Thursday, May 29, 2008

Say No to Lieberman-Warner (S.2191)

Pardon my french but what a clusterf*** this is.

(A larger version of this chart can be found at the Club for Growth website which can be accessed under the Political Portals section on the right side of the page.)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Foot in Mouth Disease

I fully intended to address this when it happened. Unfortunately, you've likely already heard it. Nonetheless, while we've always known the socialist tendencies of many Democrats existed, the enclosed video and the shocking comments of California Representative Maxine Waters are not only proof positive of their existence, the are abominable.

Moreover, given Maxine's obvious blundering with respect to the english lanquage, might I suggest that her time would be better served working on getting the Appeals Court to overturn their decision on homeschooling. Seems quite evident that Maxine could use a few tutorial sessions on the proper use of english herself.

Fear Not the Politics of Fear

Okay, we’ll try this yet again for the totally and completely inept who can’t seem to disabuse themselves from an “anyone but Hillary or Obama” frame of mind.

The argument for McCain, which quite frankly is nothing more than an argument against Hillary or Obama is predicated on a number of issues. But, as I’m beginning to witness, of those issues, there are two that seem to keep coming to the forefront. Allow me to take a logical approach in responding to them both.

Argument #1: Hillary or Obama would push through a Universal Healthcare plan and we simply can’t have that.

Logical Response #1: Let us first remember that Obama says he’s not going to mandate that everyone buy insurance. Secondly, in 1993 Democrat Bill Clinton was President of the United States. Additionally, Congress was too controlled by Democrats. It was at this time that Hillary tried to put through her first Universal Health Care plan and it didn’t pass. Not only did it not pass, it caused such a revolt that it led in large part to the 1994 Republican uprising whereby they gained control of congress.

Argument #2: The next president will likely make 1 (maybe two) appointments to the United State’s Supreme Court.

Logical Response #2: Before proceeding forward with the, not only obvious but, logical response to the aforementioned argument, I feel it necessary to point out the irony in this situation. On the one hand, McCain apologists argue that we must set aside our want for the implementation of conservative principle in favor of the moderation of Senator McCain so that we can “win” the White House. Lack of Conservative principle and ideology being the primary source of our opposition to McCain, his apologists then invoke this very Conservative principle and ideology and apply it towards the quest for desirable Supreme Court appointees. Is this not a gross contradiction on their part? Are they not operating on two complete and totally separate premises?

However, moving forward, let us first not get caught up in rhetoric. Be they Democrat or Republican, they are first and foremost politicians. As such, they will say virtually anything in an effort to court potential voters. In this regard, we will then not place emphasis on what John McCain has recently said with respect to Judicial appointments. Instead, we will look at his record which does not suggest he is favorable towards conservative judges (Gang of 14). Secondly, looking at the 9 member bench, the “conservative” side of the coin comprises judges Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito. The oldest of these four members is Scalia at 72. But, although Scalia is the oldest of the four conservatives at 72, it is worth noting that the average age of justices is 68.

Although most commonly referred to as the swing vote on the bench 71 year old Anthony Kennedy will more often than not lean conservative in his opinions. That leaves us with essentially 5 conservatives to 4 liberals on the bench. These 5 aren’t likely going anywhere soon.

Of the more “liberal” side of the bench, you’ve got John Stevens, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and David Souter (mind you both Stevens and Souter were appointed by liberal or moderate Republicans. Ford and Bush 41 respectively), the eldest of all 9 members is John Stevens at 88. Ruth Ginsburg is second at 75.

It is not entirely likely that Scalia would step down at 72 years of age or that Kennedy would step down at 71. So, for all practical means that leaves the 88 year old Stevens as the most likely to be replaced in the next president’s term. And, though she’s only three years older than Scalia, perhaps Ruth Ginsburg.

So, as I previously mentioned, that leaves one or two potential Supreme Court appointments for the next president and both of which are on the liberal side of the bench.

Indeed it would be preferable from a conservative standpoint to get another more conservative minded justice appointed to the bench. And, let us suppose John McCain is genuine in his quest to appoint a judge like John Roberts or Samuel Alito. Republicans have neither control of the House or the Senate. And, in fact they have recently lost seats and may very well lose more. As such, while a president McCain may wish to put up judges of that stature, the likely political scenario is that someone like Patrick Lehy, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, would march up to the White House and essentially tell John McCain that he ought not put up an appointee like Roberts or Alito. John McCain, in his “maverick” style tries to then come to a compromise on what sort of justices they might consider.

The worst case scenario is you end up replacing a liberal justice with another liberal.

Though I don’t expect either of these truisms to “take” with McCain’s apologists, those of you teetering on whether to vote McCain or not might want to consider what I’ve just laid out. As this election cycle progresses, we’ll indeed likely see more invocation of the “politics of fear” which are aimed at trumping reason and logic as voters assess their political options. And mind you, while I’ve never been an FDR sort of guy suffice it to say I would caution them by suggesting they heed his resounding words that “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Soapster's Call to Action

Unless you're content with Government controlling your energy usage, I urge all of you to keep tabs on your Senators as the dreaded Warner-Lieberman bill (America's Climate Security Act of 2007: S 2191) comes up this week in the Senate.

For those not privy, this is the "bill to direct the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a program to decrease emissions of greenhouse gases, and for other purposes."

Learn more about Government's quest to control your energy consumption here

While you're at it, maybe take some time out and call Senator McCain's camp and commend him for helping expand the Federal Government's role of encroachment upon your Freedom, your Liberty, and oh of course your Wallet.

