Saturday, January 28, 2012

Random Thoughts

1.  I'm still stewing over the republican debate from like 2 weeks ago - you know, the one where Gingrich got all bent out of whack because the moderator was asking him about whether he actually asked his second wife for an open marriage?  Yeah.  That one.  In his 'answer' he said that he didn't think it was a valid question to ask.  I'm sorry, but if you ever mention "defending the sanctity of marriage" as one of your tenets for becoming president, then yes, you asking your second wife for an open marriage is a perfectly valid question to ask.  We'll ignore the fact that you have been married 3 times*, and admitted to cheating on 2 of the three.  Which, by the way, degrade the sanctity of marriage much more than allowing homosexual persons to get married.
* I don't care if you get divorced, I don't think it makes you a bad person, nor do I think you should be punished for it, but again, I'm just using the republican talking point against them.

2.  Let's ignore the whole Stop Online Piracy Act (as it is currently off the table), but if SOPA had passed, I'm sure you'd be able to get my blog shut down for me posting a picture that has been passed around Facebook (not to mention that Facebook would be shut down) for the last couple of weeks.  The picture I'm talking about is of course this one:   

3.  Where the hell can I get myself a shit load of Girl Scout cookies? Because I have never wanted to support them more than I do right now.

4.  Sorry my blog has been so political recently (besides, I figure if you're reading my blog, it really isn't for my entries on republican candidates, but then, you probably also aren't reading this thing for my rapier wit.  Perhaps I shall distract you with a picture of my diabetic cat (a cat, whose blood sugar was at 61 this evening so we didn't give him a shot).  Yes, that will do, sugar cat, that will do.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Presidential Candidate: Mitt Romney

Note:  Per a request from Lon, I'm going to skip over Ron Paul for now.  I also may come back to do Buddy Roemer (it will depend on if he's dropped out or not)

Synopsis:  A robot has decided to take his personality chip for a spin and see if his study of the human race has paid off enough to win the presidential nomination

Current Job: None - he pretty much goes around stumping for other republicans at this point in time.  He is the ex-governor of Massachusetts, which while he was governor, managed to essentially obtain universal healthcare for the state.

Spouse: Ann, who is a breast cancer survivor and suffers from MS

Kids:  5 - all boys. 

Stance on:
  • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal and replace
  • Roe V Wade: Would like to overturn Roe v Wade; but feels that anti-abortion legislation should be on a state level, not national.
  • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against. 
  • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against (because it is creating life in order to destroy it)
  • Afghanistan: The decisions about Afghanistan should be made by our military's top brass.
  • Iran:   We must create stronger sanctions against Iran to prevent them from obtaining nuclear weapons
  • Budget: Cut spending, limit amount allowed to be spent.
  • Taxes:  Lower Corporate taxes, set new limits on personal tax rates
  • Mexico/US border: Build a high-tech fence and provide the manpower to back it up.
  • Education: Education should not be confined to Teacher's Unions.  Admits there is a problem and recommends providing incentives to students (such as top performing students get full scholarships to state schools)
  • Energy:  We need to rely more on America's oil sources.
  • LGBT issues: Against marriages and even civil unions (as of 2008), but of course we all know how much he waffles.

Chances of Winning:  If the media is to be believed, it is now a two man race between Gingrich and Romney.

Who would vote for him:  Older slightly liberal leaning folks.  Those that are scared by Gingrich.

Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
-Colbert Report: Clinching the Nomination
-The Daily Show: Earning more in a day than the median American
-Fox News:  State of the Union Reaction

Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 

Tax Reform
  • Keep personal income tax at the same rates; however eliminate taxes on Dividends, Interest and Capital Gains for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $200,000.
  • Eliminate the death tax
  • Overhaul the system to provide lower, flatter rates over a wide base.
  • Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%
  • Switch to a Territorial tax system (instead of Worldwide) for corporations.
Regulatory Reform
  • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
  • Repeal Dodd-Frank
  • Streamline the FDA approval process
  • Enact comprehensive patent reform (it takes too long to get a patent)
  • Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley
Labor Reform
  • Allow businesses to reallocate their capital as they see fit
  • Support states in pursuing "Right to work" laws
  • Prohibit the use for political purposes of funds automatically deducted from worker paychecks
  • Eliminate redundancy in federal retraining programs by consolidating programs and funding streams, centering as much activity as possible in a single agency
  • Give states authority to manage retraining programs by block granting federal funds
  • Facilitate the creation of Personal Reemployment Accounts
  • Encourage greater private sector involvement in retraining programs
  • Raise visa caps for highly skilled workers
  • Grant permanent residency to eligible graduates with advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering
Financial Reform

