Monday, October 26, 2009

The Unconstitutional Congress

Lost amidst the headlines about healthcare, Afghanistan, the Administration's war on Fox News, etc., I found the following article in today's Washington Times:

Rental industry hopes to buy influence on Hill

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Choosing to put a tiger in my tank

Economic behavior is for the most part driven by free choice and self interest, which usually means looking for the best product at the best price. Every once in a while, our economic behavior is modified by a positive or negative political, social or moral cause, which influences us to boycott product A or patronize product B based on a personal value judgment.

An example in history was the tea boycott staged by American colonists, given the onerous taxes on tea imposed by the British crown. I don’t know how effective it was, but it was at least a symbolic gesture that helped rally the cause that inspired the American Revolution.

Other cause driven economic behavior fails to gain traction, such as when Hillary Clinton said: “I turn off a light and say, ‘Take that, Iran,’ and “Take that, Venezuela.’ We should not be sending our money to people who are not going to support our values,”

Saturday, October 24, 2009


In case you have hours to waste or nothing better to do, you can now see a copy of one of the proposed healthcare “reform” bills on line at

I certainly don’t have the time or inclination to pore over all 1502 pages, but be my guest if you like. The Congressional Budget Office has yet to score the bill. I will also leave it to others to come up with a summary of what this behemoth actually entails, but I did a few word searches to get some idea:

  • A search for “malpractice”, “tort”, “tort reform” yielded zero hits. Why am I not surprised?
  • “Abortion” resulted in over 20 hits, the most telling of which is on page 141, which describes the abortion services for which public funding is permitted and prohibited: “The services described in this subparagraph are abortions for which the expenditure of Federal funds appropriated for the Department of Health and Human Services is permitted, based on the law as in effect as of the date that is 6 months before the beginning of the plan year involved.” I see quite a wide berth for a Mack truck.
  • “Medicare” also yielded multiple hits, a substantial number of them under the Title V Section entitled “Fraud, Waste and Abuse”, Subsection A, “Medicare and Medicaid”. I am all for eliminating fraud, waste and abuse, but why am I suspicious? How long have Medicaid and Medicare been in existence? If they can save so much money by cutting waste, fraud and abuse, why haven’t they done so already?
There are numerous other references to penalties, fines and taxes, as well as federal requirements levied on states. It is enough to make anyone’s head spin. I am convinced that the length and the complexity of the bill are by design.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I could have done better

I just had a very unsatisfying exchange with a Jehovah’s Witness in a Safeway parking lot.

The young lady was smiling and soft spoken as she handed me a tract. I immediately accepted it and quickly turned to the back to see if it said “Watchtower Society” somewhere in the fine print. But it was already getting dark and my eyesight isn’t the best, so I just confronted the issue head on.

“Thank you very much,” I said. "What church do you go to?"

“I’m a Jehovah’s Witness.”

I wasn’t sure what to say next, so I blurted out, “I’m afraid I don’t subscribe to Arian theology.”

“What’s that?”

“I’m afraid you don’t have an adequate understanding of who Jesus is.”

“Oh we believe He is the Son of God.”

“Well, good. Do you believe that He died for your sins?”

“Oh, yes.”

“Well, meditate on that.”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breathtaking Double Standards, Part III

Parts 1 and 2 of this series are from a previous blog I used to contribute to:

Breathtaking Double Standards

Breathtaking Double Standards (Part II)

I could have easily turned it into a weekly series, but it would get old real fast to keep repeating the painfully obvious, so I have stayed away from the theme.

I was inspired to take it up again by an email that a good friend recently forwarded to me. It basically lists an assortment of the missteps, gaffes and boneheaded policy decisions that have occurred in the first months of the Obama administration (most of which have been excused or glossed over by the media) and rhetorically asks the reader if they would have received similar treatment if George W. Bush were still president.

It's not too late.

If the Obama Administration and Congress really wanted to to turn the economy around, they could do it right away, but it would require a major change in course. I'm not holding my breath.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Here we go again!

You have heard it all before, or maybe not, because the media has done a wonderful job of de-emphasizing it. The economic crisis we are in was not caused by “free-market capitalism” or “greed on Wall Street” or (that favorite bogey-man) “eight years of deregulation under George W. Bush”. I wrote about this ad nauseum in previous posts such as Despair and others referred to therein:

We are suffering from the domino effect of a credit crunch created by the government, which encouraged and even coerced banks into irresponsible lending practices to non-credit worthy individuals. And to add insult to injury, the inmates who caused this mess, who brushed off Bush Administration warnings about the impending insolvency of Fannie and Freddie and the toxic assets they were spreading around the financial community, have been put in charge of the asylum.

But even if the perpetrators and perpetuators got away with their irresponsible behavior, you would have thought that the one bright side in this fiasco is that the irresponsible lending to non-credit worthy individuals has finally ended. Well, think again.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Grazie, Cristoforo!

Thank you, Chris, for your amazing achievement.

So what if you really weren’t the first European to make it to the Americas, having been preceded 500 years earlier by Leif Ericson, et al? Your discovery is the only one that mattered.

So what if you grossly underestimated the circumference of the earth in thinking that it would be a shorter route to India by going west? And so what if you thought you were in India when you were actually in the Bahamas?

So what if a bunch of historical revisionists who have nothing better to do try to paint you and your achievement in the worst light, blaming you for introducing all the evils of European civilization on the supposedly peace loving and innocent indigenous peoples of the Americas?

There are still plenty of us who celebrate your courage to try something new and daring. And even if there is a grain of truth to the revisionist rants, there are those of us who maintain that the Americas are still a better place because you stumbled into them.

So thank you for your amazing feat. Thanks for joining the long line of Italian achievers, and particularly for putting your birthplace of Genoa on the map. And, last but not least, thanks for providing federal workers an extra day off in October!

Birthplace of Christopher Columbus, Genoa, Italy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fiscal Folly

A belated happy (fiscal) new year to all!

October 1 has come and gone and, as usual, Congress has not passed the appropriations for the new fiscal year, so federal agencies must operate off of a "continuing resolution".

According to the Library of Congress’ website on the “Status of Appropriations Legislation for Fiscal Year 2010’ the only appropriations bill that Congress has passed and the President has signed into law is P.L.111-68, which funds operations for the legislative branch. You can tell where their priorities are.

The funding of the business of government (whether legitimate or illegitimate, constitutional or unconstitutional) is usually tied to separate appropriations bills. This year, the appropriations are divided as follows:

Thursday, October 1, 2009


I think I need to change my profile. Maybe. Maybe not. As any of my extremely limited number of readers knows, I make no bones about coming from a Christian perspective. I also mention that one of my passions is apologetics and I even quote one of my favorite verses on the subject:

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect." (I Peter 3:15)

I still try to live by that verse, but the “gentleness and respect” part sometimes gets me into trouble. Whether I am talking religion or politics, the views I hold are usually not mere preferences but rather convictions. So it is a challenge to avoid getting too passionate or argumentative. This is why I prefer blogging to spoken debate. While alone at my computer keyboard, I can take a deep breath, gather my thoughts and calmly put together a reasoned discourse while perhaps sipping a glass of wine. I then read it over several times and say a prayer before clicking on the “submit” or “publish” button.