Thursday, November 27, 2008


I haven't logged on in so long I wasn't sure I'd even remember my password. So, in no particular order:

[1] HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Me? I have lots to be thankful for. I have a job, a means to get to it, a place to sleep at night, a wonderful family - and that includes a wide network of daaang cool in-laws - and I live in the greatest freakin' country on the planet. Thank you, God. Thank you, family. And thank you, every single American troop who puts life on the line so I can enjoy these wonderful blessings.

[2] Now that I no longer have to pretend enthusiasm towards McCain, can I go back to hating him and saying that he was and still is a terible senator? For me the answer is: Yes.

[3] What have I been up to? Well, a couple of years ago I was over 300 pounds, but I'm not sure by how much since the scale topped at 300. These days I'm at 254 and counting downward. All it took was my car punking out and my being forced to ride 32 miles a day to keep my job. If any of you have been to the Reagan Library - a site I pass five days a week to get to my job - imagine taking your bike up that driveway about eight times a day; that's my ride, stretched out over an average day, and I'm proud I can do it while still a middle-aged fat man. 'Course, I'm still the county's bike version of a pace car in that I get passed by every skinny twerp out there, but that's okay. Even on a rainy day, it's still fun.

[4] Right now I'm listening to my brother-in-law's doo-wop group and they are, I must say, dang good. Very 50's.

[5] What was it like being a Mormon during the recent rash of anti-Mormon protests by various gay communities? It was a refreshing change of pace; usually it's the Baptists and vaguely-defined evangelicals picketing our temples.

[6] Politics? Eh. Too depressed about the election results to follow any more news.

[7] Poetry? Eh. Haven't written anything serious in about a year and I don't miss it.

That's what's new. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Fire Blogging

Hacienda Woody is surrounded. We live in an area more or less central to three fires. Or one extremely large fire. Depends on who you talk to.

While we make preparations for Woody to perhaps travel to a software conference tomorrow (lot of IFs to consider at the moment), we find ourselves bordered on the north and east by fires in Anaheim Hills, Yorba Linda (both of which started in Corona), and now even Brea to the northwest. Freeways are shut down to the north and east, leaving south as our most logical escape route, should that be necessary.

I post this to hopefully put things in perspective. With all the invective being hurled back and forth by people on either side of the Proposition 8 issue, this is a time to settle down and help people. Our ward and another in our stake are particularly affected by these fires. I would not be surprised to hear that members of our stake have lost their homes by tomorrow morning. It's that bad.

So far the Hacienda is safe. It's been smokey all day long, and for quite awhile all we had coming through our windows was dark orange light. The smell has been intense throughout the day, and I was more than a little nervous about going out long enough to buy groceries earlier this afternoon. Folks heading the wrong direction on the 91 freeway were being taken off the freeway, in many cases exiting via the onramps.

We have our evacuation lists made up and ready in case the fire encroaches this far south. Our elder daughter, who has a healthy dose of her maternal side worry genes, has already packed her backpack. She kind of wishes we'd get in the car already and just drive.

I'm sure we'll be fine for now. If the dreaded Santa Ana winds kick up more tonight all bets are off. In the meantime, please say prayers for all those who have been displaced today.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Activists or Terrorists?

I have largely avoided any further discussion on Proposition 8 since the election. I have done so for the simple reason that I have no desire to rub the results in the faces of the losers. I wish I could say that of all Prop 8 supporters, but as Obama's elevation to the presidency has demonstrated, there's nothing like a sore winner. I still hear from people who think it's important to smear Sarah Palin as much as possible, which is probably the surest way to keep her in the running for a senate or executive branch run sometime soon.

But I digress. Proposition 8 passed with 52% of the popular vote in California. It's important to note that we only needed 50% plus one vote in order to pass, so 52% in a state as liberal as California is still significant. Since that time, we have watched protest after protest instigated by the losing side; although not, I suspect, completely representative of the 48% who voted against the measure. Surely these protesters represent only a fraction of the voters who were willing to give that coalition the benefit of the doubt.

I find it — unsettling — that they target the very people that they must know will tend not to retaliate. I will not deny that what I am witnessing makes my blood boil. I see it as sacrilege to have them mar the beauty of a temple erected to God that represents peace to all the world. Yet, targets we have become. On some level, targets we have always been.

The protesters, on the other hand, should be careful. Their tactics are beginning to take on certain terrorist characteristics. The mailing of white powder to LDS temples in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City is, in my mind, an act of terrorism. It was meant to inject fear into a peaceful process. It was calculated to create psychological harm and disrupt the lives of people who have only the salvation of their souls at heart. Is this not terrorism? Granted, it's not a car bomb at the temple doors, but neither does it have to be.

Like terrorism, however, the results are never what the terrorists want them to be. Instead of cowering in fear, we stiffen our resolve. If you attack us on our own soil, we hunker down and learn better ways of defending ourselves. So it is with social issues. Rather than making us somehow more "tolerant" towards homosexuals, we find comfort and relief in revealed truth and commit ourselves to remaining obedient to the Gospel.

By their own words the opponents of Proposition 8 have demonstrated that they are willing to do anything — including violence — to gain their point. They have called for intimidation, violence, civil disobedience, and even murder (spoken with extreme hyperbole, granted, but still spoken). Proposition 8 leaders, on the other hand, have called for calm, peace, and even love towards our detractors.

Of course there are exceptions on both sides. There are numerous reasonable voices among the opponents of Proposition 8. We don't hear much from them, however, because the press are dedicated to the propogation of "anti-gay hatred" that they believe to be "prevalent." While you may read of isolated incidents of anti-gay slurs or threats, the vast majority of Proposition 8 supporters are peaceful, loving people who would rather not have to fight anyone, but are willing to work hard to defend their positions.

As history has demonstrated time and time again, terrorists never learn.

Hey, NASA, In Case You're Wondering...

...why astronaut recruits are dwindling, we gotcher reason right here.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

More (Self-Fulfilling) Prognostication

Someone found the Woundup whilst searching for graphics related to turning 50. I was still doing my birthday essays on the Woundup, but I'd forgotten that I wrote about turning 50 fours years before I actually did. I'd also forgotten that I'd made some predictions about this most recent election that turned out to be quite true:
As I get closer to what I kind of hope represents the mid-point of my life, my understanding of issues has increased, but my tolerance for the political process has decreased. By the time I turn 50, I will patently hate the process. I will understand what must be done, but I'll hate it.

I'll hate it because this pivotal year of my life will be spent listening to carefully groomed individuals crow about how they will make my life better than it was four years ago. Not one of them will forward a truly unique idea, because there are no unique ideas left. Very much like Hollywood. Every new movie you will see four years from now has already been written and you've already seen movies just like them. But you'll probably plink down the gold it requires to see them because this version has much slicker computer graphics.

I'll hate it because not one single candidate will remind us that the government already has far exceeded its constitutionally limited powers and that we need to return to those constitutional limits. Rapidly.

I'll hate it because not one of them will have a common sense approach to getting this country out of debt. For good. They won't promise not to exceed our ability to spend, because they can't. It's pathological. They can't help themselves.
All of it accurate, so far as I can tell. My predictions, then, were:
  1. I will patently hate the process.
    Yup. I loathe the process. Or, rather, I loathe what the process has become. It's nothing more than Ultimate Fighter in designer suits, using poisonous words rather than lethal kidney punches. I particularly hated the accelerated pace of the primaries this year. I hope we have finally put to bed the notion that moving a state's primary up several months earlier somehow has any positive effect on the election. California's certainly did not. It also means that we don't have anywhere near enough time to fully vet the field of candidates before whittling them down to the two ultimate standard-bearers. I believe had we been given more time we might have had someone else facing off against Obama last week. Perhaps not, but we'll never know now, will we?

  2. Carefully groomed individuals crowing about making my life better.
    It's a sucker bet, really. That's what candidates do. What I left out is the part about warning people that the other guy will try to make you afraid. Fear-mongering — not racism — was the most frequent accusation made during the primaries. And the only person out there who was making a huge deal about one of those candidate's race was the one whose skin tone was different from everyone else's. Just sayin'.

  3. No unique ideas.
    Oh, brother. Every idea we heard was really just a re-hash of ideas that have been floated from time to time over the last several decades. The funniest part, though, was when one candidate would begin floating the same ideas as the other guy while trying to make us think they were new. That was hilarious. But unique? No. Not one.

  4. Ignoring constitutional limits.
    I really can't blame the candidates we had this year. We haven't been paying any attention to the Constitution for, oh, more than a hundred years now. The closest we got was Reagan who at least campaigned on the idea of reducing government. Whether he was "successful" depends on which parts of the government you happened to work for or need. For instance, if you were a huge fan of welfare, you probably didn't like some of Reagan's initiatives. If, on the other hand, military might was your thing, Reagan was a demi-god. No other President in my memory ever promised or attempted to reduce the fingerprint of the federal government. One might even go so far as to call it the "feral" government nowadays. It is untameable.

  5. No common sense approach to national debt
    Need I really expound? We made it possible for people who could not actually afford homes to buy them, and now those people have defaulted on enough loans to sink the country financially. So instead of fixing whatever idiocy allowed that to happen in the first place, we will instead nationalize numerous financial institutions. Were we born this stupid, or did we have to get several math degrees first?
Taken altogether, I hate having been right. The state of modern politics is one of cookie-cutter campaigns, developed by people with Masters degrees in marketing and film-making. We have no truly original political thinkers left in this country, it seems, and we're paying the price with the prospect of yet another failed administration. (Yeah, I know; the guy hasn't even taken office yet. Still, I'm not scoring too badly as a prophet now, am I?)

