Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Grumpamoose's Rules for Political Discourse

I have been thinking and mulling over, albeit at a low simmer, about how crazy certain habits of political discourse make me. This has about come to a boil, prompting me to post this now instead of another time. As I am temperamentally suspicious of the motives of governing officials, I will be skewering several Left/Liberal habits, since Liberals favor more and more activist government. And as I am a bipartisan Grumpamoose, there will also be skewering of Conservatives as well. This is not an exhaustive list, just the top 7 or so political things that makes me want to kick my dog and slap my wife. And since I would like to stay married and alive, I need to find another outlet.

So here you go.

#1. Budget Cut = A year over year reduction in the monetary amount allocated to a particular item, agency, or department. If you are going to claim something is a budget cut, (a la Republicans are out to starve Grandma and reduce her Social Security), and this fiscal years budget has more money than the previous one, how in the blue blazes is that a cut? If I budget 20 million for Department X this year, and propose $25 million for 2009, then when I put together the 2009 final budget, Department X gets $22 Million, that is a $2 million budget increase. Everyone who has graduated high school, even as poorly educated as most American high school graduates are, should know the simple concept that $22 million is 2 million than $20 million . and that some numbers are higher than others.

#2. Individuals invest. Private companies invest. Retirement and Pension plans invest. Government does not invest. Investment inherently means choice. I can choose to invest my money for an potentially greater return on that money, or I can choose to go to Papa Johns every week. The bottom line is I choose. When the IRS and state taxing agencies give me the same choice - only then - and not until then - can you truthfully say that Government is an investment.

#3. The Eighties are over - Ronald Reagan is dead. While I personally agree that Ronald Reagan was one of our best Presidents - (and I will mercilessly delete any comments otherwise - this is my blog. Wanna bash Reagan, take it elsewhere) he was not God. He was a mere mortal, and he made policy blunders and occasionally acted on misguided faith in the goodwill of his adversaries, as have all other Presidents and political leaders. The constant refrain since 1988 that so and so is "Reaganesque" or "The Next Ronald Reagan" is insulting to the man and his legacy, and frankly insulting to the intelligence of those forced to listen to such twaddle. News flash - There will never be another Ronald Reagan. He was unique to his time, and in any case the social, political, and economic conditions that made his policy prescriptions the right medicine at the time, are gone too. Hopefully anyway.

#4. The Sixties are also over, and John F Kennedy likewise is no longer with us. See #3 substituting Reagan for Kennedy

#5. What properly constitutes "Middle Class", "The Rich", and "Fair share" must be pre-defined. If you think Middle class ends at $35,000.00 annually, The Rich is everyone with higher incomes, and Fair Share is 50%+, just say so. So I can know if you are a Thief, or just another politician.

#6. When tax rates go up - that is called a tax increase.
Suppose under Presidential X's administration , the rate at which I pay taxes goes down. If President Y champions repealing President X's tax policies, and Congress agrees with President Y, that means I get hit with a tax increase. See rule # 1. Again, 28% is higher that 15%, and 15% is higher than 10%. You are not stupid. Neither am I. Stop acting as if one of is is a moron. I promise you 'taint me.

#7. Finally, when supply is low, and demand is high, prices increase. This is economics 101, again something every American High School graduate should know. It is not a grand conspiracy of the EEEEVVVIIIIILLLL CORPORATIONS!!!!TM.* But since many people apparently don't get this concept, or intentionally don't get it, but that is another rant for another day, let me explain it. When there is less of anything to go around, whether it is gasoline or grapes, it will cost more. The reason that it will cost more is because each individual grape is more valuable. The grapes are more valuable, since there are not enough grapes for all the people who want grapes. Since price is the expression of value, higher value = higher price. Unless enough other folks decide they can live without the grapes they want, and stop demanding grapes, grape prices will continue to go up, unless the grape supply goes up too. Eventually the grape farmers will grow more grapes, to get more money from the higher grape prices. Grape prices then will fall, the farmers won't grow as many grapes the next year, and some of the people who switched to oranges will want to buy grapes again. Rinse and Repeat.

*The only possible exception to this is when supply is artificially restricted because some wealthy elitists want to keep the average Joe out of their neighborhood by land use restrictions. Or because some Congressmen are lobbied (cough ...bribed....cough) to sponsor a bill that mandates increased use of ethanol fuels made from corn, then holds hearings about why food prices are going through the roof.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Before I forget - it is Musical Monday numero cuatro

This is my all time favorite song from my all time favorite musical group.

Lyrics are:

I wanna run, I want to hide
I wanna tear down the walls
That hold me inside.
I wanna reach out
And touch the flame
Where the streets have no name.

I wanna feel sunlight on my face.
I see the dust-cloud
Disappear without a trace.
I wanna take shelter
From the poison rain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We're still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It's all I can do).

The city's a flood, and our love turns to rust.
We're beaten and blown by the wind
Trampled in dust.
I'll show you a place
High on a desert plain
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name
Where the streets have no name.

