Thursday, April 30, 2009

Chancellor Obama: Another Star Wars Parallel

I am a Star Wars fan. I don’t dress up in Bobba Fett costumes, but I know the movies, trivia, spin-offs, and quotes. When George Lucas created the new trilogy, there was a certain intentional parallel he tried to draw between Emperor Palpatine’s power grab and the Bush Presidency. Since Bush left office, the parallel is no longer relevant. I therefore draw the new parallel between Obama and Palpatine. It struck when I heard audio clips of Obama’s press conference last night. You see, in Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, the Imperial Senate voted the chancellor emergency powers to deal with the crisis of the separatist movement. He accepted these powers with a false humility that only the viewer of the movie realized. “I love the republic. I love democracy. When this crisis has been averted, I will lay these powers down.” We knew the crisis was created for the Emperor’s end game of becoming the emperor. We were in on his little secret.
As a conservative, I’m in on Obama’s little secret too. In the same style as Palpatine, Obama said that all he wants to do is restore all of the companies he has gobbled up to the private sector. I know he is a socialist. To me, the parallel would be Obama saying “I love this country. I love capitalism. When this crisis is averted, I will divest the tax payer of these companies.” I wonder who Obama’s future Darth Vader will be. Could it be Sam Brownback. Could Brownback compromise all of his principles for a personal interest the way Anakin did to save Padme. Will Emperor Obama send Brownback into the conservative temple to execute order 66 and wipe conservatism out. Will some freshman congressman come up to Sam and say “master Brownback, there’s too many of them. What are we going to do”. Will Brownback’s response be a simple cold hearted act of taking his gun away. I could keep going on, but you get the point

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sam Brownback Pro Choice on Sebelius


Most of us hold some principle dear to our hearts. Some of those principles we show to the rest of the world. Some of those principles still vocally advocate. In some ways, they can become our public identity. Then comes the put up or shut up moment. The test of character. If I say I am awesome at shooting free throws and say I practice all the time and somebody challenges me and I don't make a single shot, I lose all credibility. Sam Brownback had a chance to make some free throws in terms of his pro-life position when it came time to confirm the very pro-choice Kathleen Sebelius to be the Secretary the department of Health and Human Services. The result of his attempt, air ball. What is sad is that if he really wanted her to be selected because of some Kansas loyalty thing, his vote wasn’t even needed. It is like a thief showing up for a police line-up when he wasn’t even caught. So what does this say about the Sam’s convictions. It says that he has principles that override his pro-life beliefs. I can only speculate on what they may be, Kansas loyalty or re-election concerns. We’ve seen him do this before when it came to amnesty for illegals, so we shouldn’t be surprised. Pro-lifers have thought they had a nice advocate for years. They looked at the Sam Brownback goblet and thought it looked very appealing. What they didn’t know was that there was nothing of substance inside.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Arlen Specter Changes Parties to Bring Down the Donkey


Good bye Arlen. It's been nice. Hope you find your paradise. Sources close to the Arlen say that the 5 term senator (that's 30 years) from PA was tired of sabotaging the Republicans and thought he would give the Democrats a shot. Seriously though, I hope he sets the trend the bleeds out all the RINOs. Arlen's leech therapy might work to bring back the health of the nation. If his coming out party doesn't work out for him, I'm sure there is a spot for him at GM. Maybe Bush will let him stay with him on his crawford ranch.

At this point, the balance of power is squarely in the Democrats hands. This is the time to create clear distinctions between the two parties. In the series finale of Battlestar Galactica, Admiral Adama placed a tape line down the center of the landing bay. He proposed a dangerous mission that many would perish in. You either volunteered for the mission or you stayed with the fleet. Republicans should commit to the dangerous mission of being conservative. It might mean that some don't get elected, but they will be the expected casualties. Only the strong will survive. Are there any other RINOs you would also like to see go. Olympia Snow is one. By the way, thanks for passing Obama's stimulus bill without reading any of it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu to Lead to Martial Law: Obama's Plan