Check back with me in another four years and see if anything has really changed. If it has, I'd like to bet it isn't for the better.

I hope I'm wrong.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Why We Homeschool - Reason #1

Michelle Malkin calls it child abuse. I also refer to this as political bigotry. You have to see this to believe it:

What she did to that little girl is reprehensible. Psychological torture of that sort creates scars, and I desperately want to see this so-called "teacher" held fully accountable. The fact that she felt absolutely no compunction about brow-beating her young charges who dared to mention The Opposition is evidenced by her bald-faced lie about being "okay" with kids who supported McCain. If that's "okay," I'd hate to see this woman get upset about something.

We homeschool precisely because if someone is going to brainwash my children, it may was well be us. Intolerant bigots of this sort should (and will) never have any opportunity to fill my childrens' heads with this hogwash. Bad enough I have to let them go to college at some point. But at least I have time to prepare them.

If I were that little girl's parents, I would have the teacher, the principal, and the school board over a legal barrel and looking to have that teacher's credential immediately yanked.


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Curmudgeon's Guide Results

Let the Woundup go on record as congratulating President-elect Barack Obama and Vice President-elect Joe Biden. I am hopeful that the election of a black American to the highest office of the land will put to rest the myth that blacks are institutionally prevented from acheiving whatever they choose. I fear it will not, however.

So we lost the Big One. No matter; you can't win them all. We survived Clinton (who, had we been blogging back then, provided us with some wonderful essay material). We will survive Obama. I am less confident that we will ultimately survive the new wave of socialism that seems to have gripped our nation's leadership of late, however. With "spread the wealth" elitists in both the White House and Congress, we are rapidly moving down a path that leads to the sort of policies that remove more and more money from my pocket and give it to people who are unwilling to earn it. It will be the Obama administration's defining legacy, if Obama's campaign speeches are any indicator.

Time for that later, though. Right now, I want to focus on Uncle Woody's performance as a prognosticator with regards to our state ballot initiatives. Candidate-wise, Uncle Woody fared well in this election. We live in a fairly safe conservative part of the country, and our incumbents at both the national level and state level are keeping their jobs. I missed one slot on our City council. So here's a list of our ballot initiatives, how Uncle Woody voted, and how the results seem to be running with 95+% of precincts reporting:
MeasureUncle WoodyCalifornia
1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.NOYES (52.2%)
2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute.NOYES (63.2%)
3 - Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.YESYES (54.7%)
4 - Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.YES*NO (52.4%)
5 - Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute.NONO (59.8%)
6 - Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute.YESNO (69.5%)
7 - Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute.NONO (64.9%)
8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.YESYES (52%)
9 - Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.YESYES (53.2%)
10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute.NONO (59.9%)
11 - Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.NOYES (50.5%)
12 - Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.YESYES (63.4%)

* Yeah, okay, I know I'd said I would vote against Prop. 4 originally. Here's the story: Monday night I had a discussion with Mrs. Woody specifically regarding this initiative. I was fairly comfortable with my position on all the others, but this one niggled at me. Mrs. Woody and I decided that we would err on the side of caution and vote YES, because we'd rather be notified than not. AFTER we voted, I came across some excellent arguments against Prop. 4 (better than my own, that is), and I realized that I had voted in error and that I should have followed my gut instinct, even if for the wrong reasons. Turns out that Prop 4 would create a legal loophole that would make it possible for abortion providers - who are physicians and therefore court-mandated reporters - to file abuse charges against innocent parents, strictly on the say-so of the child. So I voted wrongly after ignoring my own advice. Let this be a lesson to you Young Conservatives!

Prop 4 aside, I'm not disheartened by these results. I "lost" 5 out of 12 initiatives, although given my Prop 4 story, that should really be 4 out of 12. Of the ones I lost, I'm most bothered by Proposition 2, the humane treatment of animals initiative. I see this as over-regulation and will be a costly one overall. Also, Proposition 11 is still in play. I won't holler too loudly if it passes, but I really don't think it will work as well as its proponents believe it will. I just can't see that we would have 5 Republicans on that commission acting in unison to create fair districts in this state. Too many RINO's to choose from, I'm afraid.

I was pleased to note that both alternative energy initiatives were soundly defeated. Across all counties, too. I guess I wasn't the only one to see the flaws in those initiatives. Speaking of all counties, the only other measure that had all counties voting the same way was Prop 12, granting low-cost loans to veterans. Nicely done.

Mrs. Woody and I of course spent copious amounts of time talking about this election with the Woodyettes. We had to send them to bed before Proposition 8's outcome was fully known, but we were able to send them to bed on a hopeful note. We are, of course, thrilled that Prop 8 appears to have passed. Not only that, but Arizona and Florida also passed similar measures. Traditional families prevail. There is still hope for this nation.

Monday, November 03, 2008

If You Do Nothing Else...

Proposition 8 Intolerance

One of the aspects of the so-called "progressive" movement in this country is its continued desire to define itself as "inclusive" or "tolerant." Yet liberal passion for intolerance is its most outstanding defining characteristic. This has been nowhere more evident to me as an observer than in the Yes on 8 vs. No on 8 sign waving campaigns for the past two weekends.

As I described in my previous post, the differences between the two sides could hardly be more obvious. The Yes people that I have observed at local intersections have been unfailingly polite and pleasant as they smile at passing motorists. They often work in family groups, and even the teenagers smile and wave cheerfully.

Contrast this with the No crowd who, apparently, only have time to be passionate about this cause of theirs on the weekends. There's little doubt of their passion for the cause; certainly they do more to get "in the faces" of cars that pass by. But their collective attitude speaks to their utter lack of tolerance for those who support this proposed constitutional amendment.

The No people tend to jump in front of the Yes folks, trying to obscure their signs as much as possible. They tend to yell at passing cars, or provoke drivers who are stopped at the intersection while waiting for the light to change. This last Saturday found one girl waving a California flag in folks' faces to get their attention. No other indication that she was either for or against the Proposition, but her body language put her squarely in the No camp.

The crowning act, though, for the No forces on Saturday was one incident that I observed while out running errands. One young man for the No side decided to walk part way across the intersection on the green light, tear up a Yes on 8 door-hanger that had been passed out that morning, and toss it in the intersection near to the Yes crowd on the opposite corner. He then jumped up and down as if doing a victory dance, pumping his fists at the drivers who sat - bemused or stunned - while witnessing this foolishness.

This must be what tolerance looks like to the progressive left.

To their credit, the Yes crowd merely ignored the infant and kept smiling and waving. I didn't stick around to see if anyone picked up the mess (this is one of the busiest intersections in this part of Orange County, and one must be EXTREMELY careful about stopping in the middle of the street), but it was gone by the time I'd run my errand and came back through. No sign of that particular youngster, either. Probably knocking back a victory beverage at the Carl's Jr. nearby. The flag-waver was still there, though. She had switched to mis-matched stockings (one red and the other a sort of sickly yellow) to make herself even more noticeable.

Tolerant and fashionable.

Please see the latest video from The folks working for the Yes campaign are already heeding this timely advice.

Vote YES for Proposition 8 tomorrow.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sign Wars

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, really. I've taken to watching the 11:00 news the last few days, primarily to see what kinds of shenanigans they choose to report. With the rampant stealing of Yes on 8 signs around the area, there has not been one story in the past week about the issue. Instead, they chose to focus on one incident of someone spray-painting the "n" word on an Obama sign, as if this somehow indicated institutional racism among McCain supporters.

What did I expect? Local newsies are just as liberal as the national guys.

Still, the Sign Wars have been fascinating to watch. I've driven by more disappearing signs than I can count now. Despite what I thought was very reasonable counsel from Prop 8 leaders, signs keep appearing on public corners at night. Then, of course, they're gone by morning. But the most fascinating battles have been the sign-wavers that we plant on busy intersections every day.

"Battle" is probably not the correct word, I suppose. These really are "campaigns" designed to flood drivers' minds with Yes on 8 sentiment until the election is over. Our ward has turned out in droves to wave signs on those intersections every afternoon for about the past two weeks now. Our youth in particular are getting into the spirit of this campaign and are just as enthusiastic as their parents as they cheerfully wave their Yes on 8 signs at passing motorists. Bishop mentioned a couple of weeks ago that many people honk and wave, and several even indicate "Number One!" with their middle finger.


For all their Hollywood and CTA money, however, the No on 8 forces are nowhere near as organized as the Yes folks. For one thing, when they finally showed up at those same intersections it wasn't until the weekend. They were crowded around the Yes folks trying to out-muscle them with their own homemade signs. My first thought was that they must have had a blog-burst that called them to action. It would fit with their M.O. on other protests. But as I drove by, I couldn't help noticing a few things. Since an observer can't spend copious amounts of time gawping at them without tying up traffic, you only get impressions. But those impressions will stay with me right up to the ballot box next Tuesday.

First of all, the Yes on 8 folks tend to be respectful and polite. They hold their signs up with pleasant looks on their faces, wave them to attract attention, and wave cheerfully back even to the people who communicate with sign language ("Number One!"). They also tend, where possible, to work in family groups. It's quite a sight to see parents and youth working side-by-side on this issue. Younger moms wave their signs while their babies snuggle in their carriers.

