonic stem cell research by Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush?  They argued that these restrictions hindered creativity and progress in researching cures or treatments for many ailments.  Well, all the restrictions placed on the car companies over the last 40 years are what has killed the American automobile industry.  

The second reason I oppose this is similar in that the government has taken another step in killing the fun out of cars.  Thinking back to the glory days of GM and hot rods and Pontiac GTOs and TransAms or Chevy Camaros or Ford Mustangs.  Cars were fun! Now what do we have?  Boring cars like the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord.  

Safety, fuel economy, and emissions regulations have boosted the price of cars to excessive levels.  $20,000 is probably just a starting point for a new car.  So, with prices that high, how many cars and trucks will one person buy in a lifetime?  Not as many, that's for sure.

A third point to consider is that there are inevitable safety tradeoffs when we raise the fuel economy standards as people are forced into smaller cars which are proven less safe than larger cars when involved in a crash.  So, to save ourselves from the mythical threat of Global Warming, we end up causing more real deaths as people are driving smaller cars.

Friday, May 15, 2009

More Americans “Pro-Life” Than “Pro-Choice” for First Time

Gallup Poll released today.  Check it out!

The details are a lot more nuanced than the headline, but it is encouraging that most Americans still are troubled by abortion.

I have looked around the internet to see how this poll has been covered.  It's hard to judge by internet reports whether it is getting prominent coverage or not.  One of the great things about newspapers is that you can see how the editors prioritize the importance of the stories they report.  Front page means something.

As usual, Rush Limbaugh had some excellent comments today.  Limbaugh said on his May 15th radio broadcast: "See, I've always known that abortion was a 50-50 issue.  I don't think it was ever an 80-20 pro-choice majority.  It never was."  Here is a link to the transcript. 

Chrysler Axes Its Dealers

Earlier, I discussed the Chrysler bankruptcy.  Yesterday, one of the results of the bankruptcy was announced.  Chrysler would sever its relationships with one quarter of its franchises.  Nearly 1000 dealerships will be shut down.  This is something that would be very difficult to do if not for the filing of bankruptcy.  Chrysler believes that they have too many dealerships.  But from what I understand, the dealerships are not a cost to Chrysler.  What they really want to do -- long term --- is reduce the competition that now exists when there are so many dealerships for the same make of automobile.  Which means higher prices.  The reality is that the margin for most dealers is very slim on the sale of new cars.  They really depend on repairs and used cars to make money.  But without the Dealership imprimatur, most of these businesses will probably go out of business.

We have been Dodge customers for many years.  Although we have only purchased one vehicle from a new car dealer, we were continually shopping and looking at cars for much of the last 15 years.  We spent a lot of time stopping in at Chrysler/Dodge dealerships in the Washington area.  A lot of those dealers will no longer be associated with Dodge.  

As I stated in my earlier posting, I have a real hard time envisioning us buying a new Dodge in the future.  And if we, loyal customers, cannot be counted on, what future does this company really have?  The cutting of dealerships may or may not help the bottom line, but when I have to go farther to get my car serviced and have to compete with more customers to get parts or to have my car serviced, I am sure that I will not be a happy camper.

Sadly, I predict that, like Circuit City last year, these bankruptcy measures have only begun the process of the eventual liquidation of the Chrysler company.  It would take an incredibly creative and talented individual along the likes of a Steve Jobs or a Lee Iacocca to remake this into a successful company.   And with the government and unions so heavily involved in all automobile manufacturing, but especially GM and Chrysler these days, I just cannot see anybody ever having enough freedom to run this car company successfully.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Letters to the Washington Post - The Paper Trail

It will all be out in the open now.  The paper trail.  My letters to the editor of the Washington Post.  I went into their archives, did a search and have downloaded all my published letters to the editor.  They can be found at this link.  Seven letters.  1995, 1997, 1999, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009.  I think it helps that I only submit one every couple of years or so.

Over that time, two letters to the editor were not published, so 77% of my submissions made the paper.  One of the unpublished letters was considered for publication but not printed.  The other letter was actually one of my favorites.  It concerns the war in Iraq and a 2005 opinion piece comparing Iraq to Vietnam.  I thought I used some good information in my letter, but I am sure there are a lot of people much more qualified in Washington D.C. to write on the issues of history and war than I am.

Of course, that means that I have already exhausted my allotment of published letters until 2010.  Oh well, I can always just write directly to the author of the offending article.  Now, those letters get totally ignored!  Amazing.  You'd think the authors might acknowledge their readers, but they seem to be unable to take criticism.  If their mailbox is so full of offensive letters that they don't bother to read the e-mail, then maybe they shouldn't publicize the e-mail address.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Chrysler's Bankruptcy

Last week, Chrysler began the process of declaring bankruptcy.  Or, should I say that President Obama declared bankruptcy for Chrysler.  How weird was that, I thought.  The President of the U.S. is declaring that a private company is going bankrupt.  Shouldn't the president be making statements about a company after the declaration is made in a court?  But such is where we find America today.  The May 7, 2009 edition of the Detroit News has an article which reinforces some of my points.