(The following data is a culmination of all relevant cost analysis and can be found in its entirety at Newt Gingrich's website)

(Studies of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Economists All Attest to the Negative Economic Impact of Warner-Lieberman Cap and Trade Bill)

CBO: Cap-and-Trade System Would Cause ‘Higher Prices for Consumers’ and ‘Windfall Profits’ For Large Firms. “Policymakers' decisions about how to allocate the allowances could have significant effects on the overall economic cost of capping CO2 emissions, as well as on the distribution of gains and losses among U.S. households. Giving allowances away to companies that supply fossil fuels or that use large quantities of fossil fuels in their production processes could create ‘windfall’ profits for those firms. The reason is that the cap-and-trade program would still result in higher prices for consumers and households but would not impose additional costs on those firms. Even if the companies received allowances for free, they would still raise prices to their customers because the cost of using an emission allowance for production—rather than selling it to another firm—would be embodied in the prices that they would charge for their goods and services. The resulting price increases would disproportionately affect people at the lower end of the income scale.”

(Peter R. Orszag, “Approaches to Reducing Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” Testimony – Congressional Budget Office, November 1, 2007 )

CBO Predicts High Costs For Warner-Lieberman. In April 2008, the Congressional Budget Office revealed the following facts about the Warner-Lieberman Cap and Trade Bill:

Bill Would Cost Americans Over $1 Trillion In Next Decade. From 2009-2018, Warner-Lieberman would cost Americans roughly $1.2 trillion, and discretionary spending would increase by about $3.7 billion.

Includes Expensive Private Sector Mandates. “The most costly mandates [of the Warner-Lieberman bill] would require certain types of private-sector entities to participate in the cap-and-trade programs for GHG emissions created by the bill. CBO estimates that the cost of those mandates would amount to more than $90 billion each year during the 2012-2016 period, and thus substantially exceed the annual threshold established in UMRA [Unfunded Mandates Reform Act] for private-sector mandates ($136 million in 2008, adjusted annually for inflation).”

With Boxer Amendment Now Included, Warner-Lieberman Would Increase Discretionary Spending By Over $80 Billion During Next Decade. During committee markup in December 2007, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) added an amendment to the Warner-Lieberman Bill to make the bill deficit neutral, and the CBO assessed the amended version separately. “CBO estimates that enacting S. 2191, as amended…would increase discretionary spending by about $84 billion over the 2009-2018 period.”

(Congressional Budget Office, “Cost Estimate – S. 2191: America’s Climate Security Act of 2007,” CBO, April 10, 2008: 1, 2 )

EPA Economic Analysis Concludes Warner-Lieberman Would Be Costly. The EPA released a list of key facts of the Warner-Lieberman Bill:

Warner-Lieberman Would Cost Americans At Least $238 Billion By 2030 and Over $1 Trillion By 2050. If passed, Warner-Lieberman would cause GDP to be between 0.9% ($238 billion) and 3.8% ($983 billion) lower in 2030 than if the bill was not in place. In 2050, GDP would be between 2.4% ($1,012 billion) and 6.9% ($2,856 billion) lower than projected without passing Warner-Lieberman.

Electricity Prices To Rise Dramatically. “Electricity prices are projected to increase 44% in 2030 and 26% in 2050.” Asymmetrical Costs. “The largest GDP and consumption impacts are in the Plains region.”

(“EPA Analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008,” United States Environmental Protection Agency, March 14, 2008)

National Association of Manufacturers Rejects the Warner Lieberman Cap and Trade Bill. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) released a study in March 2008 on the economic impact of Warner-Lieberman cap and trade bill:

GDP would be reduced by $151-$210 billion by 2020; in 2030, GDP would be reduced by $631-$669 billion (in 2007 dollars).

There would be 1.2-1.8 million jobs lost in 2020 and 3-4 million jobs lost in 2030.

Manufacturing would slow and shipment values would fall 3.2 % to 4% in 2020; by 2030 the value of shipments would fall by 8.3 % to 8.5%.

Household income would be reduced by $739-$2,927 in 2020 and $4,022-$6,752 (in 2007 dollars) in 2030.

Electricity prices would increase by 28%-33% by 2020 and 101%-129% by 2030.

Gasoline prices would increase 20%-69% by 2020 and 77%-145% by 2030.

(American Council for Capital Formation and National Association of Manufacturers, “Analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) Using The National Energy Modeling System,” March 12, 2008)

Economist Anne Smith: Large GDP Losses Under Warner-Lieberman. Economist Anne Smith of CRA International, a financial consulting firm, testified before Congress on the potentially destructive economic impacts of Warner-Lieberman, and discovered the following:

Unfair Distribution of Costs. “Our scenarios imply that S.2191 would decrease US average economic welfare by 1.1% to 1.7%. This impact varies by region, and…we find that New York, New England states, and California would experience welfare impacts substantially less than the US average, while regions heavily reliant on fossil fuel energy sources would face impacts somewhat greater than the US average.”

Punitive Effect On GDP. Rather than allowing healthy economic expansion, Warner-Lieberman would restrain GDP growth. “GDP would be lower in 2015 by about $160 billion to $250 billion. Eventually, the annual loss in GDP would increase to the range of $800 billion to $1 trillion (stated in real, 2007 dollars).”

Job Loss Much Greater Than Green Job Creation. “Naturally, with reductions in GDP come reductions in real wages and job losses. We have estimated 1.2 million to 2.3 million net job losses by 2015 over our set of scenarios. By 2020, our scenarios project between 1.5 million and 3.4 million net job losses. There is a substantial implied increase in jobs associated with “green” businesses (e.g., to produce renewable generation technologies), but even accounting for these there is a projected net loss in jobs due to the generalized macroeconomic impacts of the Bill.”

