Category: Politics

My Hero

This guy deserves more than an article…

"Jack Windolf, the CEO of Bollinger Insurance, recently gave his 434 employees a surprise gift: out of his own pocket, he paid each of them $1000. The bonuses, which Windolf called "a mini economic stimulus package," came from $500,000 in deferred compensation that he received when he sold 51 percent of the company last year. Rather than spend the money on himself, he chose to share it with his workers."

Now that's what I'm talking about…

*Day 63:  I am grateful for beautiful weather and the chance to watch  my kids scurry about, collecting plastic candy-and-goody filled eggs in said weather.


     After all this recent griping about our power bills, I was thrilled to hear that our power company is petitioning the state to raise its rates, yet again.  While estimates put the average monthly bill at only $116.27, I can tell you an average doesn't mean shit when half the year you're paying twice that every month.  

Continue reading


DH and I had our taxes done today.  I was banking on about $7500.00 in returns – which is what we got last year.  This year we made a little less, but I figured that was a safe bet.  But, 2 days ago, there was a news article that said the first time homebuyer's tax credit was being extended to the first of the year…  Meaning our home purchase now qualified us for an additional $7500.00.  We were stoked…  And then we get into the office today to find out that was just a tease of a rumor and no, we didn't make the deadline.  In fact, we missed it by 2 weeks.  2 fucking weeks…  So because we didn't buy our house 2 weeks later because we HAD to close before DH deployed, we're not getting the additional $7500.00…  We can't pay off the second credit card that got maxxed out fixing DH's car and paying property taxes on both cars.  We can't put anything into our non-existent savings account.  We will continue to pay 14.99% (because, oh yeah, our interest rate went up from 7.99% again because we've been so close to our limit for a few months now!) on a $5200.00 balance…  Yeah!

I'm pretty disgusted.  It should include the tax year, not some randomly selected months.  If you decide to buy a house tomorrow, or next month, you'll get the credit if it's your first home, too.  So while we didn't buy a house we couldn't afford and default on our mortgage in hopes of a share of the Fannie Mae funds, we're not qualifying for the credit that's intended to "help first time home buyers."  Good fucking call, Big Brother!

*Day 45:  I am grateful for a husband who is more level headed than I am.  I have been fighting tears all morning, and all he can see is the $7500.00 silver lining we are still getting.  I wish I could be more like that…

You’re stimulating what now?

Obama is saying Republicans are playing games by not voting for his stimulus plan…  Perhaps it is because they, like myself and many other concerned citizens, have questions.  One question – how is giving NASA some couple hundred millions going to help my family or the economy in general?  Is space exploration, which is what it is "marked" for, really going to help me day to day?  There is $255 million marked for a polar ice breaker and other Coast Guard "priority procurements"…  We have Navy leftovers, so perhaps that's a good call, but why isn't it part of Homeland Security spending to begin with?  Why do we have the money now, but not before?  Is Obama even aware how much it costs to commission a new cutter?  What will be left over to truly spend after that ice breaker is commissioned?  Will it be a new cutter or another revamped Navy boat?  If you're going to be spending money that my children and I will, one way or another, one day or another, have to repay, I'd like to know how, where, and why it's being spent.  If you say it's going to help me, shouldn't I get some say in that process?  I have been poring over the internet trying to figure out the breakdown of this $800+ billion dollar bailout and have yet to find more than a few things in particular – like the NASA chunk, and the Coast Guard chunk.  I chose those two because one seems frivolous and one seems warranted; I'm trying to show that I am not completely against it, but that I would like more solid facts.  Perhaps the NASA spending wasn't explained appropriately and it's going to fund part of a Department of Defense contract.  Perhaps the Coast Guard chunk is really going to go o good use for fleet updating.  The bottom line: I don't know, and I don't like that.  Spending hundreds of millions of dollars of government money, which ultimately means taxpayer money, without a damn good detailed explanation ain't alright with me…  But I suppose that's one of the things that keeps me on the Republican side of politics.  :-) 

*Day 43: I am grateful for finding another gluten-free cereal that I actually like!  EnviroKids Peanut Butter Puffs are actually pretty damn tasty and hold up amazingly well in milk, without being all rock-hard!  Woot woot! 

