Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pro-Woman Polygamy????

John Stossel of ABC's news magazine "20/20," and libertarian extraordinaire, wrote a bone-headed column published on Wednesday, the 30th of July. Titled "How Many Wives Is Too Many," Stossel was addressing polygamy in a favorable way. The title of the article itself is hilarious... I'm sure that there are many men in the United States who would answer that question with one word - ONE. 

Stossel was making the case that the reporting on Warren Jeffs is a bad distortion of what polygamy is by stating that Jeffs was a "polygamist sect leader." Since Jeffs was criminally charged with felony sexual assault on a minor, according to Stossel's article, this should be the focus - not that he was a polygamist because they are two distinctly different things. 

Ooookay... I suppose that we could say that he has a point. But isn't that kind of like saying the coverage of Bill Clinton during his sex scandal was a bad distortion because they reported it as, "Bill Clinton, President of the United States, is charged with lying under oath in the case of his sexual conduct against Paula Jones and Monica Lewinsky?" Oh, no no!! You cannot say that he's the President of the United States... after all, being the President and being a liar are two very different things! So??

Mark Henkel, a polygamy activist, was outraged at the reporting on Jeffs... He said, "The media kept saying, 'Polygamist leader, polygamist leader, but the case actually involved incest and arranged marriage of a girl with her 19-year-old cousin. There wasn't anything that had to do with polygamy. Jeffs wasn't called an incest leader. He wasn't called an underage-marriage leadder. He was called a polygamist leader.'" Oy... Jeffs was the leader of a polygamist sect of the Fundamentalist Mormon church. While being the leader of these polygamists he did terrible things for which he has been criminally charged. If his crimes give further bad name to polygamy and that upsets Mr. Henkel, too bad!

Henkel has a complaint, too, that American laws are hypocritical... He says, "Someone like a Hugh Hefner will have a successful television show with three live-in girlfriends! And that's all OK, and he's making great money, and that's all fine and great entertainment. But suddenly, if that man was to marry them, then suddenly he's a criminal. That's insane!" 

Now, I'm not a fan of the Hugh Hefners of this world, either. So I'm probably not a good one to talk to about this. And I don't know about the "criminal" aspect of polygamy... it seems to me that it should just not be a legal marriage. No point in jailing people over it since we don't jail those who cohabit, either. Where in the country are we jailing practitioners of polygamy who aren't doing things to underage kids? Certainly not Utah! 

Stossel says in his article that he interviewed Jewish and evangelical Christian polygamists. I have to wonder where he found these folks... and what sort of "evangelical Christian" church those people attend. Mark Henkel purports to be an "evangelical Christian." His website,, has as it's title: "Truthbearer: continuing the reformation... bringing Christian polygamy to the churches." He further claims that polygamy is a "pro-woman consenting-adult model of Biblical marriage." Whew!! Speaking strictly as a woman, let me just say I DON'T THINK SO.

Professor Patricia Dixon of the University of Georgia embarked on a study of polygamy and was "transformed by the experience." She said that her study found that "it's female-centered. The women are the ones who are benefiting... It's not about another notch on your belt or anything like that. It really is the women who really promote this idea." 

No offense, but I've seen the women in the recent Texas case. I suppose I can believe that those women are promoting this idea of polygamy... but they didn't exactly look mentally well to me, either. Just because some women are raised with this concept and accept it doesn't mean that it's actually a beneficial arrangement. 

Stossel goes on to say, "The families we met wonder why what they do is illegal. Clearly it's wrong if an older man arranges marriages of young kids, but when adults choose to live this kind of life, why is that evil?" Hmmm... I guess we could just go one step further and ask why it's "clearly" wrong to arrange marriages of young kids, too. Why bother asking why anything is wrong or weird or gross? Better to be like NIKE and "just do it." 

