Saturday, October 25, 2008
Asheville Bound!Sarah Palin will be speaking in Asheville, NC at the civic center there tomorrow. We plan to go. We will be taking cameras, so I hope that we can follow up with photos and video of our visit. We're excited about seeing her and hearing her speak in person, and if nothing else, the trip through the mountains during peak fall colors will be worth it. I just hope this cold I have gets better by then.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
An Experiment in SocialismSocialism seems to be at the forefront of discussion topics at the moment. It also seems that there is a wide variety of what people think socialism is. Most really have no clue. But the following tale sums it up fairly nicely, in terms most people can understand ... even those that are fervently in favor of a socialist government.
Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign the read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.
Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed--just imagine the coincidence.
When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.
I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.
At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient deserved money more.
I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.
May have to try this next time I'm out on the town. And be packing I might add.
Now just imagine, instead of a merely curious, experimental lunch diner, a waitress and a homeless guy, this scenario played out on a daily basis, but with the federal government, hard-working taxpayers and lazy do-nothings playing these roles respectively ... and with YOU being one of the hard-working tax payers. Still think socialism is such a great idea?
Saturday, October 18, 2008
A Tale of Two PlumbersAmerica is, and always has been, a country where anyone can try to become anything they want to. It is the land of opportunity, where we are limited only by our own abilities and drive to succeed. Those times may be changing though, and one day we may find ourselves facing a government that will penalize us for being successful, that we will be forced to pay for realizing the American Dream. That just sends a chill down my spine.
The recent presidential debate was marked not so much by the contenders' policy positions and campaign promises, but by a new American icon ... Joe the Plumber. See, one day, Joe was out playing catch with his son in his yard when he saw Obama campaigning nearby. It sure looked like a neat photo op, with Mr. Middle America, the meat of what makes the Democrat party tick. It must have brought a tear to the eye of The One, who claims to be the champion of the middle class. What he got from Joe was not exactly what he expected, or really wanted. He got a tough question, of the sort that his fawning media never asks. Joe simply wanted to know if Obama believes in the American Dream.
"I'm getting ready to buy a company that makes $250,000 to $280,000 a year," he told Mr. Obama. "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"
Obama danced around the question, giving vague reasons why Joe, having paid less taxes for 15 years, should not be upset to pay more taxes as he became more successful. The key part of his response, "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" shows his true socialist colors. Finally, he waved Joe off saying he had to go get ready for the debate. Joe the plumber entered into his 15 minutes of fame when the story was picked up by one media outlet after another, and finally, he became a luminary of the debate two nights later.
The despicable manner in which the Obama campaign and the media have savaged poor Joe since then is bad enough. It has bared for the world to see the dark underbelly of the liberal movement that, on the one hand rallies behind the banners of free speech, tolerance and civil rights for all, yet would stifle any dissent and crush anyone that dares to oppose them or their Chosen One. How dare a lowly little plumber dare to question The One!
Beyond that, the discussion has barely taken off. Conservatives have latched onto the "I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody" statement as an indication that Obama has socialist tendencies and his tax plans are going to be a starting point for those goals. Liberals, on the other hand, shrug it off. "So what?" say they, who cares if some rich person has to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes, it's only fair!
Well, let's look at fair. Let's take a look, in real world analogy at two plumbers, of what conservative and liberals consider to be "fair."
(Disclaimer: I know very little about the plumbing trade itself, so terms may be used incorrectly. However, I have been around an awful lot of people that brought themselves up from entry level positions to being very successful in their chosen trade, both blue and white collar, including my own journey.)
First, we have Larry the Plumber. He's a regular guy that does plumbing for a living. He started in the business at age 19, instead of going to college. Starting out as a plumber's helper, making minimum wage, he worked his tail off to learn the trade. Eventually he became an apprentice, then a journeyman, working for a master plumber that ran his own company, having come up through the ranks in a similar manner. Finally, he was able to go out on service and installation calls himself, with his own helper. He was also making a decent wage at this point. So, he decided to ask his girl to marry him, now that he could provide her a home and a secure living. They lived happily like this, not "having it all" with expensive cars and big houses, but nice and comfortable and secure. They had a couple of kids along the way, and provided for them as well. Life was good, so good that Larry started to dream about owning his own plumbing company.