The No on 8 folks tended to be college-aged kids. Most of them had multiple piercings and interesting hair. From their hand-painted signs to their grunge/punk clothes, their appearance was closer to that of 60's and 70's era war protestors, except not quite as stoned. Their activities spoke of quite a different attitude than the Yes supporters. They were far more aggressive, tending to shout and cat-call and all but jumping right out in front of motorists in order to attract their attention. The attitude was "in your face" rather than "here's what we believe."

Had I been a painter, I couldn't have come up with a sharper contrast.

As if to underscore the attitude of the No crowd, I happened to stop at a drug store in a shopping center at one of those intersections. As I stood in line to make my purchase, one of the No kids was just finishing his own purchase. Probably needed some caffeine to get him through those exhausting hours. He had the piercings, the hair, the grungy clothes with inappropriate slogans on his shirt. But it was his conversation with the clerk as he was leaving that caught my attention.

"Those Yes on 8 idiots have nothing, man! They wave their little signs and think they're winning, or something, y'know? But they have no idea what they're talking about, dude! They're just a bunch of ignorant losers, man! They're so pathetic!"

Ah, yes. Another informed opinion.

Interestingly, these dedicated opponents of Proposition 8 only showed up over the weekend. By Monday they were nowhere in evidence. No doubt gathering their collective strength for another loosely organized assault this weekend. I'd like to think they're at home, writing term papers on how voting for Sarah Palin will drive a stake through the heart of civilization as we know it, or whatever their liberal Poli-Sci instructors are assigning them these days.

This has been an interesting campaign, indeed.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Redistributing Obama

Those who support Obama are having severe palpitations at the moment with regards to this YouTube video that's been making the rounds on the blogs:

A transcription of the meatier quotes is provided by Stop the ACLU:
If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I’d be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn’t that radical. It didn’t break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendancy to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.
[Emphasis by Stop the ACLU]

I provide the video for one primary reason. It's one thing to read the words, and another altogether to hear them. In the transcript we read statements that could easily be written off as "offhand" remarks or something that was "taken out of context." But listening to the inflections in a speaker's voice can communicate volumes about what that person is saying. Similar to the way body language is vital in communication, vocal inflection indicates the degree to which a person has studied or thought about the topic at hand.

In this audio, which contains far fewer of Obama's omnipresent "ums," we hear a man who has studied, accepted, and now evangelizes the basis for socialist policy in a democratic society. One analysis of this event that I read tried to make the case that Obama actually was channeling more of Martin Luther King's thoughts than anything else, and was in fact supporting the conservative cause rather than the liberal. This is hogwash. "Redistribution of wealth" is one of the basic tenets of socialism, and was defined by Karl Marx himself as one of the steps towards his ultimate "classless society" of communism.

Joe Biden was well and truly embarrassed to find himself facing questions related to Obama's latent Marxism in a recent interview. For all his hemming and hawing, he never adequately answered the question of Obama's statement of "spreading the wealth around." Obama himself has not been able to quell the accusations of socialism that we on the right find his comments to represent. Nuggets like this 2001 interview audio only serve to solidify Obama's credentials as a nearly card-carrying socialist.

(I did read the link from Drudge where Obama was quoted as saying he was "bored" by the suburbs. Big hairy deal. This came on the heels of his selection as President of the Harvard Law Review and only showed his disdain for all things middle-America. Like this is news.)

Still, two key statements from this audio which should give any American pause for thought:

1. The idea that the Constitution is a flawed document. He uses the concept of "negative liberties," meaning that it places limitations on the powers of both the federal government and the states. It doesn't, he says, tell them what they must do (my emphasis) to help those in this country who may have become "dispossessed." Well, Mr. Former President of the Harvard Law Review, you may have missed those classes that discussed the idea that these "negative liberties" were not only deliberate, but necessary. These are part of the checks and balances that continue to give people like Barack Obama a voice in how this country is run. We may frequently disagree with those who hold the power at any given time, but there is no better model for government anywhere on the planet today. As broken as we feel things may be, there's always someplace far worse off than we are. Canada would be Exhibit A.

2. The idea that the Supreme Court (under Warren) did not go far enough in the redistribution of wealth. Hey, if Obama wants to redistribute his own wealth, that's his business. It may surprise Obama to know that many conservatives, myself included, frequently redistribute our wealth in numerous ways. What we don't want, and will not accept, is having the federal government dictate to us just how that wealth is to be redistributed. I already give far more money to the government than they either need or deserve. That they have never figured out how to spend it intelligently is a direct reflection of the greed, prejudices, and woodshed politicking of our Congress and President. (I leave the Supreme Court out of this indictment because, except when they're legislating from the bench, their primary budget outlays deal with keeping a sufficient supply of black robes on hand. Thank goodness they don't use white powdered wigs.)

I have my reasons for voting for John McCain in this election. Many of them are in this post.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Real Magic of 'Joe the Plumber'

Joe Wurzelbacher kinda wishes the media would go away. Or, at least, those members of the media who keep trying to trip him up as the purported savior of the McCain campaign. When asked on Huckabee's Fox News show about all the attention he's gotten, he said:
"It actually upsets me[...] I am a plumber, and just a plumber, and here Barack Obama or John McCain, I mean these guys are going to deal with some serious issues coming up shortly. The media's worried about whether I paid my taxes, they're worried about any number of silly things that have nothing to do with America. They really don't. I asked a question. When you can't ask a question to your leaders anymore, that gets scary. That bothers me."
There it is, in a nutshell. "Joe the Plumber" becomes an overnight sensation — a man whose name is had for good and evil across the nation — simply because he asked a question.

He has more guts than I've ever had. But then, he was literally in the right place at the right time. I am not a small business owner myself, but I've often thought about becoming one. Every time I do, though, I end up in the same place. The government would likely tax and regulate the heart and soul out of whatever enterprise I'd like to try, so why bother?

Joe, as a plumber, has harbored dreams of starting his own business, having a few guys work for him, and trying to eke a better living for his family. Absolutely nothing wrong with that. Has he made a few errors in his life? Certainly. Has a few tax liens to deal with. I've had one or two in my life, too. Wreak havoc with one's credit, they do. But that never meant that I couldn't take care of those liens, keep my nose clean for a few years, and ultimately have good if not admirable credit once again. No reason that I can think of why Joe shouldn't have that same opportunity.

I seriously doubt whether we'd even be having this conversation had he asked this question of McCain rather than Obama. For one thing, McCain's tax proposals would likely be more friendly to Joe's American Dream than would Obama's. Also, McCain would never have responded as Obama did:
"It's not that I want to punish your success. I just want to make sure that everybody that is behind you, that they have a chance for success, too. I think that when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
Which is precisely why the political left is so hacked off right now. Obama fell into a trap of his own making. He took a question from Mr. Average American, gave his gut-level response to that question, and immediately showed his socialist stripes. That has to be embarrassing to Democrats who wish to paint the party as being only slightly left of center. Spreading the wealth around is about as far left as you can go without actually being branded a communist (small or capital 'C').

Make no mistake: Obama's response, NOT Joe Wurzelbacher's question, was a game-changer. The left can excoriate 'Joe the Plumber' all they want. They can dig as deep as they like and get as nasty as they ever have about Joe's personal life and his alleged "connections" with McCain or his campaign. At the end of the day, however, they still have Obama's stated desire to "spread the wealth around" hanging over The Anointed One's head. It just doesn't sound or look good. And all the nastiness they dish out on Wurzelbacher will only come back to them, returned with interest.

If Obama loses in November, it will not be 'Joe the Plumber' that we hoist onto a pedestal and lavish with praise. It will be Obama's "spread the wealth around" petard that gets that singular honor. If he wins, it will be because Americans were too blind to see that petard for what it was: the acceptance of socialism as an American political standard.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Intolerance Boiling Over

In an incident that won't garner much attention outside a local TV station, a Prop 8 supporter was attacked while passing out lawn signs in front of a church in Modesto. More detail about the attack (alleged or otherwise) is found in a Christian Newswire release picked up by the folks at
The assailant grabbed about 75 signs and yelled at [Jose] Nunez accusingly, "What do you have against gays!" Although Nunez replied that he had nothing against gays, he was attacked anyway. The assailant punched Nunez in the left eye and ran off with the signs.

Nunez, his eye dripping with blood, walked into a building on church grounds where a fellow parishioner called 911. Police and paramedics responded to the scene.
The attack is a chilling reminder of the "tolerance" levels of the extreme left on certain issues. Emotions are running high, and along with the severe fire weather out here, it isn't surprising that some people just can't seem to find any better way to express their frustrations.

As if to underscore how widely this issue cuts across social strata in this state:
Ironically, Nunez, a native of Mexico, became an American citizen two months ago and plans to vote for the first time in November. Nunez, who is recovering and in good spirits, said the attack only strengthens his resolve to help ensure that Prop. 8 passes.

"The other side wants to intimidate us, but we can't stop standing up for traditional marriage. I may be bloody and bruised, but I'm not giving up. Protecting traditional marriage is just too important for our kids," said Nunez, the father of three children, ages 9, 5, and 3. "I don't want my kids taught in public school that same sex-marriage is the same as traditional marriage," Nunez added.
So we have a member of a minority who willfully established himself as a full citizen of this "land of the free" a mere two months ago, already having to fight for his freedoms against a special interest group who clearly has no tolerance for the beliefs of others.