  • Immediately cut non-security discretionary spending by 5 percent
  • Reform and restructure Medicaid as block grant to states
  • Align wages and benefits of government workers with market rates
  • Reduce federal workforce by 10 percent via attrition
  • Undertake fundamental restructuring of government programs and services
  • Cap federal spending at 20 percent of GDP
  • Pursue a Balanced Budget Amendment
Energy Reform
  • Create a One-Stop-Shop to streamline the permitting process for common activities
  • Amend the Clean Air Act to remove carbon dioxide from its purview.
  • More nuclear power plant approvals
  • Open America's reserves (I take this to mean drill in ANWR)
  • Regulations to make it easier to produce oil from oil shale
  • Support pipelines to get oil from Canada into the US.
  • Concentrate alternative energy research funding on basic research
Healthcare Reform
  • Repeal and replace Obamacare
  • Give states the responsibility, flexibility, and resources to act
  • Empower citizens to buy their own insurance
  • Focus federal regulation of health care on making markets work
  • Reform the medical liability system
  • Make health care more like a market and less like a government program
    • The US needs to pursue new free trade agreements across the pacific.
    • Support World Trade Organization Negotiations
    • Complete the the Trans-Pacific Partnership
    • Put China on notice about needing to play by the rules and honor the agreements already signed.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2012

    Presidential Candidate: Jon Huntsman

    Synopsis:  Not well known Technocrat, Mormon ex-governor of Utah throws his hat in the ring for 2012 presidential nomination.

    Current Job: Recently vacated his job as Ambassador to China; now running for president.

    Spouse: Mary Kaye

    Kids:  7 - 5 bio-kids and 2 adopted - one from China and one from India, who is Hindu and as such, the family does celebrate Diwali.  Additionally, even though Jon was raised Mormon, his wife was raised Episcopalian, Jon did attend Lutheran school, and his kids attended Catholic school.

    Stance on:
    • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal
    • Roe V Wade: Would like to overturn Roe v Wade.
    • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against.  Is fine with PP's non-abortion health services, but has said he will veto any budget that includes funding of Planned Parenthood.
    • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Supports Stem Cell Research, but not of the embryonic kind.
    • Afghanistan: If we don't have a winning strategy, we should just cut our losses and get out.
    • Iran:   Unclear
    • Budget: Is pro tax cut, and thinks we need to spend less
    • Taxes:  would like to implement a flat tax rate
    • Mexico/US border: Does not like the idea of a fence, but also feels that we're at a point where there's no other option
    • Education:  Feels the government shouldn't be running schools, but should be a clearinghouse of ideas.
    • Energy:  We need to end our dependence on foreign oil and need to start researching new energy sources
    • LGBT issues:  Is against gay marriage, but is pro gay union.  Feels that it should be the states' right to decide.
    • Professes a firm belief in Science and rejects the theory that faith and evolution are mutually exclusive.
    • Believes that we should trust scientists when it comes to global warming.
    • Is pro-life but also refused to sign a pledge to only appoint pro-lifers to the cabinet and stop federal funding of abortions in the event that he became president.
      Chances of Winning:  Probably not very good since most of the independents that are voting in republican primaries are leaning toward Ron Paul.  Also, he doesn't get much media coverage which means most people don't know much about him.  It's possible that he could become a running mate for someone trying to appeal to the younger generation.

      Who would vote for him:  younger, more liberal leaning folks.  Would possibly do better running as an independent or democrat.

      Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report: Huntsman Interview
      -The Daily Show: Scientists?!
      -Fox News:  Are you a candidate?

      Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 
      Huntsman has one of the most comprehensive websites of the candidates I've researched.