Larry began looking into doing just that. He researched business law, tax code, licensing requirements. He determined that his community was plenty large enough to set up shop alongside his current boss, with business enough for both of them. He asked the bank about business loans, and inquired about business insurance policies. There were several locations in town where he could set up shop. Things came together nicely. The first few years in business were a bit tight, every bit of profit had to be turned back into the company to pay off loans and keep up with other expenses. But Larry had been smart and had saved money for his personal use during these lean years. Eventually, it became a profit-making company. He had employees of his own, maintenance contracts with area businesses, he partnered with some construction companies to do their plumbing installations and the phone rang off the hook from individuals with plumbing calls.
By his own hard work, tenacity and business savvy, he had become a success. His company was profitable, and his personal income was very comfortable. So comfortable he decided to take his family on a fabulous vacation to Disney World.
On the day they planned to leave, however, Larry was told that he could not go. You see, there was this other plumber ... Mike. Mike was not quite as driven as Larry. Ten years in the business and Mike was still a plumbers helper. He wasn't very good at the job either, when he even bothers to show up for work at all. So Larry, because he was successful and brought in a lucrative income for himself, he had to share.
It was only fair!
Larry not only has to give Mike a job, but he has to pay him a healthy wage ... about half of what Larry was making as the owner of the business. In order to do so, Larry would have to take a cut in his pay, and cut into the profits of his plumbing company.
It's only fair, you know!
See, Mike also has a wife ... he married her right after they dropped out of high school in their senior year. They also have 4 kids, and another on the way. It's hard to feed that many mouths! Between that, the payments on Mike's truck and his wife's car, and the house they bought with an interest only, zero-down payment mortgage, and their yearly trip to Florida to visit his sister, why there's just barely enough to buy groceries with what's left! Now with the bank foreclosing on the house, Mike and his family have to move in to Larry's house too. It's only fair! Larry has a really big house, and he's almost got it paid off.
It's only fair, you know! Why should Mike and his family have to do without when Larry and his family have so much?!
In an Obama-nation, Mike the Plumber won't have to do without! Because he can make Larry provide for him by paying higher taxes on the profits his small business makes, and Mike can continue to be lazy and unmotivated while his wife shops with food stamps and they live in subsidized housing all paid for by Larry's taxes. At the same time, Larry will have to give up on things like Disney vacations and paying off his mortgage in only 20 years, because those higher taxes cut into his company profits and his personal income, even though he has worked hard to earn that.
Isn't that nice and fair because when "you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody?"
(If you have a comment to make, please make it here. Twitter is not the medium for discussions that belong on blogs. Thank you.)
Friday, September 26, 2008
The Crash ExplainedThe Anchoress is again on a roll. Revisit or refresh often to catch the updates. Watch the video first, you will learn much. (The original video was taken down, this is the replacement one that doesn't violate Warner Music copyright, or sense of justice ... heh)
I need to first opine that the Democrats yesterday blew my mind with their last-minute addition of 56 billion to the bail-out, their sneaky, slippery attempt to play political games with some of this money - directing it to ACORN (!) - and their subsequent attempt to lie and to blame the GOP - the president - anyone but themselves for not passing a bill which the GOP CANNOT BLOCK. We already know that Nancy Pelosi has no leadership skills except in spite and obstruction - we see she is completely out of her depths here, but Barney Frank’s behavior last night, and his disrespect toward the GOP and the President was particularly egregious in a time of crisis. He behaved like a trapped animal trying to distract the hunters toward anyone but him. Meanwhile Chuck Schumer is unusually, uncharacteristically silent; Barack Obama - except when mentioned by a press pretending he is leading - seems irrelevant to the process and to have no genuine ideas or input, or a desire to lead. All he seems capable of doing is whining about the debate while Rome falls about his ankles. McCain is quite right that the debates would be less urgent if Obama had done the Town Halls McCain had asked for - debates Obama said he’d have “anytime, anywhere” before refusing all of them. I say at this point SCREW the moderated debates that tell us nothing and insist that these candidates town-hall it and speak DIRECTLY to the people who will be most affected by all of this - that would be the ordinary folk.
Read the rest ... follow the links. Learn what your elected representatives have done to this country. In November, cast your vote wisely and pray for the survival of this country.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Counting my BlessingsA little over a year ago my job came to an end. It was a contract job, intended to last only a year, but it was extended an additional 3 months in the hope that the situation changed so that I could be hired on as a direct employee. That never happened and they had to let me go. So began my year of unemployment.