Warning, you are about to enter a conspiracy theory zone. For a guy that wants to take over every aspect of your life, the misfortunes of the United States have provided a golden opportunity for Barrak Obama. With the economy in tatters, Obama has managed to take over the auto manufactures, the spine of manufacturing. He has managed to take over the banking industry, the spine of finance. He has his sights set on the healthcare industry and already owns schools. What is there left for Obama to take over? The answer is your individual freedoms. What a perfect opportunity a little health crisis would present for Obama to declare martial law and complete his work. If I were a fiction writer, I would start the conspiracy years ago. Allow the US border to remain wide open with the intention of building an illegal population in the United States to number in the millions. This population is transient, travelling back and forth between the US and Mexico. Once the political current is right, insert your left wing leader in the White House so that when the medical crisis in introduced, the left will be in charge when martial law is declared. Make your President a real puppet. The kind of guy that is great in front of a crowd. You don’t let him become too independent, so you keep him reading from a teleprompter. Meanwhile, back in the secret lair, a George Soros like character is the real mastermind. He has a team of scientists working on a highly communicable disease that will spread quickly, but not be too lethal. Make it too lethal and it won’t be able to spread and the real goal is power, not mass killing. With the virus in hand, he selects a target, Mexico City, the most densely populated city in North America. With the constant stream of illegals, the virus will spread quickly into the United States. The fear of the virus alone will allow the puppet president to declare martial law. It is during this time that the real leader consolidates power and institutes the NEW WORLD ORDER. Fiction you say. We’ll see.
Update: I just tuned into Rush, and he must have read my blog. He is basically echoing what I said.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Dave Ramsey Town Hall on Hope Recap

I attended the Dave Ramsey Town Hall on Hope last night. I found it very encouraging. I also realized that myself and Dave are pretty much cut from the same cloth when it comes to macro economics and the role of the government in the economy. Dave began by stating that the government is not the route to economic recovery. He gave a lesson on how Keynsian economics did not fix the depression. Keynsian economics means that you increase government spending and make the jobless government workers. He then went on to talk about how Milton Freedman revitalized capitalism. In addressing the atmosphere of business corruption, he said that the morality of a business was lacking and that it is an essential element of capitalism. A business should serve its customers and not milk them like a cow.
Dave explained that there are 3 factors that are important for our economy to rebuild itself, pain, “no”, and responsibility. As I have stated in a previous post, you must be able to feel pain in life. Pain keeps us on track and reminds us of mistakes. We shouldn’t let government try to take away our pain through deficit spending. Second, you have to learn how to say no. In Financial Peace University, Dave explains that a sign of maturity is delayed gratification. We need to say no to buying a house when we are broke. We all need to reintroduce this word into our economic lives. Finally, we have to take responsibility for our lives. We can’t sit around and wait for things to happen and we can’t blame everyone else when something goes wrong.
Since his town hall was about hope, Dave listed out his 3 keys to hope. First, he said to take action. Don’t sit around your house watching re-runs of Oprah waiting for a check because that check will never come. Be active for activities sake. Be dynamic and not static. Second, don’t engage in “loser” talk. If you hang out with a bunch of downers, they will bring you down with them. Avoid it. And lastly, give. He wants us to give so much that we put the government out of business. I especially like this one, because that is a pillar principle I have been advocating for years. Government shouldn’t be in the business of providing for the destitute. We need to get government out of God’s way by giving. In closing, Dave said hope ultimately comes from our Lord, Jesus Christ.
It was refreshing seeing a smart and well respected Christian man point to God as our hope. And he offered his testimony that when he started to buy into everyone else’s fear, he prayed and his fear was gone. Go Dave. Stay humble.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Retro Crimes are a Sign of the Times


We already know that liberals like retro taxes. Now they are introducing a new concept, retro law. The premise is that if a liberal administration comes into office and doesn’t like the policies of the previous administration, simply decree that a certain process is illegal, let’s say waterboarding, and then prosecute people that devised and administered the process. Now let’s expand the logic of such a premise to your everyday life. Suppose you drive down a certain stretch of country road going 35 mph. There are many accidents on this road and the county decides to post 20 mph signs on the road to protect people. Now let’s also suppose that the sheriff issues tickets to all the people that had driven on the road in the past that exceeded the current speed limit. I don’t need to go any further because the logic obviously isn’t there. The only logic in this Obama decision is to use interrogation methods as a means of witch hunting. Obama thinks this will be the Republican’s blue stained dress. I can’t wait for the show trials. If you ever want to see a good parallel between Obama and what he is planning on doing, I suggest watching the HBO original movie “Stalin” starring Robert Duval.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Obama Rope-a-Dopes Bush on Terrorism


Maybe the idea of dope in any form was enticing enough for Bush to let down his guard. Bush will go down in modern history as having used the pardon the least, which will end up hurting many people he put in charge of protecting the country. After Obama won the election, there was a lot of speculation about whether Bush would protect the various officials that carried out his anti-terrorism plans, knowing that Obama was strongly against Bush's measures and even talked about prosecution. Bush, the dope, was roped in by Obama promises to not prosecute members of his administration. A promise from Obama is like a promise from Stalin as we have learned and Bush should have had the foresight to protect his people. Obama is now saying the prosecution is an option and that Attorney General Eric Holder will be looking into the matter. On behalf of the likes of George Tenant and Dick Cheney, thank you George Bush for looking after your peeps.
But you Obama lovers, don't take heart that your man is a brilliant tactician. Right now, obama is being George Foremaned all over the planet by Cuba, venezuela, Iran, and North Korea. When they get their knockout punch in, it will be America that takes the fall.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Republican's Are the Mad Hatter at the Tea Party.