(Anne Smith, “Prepared Statement of Anne E. Smith, Ph.D., at the Legislative Hearing on America’s Climate Security Act of 2007, S. 2191,” United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, November 8, 2007 )

Cost to the Average Family Estimated at Nearly $17,000.

(WashingtonWatch, “S. 2191, The America's Climate Security Act of 2007,” 2008 )

Considering the economic impact of this disasterous bill, it's amazing many of my Republican brethren continue to implore that Global Warming is a "non-issue". Seems quite evident to me that it's a whole lot more than a "non-issue".

Friday, May 23, 2008

Political Triangulation Done Right

Dick Morris is well known for the politics of triangulation. For those not privy, triangulation is the act of a candidate presenting his or her ideology as being "above" and "between" the left and right sides of the political spectrum. It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one's political opponent. The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent's ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue. Opponents of triangulation consider the dynamic a deviation from reality and dismiss those that strive for it as whimsical. Put me in the latter category.

While I affirm the traditional Dick Morris sort of triangulation as political suicide, that is not to suggest that a triangular (i.e., three prong/point) approach isn’t a viable prescription for success within the Republican party. In fact it is.

But, while the likes of Dick Morris, former Bush speechwriter turned Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, William Kristol, and the other apparatchiks at FOX News and within the Republican party, think that we ought to adopt the watered down solutions of our adversaries, a much more sensible approach is to implore conservative solutions which revolve around three key issues (thus imploring three prong/point triangular approach previously mentioned). Now, the other issues will come up undoubtedly. Address them and let it drop. Say no to the Farm Bill and let it drop. Say no to the Barney Frank housing bailout and let it drop. Say no to appeasement abroad and then let it drop.

True there may very well be some discrepancies in response to the three key issues which are of most importance to you and the rest of America. However, I think that the overwhelming response at present is likely to center on energy, healthcare, and retirement. These three things have and will continue to define the cost of living. I’m quite certain you could go anywhere across the country and undoubtedly you will find that to be the primary concern amongst Americans. So, then it is on these three issues the GOP ought to set their focus.


Energy is the engine which moves us and the world. It is unconscionable then that anyone would suggest we use less of it. Certainly we can look to other parts of the world where energy consumption is virtually non-existent for a picture of what such a practice might look like. Since we need energy in a productive industrial society, we should look towards whatever means necessary to obtain it. However, in this quest for energy, what is often left by the wayside is our sense and sensibilities. There is a fundamental reason why “alternative” sources of energy are so wildly popular at present. Subsidies. Remove the subsidies and let the market work. And, when you allow the market to work, you will find that the cheapest, most efficient, and most reliable sources of energy still come from fossil fuels. Now, this isn’t to say we should completely ignore alternatives. Certainly, Nuclear is a viable option which Republicans ought to tout much more as well (thereby exposing the hard core Environmental movement who are not so much in favor of cleaner energy in so much as they are opposed to American progress). But, while we embrace logic and reasoning to assert that we cannot be forever dependent upon fossil fuels, so too must we then adopt the same premise in recognizing that we cannot be dependent upon alternatives at the behest of our food source and the American taxpayer. Unfortunately, we’re not yet there. As a provision in the recent bloated Farm Bill, were the price on a bushel of corn to recede back to it’s previous price before congress made it a profitable business venture, the subsidy to corn growers increases to make up the difference. If our pursuit is one of “green” technology, then why are so many in the political class less than enthusiastic in their support of clean coal technology (of which I’ve had the pleasure of doing Patent work for and which is a truly remarkable endeavor), or new technologies in oil drilling which require less intrusion and a lighter footprint upon the landscape, or opposed to lifting the $.54 per gallon tariff on the much more efficient Brazilian ethanol? If for no other reason other than the fact that Republicans have no energy policy. What they have is an environmental policy. They have essentially put the proverbial cart before the horse. The Republican leadership needs disabuse themselves from thinking they’ll win over environmentalists and their powerful lobbying efforts. Instead, they need to assert that A) we need cheap, sensible, and reliable energy. And B) we’re not going to preclude ourselves from getting it when it’s sitting right in our own backyard.


Get the government and the employer out of the healthcare business. Put healthcare back where it rightfully belongs; with the individual. Change the tax code so that individuals get a tax credit or reduction so that they can then go out and buy a plan on the open market; a market which ought to be wholly free-market based thereby allowing the individual the ability to cross state lines and shop for the plan that best suits them.


SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM! Allow younger workers to allocate a percentage of their earnings into a 401(k) or equivalent where the government can’t get their hands on it.

If the Republicans are adamant on a triangular approach, they ought to do well to consider the aforementioned. Because clearly for the present day Republicans…the Dick Morris sort of triangulation has led to nothing more than political strangulation.

A Good Time Had by All

So, last night Kristie and I had a night out. Seeing as we're home bodies by nature, it was nice for us to get out and have a good time.

We went and saw Rilo Kiley at 1st Avenue (those of you who've seen Purple Rain might recall this well known venue).

It was a great show. Not everyone can perform well live but these guys nailed it! Check them out on the playlist.