      Tax Reform
      • Simplify the the personal income tax code and lower rates which will eliminate all deductions and credits, but would also lower the brackets to 8%, 14% and 23% (currently 15%, 25% and 34%)
      • Eliminate the alternative minimum tax
      • Reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%
      • Shift to a Territorial Tax System which will allow US based multinational corporations to bring jobs to America.
      • Implement a Tax Holiday for repatriation of corporate profits which will allow companies to make capital investments 
      • Eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividends in order to eliminate the double-taxation on investments - He feels that people do not invest their money in the stock market because whatever they earn is going to be taxed even though the money that was initially put up was taxed via income taxes.
      Regulatory Reform
      • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
      • Repeal Dodd-Frank
      • Streamline the FDA approval process
      • Enact comprehensive patent reform (it takes too long to get a patent)
      • Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley
      • End the EPA regulatory overreach by nixing the Ozone Standard Revision and Joint Fuel Efficiency rules (the fuel efficiency rules ban converting heavy duty equipment to natural gas)
      • Develop and deliver new alternative energies by expediting the environmental permitting process
      • Implement a cultural change in regulatory agencies by mandating that timelines are kept and citizens are treated as customers
      • Will instruct the National Labor Relations Board to allow Boeing to move to South Carolina (otherwise Boeing will have to move to a foreign country) in order to keep American jobs in America.
      • Will require the Commodities Future Trading Commission to do a cost-benefit analysis before implementing any regulations
      • Privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
      • Will require all government agencies (including the 'independent' ones) to do a cost-benefit analysis before implementing any regulations.
      Financial Reform
      • End "too big to fail"
      • Maximize derivatives transparency
      • Repeal Dodd-Frank
      • End Wall Street's reliance on excessive short term leverage
      • Eliminate the tax deduction of interest paid which puts an emphasis on debt instead of equity (it's unclear if this is meant for corporations only or if it's also meant for homeowners)
      • Fix the Basel 3 Accord which makes it easier to invest at a lower rate in sovereign debt
      • Ensure a stable dollar policy
      • Dismantle Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae as they stand now
      • Restore the rule of law to prevent things such as the Robo-signings
      • Work with Europe to end the European Sovereign Debt Crisis
      Energy Independence
      • Streamline approval for new energy production (drilling can be done in the US, in the Gulf, and in Alaska)
      • Break down barriers to using Fracking to obtain natural gas
      • Embrace emerging technologies like Coal-to-liquid fuel
      • Purchase more oil from Canada
      • Eliminate the subsidies that make us more dependent on one type of fuel source (read:  gas prices are going to skyrocket)
      • Ensure that Transportation Fuel markets are competitive
      • Eliminate regulations that limit energy innovations and transportation fuels from reaching the consumer
      • End regulatory road blocks to alternative fuels
      • Spur investment in modernizing our power grid (what happens if everyone decides to go with electric cars that require being plugged in at night?)
      • Encourage state-based solutions to air quality and other problems - Iowa has wind, but not geothermal power, California has geothermal, but no wind.
      • Force Washington to face the facts - energy policy must be based on sound science, transparent government, and thorough public debate.
      Energy Security
      • We must break oil's monopoly as being our primary fuel
      • We should open American lands to oil drilling - including the Gulf and Alaska
      • We should research oil shale as a viable oil supply
      • We need to create other means of energy
      • The US needs to pursue new free trade agreements across the pacific.
      • Support World Trade Organization Negotiations
      • Complete the the Trans-Pacific Partnership
      National Security
      • We are done with Iraq and Afghanistan
      • We must alter our methods in order to fight the new methods employed by the terrorists
      • We must take care of our veterans
      • Above all, we cannot allow the terrorists to obtain weapons of mass destruction.
      • Parents know what's best for their kids - Washington should just be a clearing house of ideas and should encourage a more innovative education system
      • Establish meaningful and transparent national standards benchmarked against the world and let the states determine how best to get there  (The US should be setting standards not trying to just meet them)
      • The federal government shouldn't be in the habit of running schools, but schools that do well should be rewarded and those that do poorly should be punished.
      • Scale down the department of education
      • School should allow kids to find out what they're good at and let them capitalize on it - when a kid graduates from high school, they should be both college and career ready
      • We shouldn't push for all kids to go to college
      • We should fund early intervention and preschools
      • Will work to make sure that colleges have the means to attract the best and brightest while trying to bring the cost of college down
      Foreign Policy
      • To be good abroad, we must be great at home - we need to manage our resources well and choose where to exercise our power even better
      • Aggressive promotion of trade liberalization
      • We should remain steadfast in our traditional alliances, but we also must work on creating strong and lasting relationships with world powers - specifically mentions working with India and China.
      • We need to create a better and more lasting relationship with Mexico
      • We need to maintain our military as one of the leading forces by allowing the military to adapt to threats of the 21st century.