Mark Henkel's argument? "If they're saying [polygamy is] immoral, they're calling the greatest heroes in the Bible... immoral! Saying that Abraham, with his three wives, was immoral. Jacob had four wives. David had seven known named wives before Bathseba." Seriously? THIS is Henkel's basis for saying polygamy is a biblical model of marriage? In that case, consider that the biblical model for dating involves sleeping with a married woman, having her husband murdered, and then bringing her into his harem-o-gals! Just because somebody in the Bible did it doesn't mean it's a good model for our behavior. Good gravy - imagine all the horrible things we could justify that way!

As for me and my house -- one's going to have to be enough. I'm not about to let another woman into my kitchen, much less my bed. No, polygamy is not for me. BUT as Prince Ben-Israel, who has four wives, would say, "We're not saying this is for everybody. Everybody don't like football and basketball or tennis. But those who do oughta be free to do this." 


Monday, July 28, 2008

On Censorship and Decency

to cut, delete parts of, make cuts in, edit, sanitize, clean up.

How did "censorship" become a bad word? Somehow, "liberal" thought has intruded on the meaning of this word to make it synonymous with "thought police." Supposedly, any censorship is unconstitutional - a violation of the first amendment rights of all Americans. Ooookay...

In the 2004 Super Bowl half time show, Janet Jackson had a "wardrobe malfunction" which exposed her breast to everybody watching (if only for a fleeting moment). The FCC fined CBS 550K for allowing this to be aired on national television. Frankly, I'm perfectly okay with this. Exposing one's bosom should probably NOT be allowed on television - especially not during a show that millions of children will also be watching. 

Of course, a federal appeals court threw the fine out last week, ruling that the FCC violated its own standards for what constitutes indecency. (HUH?) From what I've been able to gather, the FCC's rules have been challenged with language usage... and it has had a "decades-old policy of not imposing fines for isolated or fleeting material." Uh-huh. The FCC argued that the policy applied only to words, not to images - but the Court of Appeals rejected that reasoning and ruled that the FCC's fine to CBS was illegal because it "failed to provide a reasoned explanation, and appropriate notice, for its change in policy."

The New York Times has stated in an editorial piece, "It is a well-reasoned decision, and we hope that the Supreme Court, which will soon be taking up a similar case, will take as strong a stand for free speech."

Are you serious?? Janet Jackson's nipple constitutes free speech? What, exactly, was it trying to say? Perhaps a subconscious advertisement for breast feeding?

And, really, given the depravity of those creating "entertainment" for America, if it were seriously policy to allow exposed breasts on television I'm sure we'd be seeing them all over the place. As it is, far too much is exposed -- but a ruling like this, making it completely okay for the networks to show nudity as long as it's "fleeting" isn't going to make me want to watch TV. You never know what you're signing up for then!

The FCC has been fighting a losing battle, trying to keep television decent. In all reality, they're not fighting all indecency... they're just fighting some of the most flagrant violations. The use of foul language during certain hours (Bono at the awards?), a bare breast here and there... But the Court of Appeals also struck down the FCC's policy for "fleeting expletives." 

Thus, Andrew Schwartzman, president of the Media Access Project, is led to believe that the FCC's approach to indecency is "driven more by politics than logic." Fascinating!! Because the Court of Appeals makes a couple of really stupid rulings, suddenly trying to keep foul language and nudity off the air (unless you're paying specifically to get it) is not logical. Question for Andrew: How logical is it to assume that whatever the court decides is logical? Shouldn't we be thinking a bit here and imposing our own logic on issues?

According to the NYT, "The FCC rulings have had a serious impact on free expression. Because the agency's rules are so vague and the penalties so great, artists, writers and broadcasters have been censoring themselves." Oh NO!! Seriously? You mean that "vague" rules such as NO NUDITY and NO CUSSING are scary? And because of these "vague" rules and "great penalties," the artists and writers are choosing NOT to include these things in our television entertainment? For shame! Our founding fathers would certainly be kerflummoxed! That the constitution would be read in such a way!! May it never be... certainly "free speech" was intended to insure Janet Jackson against any repercussions for exposing herself on national television!