At first, I frantically searched job listings and boards, networked with others in my profession, sent out resumes, filled out applications ... and even though I had several that seemed very interesting, the offers just didn't come through. It took a lot of prayer, and a lot of faith, and a lot of listening for God's voice for me to relax and be willing to wait. He was telling me it was time to rest, and in the meantime, I had other things to attend to. My children were getting ready to leave the nest, and I had to prepare for that, and find the faith that they could succeed and that I could let them go. My personal life went through some upheavals and epiphanies, finally bringing me to my knees before God so that I would get back up and on the path He wants me on. I needed this time to prepare my life for its next chapter.
Still, the job thing was not happening. I waited, with as much patience as I could muster. It was a truly a test of my faith that whatever was coming was His Will and it would be done. From that faith, my blessings have come in abundance. My children done very well, and my son has even begun to turn to Christ. My daughter is realizing how much she is really capable of, and is enjoying having her own home to take care of, as well as a job and a pretty nice fellow to hang out with. Not the least of these blessings has been joining my life with that of my best friend and soul mate. We are already wedded before God, with our "God family" as witnesses, and we are looking forward to professing our bond and commitment before man in a ceremony next spring, to make it all legal and stuff. Hanging on to that faith, and that God has a plan that would be revealed eventually, I still longed for the security that a job would bring.
A few weeks ago, I was notified that I would be getting a formal job offer soon. Three weeks, a ton of paperwork, two more interviews, and a pee test later, I now have a formal written offer for the most awesome job ever! I first sent my resume in back in May and shortly after that, I had my first phone interview with them. That's how long this has taken. But it is well worth the wait, with a salary more than double what I was making before, an excellent benefits package and opportunity for advancement. I had been stuck in entry level positions with one company going out of business after another, so that I could never advance far enough, long enough to be able to vie for better positions with experience. But for whatever reason, these folks chose me for one of three positions out of a field of 15 candidates to start. Well, I know the reason, and that would be that this is part of His plan, His will.
Isn't God awesome?!
Casualties of this CampaignI can hardly wait until this stupid presidential campaign is over. Yet at the same time, I fear its outcome. More than anything, I hate the effect it has on friendships. I previously mentioned this developing situation a few posts ago, and it has further deteriorated.
A friend of mine, someone I have known well for many years, is a declared Republican. She says she is a Christian and holds many conservative views, but for one thing ... she is pro-choice. It's not a subject that we have discussed much in the past, it never really came up. She is aware of my views ... that abortion for birth control purposes is always wrong, but my libertarian side makes me wary of any legislation aimed at restricting the number of abortions performed. It's not something I get all riled up over, it's something other people do, that I abhor as I believe it is murder of a human being, but I try not to be judgmental of individuals because of their opinions. She, on the other hand, is apparently very invested in this pro-choice thing, something I did not realize until Sarah Palin, who holds pro-life views, was chosen to be McCain's running mate.
She went nuts! She just cannot stand Palin, she clings to each and every rumor and smear that comes down the pike and conflates the meaning of the rumor so that Palin becomes the very devil herself. Having any sort of a conversation with her is next to impossible because it always comes around to the election and how, if McCain and Palin win, every woman will come under the direct and total control of the government, all because abortion will become illegal immediately upon their taking office. Patient explanations of the facts are waved off, and if I persist, she becomes hysterical. I remain confounded.
She is now angry at me, having accused me of being among those that would "enslave women" using their uterus as the ball and chain, tying them down to raising child after child against their will. After blinking hard a few times, I asked if these hypothetical enslaved women wouldn't have some say so in the matter, as in at the moment they decided to have sex or not. Obviously, if they chose to not have sex, then they wouldn't risk getting pregnant, now would they? Of course, she replied that it is unreasonable to expect women to do without sex, that's an old patriarchal view that is also intended to keep women down and in their place. In my view, if a woman isn't willing to take the responsibility for the possible outcome of having sex - having a baby with the man she is sleeping with, then she probably should not be having sex with him.
I then went on to propose that if women wanted to have abortion as a birth control option, then men should too. If a couple gets pregnant unexpectedly, if the man doesn't want the burden or inconvenience of raising a child, or even just being financially responsible for it for 18 years or more, then he should be able to force the woman to have an abortion. Equal rights and all, you know. Her reply to that was so very predictable ... if a man doesn't want to be making babies, he shouldn't be sleeping around.
Right. Exactly. Neither should a woman. With equal rights comes equal responsibility, and it goes both ways.
Bless her heart, she just didn't know how to respond from there, and hasn't spoken to me since.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Blogfest time again!I's that time again ... Blogfest!