More info on the band here:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Blue Ribbon Victory

So another legislative session comes to an end in Minnesota. And to think, the Governor and his apologists; mind you they are the minority party here, consider it a victory. A victory they say. Well, if this be a victory, surely it is of the Blue Ribbon variety. I say Blue Ribbon variety for the simple fact that adopting a watered down liberal Democratic policy is hardly to be considered a victory. Minnesota may indeed be a blue state, that doesn’t mean Republicans need to paint themselves with the same brush.

The apparent “victory” this legislative session is predicated on one thing; that being a temporary 3.9% property tax increase cap at the governor’s insistence. However, bear in mind that this cap does not include the school portion of property taxes which is the primary driver of the property tax increases in the first place. So, strike one there.

The governor’s other wish, or rather his “bargaining chip” as it were, was for a new state park on the shores of Lake Vermillion. While the governor got his wish, and while I do enjoy camping in the state park system, any right minded conservative knows that what we don’t need at present is another state park when our current State Park system includes 72 state parks and recreation areas (66 parks & 6 recreation areas), 8 waysides, 1 state trail, and 54 state forest campgrounds and day-use areas that total 267,000 acres. Taking the Vermillion land off of the tax rolls so that a few land owners are safe from private development and thus neighbors is hardly a victory for the Minnesota taxpayer who subsidizes it. Strike two.

But, even if by some ridiculous measure we established either of those as victories, does that trump a legislative session which began with a $6.6 Billion dollar tax increase; i.e., the dreaded “Transportation” bill? A bill which was the result of exploiting the tragic 35W bridge collapse purposefully for this intention. A bill which was wholly unnecessary for the simple fact that, contrary to liberal belief, the oft touted “no new taxes” pledge from the governor and company was not the result of the bridge's demise. Quite the opposite in fact. The state’s legislative auditor declared in a decade’s old report whose data found that “…state and local governments in Minnesota generally spend about 40 to 60 percent more per capita on highways than the national average.” Rightfully so, the Governor then vetoed the bill only to have the veto overridden with the help of 6 wayward Republicans (See “Onward and Upward” and “RINO Slaying:101” - March 2008). Moreover, a $38 million state fund was set up for victims of the bridge collapse.

The legislative session too brought with it more money for local school districts, more money to the colleges and the University of Minnesota, an expansion of 12,000 more people covered by MNCare and various other state health programs, and yet another light rail boondoggle which is the Central Corridor line ends up back in the bonding bill. So, we’ll get to look forward to shelling out money in the future for that.

Where was the fiscal leadership from the “Republican” governor?? There were no cuts in spending. Any perceived “cuts” in programs were only reductions in the massive welfare increase from the previous Spring of 2007 $35 Billion belt busting budget wherein we increased spending by $3 Billion (in turn spending our surplus). The previous budget also included an $11 Billion health and welfare budget amounting to a 19% increase. Is it not laughable to infer that merely trimming $300 million off of that is “cut”??

Conservatives got the shaft this legislative session. Minnesota taxpayers got the shaft this legislative session.

And, the only thing Republicans have to show for it is that lovely Blue Ribbon victory.

Kudos I suppose.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Sarasota's Smokers Get Snuffed Out of State Employment Opportunities

There have been a great many stories for which the response: “Only in Florida” rings appropriately true. The following might be the sole exception. But, not because it isn’t weird, but rather because the obvious response for me was: “Only in [insert your favorite Totalitarian locale].”

Sarasota County officials announced Monday that they will no longer hire smokers. In Florida, the right not to hire employees who smoke was upheld in 1995 by the state Supreme Court after a prospective employee sued North Miami. Citing the Centers for Disease Control research which puts the annual cost of hiring a smoker at $3,400 a year in lost productivity and medical expenses, the county becomes the first in Southwest Florida to make smoking a hiring issue. The recent ban comes off the heels of the county’s recent smoking ban on public beaches.

Sarasota County Administrator Jim Ley says that the hiring ban was the end result of “a five- or six-year strategy to produce a healthier work force and manage our long-term healthcare costs.” The county’s annual health benefits cost runs about $31 million for their 3,600 employees.

While difficult to gauge the popularity of such hiring policies in lieu of their much less prevalent nature compared with bans on restaurants and the like, Patrick Reynolds who heads the Foundation for a Smoke Free America, says their dependency relies much more heavily on state labor laws.

Moreover, Reynolds goes on to say, “It’s really a question of what extent the state empowers companies to refuse to hire smokers. We know these bans contribute to the overall goal of a smoke free America.”

What does it say about a society where the government can establish, as does Florida Statute Title XLIV Chapter 760.10 dealing with unlawful employment practices, that it is unlawful employment practice to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, handicap, or marital status and then implore a hiring policy which discriminates against someone who smokes?

Does such an employment hiring practice extend to private sector employers? And what if said employer wishes to invoke a similar such policy by not hiring a young woman on the basis of her physical attributes (or lack thereof). After all, he’s not discriminating on the basis of her age, sex, or marital status. Maybe he just happens to think her breasts should be larger than they are. Or, maybe she has great breasts but she’s short. Maybe the employer reserves the right to feel as though the servers in his establishment ought to be a certain height. Or does this fall under the “handicap” clause?

Okay, perhaps I’m being a bit hyperbolic here since the discrimination herein is predicated on reigning in healthcare costs and producing a healthier work force.

Addressing the former, ought we not then exercise this premise for private sector employers who wish to not employ individuals who are overweight? Maybe said employers wish not to employ individuals with diabetes, a history of high cholesterol, a history of high blood pressure, genetic predisposition to breast cancer or cervical cancer, etc. or, as is more abundantly obvious, individuals who eat their weight in trans-fatty goods on a daily basis. Maybe those same employers wish not to employ workers who lead “high-risk” lifestyles too. Come to think of it, the aforementioned list might just as well serve as a precursor for the latter argument as well; that being the healthier workforce argument.