The Supreme Court has agreed to review the Bono ruling (yes, the one where the Court of Appeals decided against the FCC). The NYT is biting their collective fingernails, hoping that the Supreme Court won't backtrack on that "important blow for free speech." According to their editorial, they would like to see the Supreme Court join "these two appeals courts in reining in the FCC's misguided censorship campaign." 

So please... tell me this. (And, believe me, I'm just shooting for some logic here...) Why would the same people who argue that the FCC's decency regulations are based on politics instead of logic be all for the Fairness Doctrine? Hmmmm????

Hope For the Hopeless

It's good to know that I'm not alone in my emotional roller coaster concerning Barack Obama. William Kristol, too, has his ups and downs -- and, from what I read in his opinion column in the New York Times, they occur frequently throughout his days. Why my misery loves having this company, I do not know. But reading his column warmed me right up. And it warmed me right up so much that I just have to share pieces of it with you.

Mr. Kristol was irritated that Der Spiegel's Gerhard Sporl wrote, "Anyone who saw Barack Obama at Berlin's Siegessaule on Thursday could recognize that this man will become the 44th president of the United States." Kristol's response to this was, "It was just another journalist fawning over Obama." Ahh... yes, fawning. Too true. But then Kristol goes on to say:

Not so fast... Don't the American people get a chance to weigh in on this in November? Maybe they'll decide it's more important to have John McCain as commander in chief than Barack Obama as orator in chief. Maybe they'll further suspect that 200,000 Germans can't be right.

So, yes. I think this is funny. "Orator in chief." Ha!

But then Kristol goes the next morning, driving around the Washington suburbs and sees a couple really nice cars with the Obama campaign bumper sticker. "Got hope?" 

Got hope? Are my own neighbors' lives so bleak that they place their hopes in Barack Obama? Are they impressed by the cleverness of a political slogan that plays off a rather cheesy (sorry!) campaign to get people to drink milk? And what is it the bumper-sticker affixers are trying to say? Do they really believe their fellow citizens who happen to prefer McCain are hopeless? After all, just because you haven't swooned like Herr Sporl doesn't mean you don't hope for a better world. Don't McCain backers also have hope - for an America that wins its wars, protects its unborn children and allows its citizens to keep more of their hard-earned income?

Further despair came to Kristol when he read of a fund raising letter saying that the Democrats must have a "deadlock-proof Democratic majority." But hope came in the form of:

It occured to me that one man's "deadlock-proof" Democratic majority is another's unchecked Democratic majority... it will become increasingly obvious, as we approach November, that the Democrats will continue to control Congress for the next couple of years. But if the voters elect Obama as president, they'll be putting Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in untrammeled control of our future... and McCain will assert that if you don't like the Congress in which Senator Obama serves in the majority right now, you really should be alarmed about a President Obama rubber-stamping the deeds of a Democratic Congress next year. 

Reading that someone who closely follows the news is feeling very much the same way I am somehow helps me. I don't know how it helps me, but it does.

Friday, July 25, 2008

An Unflattering Political Landscape

Well, I had to do it. One unflattering presentation of Nancy Pelosi just wasn't enough for me... I needed unflattering pictures of our political landscape!! So... here we go -- just a touch of humor with no substance whatsoever. Very juvenile of me, I know...


They always said he was angry... I just never knew HOW angry!


Carter is generally careful to have his picture taken only when he's looking "presidential" I think. But this one was a doozy...


I still think this guy looks like a cartoon...


It's a good thing she's so well groomed... we can see up her nose and into her brain!


The semi-infamous turban photo

The less well-known "Barack as The Marlboro Man" photo

"Stop! In the name of love..."

How the press would like us all to see him...

I gotta tell you, folks, it doesn't get any easier than this. Hillary photos abound!! I tried to get photos that people may not have seen all over the place.

I cannot figure out why the children in this photo aren't running away from the scary lady!

Everybody needs a hobby...

Hillary's "heil Hitler"

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Far-Reaching Government Assistance

Any time I read in the New York Times that the "House approved far-reaching government assistance" I start to bite my nails. If the New York Times thinks it's far-reaching, heaven help us! 