When: Sept 27, 2008 6:00pm until ?
Where: Calhoun's on Kingston Pike near Pellissipi Pkwy
Who: Bloggers, blog readers, Twitterers, and their significant others, family and friends
Come have a great time getting to know the people you read every day, and put a face to the words.
UPDATE: The private banquet room is not available. However, we do have reserved a large party space that will give us extra room and the ability to wander (both kids and adults!) without being in the way of wait staff and other restaurant guest. No fee is needed for this, so we won't be passing the hat after all.
Please, feel free to tell other bloggers or anyone that might be interested about Blogfest, also please blog and Twitter about it too!
(We also have an email list for Blogfest announcements, go HERE to sign up)
Friday, September 12, 2008
Oh, my wacky sense of humorIf you have ever wondered what sort of nonsense really tickles my funny bone ... here it is:
Anything that features kitties being silly is top-grade humor in my book.
A couple posts down gives some more examples of the kind of humor that will have me laughing endlessly, tears streaming down my face, can't catch my breath, ohmigosh my tummy hurts and I can't stop laughing ... and someone usually gets concerned that I might actually hurt myself (just ask Rich what happened when we watched Jeff Dunham's "Spark of Insanity" DVD ... you know, the one with Achmed the Dead Terrorist? Yeah ... his wife has this little Chihuahua dog, and ... well, you just have to see it).
Anyway, this is what I do when I stay up too late playing on the intarwebs ... I find this stuff, so you don't have to!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Happy ... and SadToday I have been both very sad and very happy, for a number of different reasons.
Most of the sadness comes from the date, and it being the anniversary of a horrible attack that was perpetrated against not only the US, but the entire Western civilization by a group of fanatical thugs. I won't get into all the whys and hows of it, we've all heard all that plenty enough.
I'm even more saddened that there are some people that hate America ... AMERICANS that hate America enough to think up and perpetuate outlandish conspiracies that accuse the US government of causing this horrible tragedy. Even 7 years later, after thorough debunking and dismantling of all the theories, they still try to push their agenda of hate for America. I have but one suggestion for people like that ... if you so hate this country, get out. Now.
I am sad that the way we came together as a single nation, as one people, to mourn our loss, to rail against those that killed our brethren has gone by the wayside. We are even further divided and farther apart than we ever were before. The flag waving and patriotism that marked our united response to our attackers is now looked down upon ... "A flag waving patriot" is now used as a derogatory description. Even worse than that is to be labeled as a "devout Christian". How totally messed up are we that the pillars of what made this country great - faith and loyalty - are now looked down upon.
So what am I happy about? Well, I have a job offer. It's a job that I have been courting for almost four months now ... three interviews, two site visits, waiting, waiting, and waiting some more, and the process has nearly reached the point of the formal job offer. Normally, I would be doing back-flips and squealing for joy ... and actually I was two weeks ago when I was notified that the formal job offer was on the way ... and I could hardly wait to tell all my friends of this wonderful news.
But then, I have also recently found out that some people that I thought were friends were never really truly friends, and all because they cannot accept that I am a devout Christian, that I consider life, all life - from the moment of conception, to be precious and that life trumps what they call a choice ... but I call a cop-out. That I believe that we all need to start taking personal responsibility for our actions AND their consequences, that the government is not there to bail us out or to provide the essentials of daily living. And that I hold traditional, family-centered, man AND woman empowered beliefs and values and won't compromise for the sake of political correctness. Or for the sake of others' opinions. I won't be silenced and I won't back down. I pity their loss of a friend. Me, I have apparently lost nothing.
So, I am sad for those lost souls.
I am also a little sad that I will have to become reacquainted with 6:00 am, and staying up til 3 and sleeping until noon will become a thing of the past. Oh well. Crank up the coffee maker!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Totally Half-BakedIf you enjoy the razor sharp wit and snark of the gals at Go Fug Yourself, and laugh hysterically at the LOLCatz and LOLDogz, then you are in for a real treat (heh!) ...
Cake Wrecks ... When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong ... is a relatively new (first posts in May 2008) blog that collects and displays pictures of cakes that are just ... not quite right.
A bride gets punk'd? Could be ... she ordered a cake that looks like this, only in all white with green accents:
But what she really got was not exactly a replica ... or even close. It is barely recognizable as a cake:
There are lots more ... keep scrolling, and laughing.
I know that I will be very, very careful of where I get my wedding cake!