Saturday, February 28, 2009

Book Review: "John Tyler" by Gary May

John Tyler was the 10th President, the 1st to become President after the death of another president (William H. Harrison), and the 23rd president whose book in the American Presidents Series I have read [Times Books].

I have found it amusing that, in general, the best-written books in this series are the ones about the most obscure presidents. This one is an easy-to-read, concise, and insightful look at a president nearly no one knows.

Given the current political climate, with its massive government spending and interference in the private sector, reading President Tyler's thoughts (and those of his father and his contemporaries of all parties) is delightful. Although a democrat with a southerner's tendency toward states' rights—he became a member of the Confederate Congress shortly before his death in 1862—Tyler's thoughts on the limits of government and on the Constitution are often refreshing and timeless.

Surely, every single president of the pre-Civil War era of our history would be appalled—nay, horrified and shocked—at what our national government looks like today. In Tyler's case, this is easy to understand.

Like the other books in the American President Series, it is about 150 pages and written at a level that any amateur U.S. historian (or historian wannabe) should easily digest. Gary May's work is, overall, one of the better volumes I have read so far.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Math, Budgets, and the Stimulus Bill

Big news today (and I mean BIG literally, in a sumo wrestler sort of way): According to, today the President will be unveiling a 2010 budget that is more bloated than ever, at $3.55 trillion (with a $1.2 trillion deficit)...while at the same time contending that he is beginning to restore fiscal discipline to the nation's finances.

That last part is, of course, a bunch of baloney.

Oh, and by the way—there were statistics on this year's budget changes. More below.

Let's take a look at the numbers.

If we assume that there are 300,000,000 people (legally) in this country, a $3.55 trillion budget works out to $11,833 per person—or for my family of six, that's $71,000! Our household income, in total, is well shy of $71,000!

The deficit of $1.2 trillion itself comes to $4000 per person—or for my family of six, $24,000!

A little subtraction shows that the government is projecting income of $2.35 trillion for the next fiscal year. This means that the government intends to budget expenses of about 51% more than it takes in. Can you imagine the consequences if your household tried that for any extended period of time....If you spent $151 for every $100 of earned income?

Keep in mind also, these statistics are for just one single year...and this president has three more to go. Does anyone see the importance of electing Republicans—fiscally conservative ones, as opposed to certain others I could name—to Congress next year?

Now let's look at the disaster that is this year's budget. In the words of the article,

In addition to next year's spending, Obama proposed more immediate changes that would push spending to $3.94 trillion in the current year. That would result in a record deficit Obama projects will hit $1.75 trillion, reflecting the massive spending being undertaken to battle a severe recession and the worst financial crisis in seven decades.

The cost of the stimulus bill and the increased bailout support would push the deficit for this year to $1.75 trillion, nearly four times last year's record $455 billion and a percentage of the economy -- just over 12 percent -- not seen since World War II. The deficit would remain near $1 trillion over the next two years before dropping to $581 billion in 2012 and $533 billion in 2013, the year that Obama has pledged to cut the deficit he inherited in half.
So for this year, that's a budget spending $13,133 for every man, woman, and child in this country, with a deficit coming to $5833 for every man, woman, and child in this country THIS YEAR.

Totals for 2008-2010 fiscal years:
  • The government will spend about $24,966 for every person in this country;
  • The deficit will increase by about $9833 for every person in this country.
For my family of six, that's two-year spending of $149,800 and two-year deficit of $59,000. Just for my family, mind you....

Understanding the Stimulus Plan

A friend posted this on with my sincere apologies for not recognizing the person who originally authored it (for I do not know who that is), I am copying it here:

Shortly after class, a student approaches his economics professor and says, "I don't understand this stimulus bill. Can you explain it to me?"

The professor replied, "I don't have time right now, but if you come over to my house on Saturday and help me with my weekend project, I'll be glad to explain it to you." The student agreed.

At the agreed-upon time, the student showed up at the professor's house. The professor stated that the weekend project involved his backyard pool. They both went out back to the pool, and the professor handed the student a bucket. Demonstrating with his own bucket, the professor said, "First, go over to the deep end, and fill your bucket with as much water as you can."
The student did as he was instructed.

The professor then continued, "Follow me over to the shallow end, and then dump all the water from your bucket into it.." The student was naturally confused, but did as he was told. The professor then explained they were going to do this many more times, and began walking back to the deep end of the pool. The confused student asked, "Excuse me, but why are we doing this?"