So... I thought to myself... well, the House and the Senate can approve it, but that doesn't mean it will become law. Right? Well, in theory this should be right. But because President Bush said he'd SIGN it, I guess the law it is.

Do I sound bitter? Well... I suppose I shouldn't. I am, after all, a real estate agent. And, according to the realtor PAC I should be all in favor of this legislation. After all, it's to "help struggling homeowners keep their homes." (If I roll my eyes any further back in my head, I may never find them again.) 

Yes, it bites to lose your home. It's not that I have no sympathy at all. But it's a bummer for those people the same way it's a bummer to get an F on a test you didn't study for. When you have a large number of kids in a class NOT study for a test and a large number of students fail, is it then proper procedure to saw, "Awwwww... poor little guys. Everybody should at least get to PASS...." Wait, no... scratch that example. I think that actually does happen. 

Oooo ooo!! I know! This election cycle, we should count all the votes. We should tally up the votes for Obama. Tally up the votes for McCain. Tally up the votes for Nader and for Barr. Then, since (obviously) Nader and Barr have so drastically brought up the rear, we should hand THEM the Presidency. I, personally, would prefer Barr to be President and Nader to be the Vice. But, frankly, if we're going to go the route of the underdog, I probably won't get my way. There can't possibly be more people who would support Nader than Barr... and since the person with the LEAST votes would need to achieve the most in this scenario... I guess I'll be living with Nader. 

Sounds pretty ridiculous, doesn't it? But then tell me, WHY are we doing this borrower bail out? Get this: The White House, citing an urgent need to restore market confidence in the two mortgage giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, said President Bush would sign the measure despite his opposition to the inclusion of nearly $4 billion in grants for local government to buy and refurbish foreclosed properties.

Say wha-? First of all, why should the local government need to buy and refurbish foreclosed properties? Hasn't that always been left up to the free market? People come in, buy the properties at a low price, refurbish them, and then sell them at a profit, right? This is a business practiced by many people! So now the government is going to come in and do this?? That's irritating. But what really frosts me is that they can't even get their own local taxpayers to fork over the dough... no! They have to cozy up to the national trough and take money from everybody else! AAARRGH!!

I know that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are huge. I know that it will cripple us in a big way if they go down. I get that. I also get that interest rates are currently rising because people are feeling unsettled about the mortgage giants. (Rolling my eyes a bit here, because all kinds of unpleasantness is resulting from election year jitters, too, but we're not going to provide a quick fix to that, are we?) God forbid we feel unsettled for a little bit. Chances are pretty good that the "unsettled" feeling would work itself out in short order. 

Regardless... I can sooner see shoring up the giants if we didn't put all the other garbage into the bill as well. 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Peshawar, Pakistan - The pakistani Taliban have taken dozens of hostages, including police officers, paramilitary fighters and even state bank officials, and threatened on Friday to begin killing them unless the government released four of their comrades captured last week."

Well, of COURSE this is what they're doing. After all, it worked for Hezbollah, right? And they didn't even offer live captives in return. Hezbollah has been partying for the last couple days because of their victory... and now the Taliban wants to do some partying as well. 

"So far, the government has held firm, sending hundreds of soldiers to the area, Hangu, in North-West Frontier Province, to engage in the first real fighting with the militants since the two sides agreed to a new series of peace deals this year."

I have a question. Why is anybody willing to sign "peace deals" with these types of people? They never keep their end of the bargain. Seems a pointless exercise to me. 

So I've decided that we need a new strategy for dealing with these people. They're basically like very very spoiled children with a violent streak. These tactics of theirs need to stop working. I cannot figure out what Israel was thinking, trading all those prisoners for two dead soldiers... and maybe they had their reasons that actually make sense. But it's kind of like letting your toddler scream in the store for candy and then buying it for him when the screaming goes on long enough... they just learn that the screaming worked and next time they'll scream longer and louder. Well, the terrorists learned a valuable lesson. Kidnapping and killing works. It appears to get them their way almost every time. 

Guess what? They're just going to kidnap larger numbers of people, killing and maiming -- and demanding. Because they're now more confident than ever that their demands will be met. 

