Saturday, May 31, 2008
Rebels Flail In Colombia: More good news about what is looking more and more like the death throes of FARC and a real win for the US government.
Taxpayers May Face Hurricane Tab: You know all those idiots that are on the other side of the country from you - building in hurricane, earthquake, tornado, and so on prone areas? Here's the first step for us bailing them out of their decisions. What happened to personal responsibility?
Detroit Politician Gets Lesson in Civility from 13 Year Old: One of the WSJ's typically offbeat A-Head stories about how a 13 year old caused a stir in Detroit.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Do you ever find yourself yearning for a simpler time? Well, perhaps not a simpler time, but at least one that was a while ago? Then, when you get some more information about it, you think you just want the Disneyland version of it? Whenever I get bored, say like the past little bit when I've been here in my hotel room with my very tired little girl sleeping and naught but my laptop to keep me company, I surf my sites, then hope that i can think of something I'd like to learn about by visiting Wikipedia, which I then hope is true. Usually it ends up with me looking up cities and/or train stations and/or businesses from Japan. That's when I turn to my good friends at Google Earth, swing over to Japan and start playing the utterly contemptible Way We Were by Barbara Streisand. Since I lived there for a good 2 years as an actual semi-citizen (not just a guy on an army base or anything) doing missionary work, I think back through a rose colored brain and remember how great it was. However, I looked back at some things I wrote and that reminded me just how lousy some days were. It's exceedingly tough to reconcile those two things - how much you like and would love to go back and have some of those experiences again and how much you hated being kekkoed and having an idiot for a companion. (After all, who other than an idiot would take your 1000 yen and give you back a week of breakfast that consisted of cracked wheat cereal that was already there for 3 days, curry for 1 day, one egg sandwich for 2 days, and the pièce de résistance, 3 pieces of cinnamon toast for 1 day?)
So I was watching TV the other night and I totally got sucked into the 48 Hours on polygamy. It was absolutely fascinating, and it got me thinking about polygamy in general. I really have no problem with it. It’s certainly not for me, but if people want to live it, they should have that right. Of course, because it’s different, it’s not considered normal.
To me, there are two kinds of polygamy: the FLDS kind and the other kind. The FLDS kind is rather insidious, where there is no choice or say in the matter. You’re 14? Say hello to your new husband, Joe. Your sister left the group? Joe is not your husband, now Tom is. That is awful, it’s abusive, and it should never be allowed or sanctioned. I’m all for wiping out the leadership of that group – let Warren Jeffs rot in prison and let his followers experience the real world.
The other kind is one where the family lives in the real world, among the rest of society, and they are all together normal people, with the exception that Johnny doesn’t just have two mommies, but a father as well. What’s so wrong with that? How is that so worse than Hugh Hefner, who is legally able to have as many Playboy bunnies in his bed as he wants, every night? At least the father in this situation cares about the family, as opposed to someone who is either bored with the same woman or just wants sex.
I certainly think that if gay marriage is legalized, there is no way you can keep polygamy illegal. Yes, it’s not the normal state of affairs here in the US, but does that really matter? Technically, if you look at the constitution, there’s nothing there that says you can’t marry who or whatever you want. This is my libertarian streak speaking, but let people live. Protect those who need it – children, those under age, and so on, but let consenting adults consent.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Really, for the green lobby, these traders going nuts and deciding that every time someone in Nigeria sneezes that they need to buy oil is the best thing that could possibly happen. It's causing people to buy smaller cars and ditch their big cars and move back to the cars of yore. Who here remembers the BMW 318i? That 1.8 liter engine was the base for over a decade until the early 00s when suddenly we all decided that power was everything (and let's face it, it kind of is). Suddenly your smallest choice is a 3.0 liter engine that isn't nearly as efficient as the older 3-series engines. We'll see how this goes, although it's a double edged sword as I hope Congress allows us to pillage the heck out of Utah for all the shale refineries can eat. That's where I'm not an environmentalist - I won't sacrifice for the planet.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Who said that giving no quarter to your enemies didn't work? After decades of failed attempts by the Colombian government to eradicate the Marxist rebel group FARC, it looks like it might collapse after the surrender of (some of) its leaders yesterday. This has to be heartening news to the Bush Administration give its current struggles in Iraq and the support they've given President Uribe. It's great to see that something is actually happening in Colombia. They've had decades of low-level guerrilla action that led to such 80s classics as the movie Romancing the Stone and the Tom Clancy novel Clear and Present Danger, but even with the pop culture contribution, it's been a tough and bad road for the Colombians. Part of that has been their own fault. Successive administrations weren't tough enough on FARC and there is a very real level of public support for these Marxist groups. For some reason they are extraordinarily popular in South America. Be it their populist rhetoric, their actual beliefs, or the connection to Che Guevara, they've stuck around and thrived in many places. Nevertheless, I see this as almost the end of their threat to Colombia. Even with the help of Hugo Chavez and his gang of banana republic dictators, Uribe has said no more and taken the fight to them across the borders if necessary. Eliminating that safe haven has really been one of the catalysts for this decision. If you can't hide, it's probably better to just surrender than to be wiped off the planet.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
I got this killer paper prayer rug, something that was a bit perplexing because I've never known a Christian religion to use a prayer rug, much less a little paper one. Nevertheless, it was in there and awesome. The three scans below are some incredible generic prophecies and whatnot meant especially for me and a financial contribution form to make sure that I receive the blessings that I so richly deserve to get, assuming I contribute.
Friday, May 16, 2008
I looked through my prior posts and saw that I hadn't actually talked about this before, but I have a solution to the immigration problem. It's not a popular solution, to be sure. It's radical, it is very possible, and it's never going to happen because nobody would go for it, including supposed libertarian Ron Paul. My idea is the ultimate libertarian one: if they want to come, let them come. No more giant queues in Mexico some 20 years long, no more H1B visa quotas that are filled within hours, no more Berlin Wall on US borders.
I know what some people are saying. Well, they're saying a lot of things, but among them are "we'll be overrun," "do you want to speak Spanish?" "America is for Americans," "what will happen to our jobs," and perennial favorite "we're going to have more crime, you know." Some of those are valid arguments, some are weak. First, we will not be overrun because if there aren't jobs for people, they won't come. It's pretty simple like that. In fact, an interesting thing to note is the immigration flow with Mexico is actually reversing (WSJ subscription required). It's not a full blown reversal yet, but it's very interesting to see that it's not just an unchecked and unsolvable problem. As long as there are jobs, people come. When those jobs vanish, so do the people. As far as the speaking Spanish criticism, this wave of immigrants is learning it. In fact, it's as fast or faster than prior waves, despite what is popularly portrayed. I think part of it is marketers marketing (if I put my sign in Spanish, I'll get more Hispanics!), but some of it is just misinformation. America is for Americans. They happen to be Americans - as much as you or I. Let's face it, we're all immigrants except for the Indians, and they are immigrants too, just from 12000+ years ago. Our jobs will be safe if we're semi-competent because it's still easier to hire someone who is a native English speaker who has had a good education. Of course, those who are here on H1B visas are another matter, as they're highly skilled workers, but I would say that if you are not skilled enough to get that job and a company has to look outside the US to fill the position that it's your fault. Get yourself educated and quit complaining about being kept down. US history is filled with people who went from rags and riches and it can still happen to anybody. Finally, there's the crime issue. I would proffer that if we had an open border, that would largely disappear. The vast majority of people coming here are honest, hard working individuals. They get involved in crime because we ghettoize them. They have nowhere to turn but criminals and that gives the criminals inordinate power. Who wouldn't have a lot of power with an army of 12 million who are forced to go to you for help? Get rid of the incentive to go there by letting people come in.
How would we do this? I'm not saying to just toss out a welcome mat to everyone to come on in. You would have to pass a cursory criminal check. If you're not a criminal, feel free to come in. That way, everyone who is coming in illegally is definitely not a good person and you can nail them to the wall if they're illegal. It makes a nightmarish enforcement job bearable and it punishes those who need punishing as opposed to the poor father who's trying to make it here so his family can have a better life.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
EDIT: Here's the video from YouTube.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Term Limits (haven't read yet)
Transfer of Power (haven't read yet)
The Third Option (haven't read yet)
Separation of Power (haven't read yet)
Consent to Kill
Act of Treason
Protect and Defend
Saturday, May 10, 2008
After Cannon's speech, we voted. After the results came back, everybody in the room was a bit stunned. Chaffetz was first with around 40% of the vote, Cannon was second with a 30% or so, and Leavitt was last with 20%. That was a shocker. Even though Leavitt's last speech wasn't great or anything, I still thought he was the best challenger. My wife couldn't stop saying how bad she felt for Leavitt - she had seen him sweating it out before the results were announced. It was clear to everybody that it was over for Leavitt except for the formality of a second vote. I was saying to my wife that if I was Leavitt I would have immediately started swinging the vote to Cannon. A few minutes later, that was exactly what I heard was happening. We had our second vote and Chaffetz jumped over 50%, getting most of the votes from the two fringe candidates in the process. Leavitt was officially eliminated, and I said if I was Leavitt, I would have all of my Orange Shirts grab Cannon signs and show all of my supporters that I was swinging to Cannon. Then lo and behold, I saw something that made me cheer with delight. Leavitt's people did precisely what I said - they came into the hall all carrying Cannon signs. After a fair amount of booing from the Chaffetz people, they left when the party leadership booted them for campaigning on the Convention floor. Then Leavitt and Cannon strode out, shoulder to shoulder, and walked around, meeting people. Of course, there was more booing, as apparently 2 people can't walk around together anymore (yes, I realize it was an endorsement, but nevertheless, there wasn't anything wrong with it). We cast our third ballots and waited. While we were waiting, my wife and I talked with Leavitt about how much we appreciated the way he ran his campaign with integrity. He knew who I was - not as a delegate, but he knew this blog and that I ran it. Not that it's very difficult to figure out if you try, but I didn't expect that from him. At any rate, we went back up to the Cannon suite and waited it out, hashing over different scenarios and whinging about how awful things would be if Chaffetz was our Congressman - you know, all of that end of the world stuff that my crazy aunt mentioned and whatnot. I seriously would write in someone else if he somehow makes it out of the primary. Anyway, after waiting around for a while, we discovered the tally - Chaffetz missed a 60% majority by 6 votes. 6 votes. That is amazing. I can't imagine anything closer than that, and I can't be happier because it means that Cannon will be back. Chaffetz can't compete against him for name recognition, and his austere campaign can't pat itself on the back if they suddenly start spending money to get him elected - after all, it's not fiscally responsible to spend money on a campaign. It's better to not win and be proud that you were so much better than everyone else because you were cheap.
EDIT: Links to other reports from the floor:
Leadership that Delivers (official GOP liveblog)
Thursday, May 08, 2008
What the disaster was is currently unknown, but rest assured, it was awful. Buildings are standing everywhere, cars are driving on the roads, it's pandemonium. I'm barely able to write this blog, what with my T1 connection being up and all. We don't know what happened, but we do know what led up to it:
-Crazy aunt makes a prophecy that she'll have to use her food storage starting at 5 PM yesterday.
-Crazy aunt receives second revelation revising the time to today at 5 PM
-Uncle who is married to crazy aunt sees a lone bomber circling Hill Air Force Base. This may or may not be important
-Uncle who thinks the world is ending heard that we captured the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. His immediate thought was that al Qaeda would attack us straightway. Remember, this was a scant hour or so before the big disaster.
-Mother thinks we might be in for an EMP due to an airburst ICBM explosion. From who or where is currently unknown.
I really don't know where to begin as it is just so horrible that words can't describe how horrible it is. As I drink my Diet Pepsi and sit in front of my monitor, I look out the window and can only quote Kurtz..."The horror! The horror!"
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
Despite the earlier prognostication that there's going to be a big earthquake today at 5 PM, it has apparently been pushed back by God and my crazy aunt to Thursday at 5 PM. Adjust your panic accordingly.
On a side note, my uncle and mother have both made runs on local stores to clear them out of everything. Honestly, isn't that a bit much? How in the world can you believe crazy aunt when her last prophecy didn't happen (and certainly won't now that President Hinckley is dead and buried)? I'm going to make sure that I am at work after 5 just out of defiance (and the fact that I always am anyway) to this ridiculous idea that she has prophetic powers.
Monday, May 05, 2008
I had the whole soundtrack plotted out and everything despite 2 qualifications that were lacking:
1) I've never been a songwriter or a singer
2) I've never seen No Country For Old Men.
If you want to option it, you have my blessing.
Joe Ferguson. He's the candidate of choice for the John Birch Society and he's a staunch opponent of the North American Union. Of course the NAU is a conspiracy theory project at this point and just because we ratified NAFTA and CAFTA doesn't mean we're all for the NAU (although Joseph Smith proposed it back in the 1840s, so why is it such a bugaboo anyway for Mormons?). Nevertheless, he only had one real opinion - no NAU and no steps towards it.
Jason Chaffetz. Is there a bigger jerk in the race? During the 2 hour debate he managed to toss Orrin Hatch, David Leavitt, Chris Cannon, George W Bush, and his old boss Jon Huntsman under the bus. All of this so he could be seen as the guy who gets things done and says what needs to be said. If you criticize Huntsman's position on global warming, you criticize your policies. If you manage to marginalize yourself from every single member of Congress before you even get to the House, chances are that you will be very ineffective. For someone who touts being a member of Reagan 21 (in fact, he mentioned that he mentioned it before anyone else did, but that was mainly because he was the first one who had the question asked to him), he certainly doesn't belong. What was it that was Reagan's 11th Commandment? "Don't criticize fellow Republicans." That's something Chaffetz could learn from. Another politician he could learn from is Al Gore. Chaffetz managed to pull a Gore and roll his eyes, tut-tut, and shake his head at every opportunity when Chris Cannon was speaking. That comes across as condescending, and if memory serves me correctly, when Gore did it in 2000 against George W Bush it didn't turn out too well for him either. Oh, and one other thing. His "God bless you and God bless the United States of America" line - I hate it. I HATE it. Words can't describe how much that bugs me. If he was the President and this was the State of the Union, that'd be fine. I don't recall any candidate for office, sitting or otherwise, ending his debate performance and his standard stump speech with it. It's ridiculous. Instead of being statesmanlike or whatever he's aiming for, it comes across just like the rest of his performance. Condescending, ill-advised, and patronizing. The sooner we rid ourselves of him the better. One thing I will say - if by some wild stretch of the imagination he is our candidate, I would look very closely at either throwing my vote away or voting for the Democrat. I will not vote for Jason Chaffetz.
David Leavitt. I thought Leavitt gave the best performance in the debate. He was articulate, he was statesmanlike, he made good points, and I thought he aquitted himself quite well.
Chris Cannon. Poor Chris. He's a great guy, but he is not at his best in a forum like this. He's not great at providing a concise, direct answer to a question and it makes him look like a chump. He'll obfuscate and hem and haw on things. At the same time he did make some nice little points like why is Jason Chaffetz running against Cannon in the 3rd District when he lives in the 2nd District and could go against Jim Matheson (answer: because he's a calculating sucker who thinks Cannon is the most vulnerable). There's also his record, which is pretty solid as well.
At the end of the debate, I was leaning more Leavitt, but right now I'm a little bit more in the Cannon camp. The one thing it did serve to do is eliminate Jason Chaffetz from serious consideration.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Jason Chaffetz is a colossal jerk.
Chris Cannon is not a good debater.
David Leavitt is making the best impression.
A full wrap up is forthcoming.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I've heard a lot of insane things lately:
-We're running out of wheat
-We're running out of rice
-Gas prices will be $10.00/gallon in 2 years
-It's a worldwide famine
While there are things to be concerned of, these are not among them. First of all, we're not running out of anything. We may in the future, but like the idiot in my office who predicted $4/gallon gas back in 2003, just because it eventually happen doesn't make your prediction that it will happen by 2004 true. You are no Nostradamus, that's for sure. At any rate, gasoline will not be at $10/gallon unless the dollar drops 100% from where it is right now. We have had less wheat and rice than normal due to some weather issues as well as the scourge of ethanol, leading farmers to plant more corn, leading to less wheat, leading to higher prices - not an absence of wheat all together. Now that wheat is up, we're looking at a bumper crop in the fall/winter. Hallelujah, the wonders of a market economy.
What has been more disturbing is the insane devaluation of the dollar. Did you know that if the dollar was still at parity with the Euro, oil would be $50/barrel cheaper right now? That translates into a decrease of at least $1/gallon on gas at the pump. Sure, supply is still tight and there needs to be more exploration, but the biggest problem with oil prices isn't supply, it's the anemic dollar. You can see the effects of a strengthening dollar even today - it's down at around $1.55:€1, which is better than the $1.60 that it was at. This has primarily happened due to the increased concern about inflation which has made the Fed look hard at putting the brakes on the easy money. This in turn has lowered oil prices by $6/barrel from its high. Of course, that isn't to say that things are going to continue on this pace, but if the Fed cowboys up and increases rates, it will anger Wall Street, but it will really help Main Street. That's why your food is more expensive (well, that and ethanol) and that is why your car costs more to drive (well, that and ethanol).