But, what gets me in all of this is that while the government will reserve and execute this exclusive right to discriminate on the basis of smoking, respective bar and restaurant owners are not afforded equal protection similarly, be it directly (whereby they would assert their right to specifically hire and/or cater to a smoking only clientele) or indirectly through free-market principles (whereby workers and/or patrons reserve the right of choice to work or enter an establishment where smoking might in fact be taking place).

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kristie's Classics

One of our local radio stations here in Minnesota (92.5 KQRS) is a great classic rock radio station. One of their features is called MyTunes wherein listeners can submit their request list (up to 8 songs) to the station. Kristie and I both created them and sent them along some time ago. Naturally they get alot of such requests so it's likely many of them don't get played. That's not to say that the lists aren't good. Actually, many different lists feature the same songs.

Who knows how long til they get around to ours. In the meantime, here's Kristie's list.

I have to say though, there are a ton of things I love about her (obviously). But, one of the greatest things about her is without question her sense of humor. She cracks me up all the time (even when my intention is to be mad at her). Anyway, I say this because one of the songs on the playlist has an amusing story behind it.

Listen to the John Cougar Mellencamp track: "I need a lover". The song is, I dunno, around 5 minutes long or whatever but the weird thing about it is that the singing doesn't start until well into the song.

What's more, when you listen to the intro, there are a number of points in it where you'd normally expect the lyrics to start up but they don't. So the song comes on the radio and Kristie is standing up and sort of pretending she's like lip synching the song but naturally the lyrics didn't start. This of course happens a couple of times when you think the lyrics are going to start. Each time she gets more and more frustrated.

And then, when the lyrics finally do start in, it's sort of in a weird spot. was totally one of those "you had to be there to see it" kind of moments. But, we had a good laugh anyway.


Kristie's MyTunes Playlist:

Fleetwood Mac - Tusk
Lynrd Skynrd - Simple Man
Ram Jam - Black Betty
Billy Joel - Sometimes a Fantasy
Tom Petty - American Girl
Queen - Keep yourself Alive
Rolling Stones - Shattered
John Cougar Mellencamp - I need a lover

Thursday, May 15, 2008

McCain and the Moderates

The modus operandi of GOP presidential nominee John McCain and the "higher ups" within the Republican party is that rather than drift to the right to appeal to the party's base, they have been drifting portside in an effort to court moderates, independents, and/or "conservative" Democrats.

In doing so, they have adopted the "green" premise, voiced concern in bridging income inequality, inferred that Judicial appointees need to be responsive to "the will of the people", and so forth.

This practice of moderation did not bode well for them during the 2006 midterm elections. Nor has it bode well for them in the past.

Yet they continue to engage in it. For some reason, they think that they can "outgreen" and "outcompassion" (let us remember there is nothing "compassionate" about public officials who spend other people's money) their opponents.

I got news for you. It ain't gonna happen.

If voters want an environmentalist as president or someone who will appoint Justices that are responsive to the will of the people, etc., do you think they're going to vote for a Republican or a Democrat?

But, what I really find hilarious in all of this is that while McCain and the "higherups" within the Republican party are operating under the premise that they can win with, not the conservative vote as is customary but rather, the moderate and independent vote, the Republican party's faithful voters are apparently discontented with this philosophy.

It is for this very reason that they chastise the party's more conservative members for their continuing opposition to McCain.

And yet, despite the continued opposition that conservatives have for John McCain, he still isn't throwing them a bone.

Instead, he and the "higherups" within the Republican party are predicating John McCain's ascension on the moderate and independent vote. They think it a winning strategy.

Which begs the question: Why don't the Republican party's faithful voters?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Cold Hard Facts (literally)

I find it rather interesting that the Interior Department can cite the decline in Arctic Sea Ice as the reason for adding Polar Bears to the protected list. Are they not privy to the National Snow and Ice Data Center findings?

While it may be true that the Arctic sea ice is presently .20 million square miles less than the 1979-2000 average, their data also finds that in the span of a single year (April '07-'08), Arctic sea ice increased .24 million square miles.

Seems to me, another cold winter and we're right back to normal levels are we not?

What's more, according to the U.S. Geological Survey whose 2006 report titled: "Polar Bear Population Status in the Southern Beaufort Sea" finds in its conclusion that:

"Information on changes in survival and physical stature, reported here, indicate that the status of polar bears in the SBS region is changing. Annual survival rates of COYs estimated from the 2001 to 2006 capture-recapture study were lower than survival rates estimated in previous studies. The increased loss of cubs during the first 6 months of life may be associated with the smaller physical stature of COYs observed in recent years. The smaller physical stature of COYs was paralleled by a smaller physical stature of adult males, even though the average age of adult males has increased. Despite these indicators of a declining status for the SBS polar bear population, our best estimate of the current size of the population does not show a statistically significant decline. This may mean there has been no change in numbers in recent years, or it could reflect insufficient precision in current and past estimates to resolve such a change.

Although our 2001-2006 capture-recapture study did not provide evidence for a change in the size of the SBS polar bear population, significant changes in cub survival and physical stature must ultimately have population level ettects. Lowered body weight has been implicated in declining survival of polar bear cubs in western Hudson Bay, Canada. There, reduced cub survival, associated with declines in physical stature caused by reduced foraging opportunity, was recorded long before a statistically significant decline in population size was confirmed. The relationship between decreased availability of sea ice and declining population size in western Hudson Bay, which is near the southern extreme of polar bear range, is cause for concern regarding the future status of polar bears in more northern regions such as the SBS. Because more profound declines in sea ice area and extent are predicted for these northern regions, continued monitoring and conservative 'management of the SBS polar bear population is warranted."