Stop giving them what they want!!!

It seems to me that, in large part, the key to good parenting is making sure you're more stubborn than your kids are. You can't be a wuss who just gives in because they put the screws to you long enough (and they WILL put the screws to you - regularly!!). It stands to reason, then, that the key to good foreign policy (as relates to terrorism) is making sure we're more stubborn than they are. Not backing down and giving in to their tantrums. 

I don't know about you, but I'm getting pretty tired of hearing about the latest thing the Muslim community is up in arms about. Rioting because some cartoonist dared to draw an unflattering picture of Mohammed... Killing a filmmaker who made films unflattering to Islam... kidnapping and killing people (be they soldier or civilian)... demanding foot-washing stations in public places... and on and on. 


Why aren't other people irritated to death with this stuff?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fighting Crime, One Weapon At A Time

There was an article published in today's New York Times titled "Officials Struggle With Rise in Knife Crimes Among Britain's Youths." 

Now, I'm pretty against gun control. I'm all about controlling the guns in the house... you know, locking them up, teaching the children about them to ensure their safety, etc... but I don't want the government telling us we can't have guns. Common sense tells me that "gun control" is the best way to ensure that only the bad guys have guns. 

But an article that highlights knife crimes among Britain's youths was certainly intriguing. I decided it was a must-read. 

Every day, it seems, there are more victims. Shakilus Townsend, 16, stabbed to death by a masked gang. Ben Kinsella, also 16, fatally stabbed during an argument outside a pub. Victims in Bristol, Manchester and Glasgow. Four people fatally stabbed in London in one 24-hour period alone last week.

In a country where few people have guns or access to them, a spate of knife attacks, many involving teenagers, has forced the issue to the top of the domestic agenda. The Metropolitan Police are so concerned, they said recently, they have made knife crime their top priority, along with terrorism. Government and law enforcement officials are scrambling to produce plans to allay public fears.

I must admit I find it funny that the government is scrambling to produce plans to "allay fears" rather than actually solve the problem. Typical government, I guess.

On Monday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced a series of measures that he said would make it "completely unacceptable to carry a knife." The plan includes automatic prosecution for anyone over the age of 16 caught with a knife and doubling the maximum sentence for knife possession to four years. It also sets up a $6 million advertising campaign to discourage young people from committing crimes with knives and a program to force perpetrators to confront their actions by, for instance, attending courses that describe what happens to stabbing victims.

No offense to the Prime Minister, but you can't exactly make it "completely unacceptable" to carry a knife. One does have to buy them occasionally for perfectly innocent use at home... say, in the kitchen. And once one purchases said knife, one does have to CARRY IT HOME. Not to mention the occasional little old lady who might be bringing a delicious pie to a pot luck meal for the family reunion who just might need a knife with which to cut and serve her delectable concoction. 

The government spending $6 million on advertisements discouraging young people from "committing crimes with knives" is also very stupid. If it's possible to effectively discourage them from knife crime via advertising, I'm sure they'll figure out they can just as easily aggressively release their anger on one another with their bare hands -- or broken bottles -- or saw blades -- or any other such implement that can cause bodily harm but is also a very helpful tool in everyday living. (Okay, broken bottles aren't exactly "helpful tools," but regular bottles are. And they're not that hard to break.)

See, this is what's wrong with leaving morality up to the government. The government is notoriously stupid, impractical, and wasteful. Rather than spending $6 million to discourage kids from knifing one another, why don't they get up the gumption to demand some personal responsibility? Why not expect parents to actually raise their children? Why not finally come to the logical conclusion that crime is crime... and that it's committed by a person, not a weapon? 

The government officials have lost sight of the fact that the problem is not a gun, or a knife, or a broken bottle, or any other implement of destruction. The problem is within the heart of man (and, yes, woman). Without addressing the soul, there can be no real addressing the crime. After all, there's always another weapon, and fighting crime one weapon at a time will be an endless process. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Short-Sighted and Stupid

Instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English - they'll learn English - you need to make sure your child can speak Spanish. It's embarrassing when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe and all we can say is merci beaucoup." - Barack Obama

Well, this is a bit funny. First of all, immigrants aren't learning English (some of them, anyway) and this has posed a problem large enough that our government is printing things in both English and Spanish (as well as stores). Telling us that we need to fix the problem by ensuring that our children can speak Spanish is just plain hilarious. 