We're still building and burning down love
Burning down love.
And when I go there
I go there with you
(It's all I can do).

This song speaks to the deep parts of my soul, that longs for a place where all tears shall be wiped away, and all the former things, that are very much part of our present, will pass away.

Genius. Pure genius. And Pandora's 5 are:

Monday, February 18, 2008

Musical Monday the Third

I love history. I don't know why, because no one in my family has more than a middling interest in history, and the only one that even does that is my Dad. But perhaps my love of history can be traced to my Dad, who used to sing this song to me when I was little. I smile when I remember this song, and I can still hear my Dad's younger Tenor singing this.

Live Action version


In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip.
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we caught the bloody British in the town of New Orleans.
[Chorus] We fired our guns and the British kept a'comin.
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago.
We fired once more and they began to runnin' on
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.

We looked down the river and we see'd the British come.
And there must have been a hundred of'em beatin' on the drum.
They stepped so high and they made the bugles ring.
We stood by our cotton bales and didn't say a thing
Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico.**
We fired our cannon 'til the barrel melted down.
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round.
We filled his head with cannon balls, and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the gator lost his mind.
Yeah, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go.
They ran so fast that the hounds couldn't catch 'em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Top 5 Pandora matches
I - Love's Gonna Live Here by Waylon Jennings
II - Down the Street to 301 by Johnny Cash
III - Love Me Honey Do by Patsy Cline
IV - Ole Slewfoot by June Carter Cash
V - Hill Billy Mambo by Sheb Wooley

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Is it Michelle Peron, or Eva Obama?

The other day I heard a speech that Michelle Obama made at UCLA earlier this year, and in hearing it, my thought was that I was hearing a 21st century Eva Peron, speaking about how Juan Peron loved Argentinians, and how he alone could save Argentina from all the ills, and usher in heaven on earth. And except for the thousands of people who disappeared and the many more who suffered economically under Peron's corruption and fascist socialism, Peronist Argentina was not bad.

Anyway, back to 21st Century United States.
The two sections of Ms Obama's speech phrase that sent chills down my spine are this:

"We have lost the understanding that in a democracy we have a mutual obligation to one another. That we cannot measure our greatness in this society by the strongest and richest of us. But we have to measure our greatness by the least of these. That we have to compromise and sacrifice for one another in order to get things done. That is why I am here. Because Barack Obama is the only person in this race who understands that. That before we can work on the problems we have to fix our souls. Our souls are broken in this nation. If we can't see ourselves in one another we will never make those sacrifices. So I am here right now because I am married to the only person in this race who has a chance of healing this nation."

And This:

Change will always be hard. And it doesn't happen from the top down. We do not get universal health care, we do not get better schools, because somebody else in the White House. We get change because folks from the grass roots up decide they are sick and tired of other people telling them how their lives will be. When they decide to roll up their sleeves and work. And Barack Obama will require you to work. He is going to demand that you shed your cynicism. That you put down your division. That you come out of your isolation. That you move out of your comfort zones. That you push yourselves to be better. And that you engage. Barack will never allow you to go back to your lives as usual; uninvolved, uninformed."

No, Ms Obama, we owe gratitude that we live under a relative freedom of a Constitutional Republic, and nothing more. The only duty we owe to other Americans is that of maintaining and defending that freedom against all who seek to destroy that freedom. The only obligation we have is only to ourselves and our families, to ensure that our and our families needs are met. The "least of these" have the same obligation. It is not my problem if they are not meeting that obligation and it does not matter if this failure to meet their obligation is lack of ability, lack of opportunity, lack of education, lack of effort, or any other factor.

Now, morally we should do all we can to help others, but only so far as we can after meeting our own obligations. However, while helping others is a moral requirement, this does not mean that it should ever be a legal requirement that is enforced by the State. There is some other entity to whom we are morally accountable, and that entity does not reside in the District of Columbia.

The idea that the Obama camp seems to be espousing here - namely that other Americans have a claim on our lives, to the point that we are required to sacrifice our and our family's own treasure on behalf of these others. Furthermore this claim is to be enforced by the power of the state through taxation and imprisonment. There is a word for this - slavery. If we are so sick and tired of other people telling us how our lives will be, how is it a good thing that Barack Obama can tell us how our lives will be? By what authority does Barack Obama have the power to force me to work for his agenda?

Oh and one more thing Ms Obama, my soul is just fine, and the healing and protection of which is in infinitely more capable hands than Barack Obama's - thank you very much.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Musical Monday II

One of my favorite sayings by Martin Luther is, and I paraphrase,
" There are two days on my calendar - this day and That day".

One of the things I try to do is live my life around that idea. Today is many times way more than I can deal with, let alone tomorrow. And I have found it much easier to live each day in light of what I believe "That day" is - a day sometime to come when I will stand before God and give an account of how I spent my life. Now I do not say this as something fearful in the sense that I have to have lived a life perfectly in order to win God's favor, because I have put all my chips in the basket of trusting Christ's sacrificial grace (and if that makes no sense to you and you want to know what the heck I mean, leave a comment). But it does mean that I strive to keep my focus on what really matters in life.