My first election I was able to vote in was the 1994 election in which the Republicans through out the 60 year majority of Democrats in the House. The Tea Party of the day was the Contract With America, a great unifying platform that helped to nationalize the elections. The resulting Congress gave us welfare reform and stopped Hillary care. The resulting Congress after that gave us 4 years of Clinton investigations and impeachment. In 2000, the election brought us George Bush and 6 years of a congress that balooned the deficit, passed education reform and campaign finance reform. But ultimately, the Bush Republican Congress gave us Democrat control and Barrak Obama. The end result of my enthusiasm from the 1994 election was a path that would lead us into bigger government and more Socialism.

The question is, am I excited about the Tea Parties? Of course I am. I enjoy watching grass roots protests of things I despise, like big government and taxes. But what will the Tea Parties lead to. In our two party system, it could lead to Republican control of Congress again in 2010. What will that give us? A few more years of hypocricy and sell outs. I can't stand the Republican party. It is run by a bunch of liberals. With the Republican party at the Tea Party, I think it is time to say "clean cup, clean cup, move down, move down". Move down away from those that would sell us out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

FREEDOM and Financial Peace Testamonial Part 6: FREEDOM



Part 6: FREEDOM


We are now coming to the conclusion of my story. During 2008, we also became parents of twins. Talk about your double portion of blessing. It is one of the most awesome things God has blessed us with. It is truly a unique and wonderful experience.
One time, we took our eyes off of the prize. Remember, when left to your own, you can rationalize any decision. I somehow rationalized the purchase of a $525 television. It is a wonderful TV and is truly the first new luxury item we have ever owned. Purchasing that TV set us half a grand back in reaching our goal. Since we bought it this summer, we have watched it very little. It is a reality that we just don’t watch that much TV, and especially in that part of the house. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. I learned that with the end so close in sight, I could easily stray from course. The TV set me straight.
When you are close to a goal, the enemy will try all kinds of things to derail you. In October, I crashed Storm Chaser beyond repair. We were a one car family once again. Because my wife needed a car to transport the kids to home school coop, this was a very bad circumstance. My wife and I spent much time deliberating on what to do. We prayed and we talked and we waited. God gave us friends that work from home. Friends that allowed us to borrow their car so that my wife could take the kids to school on Mondays. Without these friends, we would not have been able to wait on God’s provision.
We had to put our debt snowball on hold. In its place, we began a car savings snowball. After 3 months of saving, we were able to buy a new to us 15 passenger van with cash. It was the van we always wanted and it came without debt. This happened just 3 short weeks ago.Since that time, we have received our tax refund and paid the bulk of our remaining debt. On February 6, 2009, we made our final payment toward debt. It is one of the strangest feelings. I thought I would be jubilant and pass out just from the excitement, but there is a part of me that is scared and a part that mourns, much the way a person might feel after a tragedy. I am scared about what life will be like without having this as such a focus. What will life be like without the yoke of debt and the bondage of slavery to credit cards. It is a piece of my life and identity that is now gone. But I am more joyful than anything. God has a plan for us after this adventure. It might be just sharing our story. In this difficult time in our nation, we need stories of redemption. I have a desire to lead Financial Peace University classes in my church. This is the time for us to all take up the yoke of Christ. Where your money is, your heart is also. I have been blessed. This is not the end. The is the beginning of something new.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