And I love how Barack begins by criticizing us for expecting immigrants to learn English and then morphs into criticizing us for not knowing the European languages. Kind of hitting us on both sides of our face there, isn't he?

"Cheap gas is unfair. Driving creates huge social costs in the form of traffic, health-damaging pollution and global warming that aren't suffered solely by the person buying the gasoline... If the U.S. were to slowly jack up gas taxes until we're in the $8 range, life would be better. We'd not only be safer and have reduced greenhouse-gas emissions, we'd probably be happier, too... Sure, $8 gas is unfair to poor people, but so is all of capitalism." -Joel Stein

In Joel's defense, I have pretty much taken the stupidest, most short-sighted things he said from a longer article he wrote. I can't say that I found too much of value in the entire article, but at least some of the stupidity can be explained. (A word of caution - just because there's an explanation, don't assume it's going to make sense in the end.) His idea that we'd be happier if we had higher taxes stems from the idea that we're all happier if we're socially interactive. He links this to high taxes by saying that higher gas prices will lead people to live clumped together in the city rather than spread out in the 'burbs. He appears completely undeterred by the fact that there are people in the inner city who are "socially interacting" by shooting each other, but HEY.

His comment about us being safer appears to be linked to Europe. His logic is a bit weird... kind of "Europe his high gas taxes, Europe has a lower traffic fatality rate even though they drive like insane idiots, therefore high taxes leads to safety on the road no matter how crazy you drive." I don't follow this one... not that I really expect to follow Stein's logic... ever. 

For a "compassionate liberal," Stein is certainly lacking consideration for those rural dwellers. Farmers (who end up using plenty of fuel, I'm sure) or small town folks who don't have access to even a nearby grocery (i.e., myself). Nor does he seem to give a hoot about the truckers (whose backs are breaking under the burden of gasoline prices). Not to mention that hiking the cost of gasoline hikes up the cost of everything. Noticed your grocery bill going up lately? That's not only because of the rice shortage, people. 

"Where my country is at the moment, I'm not confident of anything. I'm hopeful. I think Obama is not tall on experience... but I believe he's a really good person. He's smart. And he does represent what the country needs most now, which is change." - Robert Redford

Nah, I'm not really being fair here, bringing the loons from Hollywood into this. But I love the non-forward-thinking nature of the comment. No confidence in anything... and yet hopeful. The acknowledgment that Obama has not a clue what he's doing, but the thought that he's probably a really good person. And Redford's hope stems solely from the fact that Obama represents "change" which is what our country, apparently, now needs more than anything. From the frying pan into the fire... but change is good, right?

The intent of the publisher was to design a religious, sacred document to reflect an individual opinion or a group's conclusion to cause "me or anyone who is a homosexual to endure verbal abuse, discrimination, episodes of hate, and physical violence... including murder." - Bradley LaShawn Fowler, 39, suing Zondervan Publishing and Thomas Nelson Publishing for "violating his constitutional rights and causing him emotional pain and mental instability" by publishing the Bible with passages in it negative towards homosexuality.

Hooo---eee!! Certainly SOMETHING caused this man some mental instability! Good to know that people such as Fowler can clog up our legal system with complaints of this nature. Of course, Mr. Fowler understands our legal system. After all, he's been convicted of (and served time for) possession of cocaine, writing bad checks (sentenced for this twice) and manslaughter. I'm thinking our society might be better served to rid ourselves of prison libraries. They almost seem to do more harm than good. 

And while I could come up with crazy quotes and loopy people for hours on end, I do have a family and it's about time for me to start cooking. We'll have to save the rest of the nuts for another time. After all, they're always out there saying something entertaining.

What's With The View???