Gun Control = Using Both Hands


The number of privately owned guns in the U.S. is at an all-time high. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) estimates that there were about 215 million guns in 1999,1 when the number of new guns was averaging about 4.5 million (about 2%) annually.2 A report for the National Academy of Sciences put the 1999 figure at 258 million.3 According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there were 60.4 million approved (new and used) NICS firearm transactions between 1994 2004.4 The number of NICS checks for firearm purchases or permits increased 3.2% between 2003-2004.

Gun Owners.

The number of gun owners is also at an all-time high. The U.S. population is at an all-time high (294 million), and rises about 1% annually.5 Numerous surveys over the last 40+ years have found that almost half of all households have at least one gun owner.6 Some surveys since the late 1990s have indicated a smaller incidence of gun ownership,7 probably because of some respondents` concerns about "gun control," residually due, perhaps, to the anti-gun policies of the Clinton Administration.


The number of RTC states is at an all-time high, up from 10 in 1987 to 38 today.8 In 2004, states with RTC laws, compared to other states, had lower violent crime rates on average. Total violent crime was lower by 21%, murder by 28%, robbery by 43%, and aggravated assault by 13%.9

"Less Gun Control."

Violent crime has declined while many "gun control" laws have been eliminated or made less restrictive. Many states have eliminated prohibitory or restrictive carry laws, in favor of Right-to-Carry laws. The federal Brady Act`s waiting period on handgun sales ended in 1998, in favor of the NRA-supported National Instant Check, and some states thereafter eliminated waiting periods, purchase permit requirements, or other laws delaying gun sales. The federal "assault weapon" ban expired in 2004. All states now have hunter protection laws, 46 have range protection laws, 46 prohibit local jurisdictions from imposing gun laws more restrictive than state law, 44 protect the right to arms in their constitutions, and 33 prohibit frivolous lawsuits against the firearm industry.10

Studies by and for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the Library of Congress, the National Institute of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and even researchers who support "gun control," have found no evidence that "gun control" reduces crime.11


The FBI reports that the nation`s total violent crime rate declined every year between 1991 2004.12 In 2004, the violent crime rate fell to a 30-year low, lower than any time since 1974. The murder rate fell to a 39-year low, lower than any time since 1965. The 2004 robbery and aggravated assault rates were lower than any time since 1968 and 1984, respectively. Since 1991, total violent crime has decreased 39%; murder and non-negligent manslaughter, 44%; rape, 24%; robbery, 50%; and aggravated assault, 33%.13 Between 2003-2004, the violent crime rate declined 2.2%.14 Concurrently, the most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics crime victimization survey found that violent crime is lower than anytime since 1973, when the first such survey was conducted.15


1. BATF, "Crime Gun Trace Reports (1999) National Report," Nov. 2000, p. ix (
2. BATF, "Firearms Commerce in the United States 2001/2002" (
3. National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005.
4. BJS, "Background Checks for Firearm Transfers, 2004" (
5. Bureau of the Census (
6. Gary Kleck, Targeting Firearms, Aldine de Gruyter, 1997, pp. 94, 98-100.
7. E.g., BJS Sourcebook of Criminal Justice Statistics 2002, Table 2.58, (
8. See NRA RTC fact sheet (within
9. See FBI, Crime in the United States 2004 ( for state crime statistics.
10. See NRA-ILA Compendium of State Firearms Laws ( Also, note that in October 2005, federal legislation prohibiting such lawsuits was signed into law.
11. Federal "assault weapon" ban: Roth, Koper, et al., Impact Evaluation of the Public Safety and Recreational Firearms Use Protection Act of 1994, March 13, 1997 (; Reedy and Koper, "Impact of handgun types on gun assault outcomes: a comparison of gun assaults involving semiautomatic pistols and revolvers," Injury Prevention 2003, (; Koper et al., Report to the National Institute of Justice, An Updated Assessment of the Federal Assault Weapons Ban: Impacts on Gun Markets and Gun Violence, 1994-2003, June 2004 (; Wm. J. Krouse, Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, "Semiautomatic Assault Weapons Ban," Dec. 16, 2004. "Gun control," generally: Library of Congress, Report for Congress: Firearms Regulations in Various Foreign Countries, May 1998, LL98-3, 97-2010; Task Force on Community Preventive Service, "First Reports Evaluating the Effectiveness of Strategies for Preventing Violence: Firearms Laws," Morbidity and Mortaility Weekly Report, Oct. 3, 2003 (; National Research Council, Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, National Academies Press, 2005 (
12. Note 9 and BJS ( See also FBI (
13. Note 10. Condensed at, click on "Research," then "Crime Statistics."
14. Note 12.
15. BJS (


