Monday, July 28, 2008
Grace is having alot of fun this week at Vacation bible school. The learning and fun time mixed with arts-n-crafts, you would think that she wouldn't have much energy by the time she gets home, but she does. -She has been singing and playing her VBS songs, over and over, and over, and over.. : )
-We now all have them nearly memorized.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
A little history: The core principles of conservative economic ideology are grounded in Nobel economist Milton Friedman's 1962 classic "Capitalism and Freedom." Too late to stop President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society, those principles became the battle cries energizing conservatives since Reagan: Unrestricted free markets, free enterprise and free trade; deregulation, privatization and globalization; trickle-down economics and trickle-up wealth to an elite plutocracy destined to rule the new American capitalist utopia.
So what happened? Are you guys nuts? Hey, I'm talking to all you blind Beltway politicians (in both parties) ... plus the Old Boys Club running Wall Street (into the ground) ... plus all you fat-cat CEOs (with megamillion parachutes) ... and all your buddies scamming everybody else to get on the Forbes 400. You are proof of Lord Acton's warning: "Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."
It's backfiring! You folks turned our America from a great capitalistic democracy into a meddling socialist economy. Still you don't get it. You're acting like teen addicts tripping on an overdose of "greed-is-good" testosterone while your caricature of conservative economics would at best make a one-line joke on Jay Leno.
Here are 11 reasons your manipulations are sabotaging the great principles of leaders like Friedman and Reagan:
1. Dumber than a fifth grader with cognitive dissonance
Kids know what it means. They know most adults today can't see past the end of their noses. Liberals tune out candidate McBush for being lost in the past. Conservatives can't hear Obama without seeing that turban.
Cognitive dissonance simply means most brains cannot see past their own narrow ideologies. They dismiss any data that contradicts their old ideologies. Whether you're a conservative Republican or liberal Democrat, you only hear what you already know is "true." All else is tuned out.
2. Where did all the leaders go with their moral character?
Friedman's economics requires leaders of moral character. Did it run into Lord Acton's warning: "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely?" Former Ford and Chrysler CEO Lee Iacocca said yes in "Where Have All the Leaders Gone?"
Friedman's great conservative principles have been commandeered by myopic ideologues whose idea of leadership is balancing the demands of self-interest lobbyists with the need for campaign donations. Unfortunately, a new "change" president won't be enough; there are 537 elected officials in Washington controlled by 42,000 special interest lobbyists.
3. Fed and U.S. Treasury adopted Enron accounting tricks
Bad news: Enron failed several years ago because of its off-balance-sheet accounting scam. The Fed's doing the same thing: Dumping Bear's $30 billion liabilities onto the taxpayer's "balance sheet." Next Treasury proposes adding $5.3 trillion more from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Unfortunately clever accounting tricks by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke aren't going to fool foreign lenders analyzing America's creditworthiness. Worse-case scenario: U.S. Treasury bills with less than a triple-A rating.
With 90 banks on the brink and already too many bail-outs, our so-called leaders are running out of magic bullets. So now the taxpayer's "balance sheet" has become the all-purpose "dumping ground" and it's overcrowding fast as our leaders raise the white flag of socialism.
4. Deregulation creating new socialist housing system
Back in 1999 a Democratic president and Republican Congress were in love with a fantasy called the "new economics." Enthusiastic lobbyists invented the brilliant idea of dismantling the wall between commercial and investment banking: They killed the Glass-Steagall Act that was keeping the sleazy hands of short-term hustlers out of the pockets of long-term lenders.
Flash forward: We lost 85-year-old Bear Sterns and $32 billion IndyMac. Lehman's iffy. And 90 banks. With the virtual takeover of Freddie and Fanny, Wall Street's grand experiment with free-market ideology is backfiring, having socialized the housing market. They have nobody to blame but their self-centered greed.
5. Trade deficits outsourced more of America's wealth than jobs
One look at Forbes lists of fat cats and you know the 21st Century doesn't just belong to Asia, it belongs to everyone but America. Why? Once again, remember Warren Buffett's famous "Farmer's Story" in Fortune: "We were taught in Economics 101 that countries could not for long sustain large, ever-growing trade deficits ... our country has been behaving like an extraordinarily rich family that possesses an immense farm. In order to consume 4% more than they produce -- that's the trade deficit -- we have, day by day, been both selling pieces of the farm and increasing the mortgage on what we still own."
Friedman was right: Congressional spending is the biggest cause of inflation, and, wow, those conservatives sure did love blank-check deficit spending the past eight years!