I need somebody to tell me why women sit in front of "The View." I'm a woman and I just don't get it.

Watching a group of semi-informed women sit around a table and discuss current events is just not all that informative. Are women really so emotion driven that they want to hear about what people feel about everything? What good is that going to do? Consider the following exchange from The View:

Barbara Walters: Syria is an amazing country. It is not at all what I expected... I've never felt safer.
Whoopi Goldberg: So where does this misconception come from that Syria's an issue?
Barbara Walters: Well, first of all, the country is on our terrorist list. They are against the way in Iraq... And they are neighbors and friends of Iran... And they are friendly with both Hamas and Hezbollah who are two groups that we consider unfriendly groups in Israel... They have also been accused of allowing people and terrorists to cross the border into Iraq. They say they do not do that and they haven't and they've really cut down on it.

Yeeeeah. So Barbara Walters goes to Syria and feels very safe while she's there. (Never mind that she's a reporter and Syrian officials are hardly going to allow her to feel anything but safe in an effort to get some good press.) Because she has "never felt safer," it must be a misconception that Syria is an issue to America. (Never mind all the evidence to the contrary - it's all about how Barbara felt while she was there.) 

Hezbollah and Hamas are two groups that are unfriendly groups in Israel? Well, I would say that's a bit of an understatement. Compare it to this scenario:

For generations, the Jones family has owned thirty acres of land. It has not always been their land, but it has for a number of generations. Due to circumstances perhaps even beyond the Jones' control, events transpire and the court issues an order that the land no longer belongs to them, it belongs to me. I then get to go and live on that land. I let the Jones family know that in spite of the fact that the land now belongs to me legally, they are free to continue to reside on the property. I will be building a house for me and my family on the acre immediately next to theirs. The Jones family hates me. They hate my family. They want "their" land back, which is no longer theirs. (We can argue about the fairness of the situation or the lack thereof until we're blue -- it's still not theirs.) The Jones have tried to set fire to my home, have tried to sniper-fire at me from their windows as I'm leaving for work, have tried to poison my well, and have managed to get the local paper to continuously write nasty editorials about me and the plight of the Jones family. The Jones have started an organization that says my family is lower than scum (pigs, monkeys) and they will not rest until every last one of my family is wiped off the face of the earth. 

To say that the Jones are an "unfriendly" group to me and my family is a bit understated, wouldn't you agree? 

Such silliness...

It's a pity that this show is what passes for intelligent thought for women. I guess if we're going to compare it to other daytime TV... I'll call it a step above "The Days of Our Lives."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No Audacity In Resignation

I have been noting, with a small amount of inner stress, the many Barack Obama bumper stickers on cars in my area. It's like being on the Titanic (not that I would really know) and knowing that the ship is going down -- and having a very small amount of time to resign oneself to the sorry fact. Because I live in a very rural, quite conservative area, and if Barack has such support even here, I fear that it's next to inevitable. 

So... to what do I need to resign myself? Well, let's see...

1. Universal Health Care. Ugh. It's such an ugly phrase, universal meaning "affecting all people." I, frankly, don't relish the thought of being affected by government controlled health care. But with Obama in and a Democrat controlled congress? Not much to stop it then.

2. Foreign Policy Faux Pas. Yes, Barack Obama would be a national nightmare. You think Bush is embarrassing? His failure to correctly pronounce words in the English language is pathetically mild compared to Obama's plans for the country. Get a load of this: "I am the only major candidate who opposed this war from the beginning, and as President, I will end it. Second, I will cut tens of billions of dollars in wasteful spending. I will cut investments in unproven missile defense systems. I will not weaponize space. I will slow our development of future combat systems. And I will institute an independent defense priorities board to ensure the quadrennial defense review is not used to justify unnecessary spending. Third, I will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons. To seek that goal, I will not develop new nuclear weapons, I will seek a global ban on the production of fissile material, and I will negotiate with Russia to take our ICBMs off hair trigger alert..." Gosh... I've always wanted to be the weakest on the block! Where can I sign up?