As to what that may mean regarding something musical, here it is. While I have mentioned that I cannot stand much of what Garth Brooks has recorded, there are a few songs that I really like of his, and this is one of them (Lyrics here). When it comes to my relationship to my wife, I am really truly desiring that, when That Day comes, that I can say with no reservation that I did everything I could to show her that I loved her, and that so far as it depended on me, there will be no doubt in her mind that I showed that love for her every day in every way I can.

Pandora's top 5 songs similar to "If Tomorrow Never comes"

  1. Still on a Roll by Moe Bandy
  2. Run by George Strait
  3. Ten Years of This by Gary Stewart
  4. The Note by Daryle Singletary
  5. Rise and Shine by Ronnie Dove

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mystery Topic Challenge #7

This rounds topic is:

"You awaken to find yourself stranded on a deserted island with nothing but a pocket knife, a bottle of Jack Daniels, and Britney Spears. How did you get there, and what do you do now?"

June 9, 2008. My world came crashing down - literally - yesterday. Yesterday morning I said goodbye to my wife, drove to the airport, and got on a plane to go to a trade show in Hawaii. The last thing I remember before I woke up on this beach was a loud shake, the lights in the airplane going off, and the flight attendants telling us to assume crash positions. I spent the morning and most of the afternoon sifting through wreckage as it washed up, to see if I could find something useful to survive until I could figure out a way to get off what I assume is an island somewhere in the South Pacific. The rest of the day I went looking for food, survivors and some kind of shelter.

June 10. After a brief shower this morning had passed, I went exploring some more. This morning I found a suitcase that had washed up, although it had come open in the surf. but I did find a pocketknife, some clothes, and a bottle of what I assume is Jack Daniels. The label is torn off though so I am not sure. I threw the clothes away. I also found on the other end of the lagoon some evidence that at least some one survived the crash long enough to make it to the beach..

June 11. The pocketknife, a swiss army knife, was as useful as stereotypically advertised, as I managed to whittle a fish spear, and actually managed to find something other than bananas to eat. now if I could only find a mirror or some glass to start a solar fire, so I can eat something else besides sushi and bananas. Found more evidence of other survivors, as I found some woman's clothing and some prescription pills around what appeared to be a campsite

June 12. Clear plastic luggage tags work somewhat effectively at using the sun to start a fire. No more sushi for me. No sign of anyone else though

June 13. Made it all the way to the other side of the island. found some berries, and fresh water spring. rained all afternoon. No sign of anyone

June 14. Rain and strong wind. no fish today. roasted bananas. Found a cave to set up a dryer camp. no sign of anyone

June 15. Heard bad singing a few moments this morning as I woke up. it stopped after a few minutes though, and I did not hear anything else until late in the day. I wonder if I am starting to go insane.

June 18. Finally saw a glimpse of someone else walking the other way. but they were too close to the surf to hear my yelling I suppose. They were rather short, and brownish blond hair. My guess is it was a woman.

June 19. Yes it was a woman. but she seemed rather out of it. Another severe storm, so I spent most of the day back in the cave.

June 20. Well, my fellow survivor is none other than Britney Spears. And she is as loony as the proverbial fruitcake. After hearing five minutes of her inane prattle, I cannot decide if I will drink myself into a stupor, slit my wrists, slit her throat, or wait until the paparrazi arrive looking for that stupid whore, to get myself off this bloody island.

Please visit the Mystery Topic Challenge Blog to view all of the other entries. Once you've read them all, please be sure to vote HERE in the Sidebar for your favorite.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Musical Moose Monday

Ok, so I stole this idea from Bungirl, but a good idea is a good idea.

However I am not currently listening to this song, or the album it was on, this song is one that has meant a lot to me for many years, ever since I first heard it.

The song is Here in America by Rich Mullins. You can see the video here -

Sometimes my American-ness overwhelms my Christianity, such that I forget that we are not the chosen people, and the arrogance this myopia generates tends to make it easy to think of ourselves as the center of Christianity. I think the reason this song resonates - apart from the Irish images - is the subtle reminder that American Christians are no different from Chinese Christians or Russian Christians, or Christians from any other nation, race or time. We are all abundantly blessed for one reason and only one reason- the grace of Jesus Christ poured out in His death, and validated by His resurrection.

Anyway, back to the rules;
Pandora's top 5 songs
1 You Gotta Get Up by Rich Mullins
2 Rushing Wind by Keith Green
3 He's in this Place by Clint Brown (never heard of him)
4 Draw me Close by Kathy Troccoli
5 It's no Secret What God can Do by Johnny Cash (ok?)

So that is my version of Musical Monday.

Mystery Topic Challenge

Hello! I'm participating in Mystery Topic Challenge #7. The topic has been announced. If you'd like to join me, head on over to the MTC Blog to find out the topic.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

More Grumpamoosic

If you have your speakers on, you likely can gather this already. But for those who don't, I have updated Grumpamoose's playlist, and added some new songs. Enjoy