My then-fiance set us on the road to being a Chrysler family in April of 1985.  Her grandparents offered to buy her a  car for her college graduation.  After trying out various cars at the Hertz sales offices in Burlingame, she decided to buy the 1984 Red Plymouth Horizon.  A car that still is with us today.  The car served us well -- taking us cross-country numerous times.  It sits at 240,000 miles.  (Yes it mostly just sits these days.)  The Chrysler rebound from their 1979 bailout was remarkable.  Lee Iaccoca had transformed the image of the company.  In 1991, I had learned that a Carroll Shelby version of the Omni/Horizon had been produced in the mid-80's and that those cars were becoming collectors items.  So, I sought one out and bought a pristine one for about $3200.  Later, I found another one in more tattered condition for $300.  I soon felt buyers remorse for spending so much on the first Omni GLH Turbo, so I put an ad in the paper and sold it for the same price as I had paid for it a few months earlier.  I decided that it would be too hard to keep the pretty GLH in such good condition when we did not have a garage.  It felt like it would be a waste of money. So, we kept the $300 car and eventually got it running well.  

Since then, we have purchased two more Chrysler vehicles.  The sedan has been all right, but probably has had too many repairs to be considered a good value.  The van has been just about perfect for 6 plus years.  Since I do a lot of the maintenance and repairs of the vehicles, it does make sense to own similar makes.  

But this bankruptcy and especially the government involvement in the company makes it highly unlikely that this loyal Chrysler consumer will buy his next car from that company.  Admittedly, I have been a poor consumer by limiting my choices to one domestic automobile manufacturer.  It was bad enough when my 1983-1984 Democratic presidential primary experience had convinced me that I always needed to buy American.  Now I had limited myself to just one of those three companies.  Not very smart.

Hopefully, we are still a few years away from needing to buy a new car. But when we are, you can bet that all makes will contend for my dollar next time.  

Specter loses seniority

It looks like Senate Democrats have changed their mind about letting Arlen Specter keep his seniority when it comes to committee assignments.  Last week, Specter seemed to be assured that he would still be considered as a 29 year Senate veteran which would place him ahead of any Democrat elected after 1980.  Well, those "junior" Democrats did not like seeing Specter jump over them in committee leadership.  So, Specter will be the LEAST senior Democrat on just about all of his committees.  

Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, saw this move for what it was ---  self-serving for Arlen Specter.  Now, if his party switch really mattered, then maybe the Dems would have given him what he wanted.  But the Democratic majority is so great that his one vote won't really matter.  He had already proven to be a Democratic vote anyway.  I think everyone is happy that Specter just got shafted!   No one likes self-serving acts of disloyalty.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Senator Specter Defects

So the ugly side of politics shows itself once again today as the political opportunist Arlen Specter announces that he will become a Democrat.  After voting against his party one too many times, he knew that he would not survive a Republican primary election next year.  So the 79 year old man said, "Oh wait, I guess I'm really a Democrat now."  What a crock.  A guy who was first elected when Reagan became president says that the party is too conservative now.  Wow!  What did he think Reagan was?  We only wish that today we had a party leader as conservative as Reagan was.

Why did he finally change parties?  How about this April 24, 2009 Rasmussen Poll of Pennsylvania Republicans?  It shows Specter losing to Pat Toomey by a margin of 51% to 30%. The handwriting was on the wall and there was nothing Specter could do in the Senate in the next year to undo the Republicans' disgust with him. 

I've disliked Arlen Specter since he became a prominent opponent of Robert Bork in 1987.  He attempted to redeem himself with Republicans in 1991 when he defended Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court.  Not coincidentally, that was just one year before he had to face Republican voters for re-nomination to this Senate seat.  He angered a lot of feminists, but he satisfied Republicans so he kept his seat.  And remember how he voted during the 1999 Trial Of President Bill Clinton?  He invoked Scottish law to say that Clinton was neither guilty nor innocent.  Huh?  Always thinking he's the smartest guy in the room and the world revolves around him!  But face it -- this guy will do whatever it takes to keep his position of power and is there anything worse in political life than that?  Republicans bent over backwards for this guy in the last five years.  The Republican leaders ignored party principles and supported Specter over a conservative Republican congressman in the 2004 primary and they allowed him to take over as chairman of the Judiciary Committee in 2005 despite virulent opposition from mainstream Republicans.  And this is how he repays them.  Thanks a lot, Arlen.