3. Change We Can Believe In. Oh, I believe... I'm sure there will be some change. But healthy to sick is a change, too -- change I would believe in even. It's just not necessarily one that I would invite on myself. Besides, this "change" talk is all very vague.

So we've got some dude running for President of the United States who vocalizes his plan to disarm the American military, pull out of a war we started (basically waving the white flag), and institute Universal Health Care in America. I really don't see the attraction, people. But still... there are folks all over the place with his stupid bumper sticker on their car!! 

From this I can only come to one conclusion. Some of the American people, perhaps even a majority, are no longer interested in being free. They just want someone to take care of them. See, freedom isn't easy... it's not for the lazy man. Freedom is not risk-free. It means taking responsibility for your own actions and dealing with the good and the bad that results from them (and all without suing anybody). Freedom is hard work - and I guess the American people have grown soft over the generations. 

Well, I, for one, am not interested in just giving mine up. And maybe - just maybe - there are other people like me out there as well. Maybe it's not inevitable after all... I guess I'll just have to have the audacity to hope.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Depression Via Congress and Vitamin D Deficiency

I really hate to be the proverbial wet blanket, but I don't think I can help it today. First of all, I live in the great state of North Carolina where we appear to be stuck the perpetual thunderstorm - so I'm deprived of the sunshine I desperately need to keep my outlook on life real. Secondly, I heard on the radio today that the bill offering mortgage "relief" to struggling families had passed through its final hurdle in the Senate and it's on to the House. 

I can't even begin to express my irritation at this. But never fear! I am still going to try. :-)

Here's my general synopsis of the situation: A large number of American families decided during the housing boom that they wanted to buy a house. Some decided it was time to upgrade to a larger home, some just decided to get in on the market. They went to a realtor, looked at houses in their "price range" which was largely determined by their lender. Their lender was willing to lend them way more money than they could reasonably afford, often getting people into large homes by giving them interest-only loans. Yes, this means that your loan will not ever decrease in size - and occasionally would even INCREASE in size because some of these loans would add interest to the principal of the loan rather than charging the full interest to the borrower. Then, like people in a greed-induced trance, these folks went out and bought the most expensive house for which they could qualify. 

Now, I ask you thinking folks out there, is there anything in the above paragraph that looks like a good deal to you?? Of course not. Forward-thinking people would see this scenario and realize that qualifying for a loan does not necessarily mean that one can afford to pay. Reasonable people should be thinking of their own welfare and making choices based on what is the best and most reasonable approach for their family. Did they do that? NO!!

So, now there are a large number of families being foreclosed on.... but WAIT! There's more to this story. A number of these people also bought at peak market. This means that there are many people who have a beautiful house on which they are making interest-only payments... which is worth, say... a hundred thousand dollars less than what they paid for it. (I know this in part because I sold a house at peak to some people who were doing exactly this - and it's now worth a hundred thousand dollars less than what we got for it.) 

I think it's pretty well established that the lenders were not behaving responsibly. I think it's also pretty clear that buyers were not being too responsible, either. But now the government sees people going through foreclosure because they cannot afford their payments... and the government also sees a bunch of people with no reason to stay and pay their payments. These people are going to walk away from their homes, leaving the bank holding the bag (so to speak). A glut of foreclosure homes on the market never does any market much good... and if the markets further fall, there will be more people in this predicament, leading to more foreclosures and so on. Ah, yes... another crisis we can write about and discuss at length...

But the big question I have is this: Why should I pay to bail out a bunch of irresponsible people? Now, maybe it's just my lack of sun-supplied vitamin D talking here, but I'm SICK and TIRED of people being STUPID and then expecting other people to foot the bill for their stupidity. This sort of thing leads to irritating lettering placed on absolutely everything. Buy something in a plastic bag? Read: THIS BAG IS NOT A TOY. Ah, yes... so glad you mentioned that. I was about to show my baby how to put it over his head... Using your blow dryer? Read: WARNING! DANGER OF ELECTRIC SHOCK! DO NOT USE WHILE BATHING! 

We need a new warning sticker to place on congress... anybody up for giving suggestions??