Naturally, given that they're receiving grant money, it stands to chance they'll make it a point to assert that "...continued monitoring and conservative management of the SBS polar bear population is warranted." Be that as it may, it's quite clear that according to their own analysis, the U.S. Geological Study's findings over a 5 year period failed to provide evidence for a change in the Polar Bear population. What's more, it is quite a leap then (why one might even say from one melting ice cap to another) for yet another government agency to then dismiss the existence of such evidence (or lack thereof) to then suggest that the loss of Arctic sea ice is the direct result of an inconclusive decline in polar bear population.

It seems to me the only thing that's to be concluded in the final analysis of all this data is the deeply held notion that additional loss of sea ice is predicted to occur (despite evidence from yet another government agency suggesting otherwise) therefore giving rise to the need for additional grant money to assure additional monitoring and research projects.

Dare I say once again, Government begets more government.

Summertime Rolls

Long time coming, but it appears, albeit slowly but surely, that summer is coming. There are many aspects of summer that I enjoy: camping, barbequing, playing golf and tennis, mountain biking, and a whole host of others.

One of the other aspects of Summer for me is music. Granted, I listen to music all year round but for some reason, music just sounds better in the summer. That said, here's my current top 5 list (of course in no particular order).

1. Under the Blacklight - Rilo Kiley
2. Gods of the Earth - The Sword
3. In the Future - Black Mountain
4. Sad Clown Series - Atmosphere
5. Laika Come Home - Gorillaz

Mind you, as summer rolls, this list is subject to change (and very likely will).

Feel free to check out for a sample listening of any of the aforementioned.

And ya see...just like that BAM I get another song in my head (this one "The Needle Has Landed" by Neko Case).

Monday, May 12, 2008

Scissor Savings

If you hadn't guessed by now, I am of course a fiscal conservative. I don't believe in spending money I don't have. I like money. More importantly, I like money that I can spend on non-essential things.

I cut coupons. I don't know that alot of people do. And, in this day and age with food prices on the rise, you'd be foolish not to. What's more, not only do my beloved and I cut coupons, we typically only use them when the item is also on sale. You know, you have a buy one get one free special and then not only that, you can apply say a $1 off on the item you first have to purchase.

Up here in Minnesota, we have essentially two main grocery stores: Cub or Rainbow. They both have flyers in the Sunday paper and conveniently, they're both within relatively close proximity to one another so we have no qualms about making the most of the sale items at both.

We also utilize the rebate program at Walgreens (it's a pharmacy type store like Snyders or CVS). I honestly can't tell you how many times, via the rebate and coupons, we've actually ended up saving more money than we spent (I mean hello have you ever bought razor blades?? They frequently have a rebate on the whole kit and caboodle.)

We're always trying to outdue our all time record savings at the grocery store though (that being a savings of about $50 on a total bill not more than $100).

Case in point: Coupons essentially amount to free money. And, I'm not inclined to think that any sensible person would just casually stroll by ignoring a $5 bill laying on the ground would they??

Half-Glass Optimism

I look at the glass half-empty. But, I will tell you, if you think me a pessimist, I can't help but question your logic.

I was born a skeptic, which is precisely why I question why it has apparently come to pass that the aforementioned is a perception of pessimism. Consider that by viewing the glass as half full, one’s emphasis is maintained on that which is accomplished. It is as if to suggest that we ought be morally satisfied and content with half a glass by failing to address the existence of the emptiness which resides in its upper half (i.e., potential).

Conversely, if we turn our attention to that upper half of the glass; that portion which is empty, have we not then addressed the optimism while recognizing the potential of such emptiness?

It reminds me of a legendary quote from the Irish playwright Bernard Shaw:

“Some men see things as they are and ask why. Others dream things that never were and ask why not.”

McCain and the Judiciary

I've maintained, in opposition to much of the Republican faithful, that with respect to Judicial appointees under McCain, it is foolhardy to presume that his appointments will be "Conservative". Given that by and large John McCain himself is not coupled with his high ranking position with the Gang of 14, his rhetoric on the issue doesn't pass the smell test. But, by all means, don't just take it from me....

(The following is a letter to the editor of the Star Tribune 5/12/08)

John McCain said in a speech last week that, as president, he would appoint federal judges who favored overturning Roe vs. Wade. He also said he thinks that federal judges should be responsive to the will of the people.

Send that man back to Constitution school! It's hard to believe he's served so long and still hasn't learned the basic division of responsibilities among the three branches of the U.S. government.

The judiciary is the one branch of our government that is responsible to the Constitution, the law and to justice. It is the only branch that protects the minority from the potential tyranny of the majority.

If, perchance, judicial justice matches the will of the people, it's a nice coincidence. But judges should never base their decisions on what the people say they want. And the selection of judges should be based on their ability to know the law and to administer justice fairly. Their selection should not be based on any pre-judging of cases that might come before them.

Shame on McCain!!

Raymond Voss - Edina

Friday, May 9, 2008

Leave Me the Hell Alone!!!!!

Legislators have way too much time on their hands. It’s become increasingly evident given much of the nanny state policies being put forth. Take for example the fast approaching uber-liberal state of Minnesota.