FREEDOM and Financial Peace Testamonial Part 5: How it Works



Part 5: How it Works


Let's get into the nuts and bolts of how Financial Peace works as I experienced it. Dave Ramsey told us that the best credit score is 0 and that having credit is a myth. If you want to have things now and pay for them 4 times over across the next 30 years, then be a typical American. He explained the concept of a plastectomy, the surgical removal of credit cards from your life. For my wife and me, it began with the $1000 emergency fund. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but during the 2 years and 1 month it took for us to get out of debt, we never needed anything more. Whenever anything came up, we dipped into the fund, and then replaced it. It was such a wonderful peace of mind knowing it was there. As life’s bumps came up, we just dropped cash and never had to give it any more thought.
The next step involved budgeting. Budgeting goes beyond listing bills and allocating money for each, it is about plotting the course of your financial life until your next pay check, which was every 2 weeks for us. The key to budgeting as I explained earlier is that it must be done as a mutual endeavor between husband and wife.
Remember that I previously said that my wife and I scored a ZERO in compatibility when it came to finances. Because we argued and were never on the same page, we racked up thousands of dollars in debt. I could put our money into a spreadsheet all I want, but if we both didn’t do it, we wandered listlessly. Once we had the budget template and mutual purpose (getting out of debt), all of the sudden the financial disagreements melted away. Think about it, we argue very, very little when it comes to money and our arguments are usually about where and when to allocate money, while we both maintained the goal. I didn’t realize going into this that the FPU would transform our marriage. If for no other reason, I suggest FPU for marital reasons alone.
The next concept, one that gets worked into the budget, is that of the debt snowball. The debt snowball means that you take all money not needed to survive and apply it toward debt. You take all of your debt and list it from smallest to largest, regardless of the interest rates. It is all about the psychology of debt. You pay only the minimum payments on all debts but the smallest. For the smallest, you apply all the money you can. Once that small debt is taken care of, you then apply everything that you applied towards the smallest debt and apply it to the next smallest debt. You keep doing that until the final debt is paid.
What you accomplish by paying the smallest debt is two-fold. First, you eliminate a debtor, meaning one less bill. Second, you feel the sense of accomplishment. If you pay the largest debt first, it might be months before you feel any accomplishment. During that time, it is easy to become discouraged and give up. If you tear down the wall brick by brick, you at least know that the wall is coming down.
Budgeting provides the framework, debt snowball provides the goal, and an emergency fund is the safety net, but FPU doesn’t stop there. In practical terms, Dave Ramsey knows that if you set aside a sum in a budget, you won’t stick to it unless you stick to cash. For us, what we do is we put the money from my paycheck in each category on the budget, from groceries to mortgage to spending money, all money after this is designated for debt. Every penny from my paycheck must be put into a category. This is called zero based budgeting. For all expenses that are not paid online or with check, we withdraw cash and put it into an envelope. This makes it impossible to over spend. If you set aside $50 for clothing, but need more for groceries, you take from the clothing envelope and not from the credit card. It is simple and it works.
My wife and I have held true to these principles since January 2007. One by one, we have watched credit card debt fall away. This comes at a sacrifice. We have had to say no to spending on money things. We buy our clothes at thrift stores, or they come to us as hand-me downs from friends, or gifts, with the occasional new purchase. Our vehicles were in horrible condition, but they ran. We have never been on a vacation, we spend very little on gifts. All of our furniture is second hand. My wife has turned grocery shopping into a science. Over the years, she has kept track of the prices of all the things she buys. If the Price is Right pitched non name brand items, she would clean up. She creates a list in Excel with all the items she needs. Since she has the prices, she is able to correctly estimate the total grocery bill. First she shops at a discount warehouse. If she finds things on her list, since they don’t have a regular inventory, she can buy them there meaning more money for the rest of the trip. She then splits the remaining portion of the grocery trip between Aldi and Wal-Mart. I’m so proud of what she has accomplished here, saving us so much money. She was on the front lines everyday when it comes to spending and she earned a Medal of Honor.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

US Ships Safe: Maersk Alabama Liberated


What a wonderful story, to see the US not back down to of all things, pirates. Snipers killed 3 Somali pirates and have taken the 4th into custody as they worked to free the captain of the Maersk Alabama, Richard Phillips. The story has all kinds of good tidings for those few ships flying the US flag. First of all, they will have to contend with the American crew, which didn't go to well. Then they have to contend with a defiant captain that tried to escape in the open seas. Next, they have to contend with a war seasoned military. This attempt at taking the US ship will be a deterrent to all future pirate attacks on US flagged ships. Just as the 9/11 hijackers have now trained an entire generation of US air passengers to not allow a terrorist to take over a plane, the pirates have done the same for US sailors. Go US.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Springtime


The official kick off of spring is today. Not because of good Friday. Not because it is the Royal's home opener. The official kick-off of spring is when amateur hustler’s stand on street corners selling a worthless newspaper for charity. There are so many things wrong with this approach. First of all, you want to raise money for charity. If your lead in to raising that money is the Kansas City Star, chances are you will end up making more money by taking them directly to the recycle center. Secondly, the only thing worse than buying a Kansas City Star is buying a dripping wet Kansas City Star. In a way it is a service by preventing you from being able to read it, but I liken the KC Star to my dog. I don’t like my dog, but I like her even less when she is wet and smelly. If they really want to raise money, they should do what the firefighter’s do. Stand on the same corner’s with their boots. The cost of fundraising is lessened because you are trying to sell something, and you don’t have the deterrent of what you are selling. Maybe next year they can dump the Star and just hold out Royal’s hats.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