      Sunday, January 08, 2012

      Presidential Candidate: Newt Gingrich

      Synopsis:  Former Speaker of the House who previously had called for the impeachment of Clinton during the Monica Scandal whilst cheating on his dying wife is running for president. 

      Current Job:  Retired Politician

      Spouse:  Callista, President of the Gingrich Production Company.  Note:  3rd wife.  Newt keeps finds his new wife while cheating on his current wife.  If I were Callista, I'd have a P.I., and divorce lawyer on retainer.

      Kids:  2 (with his first wife, Jackie)

      Stance on:
      • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Repeal and replace (see below)
      • Roe V Wade: Rather than overturning RvW, he'd like to rework the legal system.  That being said, he says he's okay with abortion in the case of rape, incest and health of mother.
      • Funding Planned Parenthood: Against
      • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against
      • Afghanistan: Hasn't commented much on it, but feels that we are pulling out too quickly.
      • Iran:   put pressure on Iraq to end contact with Iran
      • Budget: Downsize the government, stop spending beyond our means, it must be balanced
      • Taxes:  opposes high taxes, encourage research and development with tax incentives, will ask the public before implementing any major tax reform, get rid of the marriage tax and cut middle class taxes, encourage investment by getting rid of capital gains tax, can use the tax code to reinforce families
      • Mexico/US border: Secure the border, but doesn't sound like he'd build a fence along the entire thing.
      • Education: wants to have charter schools, will push for patriotic education, wouldn't charge interest on math and science degree loans, would allow prayer in schools. (see education segment below from his website)
      • Energy:  believes the Kyoto treaty is bad for the nation and the environment, give incentives for renewable resources and conservation, open ANWR to drilling, supports eliminating the gas tax (but if you see below, he wants to add gas royalties)
      • LGBT issues:  Against giving domestic partner rights (but thinks they should have the ability to leave estates to partners and the right to see them in the hospital), constitutional amendment to protect the traditional family, gays should not be allowed to adopt children, believes homosexuality is a sin, but gays should be allowed to be teachers.
      • Worked as a consultant for Freddie Mac (during the years of growth in the housing bubble), to the tune of $1.6 million.
      • Had 84 ethics sanctions levied against him by congress while he was still in congress.  Had to pay $300,000 in restitution.
      • Wants to mine the moon.  Which I suppose means we'd have a space program again...
      • Is calling to bring back various programs that were popular during his Speaker of the House days...which were the days when Clinton was in is he saying that the government under Clinton wasn't that bad? 
      • Has said in the past that he would like to give rewards to girls who graduate high school as virgins.
      • Is considered the worst candidate for women's rights based on past voting records (beating both Bachmann and Santorum).  He has voted almost 100% pro-life during his congress days.  Perry, who just recently started saying that abortion should not be allowed in any case, is actually the best bet for women's rights based on history which is a very scary idea.

      Chances of Winning:  If we are to believe the Iowa Caucus, not too good.  BUT he still seems to be the darling of the media, so he might have a better chance than predicted, however he should have too many skeletons in his closet to win over the party.

      Who would vote for him:  Looks like he's trying to go for the retiree vote.  And based on his commercials, he's trying to take votes away from those who would be voting for Romney.  But I'm not sure exactly who would normally vote for him...maybe republicans who liked the Clinton days, or republicans who find Santorum scary?

      Clips from the fake news (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report:  Gingrich:  Bond Villian
      -The Daily Show:  Even the republicans are scared of him
      -Fox News:  Bret Baier catches up with the former house speaker

      Campaign Talking Points (from his website): 

      Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")
      • Replace it with an alternative that saves money by empowering doctors and patients to make decisions instead of bureaucrats.
      • Allow people to shop for insurance across state lines
      • Give a 'generous tax credit' to offset the cost of insurance OR the ability to deduct (up to a certain amount) the value of their health insurance.
      • Create a "High Risk Pool" that requires states to cover the uninsured who will not be covered by insurance carriers
      • reinforce laws that prohibit insurers from dropping people who become sick
      • Allow workers to have access to Health Savings Accounts
      • Limit healthcare fraud by moving to a paperless system
      • Stop junk malpractice lawsuits which drive up the cost of healthcare
      • Inform patients on cost and quality of care
      • End tax-payer paid abortions
      • Defund Planned Parenthood
      • Ban funding to organizations that promote abortions overseas
      • Protect healthcare workers' right to conscience by not forcing them to recommend, or participate in, something they are morally against (abortions specifically listed, but I assume birth control would also be included in this)
      Return to Robust Job creation
      • Dramatically reduce taxes on businesses and allowing more deductions
      • Require those on extended unemployment to take training classes to be more hireable
      • Allow an optional flat 15% Federal income tax. It would preserve deductions for charitable donations, home ownership, and create a new personal deduction of $12,000 per American  
      • Repeal Sarbanes-Oxley Act
      • Repeal Community Reinvestment Act
      • Repeal Frank Dodd Law
      • Break up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (but he didn't recommend this while he was a consultant for them?  odd, that)
      • Replace the EPA with "Environmental Solutions Agency" that works with businesses and governments
      Unleash America's Full Energy Production Potential
      • oil, natural gas, coal, biofuel, wind, nuclear, oil shale and more
      • reduce America's dependency on foreign oil
      • cut bureaucratic red tape for responsible drilling (both off shore and on land)
      • Development of processes to use oil shale as a source of oil.  We supposedly have 3x the amount of oil of Saudi Arabia all stuck in oil shale.
      • Give coastal states federal revenue to allow off-shore drilling
      • reduce frivolous environmental lawsuits by requiring the loser to pay all legal fees for the winning side
      • Finance cleaner energy research with new oil and gas royalties (I'm hearing that our gas prices will go up...what about you?)
      • Replace the EPA with the ESA (outlined above) which will work with businesses and governments to achieve better environmental outcomes while considering the impact of federal environmental policies on job creation and and the cost of energy. (I'm taking this to mean that if companies say "no, we don't want to help the environment" this agency will acquiesce to their wishes)
      Save Medicare and Social Security
      • Give seniors the choice to go with either Medicare or a personalized system in the private sector
      • Reform Medicaid to allow states more freedom to "personalize" their systems to provide better care and provide health insurance for low-income families.
      • Reward quality care by providing larger reimbursements to providers who provide better care
      • Incentivize patients to seek out facilities that provide quality care
      • Allow Medicare and Medicaid to provide benefits that encourage, incentivize, and reward healthy behavior.
      • Protect the frail, elderly and infirm from the state's arbitrary decision to terminate life (ummm....Terry Schiavo maybe....?  It's just mostly that I don't understand how it's the state's decision unless it's something like a homeless person, a person that has no next of kin, or someone in jail with the death penalty...)
      Balance the Federal Budget
      • No points listed.
      Control the Mexican/American Border by Jan 1, 2014
      • Establish English as the official language of America
      • Reform legal Visa system (an entrepreneur who wants to create jobs in America shouldn't have to spend $1000's in legal fees first; College graduates in America shouldn't have to go to their home countries in order to get a work visa - will try to implement a system where they get a work visa upon graduation instead; a farmer should have the ability to hire cheap legal labor)
      • Visas should have biometric technology
      • Make it easier to deport criminals and gang members
      • Defend 2nd Amendment rights to stop Mexican gangs at the border (um...that seems like a bad idea - seems like we're more likely to have people going about shooting Mexicans because "they could have been in a gang")
      • Make it easier for law-abiding visitors to come to the US (A Brazilian who wants to visit Disneyworld and spend $1000's while he's at it, shouldn't have to wait 4 months to get a visa) 
      • Create a temporary or day labor work visa system with biometric technology run by one of the credit card companies (which have low fraud rates).
      • Create a path for "earned" legality - those that have been living her illegally can 'earn' legality by becoming involved with their community, passing a background check, proving they can support themselves without the help of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, buy private health insurance, be proficient (or within a specified amount of time) in English.  Once the person in question is legal, he will have to pay a $5000 fine for being in the US illegally.