It wasn’t enough last legislative session that the DFL (Democratic Farm Labor party) was in hot pursuit to ban glass bottles on beaches and boats, trample upon freedom of assembly and private property rights in their quest for smoking bans, and asserting the right of bowel relief, in a business owner’s employee only restroom, for those afflicted with any loose bowel sort of ailment. No, that apparently wasn’t enough of an encroachment into your daily life.

So, comes the next wave of government intrusion into one’s personal life as we slowly chip away at our beloved free society.

First, came a ridiculous legislative proposal to expand on the safety booster seat law by extending it up to children the age of 8 rather than the age of 4 as exists under current law. Once again, the state makes their case that they know what is best for your child. It ought to be extremely offensive to every mother and father across the state of Minnesota that the legislature thinks you don’t have the best interest of your child in mind every single time you take them somewhere in your automobile. Who better has your child’s best interest at heart you or some bureaucratic busy body at the Capitol?

Of course, there are parents who don’t take responsibility for raising their children properly. However, A) they are not the majority but rather the minority. If even such a legislative proposal were just, it dismisses the second of my points B) which is the right of said parent to be held accountable by a jury of their peers.

Let us suppose that a parent didn’t provide a booster seat for their 7 or 8 year old child and they end up severely injured in a crash as a result. Under current law, that parent could be held negligent for their actions should a jury of their peers find them to be at fault.

Extension of the mandate is not only unnecessary, it amounts to nothing more than a revenue raising tactic by the big government nanny state bureaucrats. Need more evidence?

How about another provision in the Transportation Bill, this one a proposal to change the current seat belt law from a secondary offense to a primary offense. This means that rather than being first cited for speeding, making an illegal u-turn, or driving with a broken taillight and then getting an additional citation for not wearing your seatbelt, you may now be pulled over simply for failing to buckle up.

What's to say a trooper wont end up pulling you over and come to find you actually ARE wearing your seatbelt all the while a guy with an alcohol content twice the legal limit goes wizzing by?? It also expands on government's already overreaching authority to establish probable cause.

Now, I always wear my seatbelt in the car (even if I’m in the backseat). But, how is your decision to not wear your seatbelt going to affect me? Simple answer is that it’s not.

While the hundreds of millions of dollars spent in support of seat-belt laws has been a horrendous financial burden to society, the greatest cost is really not money. It's the loss of freedom. Seat-belt laws infringe a person's rights as guaranteed in the Fourth, Fifth, and the Ninth Amendments, and the civil rights section of the Fourteenth Amendment. Such laws are an unwarranted intrusion by government into the personal lives of citizens; they deny through prior restraint the right to determine one's own individual personal health-care standard.

While seat-belt use might save some people in certain kinds of traffic accidents, there is ample evidence that in other kinds, people have been more seriously injured and even killed only because they used seat belts. Some people have been saved from death in certain kinds of accidents only because a seat belt was not used. In those cases, the malicious nature of seat-belt laws is further revealed: such persons are subject to fines for not dying in the accident while using a so-called safety device arbitrarily chosen by politicians.

The state has no authority to subject people to death and injury in certain kinds of traffic accidents just because it hopes others will be saved in other kinds of accidents merely by chance. The state has no authority to take chances with a person's body, the ultimate private property.

Of course they would tell you otherwise as they assert that not only you, but your child is the property of the state. Consider Minnesota Senate File 3138 which aims to legalize involuntary genetic research on your children without your knowledge or approval (generally through a prick to the heel of the child following birth I’m told). The purpose you ask? To create genetic profiles, conduct research that may be objectionable and more. The DNA of 780,000 children is presently held by Minnesota's government. Is it not completely Orwellian to think that the government is in the business of compiling data on your child without your consent?

Yet were this not sufficient, for the adults in Carver County, Minnesota, County health officials want to subject all 63,000 of you to mandatory physical exams and health assessments in their pursuit of making your county the “healthiest in the nation”. According the Star Tribune article, the data “would be used to help public and private health agencies tailor or expand programs to treat, prevent, or reduce medical problems such as diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.”

Or, dare I infer the culmination of the data is in conjunction with the state’s quest to be your sole provider of healthcare. With this data and them as your healthcare provider, they will make decisions regarding your healthcare needs and what services can and will be provided to you given your healthcare analysis.

Friends, what we are witnessing at present is by far the greatest assault on your Freedom, your Liberty, and your quality of life; a life which is wholly your own.

Aren’t there any of you out there that quite frankly, like me, just want to be left the hell alone to live your life, work hard, care for yourself and your family and to anything else you deem important in your life without government bureaucrats dictating and facilitating every aspect of your life??

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

An Arrow through the Heart of Robin Hood Theory

Given that the Minnesota Legislature apparently has no economic sensibilities whatsoever as they offer up a minimum wage increase, I thought it perfectly fitting to offer up a repost from a RX Op-Ed from back in 2006. The same specifics and premise of my piece apply.

The Star Tribune story on the wage increase can be found here:

Money For Nothing

Old sayings are a dime a dozen yet their underlying message is priceless. For example, if you give a man a fish you will feed him for a day; teach the man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime. Having come up empty on a number of fishing excursions I’m not quite so certain of the exact truth in the adage. Though, all kidding aside, the underlying message is in fact priceless. Perhaps the most notable of these implies that what you reap is what you sow or similarly that you will possess the very fruit of your labor. And, considering yours truly has been instilled with the gift of the “Minnesotan work ethic”, I wouldn’t think twice to question the truth in such timeless teachings. Nonetheless, from a politically ideological standpoint, the silver lining behind such metaphors, at least amongst Liberal Democrats, seems long since forgotten.