The professor matter-of-factly stated that he was trying to make the shallow end much deeper. The student didn't think the economics professor was serious, but figured that he would find out the real story soon enough.

However, after the 8th or 9th trip between the shallow end and the deep end, the student began to become worried that his economics professor had kinda' lost it.

The student finally blurted out, "All we're doing is wasting valuable time and effort on an unproductive pursuit. Even worse, when this process is all over (and there's absolutely no way to know when that might be), everything will be exactly the same as before, so all we'll really have accomplished is the complete waste of both our time and our efforts which, if otherwise directed, might have had a chance of yielding a productive result!"

The professor put down his bucket and replied with a smile, "Congratulations. You now understand the stimulus bill."

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Democratic Corruption in Michigan

The full story is here...but this beginning of the Free Press article sums it up nicely:

LANSING -- The campaign fund of former Democratic state Sen. Mark Schauer of Battle Creek is paying the state $208,250 for improperly donating money to help elect Democrats to the Senate in 2006.

It is the largest fine for a campaign finance violation ever levied by the Secretary of State's Office.

Schauer was elected to the U.S. House last November.

Schauer's campaign committee admitted giving more than the allowable $20,000 per individual to the Senate Democratic Fund during the 2006 election campaign, according to an agreement with Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land.

Another Great Blog Posting

Today I encountered the Back to the Constitution blog, with this great article. I will copy the first part of it here:

As I was reading through parts of the Old Testament, and in particular some of the laws God gave Israel, it made me think that God’s laws are a reflection of God’s morality. God’s law reflect who God is. God’s laws told Israel to treat people honestly, to be responsible for your actions and make restitution if you caused harm or injury to another person or their property. God’s law says to honor your parents and the elderly, to honor your spouse, and to honor the sanctity of life. God’s law does not go contrary to God’s person - He is holy, just and righteous and so is His law.

When we look at the laws that men have established we must understand the same concept is in place.
To read the rest, click here.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Granholm Did Something Right...and More Thoughts on Government Support of the Arts

On the front page of yesterday's Kalamazoo Gazette was an article which tells us that the state contribution to arts organizations, already cut to $6.1 million in the current fiscal year, would be cut to only $1 million under Gov. Granholm's proposed budget for the next fiscal year. Furthermore, this million would be limited to construction projects.

I think it is fair that we commend the governor for taking an unnecessary state expenditure, small though it is in the scope of the state budget, and reducing it by 83.6%. She should also be commended for (in the current fiscal year) making Michigan 50th in state arts contributions—which in my book, amounts to a first place finish!

I do not believe that government has any business taking my hard earned money (via taxes) and giving it to organizations to produce "art." A lot of art, quite frankly, I find either offensive or void of positive value. Government support of the arts is simply not among its constitutional duties.

The article was rather lengthy, and a parallel editorial appeared at the back of the first section. Several observations come to mind in reading these:

  • As is customary in any story of this kind, "artists" and their supporters decry the prospect of diminished government funding. Their quotes usually, as is the case here, smack of entitlement—as if the government existed to support their artistic endeavors. It doesn't. They also decry that this remaining million dollars will be administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., instead of "people who know the arts."
  • Much of the state money apparently produces matching grants from (pause for dramatic effect...) the National Endowment for the Arts. Which is also supported by our tax dollars! So Gov. Granholm's cost savings will be multiplied!
  • The above dramatic effect is art. However, I will not condescend to ask the state of Michigan to reimburse me for my artistic contribution.
  • The very title of the article (Can the Arts Community Survive?) is misleading. Of course it will survive. It may not thrive in the same manner, but there is (and will be) a demand for what these folks produce. Capitalistic societies dictate that the demand will be supplied, and therefore the "arts community" will have something to do.
  • It is noted in the article that even in the current economic climate, shows are still selling tickets. Changes in ticket pricing and promotion seem to be successful at some theatres. But this is as it should be—when the market changes, "businesses" (for so they are) must respond to it!
Then there is the math encountered in the article. Consider the following two quotes; the first comes from the article and the second from the editorial:
Jennifer Goulet, president of the nonprofit arts advocacy group ArtServe Michigan....also pointed out that $3.2 million of that MCACA money went toward paying 9,000 full-time and 2,200 seasonal employees. "A cut in funding for MCACA means a cut in jobs for Michigan,'' Goulet said.

But state arts funding is also a job creator. More than 2,000 local jobs connected to the arts scene are dependent on state funding.

Let's discuss these in order. In the first, we are told that $3.2 million funds 9,000 full-time jobs. Even if we ignore the part-time jobs, this works out to an average of about $356 per full-time job! Is this really significant? Are people going to get fired over $356? And if they do, doesn't that tell us that these jobs really aren't that great, financially speaking?

The second "statistic" does not tell us how much of the state arts funding comes locally here to the Kalamazoo area, but let's just assume that we get $1 million (of the $6.1 million), which would be well in excess of our proportion based on the population of the state living in this region. Then we see that these 2,000 jobs get about $500 apiece. Again, is this a job you would want...dependent on the goodness of the state for $500?

And after all, doesn't Gov. Granholm want high-paying jobs coming to Michigan?

It is not the responsibility of government, at any level, to subsidize the arts community. It is the responsibility of all of us, however, to keep our math facts in order.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Abide With Me

The first stanza of this hymn is the familiar plea of the believer to the Savior that He dwell with us and keep us safe. The other seven verses (for this hymn, like many, contains more stanzas than are included in the typical hymnal) expand on this idea.

Read these additional stanzas. They may not be familiar to you, but I hope their message is. Our life is but a vapor; it will not always be safe nor comfortable. Danger is often present, as is sorrow. Yet the One Great Constant in the lives of the saved is that the God of the universe has sent a Comforter to dwell—to abide—with us. When He is with us, there is nothing to fear, no danger too great, no sorrow too heavy.

The words to the hymn were written by Henry Lyte in 1847, just weeks before his death. Although he had a tune to which it was sung, the more familiar tune common to most hymnals was written by William H. Monk in 1861.

Abide With Me

Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord with me abide.
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me.

Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim; its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see;
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.

Not a brief glance I beg, a passing word;
But as Thou dwell’st with Thy disciples, Lord,
Familiar, condescending, patient, free.
Come not to sojourn, but abide with me.

Come not in terrors, as the King of kings,
But kind and good, with healing in Thy wings,
Tears for all woes, a heart for every plea—
Come, Friend of sinners, and thus bide with me.

Thou on my head in early youth didst smile;
And, though rebellious and perverse meanwhile,
Thou hast not left me, oft as I left Thee,
On to the close, O Lord, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour.
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s power?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness.
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies.
Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How to Fund Highways?

This article discusses how the Obama administration is less-than-united on the topic of raising tax dollars via a gasoline tax (as is done now) or via "new" means of tracking the miles driven by automobiles using—in the words of some—Orwellian technology.

Unlike so much of what our government spends money on today, highway maintenance is a proper object of government care. And consequently, some of our tax dollars should go toward building and maintaining roads, bridges, and the like. Currently, gas taxes provide the majority of those tax dollars.

The trend toward more full-efficient cars, combined with the advent of cars which do not use gasoline, has resulted in the consumption of fewer gallons of gasoline and therefore fewer tax revenues. Environmentalists should be lauding this, and in truth, this is a generally good thing.

However, while gasoline consumption is decreasing, highway usage is not; and roads continue to deteriorate with time. Government needs to consider how to fund the needed highway and bridge work using other sources.

So here's my solution: In order to increase money for highway and bridge work, decrease an equal (or more) amount of money somewhere else! This will have the side benefit of forcing government leaders to think in the same sort of way we "common folk" think, and might even get them in the habit of using this same thought pattern for other fiscal issues that may arise. Furthermore, once it is realized that the reduction of wasteful spending makes money available without reducing what actually gets done, even greater efficiencies can be acheived!

Where Did It Go?

The blog mentioned in the preceding post appears to have been removed....therefore, for now, so will its link. I am disappointed...alas. My wife and I will just continue to save money on our own.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Could Your Family Live on $1500 of Food for One Year?

Today I encountered a fascinating blog (the link will remain at right) about a woman who made it her goal, in her words, "to live on $1,500 for one year for groceries, household items and personal expenses (haircuts, medical copays)." The family consists of husband, wife, and two preschool children; one of the children is still in diapers.

She updates her blog about twice daily; it seems to have begun around the beginning of this month. It has been featured on and elsewhere.

Truth in disclosure forces her to point out that they began the year with a stockpile of groceries and coupons, but nevertheless, her record of coupon use and sale purchases is impressive. Today's blog entry indicates that they are over budget to this point, but I figure that they are spending roughly half of what my family spends per person per month.

I am looking forward to following their progress in the months ahead.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

One Last Facebook Note

This will be the last blog posting that I automatically send as a Note to Facebook. Why, you ask? In case you haven't heard, Facebook recently and quietly changed its terms of service that essentially say that they can do anything they want with anything I (or you) post on my (or your) Facebook page. Forever.

I'll probably be deleting some of my photos, too...although they are probably already captured somewhere permanently in the Facebook storage servers.

Privacy concerns are already a major internet issue, but it galls me that they would be so bold as to come out (OK, sneak out) and basically claim the ability to use everything I've put there in perpetuity. For the record, this is the key quote from the Terms of Service (see also related article):

The Terms of Service grants the company "an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or ... (ii) enable a user to Post."

Which, if I understand this correctly, means that they can do whatever they wish with my blog postings...until now. I may occasionally alert my Facebook readers—whoever they are—that there is something notable at my blog...but I will be highly cautious about posting the full content. I will also be highly cautious about photos I post, or other personal nature I share.

It also galls me that I was not more alert to this in the past. Grrr....

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Considering that Valentine's Day was yesterday, it seems appropriate to choose a hymn about the love of God Himself for us. And although the four stanzas expand beyond this topic of God's love, and mention other wonderful aspects of His Being, they do an excellent job of reminding us about the God Whom we must worship and about our response to Him.

This hymn was written by Charles Wesley in 1747 and has been sung to several different tunes, most commonly Beecher, but also the tune Hyfrydol (more closely associated with Jesus! What a Friend for Sinners).

Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Love divine, all loves excelling,
Joy of heaven to earth come down;
Fix in us thy humble dwelling;
All thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
Pure unbounded love Thou art;
Visit us with Thy salvation;
Enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
Into every troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
Let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
End of faith, as its Beginning,
Set our hearts at liberty.

Come, Almighty to deliver,
Let us all Thy life receive;
Suddenly return and never,
Never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
Pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
Glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation;
Pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
Perfectly restored in Thee;
Changed from glory into glory,
Till in heaven we take our place,
Till we cast our crowns before Thee,
Lost in wonder, love, and praise.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Math Joke of the Day!

Heard from a friend....

(scroll down)

There are 10 kinds of people in this world:

Those who understand binary numbers,

and those who don't.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Van Buren County Republican Party: What We Did Tonight

I am the secretary of the Van Buren County Republican Party, and this evening (about 3 hours ago) we had our regular monthly meeting—"regular" meaning the second Tuesday of each month—in Lawrence. What is this meeting? What did we accomplish?

Without typing out the minutes of the meeting here (which I can do, because I take the minutes), let me summarize some of the activities we engaged in tonight:

  • Every other month, we have a 6:30 potluck to precede the 7:00 meeting. This was a potluck night. Food and fellowship! (Or you could say, nourishment and networking!) I would also tangentially say that our county organization does some of the best potlucks in Michigan. Period.
  • Our state senator and a state representative (who is running for higher office next year) both addressed the group. Both graciously stayed for several minutes after the meeting to talk politics with those assembled.
  • A representative from our U.S. Congressman's office came and spoke on his behalf.
  • We had discussions and made plans for upcoming county GOP events.
  • We discussed various ways that we can increase involvement locally with the Republican Party.
If "All politics is local," then we represent a front line in the political battles being waged in America today. I think a lot of people—especially those who complain that politicians are insular or that they, the voters, can't have any impact on what's going on—would be pleasantly surprised at their ability to interact with the people voted into office...if they would take the time and opportunity to attend GOP county meetings. Not every politician attends every meeting, but if you come to three or four of ours, you will meet most of our county elected officials in Van Buren County.

As a result of my attendance the last few years, I can say that I am friends with my state representative, most of the county commissioners, most of the county elected officials (county clerk, county treasurer, etc.), and a variety of folks who hold township-level positions. I have had the opportunity to meet a number of state-level candidates and officials, as well as senators and representatives from other Michigan districts. As an officer of the organization, I was even invited to a private meeting (along with about 50 other people in this part of the state) with John McCain in 2007. And I asked him about that nutty immigration bill he supported two years ago.

My main point is this: If you want to make a difference, get involved. Contact your county Republican Party and ask when and where the next meeting is. (Not sure how? Check out, or the corresponding website in your state.) Take a friend or two with you if you are uncomfortable showing up in a group of relative strangers...because if you want to know more, your friends probably do, also. Attend a Lincoln Day Dinner or other county event where people and politicians mingle. Join a facebook group (we have one—Van Buren County Republican Party) or other internet social network for interested people; read blogs and news stories written by the people who are doing the actual work. There is much work to be done between now and November 2010; be a part of it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Constitutional Ignorance, the Electoral College, and the Popular Vote

Every four years, and sporadically in between, many educated people (as well as many less-schooled people) will suggest, "We need to do away with the electoral college and elect our president by popular vote." They speak this as if it were a mere matter of Congress passing a law and making it so, and imply that our government is kind of stupid for not having already done so.

Let me make this abundantly clear: THIS WILL NEVER HAPPEN.

There are two facts, both related to the Constitution, that should make this obvious:

  • Article 2, Section 1, later superseded by the 12th Amendment, dictates how the electoral college will function, and how the electors are delegated to the states.
  • Article 5 of the Constitution demands that any amendment to the Constitution be ratified by 3/4 of the states (currently, that would mean 38) before it becomes the law of the land. A change in the electoral college system would require such an amendment.
And then there is the mathematics of the situation:
  • Let's take Wyoming as an illustration. In the 2008 presidential election, approximately 125 million votes were cast. Wyoming cast a little less than 250,000 of those, which is almost 0.2 percent of the national total. However, Wyoming gets 3 electoral votes, which is about 0.56 percent of the national electoral vote total. To summarize: Wyoming's electoral vote percentage is roughly triple the percentage of the national vote which they cast; in essence, 1 Wyoming voter carries the voting influence of 3 voters in a larger state. Consequently, the smaller population states, like Wyoming, will NEVER support such a constitutional amendment.
  • In order to pass such a constitutional amendment, the legislatures of 38 states would need to ratify it. While the largest states would likely be amenable to the idea, the 13 smallest states would never agree to it—and they don't have to. There are seventeen states which have 5 or fewer electoral votes, and they know their influence in presidential elections would substantially diminish.
I also think that a national popular vote would keep presidential candidates focused on the cities and more likely to therefore ignore (or pay token homage to) the concerns of those of us who don't live in major metropolitan areas. The electoral college keeps presidential candidates looking in fifty directions—and that's a good thing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sen. Arlen Specter is...

There are several ways to complete that sentence, after I heard Sen. Specter interviewed on Sean Hannity's radio show on my way home yesterday. I was appalled at the senator's incoherent and bumbling remarks at times. Perhaps he may have had difficulty with his phone reception, but even so, I have come to expect better answers to questions from my 9-year-old.

Here are some adjectives streaming from my brain in the aftermath of the interview. Sen. Specter is...

...incoherent. Anyone who follows politics knows that politicians frequently evade direct answers to tough questions—but there's a difference between smooth evasion and disjointed wandering away from a question. The unkind would accuse him of senility.

...foolish. Does he really believe what he's saying? Does he really think this bill will help the economy? He did not even do a good job of faking wisdom.

...wrong. Flat out wrong. History will judge him harshly for this; contemporaries will not be favorable, either.

...embarassing. To the great state of Pennsylvania, that is. And to the GOP, for that matter.

If Sen. Specter casts his vote for this so-called stimulus bill, he should be expelled from the Republican Party. (The same goes for the two ladies from Maine. These three were RINO, anyway.) This would send the kind of message the GOP needs to send to America—We Are No Longer The Party of Huge and Wasteful Spending.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Fire Dennis!

Take a look at this fascinating idea by a Republican elected official. Brilliant!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hymn of the Week: Moment by Moment

I read that a man once remarked that he didn't like the hymn "I Need Thee Every Hour" because he needed Christ even more frequently. It is a great comfort that Jesus Christ is with us at every moment, and it is a great blessing to have lyrics like these to remind us of the fact.

Moment by Moment

Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.


Moment by moment I’m kept in His love;
Moment by moment I’ve life from above;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine;
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.

Never a trial that He is not there,
Never a burden that He doth not bear,
Never a sorrow that He doth not share,
Moment by moment, I’m under His care.


Never a heartache, and never a groan,
Never a teardrop and never a moan;
Never a danger but there on the throne,
Moment by moment He thinks of His own.


Never a weakness that He doth not feel,
Never a sickness that He cannot heal;
Moment by moment, in woe or in weal,
Jesus my Savior, abides with me still.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's Even More of an Abomination Than I Thought!!

The so-called "stimulus bill" [which I have dubbed the "abomination"] working its way through the Senate right now contains a clause that "bans money designated for school renovation from being spent on facilities that allow 'religious worship.'" (see this article) The clause seems to be specific to schools of higher education.

This would seem to imply that one of the following scenarios would have to occur:

  • Religious groups would be forbidden from the use of campus buildings.
  • Campus buildings in which "religious worship" occurs will unfairly be discriminated against; these monies would not be used to renovate these buildings.
  • This clause would have to be stripped out of the bill before it becomes law, or a court would have to invalidate this limitation.
Which of these scenarios strikes you as most likely? Do any of them strike you as desirable?

No doubt further examination of this abomination will reveal additional distasteful elements. If you have a senator who has not already proclaimed he won't vote for the bill, please contact your senator and encourage him not to vote for it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Environmental Hypocrisy...from the President

According to this article, the thermostat settings have gone up in the White House recently. Does this mean, that under the new president's leadership, the "carbon footprint" of the White House has gotten larger?

Of course it does.

The following facts shall be put forward:

  • During the campaign, Obama made energy conservation (and related environmental rhetoric) an important theme. At one campaign stop cited in the article, Obama said we have to "lead by example....We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times....That's not leadership. That's not going to happen."
  • Numerous White House staffers have commented that it is kept [in the words of the article] "warm and toasty;" there was also a comparison to a "tropical hot house."
  • The president, who spent a sizable part of his life in Hawaii, apparently "likes it warm," according to his Chief of Staff, who made this admission to the New York Times; he even commented that "you could grow orchids in there" [meaning, in the Oval Office].
  • The taxpayers are footing the bill for heating the White House, not the Obamas.
  • White House protocol has gotten more casual under the new president; suit coats are not so common anymore.
  • Coats keep people warmer.
Some day I want someone to show me a leading environmental/liberal politician who lives as he preaches.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Finally, Tax Cheats Exit the Stage

It was with pleasure that I read that two tax cheats, Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, have withdrawn themselves from consideration from positions in Obama's administration.

Daschle's career has been that of the consummate politician/lobbyist/insider whom most of us decent citizens prefer to see run out of Washington, not invited in. He, Killefer, and the already-in-place new treasury secretary Geithner, as people well-acquainted with the recent history of the democratic party, seem almost certain to have known that they were evading taxes. These issues have been in the news before; any qualified CPA or tax preparer should have advised them on the proper manner in which to handle their own financial affairs.

Yet the President, despite his promises of transparency, high ethics, etc., for his administration, supported each of them even after these tax-evading revelations were public. Nominating a Clinton for a high-ranking post didn't help this cause, either.

And I think we now know with certainty why the democrats in government aren't worried about raising taxes on everyone—many don't pay them!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Super Bowl XLIII

Steelers 27
Cardinals 24

Hallelujah!! Was that not the greatest Super Bowl of our least, the greatest ending?

Lesson learned: If your defense is successful for three quarters, don't change it. The Steelers began playing soft coverage in the late stages of the game and gave up a bunch of big plays. Of course, they also rushed three and still forced a fumble and recovery in the final moments. They were that good!

Hymn of the Week: Make Me A Blessing

My purpose on this earth is not to serve myself. Selfishness comes so naturally; my desires tend to be to please myself and feed my desires.

This hymn captures the essence of our duty to others: Share the Gospel, and minister to needs. May we each seek to do this in the week ahead.

The words are by Ira B. Wilson, and the tune is by George Schuler.

Make Me A Blessing

Out in the highways and byways of life,
Many are weary and sad;
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife,
Making the sorrowing glad.

Make me a blessing, Make me a blessing,
Out of my life may Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O Saviour, I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.

Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love,
Tell of his power to forgive;
Others will trust Him if only you prove
True, every moment you live.


Give as 'twas given to you in your need,
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed,
Unto your mission be true.