FREEDOM and Financial Peace Testamonial Part 4: Hope

Part 4: Hope

Previously, I spoke of our waiting on God for provision of a new car. During this time of waiting, our life group leaders discussed the topic of doing the Dave Ramsey financial study. I was very against this concept. I relented and put money down on faith. Following this decision, on New Year’s day, 2007, we received a phone call. A wonderful family in our church, who we only knew in passing, knew of our car situation. They offered to GIVE us their spare 1989 chevy s-10. I never would have thought such a thing was possible. God had a plan, and we faithfully followed it. It is amazing what can happen when you just wait.
This truck will probably go down as the most beloved vehicle I have ever owned. It meant that we would be free of car payments for the foreseeable future, giving us financial wiggle room. This truck came with character and kept me humble. Most obviously, the truck was almost 20 years old. I don’t know how many miles it had on it because the odometer stopped at 179k. I never had to worry about turning on my wipers when it rained because they automatically went off every 15 seconds, but I got used to it. The windows were automatic, but the switches were broken off, so you had to stick your nail in the gap to raise them up and down. The front bumper was detached, so we had to screw new holes through the chrome to re-attach it. We also had to rig a new front turn indicator. There was no AC, and the truck had sustained substantial hail damage. All of the dents and rust led it to become affectionately known as Storm Chaser.
Later in January, my wife and I began the class that would set our financial course for the next two years, and likely the rest of our lives. Our church life group decided to do the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University course. I came along kicking and screaming. Now that we had positive cash flow, I was sure I could figure it all out. I’m very glad I went along, because what FPU provides goes beyond numbers. The class lasted several weeks and led to compounded blessings.First, let me begin with the concept. My wife and I are motivated by the freedom my brother-in-law has in his ability to help people because he has no debt, including home debt. We want to be in the same situation. Beyond that comes the concept of actual freedom for scripture says you are a slave to the debtor. How can you serve two masters? We wanted only one master, God. Debt has been an oppressive yoke on the shoulders of my family. It has affected every decision we have made for the past 7 years. I wanted to be free of that yoke. I want to have walk-away power, the ability to choose my job with less care of the financial impact. I want to build wealth for retirement and not rely on Social Security. I want to be able to buy the groceries we need, spend more per child on holidays, and my children the clothes they need when they need them. I want FREEDOM.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Glaciel Advance Proves Global Cooling


In a previous post, I led with my concrete evidence that proved we have entered into a global cooling period. As further evidence, my most recent surveys of the North American Glacier have shown unseasonable glaciel advance. This morning, I emerged from glacier observation post 64030 and noticed that the ice had crept all the way up to my door step. I took a measurement and found the ice to be approximately 1/10 of a milimeter thick. The ice extended from the mouth of our house drain and ran along the walkway. Compared to the previous day, the ice coverage increased by 100%. A 100% increase in a single day is very alarming. I can't believe that any act of nature would cause such an increase, so I will not bother to hypothesize as much. Instead, I will limit my theory to man made events. For example, my neighbors grilled their dinner last night, sending tremendous amounts of smoke into the air, blocking the warming rays of the sun. We must end all outdoor grilling activities or run the risk of having frost on our windows.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

5 Year Trend Shows Global Cooling


What I am about to present is the most concrete evidence to date that we have already entered into a global cooling period. I will also show the direct correlation of global cooling to increased CO2 levels. Often times, the best evidence is no further than the nose on your face. You see, on March 9, 2004, after being called fat, I began a continuing 5 year journey of running. During that 5 year time I ran at least 5 days a week. Five years ago, I began running outside. I didn't begin running inside until the following winter. What I remember about that year is that I was able to run outside with little discomfort from the cold. Over the next 4 years, the time I was able to start running has become later and later as the cold stretches further into spring. This year, I have not been able to run outside yet on a consistent basis and there is no sign the trend will end. Additionally, the time I have to stop running outside has become earlier and earlier. My outdoor running season has gone from 8 months to 6 months in just 5 short years. Folks, we have a crisis here.

What could be the cause of this? My theory, which is as scientifically sound as global warming advocates, is that due to my increased running productivity, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has been increased dramatically. That CO2 is blocking valuable warmth from reaching the planet, threatening all manner of equatorial creatures, seeing their warm habitats turn cold. The only solution I can see at this point is for me to stop running or for me to buy CO2 credits from Al Gore so that I can continue to run while another less active person is allowed to sit. April Fools? I think not.