There have been other defections in the past decade.  But at least Vermont's Jim Jeffords jumped to Independent and not Democrat and Connecticut's Joe Lieberman had his nomination taken away by far left Democratic ideologues in 2006.  He then won fair and square as an Independent.  Neither of these guys looked at the next year's election and said, "I better jump to the other party because I have so angered my own party that they will not support me."

Does this really change the balance of power in the Senate, as many have written today?  Only if you believe that Specter would vote with Republicans in the future.  He hasn't so far, so what will really change?  

Another Prime Time Press Conference

So, on Wednesday night, our President will have a prime time press conference to celebrate the completion of his First 100 Days.  He seems to like these shows in front of the American people.  That's fine.  But I never understood why every single broadcast network felt compelled to carry the show.  That's why I was happy to hear that Fox has decided NOT to air the news conference on its broadcast networks.  They'll refer you to its Fox News Channel to view it.  Instead, (and I love the irony of this), they'll be airing the Drama Series "Lie to Me" in its regular time slot.  (Easy and lame joke coming here . . .  "as opposed to airing the Reality Series "Lie to Me" which you will be able to see on the other broadcast networks and cable news channels." )

My favorite local newspaper, The Washington Times, wrote an April 29 editorial on the Obama press conference.  Check out their thoughts on the matter.  (Thay also could not resist the "Lie To Me" joke.)

President George W. Bush tended to schedule these Press Conferences in the middle of the day and would often just give a couple of hours notice for them.  Although I enjoyed his playful banter with the press and felt he did a good job at them, most observers felt that he was not successful in these venues.  So, he chose to do them at a time when most people would not see them.  And let's face it, the broadcast networks would not have obliged President Bush by airing his Press Conferences in prime time -- especially not on a monthly basis!

If Preseident Obama chooses to continue with these prime time appearances, I suggest that the broadcast networks should simply rotate coverage of them.. CBS one month, then NBC, then ABC, then FOX.  It's good for Americans to hear from their President, but we shouldn't have it forced upon us as though we are in the 1970s Soviet Union.

(updated 4/29/09 9:45 AM)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Washington Post published my letter today!

When I got a little bit angry at Ruth Marcus' column about Sarah Palin in last Monday's Washington Post, I sat down and wrote Ms. Marcus a letter.  Then I decided I should send a version of that letter to the Letters to the Editor section.  The letter was published today -- the Sunday edition.  Cool!  Usually if I get a letter published, it will be on the Saturday Free for All page which prints 15 or so letters.  Sunday's paper only has room for about five letters, so this  was great.

Here's the link to the Post-edited version of my letter: 

They basically deleted my whole second paragraph, but that's okay.  I liked my original letter better, but their version effectively highlights the issue of the confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius as HHS Secretary.  So, that makes it more newsworthy rather than just a rant about abortion.

Here's the letter I originally sent:

Dear Editor:

Today's Ruth Marcus column on Sarah Palin was predictable.  The "Ah-ha -- she just said that she thought about the CHOICE of abortion!" argument.  We all have choices every day,  We can choose to obey the traffic laws or not.  We can choose to be civil and polite to others or not.  People choose to do illegal drugs.  People choose to have affairs.  Some of these things are illegal.  Some are perhaps immoral.  It doesn't take away the choices we have.

The sad thing about this column and others like it that will inevitably come out is that the authors are so timid that they cannot even dare to be so bold as to "know when life begins."  That is such a biological fallacy.  Certainly elementary biology teaches us that when sperm meets egg and cell division begins that life has begun.  Whether that life has any value is the moral and legislative question.  But certainly the biological question is answered.  The pro-choice movement deceives itself when it tries to pretend that there is no life in the objects it wishes to have the right to choose to abort.

It would have been refreshing if, instead of writing another "bash Sarah" column, Ms. Marcus could have considered the work of Kansas late-term abortionist George Tiller and his enthusiastic support for our next Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius.  Why was he giving her so much campaign money over the last ten  years?  What does it say about her that she is so supportive of the pro-choice movement that she cannot even draw a line in the sand that says life has begun by 28 - 36 weeks after conception?

John B. Ramsey

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Lazy Effort at a blog, huh?

So, I set this site up in November and I have zero posts since then.  And it's supposed to be about politics?  With all the changes going on, I should have written a lot, but it's just not a big priority right now for me to get online with my views.  

Anyway, since this account is linked up with some other Google accounts, I saw the Blogger page and took a look.  So, I'll make a quick entry.

Three months into the Obama term and what has happened?  Promises of massive spending, efforts at governmental control over private corporations, governmental threats to the free speech rights of conservatives.  A lot worse than I had imagined!