Liberal Democrats have a propensity towards an ideology that the path to social betterment comes via the Robin Hood theory. The very act of taking from the “rich” and redistributing it, in essence to level the playing field, is a practice for which they have seemingly perfected. The vast array of such measures by which they implement this socialist movement are forever far and wide; from last week’s call by the Minnesota Private College Council for the state to spend $50 million dollars a year to pay eligible minority and low-income high-school students to take college prep courses, to similar calls for Affirmative Action, to consistent curbs on growth and profitability both at the individual and corporate level (undermining Capitalism in the process). Quite matter of factly, these and other such actions by Liberal Democrats have consistently been a hindrance to the fruition of the very individual and society for which they possess to better.

So comes the Democrat’s insistence to raise the Federal Minimum wage from its current rate of $5.15 an hour to a whopping $7.25 an hour. Such insistence comes despite reports this week that American wages are actually on the rise at a pace not seen since the 1990’s (The Christian Science Monitor). Such rises in earnings come as a result of tamer energy prices resulting in “real” wage gains which, after inflation, are above 3% over the past 12 months; a trend that, in spite of a recession risk that has not yet disappeared, economic analysts anticipate will continue to benefit paychecks into 2007. Yet, such modest gains, which come on the heels of positive economic growth (i.e. lower oil prices, low inflation, lower cost of goods, and low unemployment levels), are at risk of being thwarted by Democratic measures to raise the Federal Minimum wage when they assume control of the House in January.

Now, forgive me for missing the logic in this latest Liberal idiom but I don’t equate as rational the very notion that while transitioning a dog from kennel to an all day free reign of the house, you give him a Milk Bone before leaving for a ten hour work day in hopes Fido won’t use your new carpet as his own personal toilet. Similarly, we ought not institute a Federal mandate on a business owner to pay a low-skilled worker an additional $2.10 an hour in hopes the business owner is going to receive a $2.10 increase in productivity. You need not be an economist to know that increased productivity begets an increase in earnings not the other way around.

Proponents of a wage increase, like Massachusetts’ own Senatorial lifer Ted Kennedy, cite that “Americans are working harder than ever, but millions of hardworking men and women across the country aren’t getting their fair share”. But, considering that the current Federal Minimum Wage is nearly $2.00 more, when adjusted for inflation, than what the $.25 an hour 1938 rate would warrant, the argument could be made that hardworking men and women are getting their fair share. And, contrary to Kennedy’s claim, the 2005 Minimum Wage Characteristics according to the U.S. Department of Labor (Bureau of Labor Statistics) cites that hardworking men and women at or below the minimum wage are not in the millions. Kennedy further goes on to state, “We’re not rewarding work fairly anymore, and working families are falling behind.”

Perhaps Kennedy can allude to which working families he’s referring to. Might he be referring to the small business owner, with a wife and two kids, who’s hired a handful of young high school students (low-skilled workers who had no qualms about fulfilling an employer’s needs at $5.15 an hour) who is now forced to choose between cutting his productivity or cutting his profit margin? Or, is Senator Kennedy referring to that paltry percentage of married individuals working at or below the minimum wage; the percentage of which the 2005 statistics do not account for being childless.

Folks, the truth is that the bulk of workers at or below the minimum wage in earnings are young individuals. Consider that half of those workers are under the age of 25. A quarter of those workers are between 16-19. Going against this conventional wisdom, Liberals continually note that a person working for the minimum wage 40 hours a week would earn about $10,700 a year, an amount that falls below the federal poverty level for a family of three. And so therein, my friends, lies the problem.

The minimum wage job is a stepping stone on life’s path to self betterment. It’s not some sort of a grotto meant to support a family of three. The perpetual insistence of it as such, then using such an insistence as the backdrop by which to force an increase, would only condone and reward a failed social practice lending credence to the generational welfare cycle. A minimum wage job is meant to be a precursor of things to come. It teaches an individual vital skills such as responsibility, maturity, time management, professionalism, and organization; skills that they’re expected to take with them as they become productive successful members of society on the path to social betterment. A path that comes not via Liberal’s Robin Hood theory, but rather a path which comes through hard work while reaping what you sow; in turn enjoying the very fruits of your labor.

And so while an extra $2.10 may very well purchase a fish to feed an individual for a day, the constant self reflection that such an individual is laboring for minimum wage ought to be the very thing that inspires such and individual to start fishing.

Friday, May 2, 2008

It's NOT the War Stupid!

Despite what you may have been led to believe, it is not the War (or even military spending) which will “bankrupt this economy”. Even still, it's an argument that liberals and other anti-military figures like to make. Why even the good Dr. Paul took it to the extreme. Unfortunately, while I agree with Ron Paul's assessment that we ought not be focused on long term and ever expanding military endeavors, I do not agree with his and their's assessments about the war's culpability on our economic woes.

Consider that even that “war monger” George W. had to struggle quite mightily to get our defense spending back up to around 20% after the post cold-war Clinton years. So, while I hate to be the bearer of bad news for all the raving liberals out there, and the truth telling sort of individual who continually spoils perfectly good opinions, let us take a gander at the facts Jack. And, let us be reminded that these official figures come from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Of all federal government spending for the fiscal year that ended Oct. 31, what went to national defense wasn't some grotesque percentage bankrupting our economy – it was a mere 19.4 percent.

If that’s bankrupting us, then what on earth is Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid doing???

Much more detailed information can be found here: