Category Archives: Social

A Way to Look at National Debt

“You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity.
What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else.
When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is the beginning of the end of any nation.
You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” – Adrian Rogers, 1931

So, the paragraph below is what I first posted after that quote. I, frankly, hadn’t had enough time to do more than peruse the headlines on the matter. My mother shortly reached down my gullet and yanked out the liberal talking points I had swallowed. It honestly never occurred to me, even after all these years, that the left and their puppets in the media would lie so blatantly. Fool me a hundred times I guess.

The Tea Party and its fellow travelers may have picked a poor time and place to make a stand on taxes and the debt limit. By my understanding the obligations which the debt limit had to be raised to meet were already extant, already on the books, already spent. People were owed money and had to be paid. Paying our debts was the right thing to do, as it always is.

In point of fact the government  (read presidential administration) could have started cutting programs and firing people, or, more pragmatically, directed their underlings to do so all the way down the chain, and crested under the debt ceiling. They chose not to do this and instead excoriated with vast sprays of scorn those who suggested that perhaps we ought not to be spending so much money.

Bloody ridiculous. When you’re spending so much you’re approaching your credit limit you stop the spending. You cancel the cable. You tell little Susie she’s going to have to practice the violin at home for awhile as lessons are out of reach. Maybe you sell the violin. You don’t simply raise your credit limit. Unless you’re stupid.

“But where do you cut? Which children do you send away hungry?” Excellent question. Better start figuring it out now ’cause things are not going to get better with more government spending. See the above quote.

The root problem is still the same, the government spending far far more than it takes in. (Notice I did not say ‘makes.’ The government does not make money.) And that problem has not even been touched. The current administration is spending more, faster, than any administration previous and they make the argument everyday that the only answer to the economic problems of the country is to spend yet more. I don’t buy it.

In spite of all the obfuscation streaming from the left and the right alike, spending more than you make is unsustainable. The solution to approaching the credit limit on your credit card is to stop spending so much bloody money, not raise the limit. If you have to raise the limit to make your mortgage, do so, and then put your house up for sale and start looking for apartments that you can actually afford. If you start badgering your employer for a raise because you can’t afford your lifestyle, he’s likely to laugh in your face and tell you the same thing. Stop spending so much money. Unfortunately, our government does its badgering of its employer, us, from behind a gun, and they want their money.

The cold heart of the matter is that we are looking at the approaching end of our way of life and government because that government won’t stop spending too much  money, much of it on ridiculous bullshit programs.

I’ve had friends yell at me and accuse me of killing innocents over this issue. The first place the left reaches to cut the budget is always defense, one of the most clearly appropriate venues for the spending of taxes. I suspect they do this because they know the military doesn’t vote for them and largely places the welfare of the country over their own personal convenience. And the other folks on the payroll?: GS drones, welfare recipients, academia, etc…overwhelmingly vote democrat. When you must pay for votes to stay in power, cutting spending is unlikely at best. See the quote above.

Currently I’m suckling from the government teat. I’m in the National Guard on full time orders. I’ve deployed to combat three times. My full time job with the guard also involves me risking my life for this country. I’ll volunteer again. Cut my job. Do it. I dare you. If it’s part of reigning in the insanely out of control spending we’re perpetrating right now I’ll welcome it with open arms.

And you know what? I’ll land on my feet with another job, probably making more bloody money, and I’ll still vote republican because as ridiculous as they are lately they’re still better than the left.


Stop all foreign aid. All of it. Every dime. Our house is not in order and we, frankly, need to put that first. Take all the foreign aid money and start shoveling it against the debt. Anybody know how much we spend in foreign aid every year? I don’t. I don’t have time to figure it out either. I’ve got a bloody job.


Hugo Voter Deal 2011!!!

The deal of the century!

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Keep the digital copies and only read them after you’ve cast your ballot of ignorance! Long live the counter-culture!



I once referred to Penny Arcade as the ‘one true comic.’ I still feel this way.

Lately, I’ve become addicted to PATV. I’m pretty sure ‘addicted’ is the wrong word, actually. I don’t binge. I’ll watch, sometimes, two episodes at a time.

My restraint is not a symptom of apathy toward the product. It is only possible through iron self-control. For PATV is an extremely limited commodity. There are only so many episodes glistening in their neat rows, waiting to be harvested at my leisure. Once I watch the last there will be no more, until the gods dole them singly out at a shameful pace. So I limit myself.

My fascination with the victories and secret shames of the .jpg business has been a puzzle to me. I’ve finally decided, though, that the show is a glimpse of the promised land. I’m like the fisher boy peering past the City of Enoch as it passes through the fiery portal far above my head.

I’ve worked in cubicle farms. I work in one now. To work and get paid in an environment such as is portrayed in each episode of PATV… Joy.

Of course, I have no relevant skills. I sketch. I can run five miles in forty minutes. I do monkey work in InDesign and Photoshop. I know how to find and kill bad men up close and from afar. None of these skills or their corollaries would be useful…there. They would likely be handicaps.

Yet I can’t stop watching.



Teachers Unite!

Or not. Do what you think is best. It’s a free country after all.

CreatingLiteracy-RichShoolsforAdolescentsJust read a very interesting rant by one Gayle Forman.  I have opinions on the same subject, Public Education in the United States, but I don’t pretend to be particularly well-informed.

My children are currently being homeschooled by my wife, which situation I am very happy with. They have attended public schools and charter schools in the past. So we are familiar with at least a narrow cross-section of education in our very tiny portion of the world. We chose home school for a variety of reasons.

I myself am a product of public education, as is my wife. I too had some good teachers and some bad. I would go so far as to say very bad and very good. It’s a mixed bag out there, which Ms. Forman is careful to point out.

One of the points that Ms. Forman makes so entertainingly is that standardized testing is bad and that No Child Left Behind is awful. Standardized testing stifles creative teachers by forcing them to ‘teach to the test,’ she says.  And frankly, I agree that teaching to a test is a bad idea. Mostly because it’s cheating if you’re teaching children to pass a test rather than master the skills that are tested therein. Such a teacher is lazily missing the point of their profession.

Ms. Forman cites a wonderful example of teachers who threw such practices into the trash and instead used their creativity and ingenuity to try and teach the actual skills their students needed in innovative and interesting ways. They even wrote a book about it: Creating Literacy-Rich Schools for Adolescents.

Of course, saying that such methods work better than whatever the other teachers are doing is one thing, proving it is quite another. Ms. Forman rose to the task, however, when she crowed about the success of this program.

She proved it by citing standardized test scores which rose in response to the innovative teacher’s methods.

Now why would she do that after castigating standardized testing as harshly as she does? I think it’s because she arrived at the same conclusion the politicians did. If you want to know how well education is being accomplished you must test the recipients. And those tests must be comparable from student to student, so they must be standardized. How else would one do it?

She actually, perhaps inadvertently, illustrates an argument against her position that, generally, teachers are not at fault for the sad state of our public education. As her example so clearly illustrates, teachers with drive passion and creativity can produce students who blow those heinous standardized tests out of the water.

So why don’t they then?



Dog in the Road

I hope you’ll forgive me for another post on an animal killed in the road.

My wife and I were returning from date night when we crested a hill and almost crashed into the back ends of about a dozen cars. They were all stopped in the three westbound lanes of Pioneer Crossing, Lehi Utah.

Moving erratically in the glaring beams of their headlights was a golden lab trailing a length of twine from his leather collar. The dog had a wide banner of blood painting his right shoulder and a leg he couldn’t use. By the time I made my way to him between the stationary cars he had collapsed.

I called to him from a few feet away. He looked up at me then tried and failed to rise. It was strangely silent there on the road. The rumbling of all those car engines seemed to emphasize the still of the  night, the harsh beams from their headlights the dark all around.

When I stood up with the dog in my arms I could hear him breathing, a bubbly sound. The stench of skunk rose from him. I carried him to the side of the road and the flow of traffic picked up and streamed off into the night. My wife pulled over and I put the dog in the back of our mini-van.

I started searching and calling on my phone, trying to find a vet that was open. The only place seemed to be in Orem, a good twenty minutes away. Before I could get hold of the hospital a mother and her son came walking up the road, the mother on her cell phone. They had been in the car that hit the dog and had come looking for him. The mother was calling the police dispatch. I told her I was taking the dog to an animal hospital and she asked me to call her to let her know how things turned out. She was obviously bothered by what had happened to the poor dog.

My wife and I were a good ten minutes on our way to Orem when I finally managed to contact the animal hospital. They were open but the woman told me they couldn’t treat any animals unless their owner’s were present. I assured her that I would pay for the dog’s treatment and sign papers to that effect if they wanted. Still no dice. She said, regret in her voice, that they legally could not treat an animal without its owner’s consent. My only choice was to call the police and have them send an animal control unit out to bring the dog to a shelter.

I was furious. I still can’t think of a good reason for such a law. But I had no choice at that point. They already knew who I was and that I was not the owner of the dog. So I called the cops.

They met us back where I’d originally picked up the dog. I went back to sit with the dog and found that it was no longer breathing. When the cops arrived they were unable or unwilling to put the dog in one of their trunks. So we followed the officers to the police station where they put the dog into the bed of the Animal Control vehicle where it sat in the parking lot. They thanked me for my trouble and my wife and I went home to clean blood out of my clothes and out of the back of the van.

The dog had been tied up with twine, presumably because it had gotten too close to a skunk. Stupid thing to tie a dog up with. There was no ID on the collar so no way to contact the owners.

It feels better having written about it. Thanks for listening.

Nope, I’m Not Sad He’s Dead

Things like this interest me.

CelebratingOsama'sDeath-LOLObviously the author is comparing this crowd, cheering outside the Whitehouse after the announcement of OBL’s death, to the crowds of middle-easterners cheering in the street after 9/11.

And yes, one crowd of people celebrating looks very much like another.  But there the similarity ends. Crowds of middle-easterners behaving thus over the death of 3000 innocent civilians is not, in fact, “like” this crowd celebrating the death of a mass-murdering sociopath who killed 3000 of their fellow-citizens.

Continue reading Nope, I’m Not Sad He’s Dead

Birthers, Birth Certificates, and Trickiness

President Obama’s birth certificate, or lack thereof, occupied the rightwing for 2 and 1/2 years. It’s occupying some of them even still.

My personal thoughts on the president’s birth certificate were of two strains.

First, asking to see the president’s actual birth certificate, the long form, was a perfectly reasonable request that could have been granted with minimal effort on the part of some aide within days of being made. The short form they provided on the internet was not, in fact, good enough.

Second, I was sick of hearing about it after, possibly, a week.

Let’s say the man was not, in fact, born in Hawaii, but simply to an American citizen in Kenya or where the hell ever. Still an American citizen at birth because his mother was a citizen and he was, therefore, subject to US jurisdiction. Arguing that ‘natural born’ must mean born within the borders of the geographic US, rather than to an American mother or father, seems a bit much to me. At the end of the relevant clause in the constitution it even stipulates how long a citizen must reside in the country to be eligible. President Obama fits both bills, birth certificate from Hawaii or not.

So, why did he hide the long form for so long? And I think it’s pretty obvious he was hiding it because it would have been so easy to obtain when the request was made.

I think he was watching the far right eat itself up over the issue and decided to just let them, to see how long they’d stay at it, distracted. They could have been up to other mischief for these last two and a half years. Instead they’ve been obsessing over the birth certificate, which he knew he could provide at any time to make them look stupid. Pretty canny, Mr. President.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the constitution is an amazing document with laws that should be followed as close to the letter as possible. I swore an oath to defend it. If Obama had been flouting the law, tricky dicking his way around it, breaking it, action needed to be taken. But unless you’re going to argue that his natural birth mother was not a citizen, the man is eligible and has been since the beginning.

Unforgettable Again

Well, it definitely did not go to hell. I liked this book.

Everything I liked about it in the first 8 chapters: Hard SF sensibilities, a cool central premise, the fast moving short story pace, were maintained for the entire novel. All good. Highly recommended.

And in other news, Eric James Stone’s story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” has been nominated for a Hugo award in the “Best Novelette” category. Huge congratulations, Eric!

Best Buy Has My Business

Samsung GalaxyThere is more to a retailer than price.

A few weeks ago I switched from an iPod Touch and an old flip cellphone to a Samsung Galaxy. All-in-one! And believe it or not I’m actually paying less per month now than I was. Of course, switching my habits to encompass an android device instead of a Touch has made a bit of an impact. The functionality is all there, and more, but it’s different.

Among other things the little FM transmitter I could plug my iPod into and hear it over my car’s radio didn’t plug into the Galaxy. So, I did a little research and decided to go with Gomadic for both a mount and a power/transmitter device. They arrived. (I do so love getting packages with cool things in them!) and I installed them both.

The mount was OK, secure if a little wobbly. The transmitter was crap. They had assured me on their website that their transmitter was “2nd Generation, even more powerful!” and that I would listen to all my music with “crystal clarity”. I had faith because the one for the iPod had worked quite well.


Continue reading Best Buy Has My Business