      • Minors brought to the US illegally by their parents can earn their legal status by joining the military when they are of age.  Unlike the DREAM act, there won't be a way for the child to petition to get their parents legal status.
      • Ensure those that become citizens learn American history and exceptionalizm.
      • Once the "path to legality" and the worker program is implemented, anyone entering the US illegally should face more severe penalties.  Those helping people enter the US illegally will face even more severe penalties.
      • There is a point of "secure the border to prevent terrorist organizations from sneaking weapons and agents into the US" (This must be a recent problem because I was under the impression that most of the terrorists that we think of and are concerned about actually enter the US via plane and not by crossing either the Canadian or Mexico borders...)
      • possibly move up to one half of the war department bureaucrats to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico
      • Round-the-clock drone flights monitoring the border
      • multi-layer, strategic fencing in urban areas
      Revitalize our National Security System
      • Restructure and adequate fund our security agencies within a grand strategy
      • Victory over those who seek to kill us or limit American power
      • Two of the points on his "solutions" page essentially point to declaring war on Radical Islam
      • Protect those who abide by our same values (views America as the 'abiding alternative to tyranny')
      • Military must be used judiciously and with clear, obtainable goals that are understood by congress
      • "Incentivize" math and sciences in order to create bigger and better weapons (I want to know how he's going to do that - by making all new graduate mechanical and computer engineers work for Lockheed-Martin, JPL, or Sikorski upon graduation?)
      Maximize Speed and Impact of Medical Breakthroughs
      • Remove unnecessary obstacles that block new treatments from reaching patients.
      • Emphasize spending toward urgent national priorities (such as diseases of the brain - e.g. parkinson's, autism, alzheimer's)
      • Modernize the FDA to get drugs that work to patients quicker
      Restore the Proper Role of the Judiciary Branch
      • Allow the president and/or congress to remove judges who do not uphold the constitution.
      • Nominate conservative judges who base their decisions on the constitution.
      • Combat judicial activism
      Enforce the 10th Amendment
      • Transfer powers currently under Federal purview to the individual States
      Enforce the 2nd Amendment
      • Newt is a member of the NRA
      • Allow imports of guns that can legally be made in the US.
      • Let parents pick which school their kid is to go to
      • Institute a Pell Grant-type system for Kindergarten through 12th grade 
      • Require transparency and accountability for achievement
      • Implement a "no limits" charter system - that is, all money allocated for student education goes to the school, schools manage their own staff regardless of tenure rules, schools define their own curriculum, schools are not exempt from reporting requirements, states to allow schools to "franchise" their model without limitation, state has no caps on the number of charter schools, process of approving charter schools is quick and efficient.
      • Pay for Performance for teachers
      • Welcome business talent into the classrooms - allow the retired physicist or the working engineer to come into the class room and teach a few hours a week.  The theory is that those that aren't trained teachers are going to bring more adult expectations to the classroom.
      • All students must take American History classes.
      • All students must be able to read, and reading assignments should reinforce American History.
      • Protect the rights of home-schooled children by allowing them to participate in the same tax-payer funded extra curriculars that public school children participate in
      • Encourage schools to think outside the box - a la Daniel's program in Indiana (students who graduate high school early are given the money saved on them by skipping grades as an automatic college scholarship), College of the Ozarks in Missouri (work study that allows college kids to graduate debt free), and the Virtual Florida school (a 24/7 individualized schooling over the internet)
      • Shrink the Department of Education - it's only role should be to do research and collect data - not mandate what schools should be teaching.
      • Allow teachers to use historical examples involving religion.  
      • Allow teachers to answer questions about religion and/or discussing it objectively in the classrooms.
      • Protect religious expression in public places by allowing crosses, creches, and menorahs
      • Would eliminate the 39 Bureaucratic positions that are not accountable to congress (created by Obama)
      • Respect each sovereign nation's choice of capital and have an embassy in that location (the only one we discriminate against is Isreal - Isreal's capital is Jerusalem but our embassy is in Tel Aviv)
      • End all lawsuits against states that are immigration related (specifically in Arizona and South Carolina).  "The Obama Administration refuses to enforce federal immigration laws, and instead sues states who are merely trying to enforce the laws that the federal government neglects."
      • Approve the Keystone XL pipeline (map).  A pipeline to transport oil to the gulf coast refineries.

      Wednesday, January 04, 2012


      The requisite Family Portrait for Christmas:
      My family - Me, Shawn, Dani, Mom and Dad.

      Tuesday, January 03, 2012

      Presidential Candidate: Michele Bachmann

      Synopsis:  The TEA party "it" girl since Sarah Palin announced that she would not run for president. Also has replaced Sarah Palin in most liberals' nightmares.

      Current Job:  Congresswoman representing Minnesota

      Spouse:  Marcus, a Christian Counsellor.

      Kids:  5 bio-kids, plus 23 foster kids throughout the years.

      Stance on:
      • Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act:  Against.  Will repeal if elected.
      • Roe V Wade:  Repeal it
      • Funding Planned Parenthood:  Against
      • Embryonic Stem Cell Research:  Against.  Believes that research can kill women.
      • Afghanistan:  We should stay there longer.  It is a mistake to leave so early.
      • Iran:  Unclear.  But believes we should fight the war on terror until it is won. Also states on her website that a nuclear-capable Iran is a real threat.
      • Budget:  Massive spending cuts, get rid of the Department of Education, Department of Commerce and the EPA.
      • Taxes:  reduce number of brackets.  lower business taxes
      • Mexico/US border:  Build a fence.  Not just one, but two.
      • Education:  Unclear
      • Energy:  Allow drilling in ANWR and deepwater oil rigs.  Explore oil shale and open federal lands to logging/mining operations.
      • LGBT issues:  Against.  Has a comment on her website about Obama caring about being politically correct even if it is to the detriment of our military (which I'm assuming means she's against the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell) 
      • HPV vaccine:  Thinks it causes mental retardation in persons heretofore known to be 'normal'
      Chances of Winning:  Let's put it this way, she has a much better chance of being selected as a running mate, and that's falling pretty quickly...   [edited 01/06/12:  After the Iowa Caucus, Ms. Bachmann has since suspended her bid for the presidency]

      Who would vote for her:  Social conservatives, Fiscal conservatives, Evangelicals

      Clips from the Fake News (since that's all I need):
      -Colbert Report:  Bachmann compares herself to John Wayne.  Gacy, that is.
      -The Daily Show:  Bachmann clips.
      -Fox News: Interview before the Iowa Caucus (though I assume the video will change as the days go on)

      Campaign Talking Points (from her website): 

      American jobs, right now
      • Cut federal government spending
      • Cut federal jobs
      • Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (as this is preventing jobs from being created)
      • Cut taxes (reduce number of tax brackets and cut taxes of businesses)
      • Legalize American energy production and America's natural resources (revive the logging and metal mining industries, and allow mining/drilling/logging on federal lands)
      • Repeal job-killing red-tape
      • Increase exports, specifically mentioned are to Columbia, Panama and South Korea
      • Allow investment in America by allowing the private sector to control the markets with little government involvement
      • Foster innovation (no indication of how this is to be done)
      • Enforce Immigration laws
      Job creation and growth
      • Obama has sucked it up thus far
      • Obamacare places a burden on companies (by requiring them to provide healthcare to their employees)
      • The EPA kills jobs by having carbon regulation mandates
      • Bachmann will cut spending, reduce taxes, kill the Internal Revenue Code, repeal Obamacare, and stop Cap-and-trade so companies can function once again.
      No debt ceiling increase
      • The only way she'll allow an increase in the debt ceiling is if Obamacare is repealed.
      A healthier nation
      • Repeal Obamacare, stabilize Medicare
      • Allow families and doctors to make decisions about insurance, quality of care and course of treatment.
      A more secure nation
      • Israel is our true friend
      • True threat is a nucularly armed Iran
      • Current president is more concerned about political correctness than making sure our military is fully funded in both money and personnel.
      • Will not rest until the war on terror is won.
      Affordable energy
      • Allow drilling in ANWR
      • Allow deepwater-drilling (the BP oil spill was just a fluke)
      • Explore use of Oil Shale for oil

      Monday, January 02, 2012


      A gift from my mom - a pitcher made by my cousin's wife, Dany.  She blogs at WellieBellie and she (and my cousin) sell their wares via etsy at Art Haus Ceramics.  They also do some art shows in Colorado, so keep your eyes peeled.

      The yellow flowers (which are fake) are from my works' Christmas party from a few weeks ago. 

      The pictures in the background were taken by yours truly (and Shawn), and in order from left to right, top to bottom are a gulf fritillary from my back yard (mine), a church in Lauterbrunnen, Switzerland (Shawn), a lamp at Treasure Island in Las Vegas (mine), a ghost plant succulent in my front yard (mine), coneflowers from Mount Vernon (Shawn), and a California Poppy in our front yard (mine).  You can read how to set up your photos like this in this blog entry:  Procrastination: Over