The "No on Prop 8" campaign has rightly condemned any violence and I'm willing to bet that the clown who did this was not serving in any official capacity with the campaign. But it is, I think, a reminder to those of us who may feel complacent that we are up against explosive sentiments on the other side of the argument.

We need to be careful out there.

Monday, October 13, 2008

An Open Letter - UPDATED

Scroll down for updates

Dear Sign-Stealer,

You know who you are. You're against something that numerous other people support. This galls you. I understand that. It's the nature of politics that people will frequently support something with which we disagree, and there is no federal, state, or local statute that demands that we like it. Can't ever legislate how we feel about things, no matter how loudly Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton may argue otherwise.

But I gotta tell you, Sign-Stealer: this business of yanking down and removing political signs that bother you is not helping your cause. If I were to catch one of my young daughters doing this with her sister, I would accuse her of throwing a temper tantrum and give her a time-out until she calms down and apologizes. Such things carry consequences, you know, and ought not to be tolerated.

I'm talking specifically about those signs in support of Proposition 8, but that really doesn't matter. You and people like you have done this with numerous other campaigns. You have done everything from spray-painting obscenities on signs or campaign headquarter windows, to keying cars that dare to sport bumper stickers that do not have your explicit approval. Expensive cars, I might add. Cars that will require new paint jobs (or worse, in some cases), and very likely cause the insurance rates of the victims to go up. Not to mention the cost of new tires to replace the ones you slashed.

The issues may be national or local. The candidates may be Democrat or Republican (or worse). It matters not. Dirty tricks like this are inexcusable and unacceptable.

Of course you don't care about such things. It's a "free country," right? You have a perfect right to express your political opinion in any way that gets the job done. Hey, all you did was steal a few signs. They annoyed you and they had to come down. And even if it wasn't you, personally, who did those things, you sure appreciate what they did. I mean, that stuff takes courage, you know?

Unfortunately, for all your careful thought and planning, the message folks are getting probably isn't quite the message you intended. This is what most of us think about what you're doing:
Hi. I'm a sign-stealer. Here's why I took them:

1. I'm right and you're wrong. I don't care how many of you support Prop 8. You're all just a bunch of lemmings following each other off of a cliff. I'm saving you from yourselves.

2. I'm also ignorant. All I know is that Prop 8 is bad, but please don't ask me to tell you why. You wouldn't listen. Anyway, it's too complicated to talk about, so I'll just steal the signs. That will tell you all you need to know.

3. I have no respect for property. Stealing signs isn't my day-job, after all. While I'm flipping burgers at McBurger Jr., I'm probably wolfing down fries without telling anyone. Hey, we give free refills to people who pay, so why shouldn't I have a drink now and then? Doesn't hurt anyone else, right?

4. I have the emotional maturity of a four-year old. A really disturbed four-year old. I'm the kid who always took the ball and bat and went home if I wasn't winning, even if it wasn't exactly my ball and bat.

5. I am not a Republican or a Democrat. I'm an anarchist. I have Che posters on my wall in the apartment I rent downtown with 27 other stoners. I see no reason why I should have to work for a living, but The Man wants money if I want a place to live. It bites, though, because I'd rather be out there impressing chicks with my skateboard tricks. Life is so unfair.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but I think it captures the essence of how we perceive people like you.

Of course, all this may be a tad harsh of me; I don't really know you, after all. In fact, for all I know you may even be a college student. You may actually believe that this is what counts as "political discourse" in this nation. You may somehow have convinced yourself that by stealing these signs (or defacing property, or showing us your command of sign language by using your middle finger) you will have altered the campaign in your favor.

If so, that makes you a bigger fool than the one I described above.

UPDATE: Mrs. Woody related this story to me this morning. Our Woodyettes take piano lessons from a very sweet young mom in our ward. She has younger kids, and one of them goes to pre-school every day. She generally gets back from dropping this child off just a few moments before Mrs. Woody arrives for the lesson. While chatting with her, she related to Mrs. Woody that she had just had a nasty experience with a lady who stopped to yell at her for putting a Prop 8 sign up on one of those corners that already has approximately 32 signs per square foot. Our piano teacher's habit lately has been to put the Prop 8 signs up early in the morning, then take them down at night, for obvious reasons. Anyway, while stopping to put up the sign this morning some lady pulled over for the express purpose of swearing at her with regards to Prop 8.

Mrs. Woody, who had just come that way, assured her that when she drove by there was no Prop 8 sign in evidence. Obvious (unsubstantiated yet inescapable) conclusion: the yeller had waited until our piano teacher friend had left, then returned and yanked the sign.

The tolerance is mounting.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Proposition 8 - Protection of Marriage - UPDATED

The reactions to Proposition 8 from the opposition are, sadly, predictable. Samples of love and tolerance:
• Sign stealers in Orange County (scroll for updates)
• Attack on a Prop 8 supporter in Modesto

These are difficult times for our nation. Those who consider themselves to be minorities have long worked to be granted equal treatment under our laws. Those who don't get their way frequently turn to the courts where they stand an even chance of being heard and redressed. If not, they sometimes turn to violence, reckoning that at least their voices will be heard and the issue may once again be discussed.

It is difficult in today's political climate to voice an opposing opinion. There are so many "hot button" issues in the United States (and, indeed, throughout the world) today. It is nearly impossible to present a point of view — any point of view — and expect it to be heard or read without any negative feedback. Even this insignificant blog of mine is a good case in point. No matter what opinion I voice, there are always those who are eager to thow the arguments back in my face. No matter what the issue, the process is always the same: attack, denigrate, be as sarcastic as possible, but for heaven's sake don't bother to offer thought-provoking discourse because the simpleton that wrote the article obviously is unwilling (or unable) to listen. It probably doesn't help that my own sense of humor frequently provokes such responses.

On occasion, however, an issue becomes so important that being silent is unacceptable. An opinion must be voiced. Efforts must be made to persuade. A majority will speak this November, and the rest of us will have to live with the consequences of any resulting decision.

The issues surrounding Proposition 8 are relatively simple when taken at face value. Those of us who support this proposition do so from the perspective of wishing ardently to protect and preserve the definition of a "traditional marriage" as being between a man and a woman. Those who oppose this amendment to our state constitution see only the idea that marriage is being denied to one class of citizen in this state. It is a battle of wills, enjoined by people who would otherwise get along just fine if left to their own devices.

I do not deny that life is not always easy for homosexual people. There are those who are violently opposed to their lifestyle and will inflict that violence on otherwise innocent victims. There can be no quarter expected or granted to those who willingly hurt or destroy the lives or property of others. Everything else about this issue, then, comes down to how one believes.

It is no secret (except, perhaps, to my detractors) that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is also no secret that the Church has made statements to its membership regarding Proposition 8 and why, precisely, we need to support it. This is not a question of political "neutrality" for the Church. This is a social issue that has wide-reaching ramifications if the current status quo remains unchanged.

Those of us who have been watching such things carefully have noted a disturbing trend. Along with being LDS we are also a homeschooling family. This was a decision that Mrs. Woody and I made many years ago, even before our daughters were born. We knew we wanted to homeschool because it was becoming increasingly clear that public education was forcing (and I do not use the word lightly) an agenda on our children with which we strongly disagree. Much of this agenda has its roots in the word "diversity" and all its connotations, both the good and the not so good.

Across the nation we have read countless stories and news articles relating to this agenda. It consists primarily of something called "inclusion," and demands tolerance of all sorts of social behaviors that stand in stark opposition to the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a significant difference between public education and the Church in how the issue of homosexuality is perceived and handled.

The Church understands that same sex attraction is real. However, the gospel makes it clear that the gift of procreation is sacred, and should only be enacted within the confines of a legal marriage between a man and a woman. Together this couple have the power to bring children into the world to be raised and nurtured with love and protection. Indeed, the realization of the fullest blessings of eternity, including life with our loving Heavenly Father, depends on our obedience to this principle of marriage, sealed for eternity by those who hold the proper authority.

Other religions hold similar views and have traditionally discouraged any union other than the one described above. The only difference might be in the method or authority used to create such a union, but the basic principle has remain unchanged for centuries: marriage between man and woman. No other marriage is honored or allowed in the heavens.

Lately some religions have been experiencing tremendous upheaval by entertaining even the idea that changes to this long-standing commandment of the Lord might be somehow acceptable to Him. We have watched with no small concern the turmoil in the Episcopal church in the United States. A sharp division has risen throughout its congregations regarding the practices of same-sex marriage. Congregations are threatening to secede from the body of the church if they insist on formally adopting such practices.

Elsewhere, entire churches have already given themselves over to the inclusion of same-sex practices. Large portions of scripture are re-written (or "translated" to justify the practice) to eliminate the conflict between revealed word and desired results.

Such things are perfectly acceptable in this nation. The guarantees of being allowed to worship as we choose are still one of the keystones of this republic. Those who would create a church that allows same-sex marriage are allowed to do so. We who feel differently certainly do not have to acknowledge their claims to authority or doctrinal correctness. We are not required to attend their services. We are free, in other words, to believe differently from them.

Which is what makes the recent decision of the California Supreme Court so critically dangerous. By using a simple majority of the court to override the language of Proposition 22, which was passed in 2000 by 61% of California voters, they have changed the rules of engagement. It is now possible for fringe groups to launch legal challenges against those who do not believe as they do. They have already made changes to the state education code that allows such things to be taught to our children in school at very tender ages. That they now feel empowered to legally challenge churches to require that they allow same-sex marriages will set up a colossal struggle between church and state.

The tone of this challenge has already been established by San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsom. Gay marriage is coming, he says, "whether you like it or not." Yes, a distinct challenge. And we must be equal to it.

The only way to deal with this challenge is to find the one way that the California Supreme Court cannot overturn it; by making it an amendment to the California state constitution. Proposition 8 takes the same language that was approved eight years ago in Proposition 22, and makes it an amendment. That will make it "constitutional" and will eliminate the court's ability to override it on those grounds.

It is important to understand that, whatever you may feel or believe about this issue, many of us who support Proposition 8 are not doing so to discriminate against homosexuals. We are not supporting it to violate anyone's civil rights. We are not trying to deny same-sex couples the same rights and privileges afforded to married couples. We are, instead, fighting to protect our own civil rights; the ability to continue to believe and worship as we have been instructed. It is important enough to us that we will continue this fight, if needed, even if Proposition 8 is somehow defeated.

We can only pray that it will pass this November.

UPDATE: Connecticut's Supreme Court has now overturned their state's ban on gay marriage. The challenges will continue to mount. This fight is far from over.

Interestingly, the article implies that California's ballot initiative is the "first time" this issue has come before voters. Breitbart is incorrect: Proposition 22 in 2000 placed that language in our state code, which is what the Supreme Court cancelled with their decision.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Smear, Schmear

It's not a smear if it's true.

This is where politicians' pasts catch up with them and make life hot and sweaty for the remainder of the campaign. Folks are bored, apparently, with "issues" already and so we move into the character assassination phase of the election cycle. McCain will be taking hits both for his involvement with the "Keating Five," as well as his relatively advanced age. Obama, for his part, will more or less deflect direct shots on his involvement with some still-toxic radicals throughout his adult life.

I say "deflect" because even Tom Brokaw is carrying water for the Golden Boy. He has downgraded Bill Ayers from full-fledged radical terrrorist to a mere "school reformer."

Hey, it's not like Ayers has gone out of his way to disabuse us of the notion that he hates the United States of America. Except, you know, for those who tend to accept his radical "communism with a small 'c'" brand of "community organization." This man is repentant in the same way Hussein was repentant when he was led to the gallows.

Obama, of course, claims that the "smears" are McCain's attempt to deflect attention away from the economy, which is admittedly not his strong suit. Doug Ross (via American Digest) points out that McCain, at least, has a ready-made solution to his economic shortcomings: simply announce his intention to name Mitt Romney as Secretary of the Treasury. This would tend to take most of the teeth out of Obama's argument that McCain doesn't have the economic savvy to run the country. So long as he was willing to listen to Romney's advice on the most critical matters we face, such a selection would go a long way toward pacifying those of us on the right who believe McCain is currently taking the coward's way out of the immediate crisis.

I also find charges that McCain has an "erratic" nature, largely due to his advanced age, as being somewhat trite. The man is 72. My Dad was 72 when he passed away, and he was a much bigger curmudgeon than McCain can ever lay claim to being. Old guys tend to think of crotchetiness as something of a badge of honor. The man still has young adults at home. He's gonna be crotchety on occasion.

As I've said before, this is all pretty much business as usual in every election to which I've paid attention. Candidates don't like each other. They also have to persuade large sectors of population that the other guy is completely untrustworthy, and they will look for any charge, no matter how flimsy, to sell it. I only expect to see more of this over the next four weeks.

Boy, will it be a relief to get this over with.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Not Good

It passed.

The cowards in Congress, rather than punishing banks for predatory lending practices, and rather than encouraging Americans to take personal responsibility for irresponsible borrowing, have instead indicated that personal and corporate responsibility are no longer morally required in the United States of America.

Entitlement apologists are, I am certain, rejoicing with the passage of this damaging bailout. CEO's of irresponsible lenders around the nation are breathing easier tonight thanks to loopholes large enough to drive freight trains through.

Led by psychopathic Representatives Pelosi and Maxine Waters, the Congress crows about a bipartisan "solution" which amounts to nothing more than a toxic barrel of earmarks and free money that will be forceably removed from honest taxpayers' wallets.

Barack Obama no longer has to wait to take office to see socialism triumph in America. This bill just assured it.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

When Veeps Debate

Just hopping around different blogs and news orgs to see initial responses to tonight's debate. I think my own perceptions are confirmed: Palin delivered.

To his credit, Biden made no major gaffes tonight. Did he misstate facts? He did. But at least he didn't resort to any of his "Hillary would have been a better choice" thrillers. Big relief for Obama, I'm thinking. I sometimes wonder if Obama doesn't have those moments like Dan Akroyd in "My Fellow Americans." Oh, Lord. Please don't let him start quoting lyrics.

But where Biden has had a couple of months now to campaign for his new boss (and, subsequently, spend time backtracking on all the nasty things he'd said about Obama during the primaries), Palin has only had a bit more than a month to prepare for this one opportunity to meet her opponent in open combat.

Palin's preparations have included two of the biggest travesties ever called "interviews" with major networks. What Palin said was fine. The way the networks framed the questions, then edited her responses was criminal. That neither interview succeeded in tanking McCain's standing in the polls is remarkable, and says perhaps more about Palin's value to this campaign than any of her stump speeches.

Palin's strengths are two-fold: she has a command of the facts that support her positions (and, by extension, her boss's), and she has an engaging personality that probably makes many liberal alarmists want to hurl. Irrespective of debate rules, Palin disarmed Biden before the debate even started with her "may I call you Joe?" greeting. However much a man of the people Biden may try to portray, Palin could have just come straight out of a Connecticut kitchen; in command and ready to roll up her sleeves and work.

I don't think Biden quite knew how to parse all of that. And Ifill hadn't even asked her first question yet.

Were there cringe moments for me? Absolutely. I remain unconvinced about the bailout bill, and hope it fails to scrape enough votes tomorrow. I agree that certain restrictions are required in the mortgage industry, and all predatory practices need to be outlawed. Ditto holding CEO's accountable for their intentional stupidity. What worries me is the "oversight" built into the bill. Government interference ALWAYS equals higher costs passed on to the taxpayers, and this will be no different. Palin is a little too eager to support this deadly "rescue plan."

[Quick sidebar: Did anyone else choke when Alan Mulally of Ford characterized the auto industry's $85 billion bailout as "just a loan?" No? Just me, then.]

There were also the obvious efforts of Gwen Ifill to bail Biden out of uncomfortable exchanges. She threw him quite a few more life preservers than she did for Palin. To Palin's credit, however, she needed far fewer of them. The only frustrating part was that she thus missed a few opportunities to really put Biden in his place. She was gracious about it all, though, which wins her points on style.

Taken altogether, a very good performance by Palin tonight. I would hope that it helps give McCain a bit of a bounce in the polls, but I'll settle for him keeping the spread to single digits at this point. He still has two more debates of his own to handle, and we're not out of the woods yet.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Trick Question

When is an issue not really an issue?

Folks over at Michelle Malkin's blog are up in arms over the appearance on DishNetwork of the "Obama" channel. It resides on channel 73, and apparently it shows up on everyone's service no matter where they reside or which package they have.

"Where's the McCain Channel?" they ask. Well, probably McCain didn't deign to waste his campaign funds in this manner would be my guess.

This is the proverbial "paid programming" that folks can buy. This the kind of programming that will make you richer than Midas if you'll send the suit in the video $299.99 (or three easy installments of only $150.00 per month) so you can have all his secrets.

Of course, this is Obama we're talking about. According to Ben Smith of Politico, the only thing showing so far is a two minute video outlining his economic plan on a continuous loop.

Well, Mrs. Woody and I subscribe to the smallest allowable package that Dish offers (we get it primarily to receive BYU-TV), and we have created a favorites list of the channels we watch the most. Channel 73 is NOT on our favorites list, and I would never have known the Obama Channel even existed if not for the rash of hives over at

Of course, now that I know about it, I may actually wind up watching some of it. If this is the collected wit and wisdom of Barack Obama, I can spare two minutes of my time.

I suspect Obama will just record X number of messages and have them played on that loop. So along with the usual "it's all Bush's fault" rhetoric, you also get some insight into what Obama expects us to swallow in order to vote for him. It would be a good research project for some hot young new-media type to get the gist of the Obama Channel messages, then track Obama's team to see whether they stay on message between now and November 4.

For really riveting TV, though, you still can't beat the Food Network. I don't see how Obama can possibly compete with "Throwdown," or "Good Eats." Also, anyone silly enough to gaze at O-TV all day long really deserves whomever they vote for.

The Obama Channel. Honestly.

CORRECTION: When I wrote this at 0-Dark Hundred this morning, I had tuned briefly to the channel to witness the end of his economic speech and the beginning of what I assumed to be a new one. Apparently I should have stuck it out to be certain. However, I can't imagine throwing all that money into creating this 24x7 loop without planning more content for it. Not even Obama is that financially retarded.


Monday, September 29, 2008

Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters - 2008 General Election (California) Edition - UPDATED

LAST UPDATE (I PROMISE!): This may well be the most important election we've had in the last twenty years. There are clear choices to be made here, many of them between polar opposites (as with Proposition 8).

You may have noticed that I do not generally use the Curmudgeon's Guide to discuss candidates. The simple reason is, there's too many of them. Uncle Woody has a hard enough time deciding between our local candidates, let alone keeping an eye on the rest of the state or, indeed, the nation.

However, as I have kept up with the news reports and blogs over the past several weeks, one thing is crystal clear in Uncle Woody's mind: Barack Obama needs to be defeated tomorrow. His election will usher in an era of socialist-leaning programs and policies, the likes of which have not been seen since the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt. And I do not mean that to be a favorable comparison. The New Deal addressed a series of national woes, true. But rather than let them simply expire over time as the nation righted itself, they were codified into our collective consciousness and we have been dealing with those consequences for going on four generations now. Barack Obama will represent a tremendous step backward for this country, and it has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN. It is entirely about his political philosophies, none of which show any understanding of the intent or purpose of the United States Constitution.

One other comment is directed at voters in western Pennsylvania who must choose between incumbent Rep. John Murtha, or newcomer Bill Russell. Given Murtha's tireless rantings and insults which he has directed at both the Marines who served in Haditha, as well as his own constituents, I would be absolutely astonished if Murtha is somehow re-elected tomorrow.

But whatever you do, people, or however you intend to vote, you must vote. You must participate in this process if we are to have any hope at all of resurrecting the form of government envisioned by our founding fathers.

UPDATE: Tom McClintock is one of the last reliable conservatives we have in California politics today. With very few exceptions (and what would life be without a few exceptions?) he has tended to vote for or support my own views on a wide range of issues. I just received an email that outlines Tom's recommendations for the Propositions on this ballot. I find that we match pretty well, with just a few differences. I'll note those differences below.
Hey, there, Young Conservatives! It's been a busy year. Coming up on Election Number Three in this state, which by my count is approximately two elections too many.

However, the monster must be fed, and you're here because you're looking for some deep, insightful analysis presented in a concise format that will make all the California ballot initiatives clear in your young minds.

What you get instead is whatever knee-jerk reactions Uncle Woody has had whilst perusing the voluminous "Official Voter Information Guide" that weighs approximately as much as the car you're driving right now. Shame on you, Young Conservatives! Pull over before you start reading this stuff!

And now, for your Ritalin induced dementia research and reading pleasure, we present you with

Uncle Woody's Curmudgeon's Guide for Young Conservative Voters, 2008 General Election (California) Edition

Prop. 1A - Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.

The idea here is to issue bonds (state politicians' favorite non-tax tax) in the amount of just under $10 billion to build and improve passenger rail service between the major population centers in the state. Hence a trip from Los Angeles to Oakland would take 2 hours and 40 minutes. Sounds terrific, and Uncle Woody is an old railfan from waaay back. I just don't know if there's enough interest in such commutes (except for state-hopping politicians, perhaps) to really make any money off of it. Reminds me of past attempts to build high-speed lines between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. That one would have had you losing money paying for the line, and losing your shirt when you got there.

Uncle Woody says get out of the way and let Amtrak do their thing. No on Prop 1A.

Prop. 2 - Standards for Confining Farm Animals. Initiative Statute.

Thinly veiled attempt by the ASPCA and PETA to quit torturing animals that are targeted for eventual slaughter and eating anyway. Forcing "humane" conditions on growers just inevitably raises prices between them and the dinner table, which, I have little doubt, is PETA's ultimate goal. Make the animals expensive enough to eat, and everyone converts to Veganology.

(Tom McClintock appears to take a sort of reverse philosophy from Bruce the Shark in "Finding Nemo." Animals are food, not friends.)

Uncle Woody oinks in their general direction. No on Prop 2.

Prop. 3 - Children’s Hospital Bond Act. Grant Program. Initiative Statute.

Uncle Woody must break with his traditional curmudgeonry in this particular instance. Children's (and other) hospitals across the state provide services that Uncle Woody's extended family has required in the past, and they always need more funds. This money is used to help maintain, increase, and promote the level of care and research that these hospitals provide. Even though much of Proposition 61's funds have yet to be awarded, we need to keep this money flowing. I'd even rather see the money we might have spent on high-speed rail travel being spent on kids instead. Cancer, in particular, is much more pervasive now than it was even ten years ago.

[Here's one of the differences I have with Tom McClintock. He finds use of "children" to be a cynical way of funneling taxpayer money into private hospital concerns. That may be true; I'm certainly no legal or financial expert. However, I have always watched with no small concern as we continue to try to provide quality medical care with fewer facilities and underpaid staff. I hold my line on Prop 3.]

Uncle Woody votes an unqualified Yes on Prop 3.

Prop. 4 - Waiting Period and Parental Notification Before Termination of Minor’s Pregnancy. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Here we go again. We keep trying to outwit our teenagers, rather than communicate with them. Look, parents, if you're so worried about your daughter rushing out to get an abortion without your consent and knowledge, then you have already slammed the doors of communication shut between you. If you want to get ahead of the curve, STAY INVOLVED IN THEIR LIVES. Just because they're old enough to go to high school is no reason to abdicate your position AND INFLUENCE as a parent. If you love your kids, help them know that their lives are safe in your arms. That includes being able to come to you with news of a mistake — even a huge one like unprotected sex — without having to fear for their young lives.

I hate to admit that Planned Parenthood, of all subversive organizations, might be right, but forcing doctors to tell parents about abortions 48 hours before performing them is only going to drive kids to seek such treatment elsewhere, under unsafe conditions. If you'd rather your daughter not get an abortion, teach her about the nobility of adoption. Then go vote for legislation that criminalizes all elective abortion.

[Here again I disagree with McClintock. Look, I'm not saying that requiring parents to be notified before their child gets an abortion is a bad thing. I'm all for keeping parents in the loop. My argument is that if you've gotten to the point where a provider has to inform you that your child wants an abortion, you've already missed the boat. TALK TO YOUR KIDS. If you want to vote Yes on Prop 4, Uncle Woody will not stand in your way. I really won't howl if it passes. I just think it won't accomplish everything its proponents think it will.]

Try again and get it right, folks. Uncle Woody votes No on Prop 4.

Prop. 5 - Nonviolent Drug Offenses. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Initiative Statute.

Uncle Woody sees several huge problems with this initiative. The biggest problem, both in terms of uselessness and gross weight, is a "19 member board" to be created to direct parole and rehabilitation policy. In other words, a new bureaucracy that will toss drug offenders into rehab, wash their collective hands of the offenders, then gasp with surprise when 90% of those offenders wind up back in jail.

Here's where Hollywood really sets the example, folks. How many rehabbed actors and musicians have cleaned up and stayed that way?

Uncle Woody votes No way, Dude, on Prop 5.

Prop. 6 - Police and Law Enforcement Funding. Criminal Penalties and Laws. Initiative Statute.

Uncle Woody supposes that, since he votes No for Prop 5, he'd better be ready to vote for increases in funding for law enforcement. Since I don't, you know, believe in rehab, for example. This initiative alots nearly $10 billion (that figure, again!) for police, sheriffs, district attorneys, and facilities to handle stiffer regulations with regards to gang activity in particular. In other words, it's all intertwined in this initiative, and voting against it kind of kills the whole thing.

My problem here is that we continue to view gangs as just another element of society with (as some have argued) potential for (here's that word again!) rehabilitation. Uncle Woody, on the other hand, keeps wishing someone will wake up and actually label gangs as what they really are: enemy combatants. Then we can persecute and prosecute under provisions of Homeland Security and send in the National Guard, rather than wasting the efforts of good cops.

Until then, however, Uncle Woody will swallow hard and vote Yes for Prop 6.

Prop. 7 - Renewable Energy Generation. Initiative Statute.

Requires utilities in California to generate 20% of the power from renewable sources by 2010, 40% by 2020, and 50% by 2025.

Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? But there's a problem, and this initiative isn't going to solve it. We DON'T HAVE THE INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT THIS IDEA. Honestly; am I the only one in this state still waiting to see Schwarzenegger's promised "Hydrogen Corridor?" Well, guess what: that's an infrastructure issue, and WE AREN'T THERE YET. Ask folks in Tehachapi how much of a break they get on power provided by all those ugly windmills that besmirch their lovely foothills.

There's also the small issue of calendar. By my calendar, we have just over 15 months left until 2010. Even if we give them until December of 2010, that only gives them 27 months to come up with this 20% of renewable power. It will take 26 months alone for the Public Utilities Commission ("Preventing Your Power For Your Own Good") to approve the plans.

Uncle Woody votes Lights Out (that's "no" in utility-speak) on Prop 7.

Prop. 8 - Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

You just know that Jerry Brown came up with this description. "Eliminates" their right. Cute, that.

A future post is forthcoming (delivered, as promised, here) in regards to Proposition 8. There are arguments aplenty in support of the initiative, one of which is that it took 61% of California voters to approve the exact same language in Proposition 22 back in 2000, but only 4 arrogant California Supreme Court justices to overturn it a few months ago. Said it wasn't "constitutional." Like they would know.

Let's make it constitutional. Uncle Woody votes YES on Prop 8.

Prop. 9 - Criminal Justice System. Victims’ Rights. Parole. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

This one will be tricky. So-called "victims rights" are tenuous at best, especially in California where we seem to glory in creating safe-havens for every undocumented murderer that comes across the border. Berkeley still hasn't learned this lesson, and I doubt that this amendment will convince them otherwise. There's also the fact that the real damage to victims is typically done in court, and is inflicted by defense attorneys whose only goal in life is to win the case, without any moral compunction about using every available loophole to prevent an obviously guilty defendant from receiving the full brunt of the penalty they deserve.

Still, as a sort of consolation prize, we have the opportunity to make it somewhat harder for criminals to be granted parole, warn the victims when parole may be granted, and give them a greater voice in whether parole should be considered.

Uncle Woody votes Yes for Prop 9.

Prop. 10 - Alternative Fuel Vehicles and Renewable Energy. Bonds. Initiative Statute.

Money, money, money. Everyone wants it. No one wants to give it. Particularly when they refuse to build infrastructure to support what they're asking for. Look, Uncle Woody is all for alternative fuels. The problem is, we're not very good about implementing these ideas. Everyone who has a hand in it is really looking to have a controlling interest (read: huge payback) in how it grows. If you want hydrogen fueling stations at more than a handful of locations around the state, you need to make it worth someone's while to build them. This is something Schwarzenegger has utterly failed to do, and remains one of the last things on which he campaigned that hasn't seen much activity. Bio-fuels are also dicey. We have a tendency to go overboard when something seems to work (corn, for example), then realize that we fouled up and forgot that people have a tendency to want to eat the stuff, not burn it in cars.

Uncle Woody "Brakes" for Prop 10. Show me something that will work to everyone's advantage, then we'll talk.

Prop. 11 - Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment and Statute.

1. California's redistricting process is broken.
2. Everyone wants it fixed.
3. No one can agree on how this should be accomplished.

Solution: make the voters do it! Really. This initiative creates a 14 member commission from a pool of 60 (can you say "lottery?"). Of the 14, 5 must be Democrats, 5 must be Republicans, and 4 must belong to "neither party."

Oh, really? Does that mean this commission might be influenced by 4 stoners from the Green Party?

[My final conflict with Mr. McClintock. He posits that voters, not legislators, should draw the lines. My problem is with the way this thing is written. It won't be "the voters" making these decisions, it will be a lottery-based commission of 5, 5, and 4. I'm being a tad facetious with my "stoners" crack, but not by much. Just look at all the nonsense surrounding the selection of a simple jury for any given trial, and you'll see where my concerns lie. This again will not accomplish what I think the proponents believe it will accomplish. There are too many question marks, and not everyone who registers Republican acts like a Republican. Can you say "Schwarzenegger?" I'm sticking with my curmudgeonly NO vote.]

Uncle Woody votes to snuff out Prop 11. Sober commissions only, please.

Prop. 12 - Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008.

The only argument provided against this initiative is that the Cal-Vet loan program isn't limiting enough. Seriously. Someone volunteers to serve in the military to protect their country and (by extension) their state, and some Bozo in a three-piece suit wants to limit loans to only those veterans who actually serve in a combat area.

This program makes more sense than anything Congress is currently hashing out with respect to our credit crisis. Uncle Woody salutes the flag for Prop 12.
Convenient summary for Young Conservatives to clip out and take to the polls:

1A - NO
2 - NO
3 - YES [McClintock: NO]
4 - NO [McClintock: YES]
5 - NO
6 - YES
7 - NO
8 - YES
9 - YES
10 - NO
11 - NO [McClintock: YES]
12 - YES

UPDATE: So I've had this star-rating thingie on this blog for a few months now. The only score I'd received up until yesterday was my own 4-star rating for one of my own posts that I thought was particularly clever (although please don't ask me which one... can't remember). Finally I receive a rating from an actual reader! It's only 1 star, but still.

It's a little like those quick surveys that we ask customers to fill out when we've provided a service. They rank you in the toilet, but refuse to leave any comments that explain why they hate you.

Ah, well. At least someone noticed.

A Tale of Two Families

In the parable of the prodigal son, a young man takes his half of his father's estate and wastes it on riotous living. His fall is swift and humiliating. He finds himself living lower than his father's own servants. Finally he resolves to return to his father and offer to work as one of his servants, knowing that at least he'd be cared for and be able to eat real food. His father, of course, will have none of it, but instead welcomes his son home joyously. They kill the fatted calf and have a feast to celebrate the return of his once-lost son. The other son, who had remained faithful throughout, cannot understand why his father would greet this wayward son and welcome his return with full forgiveness. This faithful son is taught an important lesson about the need to welcome back those who stray and return with repentant hearts. True repentance requires being in the depths of humility and recognizing the need to remove the sinful behavior from one's life.

How very different from the prodigal son is this tale of the country's financial crisis. In this tale we have fathers and sons making horrible decisions with their finances. Money is lent irresponsibly to those who cannot truly afford to borrow. When those borrowers cannot repay, they face losing their homes and, potentially, even their livelihoods. Rome, being Rome, can think of only one response to this situation: give money held by those who chose wisely to those who made those bad decisions. Thus everyone appears to win.

Except for the repentance. There is no repentance in this scenario. The lenders will continue to lend, raking in as many borrowers as the new laws will allow. They will find whatever loopholes they can exploit for lending money once again to those who truly are in no responsible position to borrow. The borrowers will seek new sources of money so they can live in homes they cannot truly afford in order to maintain the lifestyles they dream of. They hope against hope that their personal finances will grow to the point of being able to pay back the loans without further assistance, but this will only happen if their income increases dramatically in a short amount of time.

Meanwhile, taxpayers who have acted (I know some of you hate this word) conservatively with their funds and their financial decisions are suddenly expected to simply hand money over to those who will (emphasis intended) squander it. There is no question that our taxes are going to be squandered by throwing it after people who have lived riotously, yet fail to realize that this was a bad decision on their part. No, they feel that they are entitled to this bailout, or at least they have felt that way ever since the government told them that they were so entitled.

So, if this bailout legislation succeeds, please don't ask me for a fatted calf with which to make merry. I won't be able to afford one.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

First Amendment? What First Amendment?

Noticing a pattern emerging on Obama's campaign trail. Every effort is being made to squelch dissent whereever it is found. A classic example of "freedom of speech for me, but not for thee" thinking (via Michelle Malkin).

This story comes from The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia:
Mr. Obama, the Democratic nominee for president, is scheduled to speak at a rally at the university today. The public is invited to this forum, on property it, the public, owns. However, signs and banners will not be allowed, according to the organizers and compliant campus officials.
The First Amendment guarantees the freedoms of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly, petition of the government. Will one who aspires to the title Defender of the Constitution begin inhibiting these First Freedoms even before he is in office--at a public university?
A fabulous question. The commenters to this story attempt to trivialize the issue by claiming it to be simply a question of good manners. Really. Signs prevent me from gazing with rapture at The One, so they should be banned. This comment from "thatguyb" is typical:
...if someone holds up a placard, banner or sign in front of me, they are violating my right to participate in this rally. If people respected others rights, this wouldn't be an issue, any banner would be held at best chest high. Unfortunately respect lately has gone out the window, and people don't seem to care, so I admire the campaign for prohibiting these view obstructing items. I want to be able to see and hear the forum, without distraction.
Do yourself a favor, dude. Stay away from party conventions. The point is, even the Secret Service doesn't care about signs, so long as you can't turn any part of it into a weapon.

Next we turn to Obama's "Goon Truth Squad" efforts. Gateway Pundit has this story, including video of a story from the news team at KMOV:
St. Louis and Missouri Democrat sheriffs and top prosecutors are planning to go after anyone who makes false statements against Obama during his campaign. This is so one sided I can't even begin to describe how wrong this agenda is.

It's one thing if they want to keep the campaign fair for both sides, but they clearly only want to enforce the issue for the Obama Camp.
True enough. Since the KMOV story includes interviews with the prosecutor involved, you may as well watch it to see for yourselves.

For all the howling about Bush's record on "civil rights violations" with regards to our handling of enemy combatants at Gitmo, you'd think Obama's campaign would be particularly sensitive to this issue of squelching freedom of speech at his rallies. It's one thing to have dedicated teams for debunking statements made by opponents to your campaign; it's another one altogether to try to prevent your opponents from saying anything in the first place. That is a violation of the First Amendment, and Obama needs to be called on it. If someone uses their right to free speech to incite violence or threaten the life of another, hey, I'm all for throwing their sorry fannies in jail for awhile. But you can't arrest them until they actually make such a speech or you can prove that they intended to. Just about everything else, including mocking your opponent's disabilities are all covered under that wonderful First Amendment.

Want to see how tolerant liberals really are of conservative values or candidates? Are you sure? It's pretty ugly. (Extreme content warning: you will see more fingers in this one video than you've ever seen from truck drivers or since high school.) It's a video of a group of McCain supporters marching through downtown Manhattan on September 21, 2008. Watch at your own risk. (Hat tip: American Digest)

Completely offensive to me, but the First Amendment guarantees their absolute right to express themselves in this way. I will not, on the other hand, ever visit Manhattan. I'd be too tempted to wear my McCain-Palin campaign button, and I might get hurt.

Of course, fair is only fair. So if Obama has Truth Squads dedicated to correcting Republican messages about The One, surely he must have an entire sub-team whose job is to follow Joe Biden around and correct his own innumerable slips of the lip.