*Day 20: I am thankful for the right to bear arms.  I am also grateful that I know my rights regarding guns in my state and municipality.

Pentagon to Detail Troops to Bolster Domestic Security
By Spencer S. Hsu and Ann Scott Tyson
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, December 1, 2008; A01

The U.S. military expects to have 20,000 uniformed troops inside the United
States by 2011 trained to help state and local officials respond to a nuclear
terrorist attack or other domestic catastrophe, according to Pentagon officials.

The long-planned shift in the Defense Department's role in homeland security was
recently backed with funding and troop commitments after years of prodding by
Congress and outside experts, defense analysts said.

There are critics of the change, in the military and among civil liberties
groups and libertarians who express concern that the new homeland emphasis
threatens to strain the military and possibly undermine the Posse Comitatus Act,
a 130-year-old federal law restricting the military's role in domestic law

But the Bush administration and some in Congress have pushed for a heightened
homeland military role since the middle of this decade, saying the greatest
domestic threat is terrorists exploiting the proliferation of weapons of mass

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, dedicating 20,000 troops to
domestic response — a nearly sevenfold increase in five years — "would have
been extraordinary to the point of unbelievable," Paul McHale, assistant defense
secretary for homeland defense, said in remarks last month at the Center for
Strategic and International Studies. But the realization that civilian
authorities may be overwhelmed in a catastrophe prompted "a fundamental change
in military culture," he said.

The Pentagon's plan calls for three rapid-reaction forces to be ready for
emergency response by September 2011. The first 4,700-person unit, built around
an active-duty combat brigade based at Fort Stewart, Ga., was available as of
Oct. 1, said Gen. Victor E. Renuart Jr., commander of the U.S. Northern Command.

If funding continues, two additional teams will join nearly 80 smaller National
Guard and reserve units made up of about 6,000 troops in supporting local and
state officials nationwide. All would be trained to respond to a domestic
chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear, or high-yield explosive attack, or
CBRNE event, as the military calls it.

Military preparations for a domestic weapon-of-mass-destruction attack have been
underway since at least 1996, when the Marine Corps activated a 350-member
chemical and biological incident response force and later based it in Indian
Head, Md., a Washington suburb. Such efforts accelerated after the Sept. 11
attacks, and at the time Iraq was invaded in 2003, a Pentagon joint task force
drew on 3,000 civil support personnel across the United States.

In 2005, a new Pentagon homeland defense strategy emphasized "preparing for
multiple, simultaneous mass casualty incidents." National security threats were
not limited to adversaries who seek to grind down U.S. combat forces abroad,
McHale said, but also include those who "want to inflict such brutality on our
society that we give up the fight," such as by detonating a nuclear bomb in a
U.S. city.

In late 2007, Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed a directive
approving more than $556 million over five years to set up the three response
teams, known as CBRNE Consequence Management Response Forces. Planners assume an
incident could lead to thousands of casualties, more than 1 million evacuees and
contamination of as many as 3,000 square miles, about the scope of damage
Hurricane Katrina caused in 2005.

Last month, McHale said, authorities agreed to begin a $1.8 million pilot
project funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency through which civilian
authorities in five states could tap military planners to develop disaster
response plans. Hawaii, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Washington and West
Virginia will each focus on a particular threat — pandemic flu, a terrorist
attack, hurricane, earthquake and catastrophic chemical release, respectively —
speeding up federal and state emergency planning begun in 2003.

Last Monday, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates ordered defense officials to
review whether the military, Guard and reserves can respond adequately to
domestic disasters.

Gates gave commanders 25 days to propose changes and cost estimates. He cited
the work of a congressionally chartered commission, which concluded in January
that the Guard and reserve forces are not ready and that they lack equipment and

Bert B. Tussing, director of homeland defense and security issues at the U.S.
Army War College's Center for Strategic Leadership, said the new Pentagon
approach "breaks the mold" by assigning an active-duty combat brigade to the
Northern Command for the first time. Until now, the military required the
command to rely on troops requested from other sources.

"This is a genuine recognition that this [job] isn't something that you want to
have a pickup team responsible for," said Tussing, who has assessed the
military's homeland security strategies.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the libertarian Cato Institute are
troubled by what they consider an expansion of executive authority.

Domestic emergency deployment may be "just the first example of a series of
expansions in presidential and military authority," or even an increase in
domestic surveillance, said Anna Christensen of the ACLU's National Security
Project. And Cato Vice President Gene Healy warned of "a creeping
militarization" of homeland security.

"There's a notion that whenever there's an important problem, that the thing to
do is to call in the boys in green," Healy said, "and that's at odds with our
long-standing tradition of being wary of the use of standing armies to keep the

McHale stressed that the response units will be subject to the act, that only 8
percent of their personnel will be responsible for security and that their
duties will be to protect the force, not other law enforcement. For decades, the
military has assigned larger units to respond to civil disturbances, such as
during the Los Angeles riot in 1992.

U.S. forces are already under heavy strain, however. The first reaction force is
built around the Army's 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team, which
returned in April after 15 months in Iraq. The team includes operations,
aviation and medical task forces that are to be ready to deploy at home or
overseas within 48 hours, with units specializing in chemical decontamination,
bomb disposal, emergency care and logistics.

The one-year domestic mission, however, does not replace the brigade's next
scheduled combat deployment in 2010. The brigade may get additional time in the
United States to rest and regroup, compared with other combat units, but it may
also face more training and operational requirements depending on its homeland
security assignments.

Renuart said the Pentagon is accounting for the strain of fighting two wars, and
the need for troops to spend time with their families. "We want to make sure the
parameters are right for Iraq and Afghanistan," he said. The 1st Brigade's
soldiers "will have some very agg
ressive training, but will also be home for
much of that."

Although some Pentagon leaders initially expected to build the next two response
units around combat teams, they are likely to be drawn mainly from reserves and
the National Guard, such as the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade from South
Carolina, which returned in May after more than a year in Afghanistan.

Now that Pentagon strategy gives new priority to homeland security and calls for
heavier reliance on the Guard and reserves, McHale said, Washington has to
figure out how to pay for it.

"It's one thing to decide upon a course of action, and it's something else to
make it happen," he said. "It's time to put our money where our mouth is."

Something to ponder…

I was perusing the innernetz for something and stumbled upon some other things that struck my interest…  So, me being me, I couldn't let the shiny thing go without first examining it!

"If you don't read the paper, you are uninformed.  If you do read the paper, you are misinformed." – Mark Twain

"A wise and frugal government, which shall leave men free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor and bread it has earned – this is the sum of good government." – Thomas Jefferson

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not." – Thomas Jefferson

"Politics, it seems to me, for years, or all too long, has been concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong." - Richard Armour

"There are many men of principle in both parties in America, but there is no party of principle." – Alexis de Tocqueville

"We'd all like to vote for the best man, but he's never a candidate." – Frank McKinney "Kin" Hubbard

"All of us who are concerned for peace and triumph of reason and justice must be keenly aware how small an influence reason and honest good will exert upon events in the political field." – Albert Einstein

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule – and both commonly succeed, and are right." – H.L. Mencken

"What is conservatism?  Is it not the adherence to the old and tried against the new and untried?" – Abraham Lincoln

"Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber." – Plato

"Truth is not determined by majority vote." – Doug Gwyn

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." – Ernest Benn

"We have, I fear, confused power with greatness." – Stewart Udall

"Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks." – Doug Larson

"Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other." – Oscar Ameringer

"Some men change their party for the sake of their principles; others their principles for the sake of their party." - Winston Churchill

"We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." – Aesop

"It is not in the nature of politics that the best men should be elected.  The best men do not want to govern their fellowmen." - George E. MacDonald

"Democracy is being allowed to vote for the candidate you dislike least." – Robert Byrne



Zogby Poll: Almost No Obama Voters Ace Election Test

Survey finds most Obama voters remembered negative coverage of McCain/Palin
statements but struggled to correctly answer questions about coverage associated
with Obama/Biden

UTICA, New York — Just 2% of voters who supported Barack Obama on Election Day
obtained perfect or near-perfect scores on a post election test which gauged
their knowledge of statements and scandals associated with the presidential
tickets during the campaign, a new Zogby International telephone poll shows.

Only 54% of Obama voters were able to answer at least half or more of the
questions correctly.

The 12-question, multiple-choice survey found questions regarding statements
linked to Republican presidential candidate John McCain and his
vice-presidential running-mate Sarah Palin were far more likely to be answered
correctly by Obama voters than questions about statements associated with Obama
and Vice-President–Elect Joe Biden. The telephone survey of 512 Obama voters
nationwide was conducted Nov. 13-15, 2008, and carries a margin of error of +/-
4.4 percentage points. The survey was commissioned by John Ziegler, author of
The Death of Free Speech, producer of the recently released film "Blocking the
Path to 9/11" and producer of the upcoming documentary film, Media
Malpractice…How Obama Got Elected. (

Ninety-four percent of Obama voters correctly identified Palin as the candidate
with a pregnant teenage daughter, 86% correctly identified Palin as the
candidate associated with a $150,000 wardrobe purchased by her political party,
and 81% chose McCain as the candidate who was unable to identify the number of
houses he owned. When asked which candidate said they could "see Russia from
their house," 87% chose Palin, although the quote actually is attributed to
Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey during her portrayal of Palin during the
campaign. An answer of "none" or "Palin" was counted as a correct answer on the
test, given that the statement was associated with a characterization of Palin.

Obama voters did not fare nearly as well overall when asked to answer questions
about statements or stories associated with Obama or Biden — 83% failed to
correctly answer that Obama had won his first election by getting all of his
opponents removed from the ballot, and 88% did not correctly associate Obama
with his statement that his energy policies would likely bankrupt the coal
industry. Most (56%) were also not able to correctly answer that Obama started
his political career at the home of two former members of the Weather

Nearly three quarters (72%) of Obama voters did not correctly identify Biden as
the candidate who had to quit a previous campaign for President because he was
found to have plagiarized a speech, and nearly half (47%) did not know that
Biden was the one who predicted Obama would be tested by a generated
international crisis during his first six months as President.

In addition to questions regarding statements and scandals associated with the
campaigns, the 12-question, multiple-choice survey also included a question
asking which political party controlled both houses of Congress leading up to
the election — 57% of Obama voters were unable to correctly answer that
Democrats controlled both the House and the Senate.

For content, contact: John Ziegler at

Gun Sales on the Rise

Fears of a Dem crackdown lead to boom in gun sales

MIDLOTHIAN, Va. – When 10-year-old Austin Smith heard Barack Obama had been
elected president, he had one question: Does this mean I won't get a new gun for

That brought his mother, the camouflage-clad Rachel Smith, to Bob Moates Sports
Shop on Thursday, where she was picking out that special 20-gauge shotgun — one
of at least five weapons she plans to buy before Obama takes office in January.

Like Smith, gun enthusiasts nationwide are stocking up on firearms out of fears
that the combination of an Obama administration and a Democrat-dominated
Congress will result in tough new gun laws.

"I think they're going to really try to crack down on guns and make it harder
for people to try to purchase them," said Smith, 32, who taught all five of her
children — ages 4 to 10 — to shoot because the family relies on game for food.

Last month, as an Obama win looked increasingly inevitable, there were more than
108,000 more background checks for gun purchases than in October 2007, a 15
percent increase. And they were up about 8 percent for the year as of Oct. 26,
according to the FBI.

No data was available for gun purchases this week, but gun shops from suburban
Virginia to the Rockies report record sales since Tuesday's election.

"They're scared to death of losing their rights," said David Hancock, manager of
Bob Moates, where sales have nearly doubled in the past week and are up 15
percent for the year. On Election Day, salespeople were called in on their day
off because of the crowd.

Obama has said he respects Americans' Second Amendment right to bear arms, but
that he favors "common sense" gun laws. Gun rights advocates interpret that as
meaning he'll at least enact curbs on ownership of assault and concealed

As a U.S. Senator, Obama voted to leave gun-makers and dealers open to lawsuits;
and as an Illinois state legislator, he supported a ban on semiautomatic weapons
and tighter restrictions on all firearms.
During an October appearance in Ohio, Obama sought to reassure gun owners. "I
will not take your shotgun away," he said. "I will not take your rifle away. I
won't take your handgun away."

Gun advocates take some solace in the current makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court,
which ruled 5-4 this summer to strike down the District of Columbia's 32-year
ban on handguns. For now, gun rights supporters hold a narrow edge on the court,
but Obama could appoint justices who would swing it the other way.

Franklin Gun Shop outside Nashville, Tenn., sold more than 70 guns on Tuesday,
making it the biggest sales day since the shop opened eight years ago. Guns &
Gear in Cheyenne, Wyo., also set a one-day sales record on Tuesday, only to
break that mark on Wednesday.

Stewart Wallin, owner of Get Some Guns in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray,
Utah, said he sold nine assault weapons the day after Obama was elected. That
same day, the gun store Cheaper Than Dirt! in Fort Worth, Texas, sold $101,000
worth of merchandise, shattering its single-day sales record, store owner
DeWayne Irwin said.

One Georgia gun shop advertised an "Obama sale" on an outdoor sign, but the
owner took it down after people complained that the shop appeared to be issuing
a call to violence against the country's first black leader.
The president of a Montana gun manufacturer stepped down last month after word
that he supported Obama led to calls for a boycott of the company.
While Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle
Association, attributes some of the sales boom to the tanking economy, he thinks
the Democratic sweep is the top reason why guns are suddenly a hot commodity.

"I don't think he'll be able to stand up to that anti-Second Amendment wing of
the Democratic party that's just been spoiling for chance to ban America's
guns," LaPierre said of Obama.

During the campaign, the NRA warned that Obama would be the "most antigun
president in American history." And while Vice President-elect Joe Biden owns
shotguns, he has supported a ban on assault weapons and has said private sellers
at gun shows should be required to perform background checks.

But Mark Tushnet, a Harvard Law School professor who has written a book about
the gun debate, said new firearms regulations will be a low priority for an
Obama administration and Democratic Congress facing a global economic crisis and
two wars.

"Maybe the gun-show loophole will be closed, but not much else," he said in an
e-mail. "I'd be surprised, for example, if Congress enacted a new assault gun

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said his
organization will continue to press for what he calls "sensible" restrictions —
background checks at gun shows, a ban on military-style assault weapons and
cracking down on illegal gun trade. He believes he has the backing of the new
administration on those issues, but any fears of a broader crackdown are

"The one thing that they agree strongly with us on is that it's too easy for
dangerous people to get guns in this country," Helmke said. "I guess if you're a
dangerous person you might want to run out there and buy some more, but
otherwise you should be OK."

Silence is golden…

     So from here on out, I will not be blogging about the election results and ensuing consequences on my public blog.  The divides that are already in place are wide enough, and I think at this point, we've all pretty much made up our minds; the time for debate and fence-sitting has come and gone, and we're all well entrenched in our respective camps.  *wipes hands*  All done.