The One must have balance, after all.

Friday, September 26, 2008

I'm Still No Fan

Didn't tune in to the debate until about midway through, when they were already discussing foreign affairs. This is actually a relief, since the economy just gives me a headache, and I really don't believe either candidate has any clue how to fix it anyway. They'll just naturally pick whichever political solution fits with their anticipated base of voters and go for it.

It was interesting to note the opportunities McCain missed. I agree with Michelle Malkin that McCain didn't make any noteworthy boo-boos during the (part of the) debate (that I bothered to watch). But he noticeably missed opportunities to really slam the door on Obama's particularly naïve world view. McCain never really answered Obama's stated goal of "restoring America's reputation" with the world. Started re-hashing his already scored point that Iraq is still a fundamental key to our success in the whole war on terrorism.


Both men cut across each other frequently and forcefully enough that no one will be accused of being a shrinking violet. To this old conservative's eyes, though, Obama looked more and more tense as the debate progressed. His noticeable hesitation when attempting to respond to McCain's bracelet story was particularly telling. He actually had to glance down to remind himself of the man's name. Not a gaffe, per se, but an indicator that the war is for Obama something to be closed out and distanced from sooner rather than correctly. He's not interested in a lasting solution in Iraq. He's interested in how the world views that solution.

I also don't think the rest of Obama's base has got to be thrilled with their Anointed One's stated desire to close out the Iraqi theater, while at the same time ramping up in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Hey, war is war, guys, and if Iraq is unpopular, why should Afghanistan or Pakistan be any more popular as a place to spill American blood?

I also have to wonder how Russia and China are ever expected to consider US interests by helping with sanctions against Iran. Given Russia's continuing "imperialist" tendencies of late, and China's continual thumbing of noses at any human rights violations, I just don't see either one of them getting excited about helping us prevent Iran from going nuclear. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to see nuclear centrifuges in Iran with parts made in Russia and/or China.

So I obviously give the nod to McCain, even though he muffed quite a few chances to put this upstart in his place. I heard absolutely nothing that I wasn't expecting from either candidate tonight, nor was I particularly impressed with either man's debating style. (CNN was hilarious with their little "instant audience reaction" graphic. Gee, look at that... the overall average goes up when Obama is talking — even before he actually answers the question — and goes down when McCain speaks. What a shocker. Could it be that CNN viewers are in the tank for Obama? Nah... That's cynical, even for a Republican.)

Woody ranks this one: Big Hairy Deal. (Not!)

Question of note in the Woody household: Jelly Woodyette asked, "Daddy? What did he say about torture?" My first political discussion with Daddy's little girl. *sigh*

No Fan of Debates, Either


I was really kind of hoping this one would be cancelled. There are two reasons, primarily:

1. I still think the financial crisis is more critical. Yeah, we need to know what our potential leaders think, but this crisis is going to affect more people in this country for a longer time than a mere 4 or even 8 year administration ever will. We need to get this one right, even though I fear we will not.

2. Along the lines of knowing what our potential leaders think, debates in modern politics don't do that. Here's the rub: thanks to modern media, the internet, and a plethora of opinionated people (present company included), if we don't know the candidates by this time after more than a year of listening to their dribble, the debate ain't gonna fill that void. The one possible exception to this axiom is Sarah Palin. Still relatively unknown, even to those who are throwing their whole-hearted support her way (including your gracious Blog Host), the VP debate may yet reveal some qualities about Palin that have not yet been reported. This is especially true since the MSM weevils insist on reporting everything BUT where Palin stands on the issues. Her "interviews" with Gibson and Couric were both carefully transcripted so as to show her as not having ready answers to anything, and made her statement about getting back to Couric on one specific question seem weak. It was a perfectly reasonable response to a question designed as a media "gotcha."

Otherwise, debates in modern politics are the functional equivalent of beauty pageants. They are designed by the same geniuses that long ago decided to cater to America's incredible shrinking attention span by providing us everything we need to know in soundbites of 1 minute or less. May as well dress McCain and Obama in swimsuits, have them pivot a time or two, then answer "The Question" (answer: world peace!) for the benefit of our media judges, whose opinions of who won seem to be the only ones that matter.

Will I watch the debates? Maybe. I'm definitely more interested in the Vice Presidential debate than the Presidential ones, if more for the potential entertainment value than the political "capital" that will be claimed by both sides. Debates are fascinating things. They seem to mirror our predilection for so-called "reality TV." It's like watching a season of "Survivor: Washington, D. C." for two years. The debates are designed to show how the contestants can outmaneuver each other, stab each other in the back, make alliances they have no intention of ever keeping, and generally showing what schmucks they are. It's not politics at its finest.

So with morbid fascination, America will watch tonight's debate between McCain and Obama. My prediction: each side will claim victory on principle and no one's mind will be made up.


No Fan of the Bailout (Updated)

If the Woundup were to state some sort of "official" position on the whole bailout scheme, that position would be "against." I see this as nothing more than punishing honest taxpayers for the sins of those who just couldn't wait to jump into mortgages that they ultimately couldn't handle. I dare say that most of them were those creative mortgages that sounded wonderful until you got a few years into it and realized that once your "fixed" rate expired, your adjustable rate would suck your money out of your wallet faster than a vindictive ex-wife. (Not that I have a vindictive ex... it's just a metaphor that seems to work for a lot of people.)

When Woody was a pup (and several times since) he received advice from several people regarding his financial future. Given the fact that Woody has never actually completed a college degree (Whee! More ammo for my detractors!) he readily admits to being anything but a financial expert. Still, the advice received all those years ago holds true today: if something sounds too good to be true, it very likely is.

One piece of advice I was given stated that the only good mortgage was a truly fixed-rate mortgage. One where the lender couldn't play any head games with your rate, your payment, or the terms whereby you could make an early exit from the contract. Three times I heeded that advice. One time I was forced to enter foreclosure. Ironic, I suppose, that the only times I was able to even consider entering the market were those times where the interest rates were considerably higher than they have been lately.

The foreclosure was a bite. No two ways around it; they were difficult times for me on several levels. Seven years (minimum) of bad credit scores. I say minimum, because after we abandoned the house some dirt-bag opportunists (squatters, really) forged my name on some documents, promised to pay the lender some of those arrears, and dragged the foreclosure process out by at least a year after the house should have been sold at auction.

The point is, I took the hit. It affected me personally, and my new wife by extension. For the first seven years of our marriage we were unable to get anything that didn't have punishing interest rates due to that one blotch on an otherwise good credit report. And I accepted both the hit and the downstream consequences. I never once complained to any of my elected officials that, gee, the banks really led me astray and would they please pass some sort of legislation to give me some taxpayer money and help me keep my house. Whining was not an option. (Not to the government, anyway. I'm certain I whined to someone, but that was several years ago. No idea who that may have been.)

This bailout is touted by too many people who see it as some sort of panacea for the country's financial woes. I wish it were that simple. Far from curing the disease, it will only encourage those who wish to continue their dangerous speculative practices. We don't need a bailout; we need Gamblers' Anonymous.

Hillary Clinton has already raised the spectre of a "government entity" that would rival the New Deal bureaucracies of the 30's. This can't be good. Creating more layers of government oversight will only serve to deepen the already neck-deep welfare state mentality in this country.

[UPDATE: I'm keeping the following section in strictly because I never learn from my own mistakes (hmm... must have political blood in me after all...), but this one should at least teach me to dust off my calculator from time to time. The numbers in this viral email don't quite add up, as pointed out by commenter Chris. Take three zeroes off of the results and you come closer to the truth.

Even with that, I still like this plan better than anything Congress is kvetcing about.]

The best solution I've heard so far came from a viral email that's been making the rounds the past couple of days. Since both my elder daughter and Official Woundup StepDad, ZeeMeister®, forwarded it to me in the past couple of days, I feel it worth passing along to my three or four readers. The original email is attributed to a Tim K Parkinson, Improvements Project Manager for the state of Utah. No idea if it's real, but I like it. He's only addressing the AIG bailout (a mere $85 billion), but think what his proposal would look like using the $700 Billion being touted by Congress right now:
Hi Everyone,

I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG. Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We Deserve It Dividend. To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide U.S. Citizens 18+. Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up.

So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals$425,000.00.

My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It Dividend. Of course, it would NOT be tax free. So let's assume a tax rate of 30%. Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes. That sends 25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam. But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.

A husband and wife have $595,000.00. What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?

Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
Put away money for college - it'll be there
Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
Buy a new car - create jobs
Invest in the market - capital drives growth
Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improves
Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else

Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.

If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of trickling out a puny $1000.00 ("bying the vote") economic incentive that is being proposed by one of our candidates for President.

If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult U S Citizen 18+!

As for AIG - liquidate it. Sell off its parts. Let American General go back to being American General. Sell off the real estate. Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up. Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't. Sure it's a crazy idea that can "never work."

But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party! How do you spell Economic Boom? I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in Washington DC.

And remember, my plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
So there it is. A proposal I can stand behind.

Of course the bailout is practically a given. Too many constituents (voters) in too many states need it because they got caught with their hands in the virtual cookie jar. Turns out the CEOs of the lenders got there first. It's a shame, but all too soon we taxpayers are going to be told to fork over whatever we have and hand it out to these "poor" defaulters.

Off to bed I go. I'll be a tax-paying pauper in the morning.

UPDATE: Baldilocks gets it.