6. Banking system in meltdown, minting penny stocks
You don't have to be smarter than a fifth grader to figure out that our leaders are clueless about the reality of our crumbling banking system, with many banks trading as penny stocks, while the Fed still panders to conservative pre-election politics rather than getting serious about inflation.
7. Ideologues preach savings,
Somewhere over the past generation conservatives forget frugality. This distortion peaked in 2003 when consumers were told to spend, not sacrifice, and fuel the economy even as government spent excessively on war. That was a clear breach of every conservative leader's position in earlier wars.
As a result, in one brief generation, as the power of conservative ideologues grew, America's savings rate dropped precipitously from 11% in 1980 to less than zero today.
8. Warning, the market's under 2000 peak, losing money
But then two fifth graders raise their hands: One asks if the CPI inflation rate should be considered? If so, maybe $5,000 is closer to the right answer. The other kid wants to know if you're buying stuff in Chicago or Singapore.
The truth is, the best answer for most adults is: "You've lost a hell of a lot of money in the market under the grand conservative ideology the past eight years."
9. Inflation and dollars: Is Zimbabwe the new model for the U.S.?
The Los Angeles Times ran a photo of a Zimbabwe $500 million bank note, worth $20 at noon, less at dinner. Why? Inflation's there is running 32 million (yes million!) percent annually. The German company printing their banknotes finally cut them off.
Things may be worse in America, psychologically. Our ideological obsession with "growth" is not working because there is too much collateral damage, namely inflation. Our dollar has lost substantial value to the euro because our dysfunctional leaders are convinced that a trade policy funded by debt makes sense.
Now we owe China $1.3 trillion, sovereign funds want equity not cheap dollar IOUs, and still our clueless Treasury and the Fed continue debasing our currency, printing money like Zimbabwe.
10. Free-market health care failing 47,000,000 Americans
Conservative ideologues naively believe the answer is more pay-out-of-pocket insurance plans, even with 47 million already uninsured because they can't pay. Here as in so many areas of our economy, free-market junkies really are suffering a severe case of cognitive dissonance, as blind to the facts about the uninsured as they are to their outdated free-market fantasies.
11. Conservative free-market policies inflated oil 300%!
Net result? Another perfect example of "creative destruction" in action as conservative ideology meets "law of unintended consequences," driving GM, the symbol of America capitalism, closer to bankruptcy ... while turning America into a socialist economy
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Friday, July 18, 2008
I'm not sure how excited Noah was about his first haircut, but Grace seemed to enjoy herself.. -He does in fact look like a young gentleman now that the girly curls have finally been excised. For that, I am glad. -My folks didn't cut my hair until my first birthday. In reflection, and my opinion, it looked a bit hippy, but I guess that was the era (1973).
Thursday, July 17, 2008
- Now that our fresh fallen trees are on the ground, we're (I'm) picking away at them, two-hours at a time after work each day.. I've shed five pounds.
- Noah had gotten his first haircut Wednesday afternoon. -He should be shaving by weeks end.. ; )
- The insurance adjuster inspected the roof of our home after the wind and lightening storms, and deemed it appropriately. We'll find out in a week just how much "trouble" we'll be able to fix.
- Pictures of the kids, and Fictionville highlights to come..
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I spent the night periodically seeing fireworks through the windows of Fictionville Hospital. It was a pleasant pace. -With no burn related injuries. Since I seem to end up working EVERY 4th of July, it was a nice change.
Our best friends 17-year-old ended up coming in with an esophageal obstruction, (compliments of Perkins.) It's not uncommon. We see at least five people a week that have some form of food lodged in their throat that won't go 'north or south'. He'll be in endoscopy later this morning for sedation and removal. Keep him in your prayers. It's harder on his mom, dad, and sisters, worrying about him; than it is on him. He's rather embarrassed and annoyed from it. It will be nice to see him resting comfortably at home afterwards. He's a great young man, and besides; I need his muscle to help me cut that lightening-struck tree down in the back yard..
Tess called to remind me last night that the Men's bible study breakfast was this morning at church. -I've missed the last two, even though she signed me up for them.
-It's not that missing them was entirely intentional, but, I always end up working the night before, and.. well, you know how it goes after a 12 hour shift in the E.R. ..Sometimes I just want to go home and sleep it off. -Regardless, during the early morning hours, after imagining what it might be like to sing praise and worship with other socially alienated (my description) Christian men, having some good chow, and getting into God's word, I made a valiant effort to be there.. Only to find an empty parking lot. That sucked.
I was really building myself up for looking forward to it. It seriously disturbed me. Being a 'Christian' (faithfully speaking, not doctrinally) man makes you feel like a oddball a vast majority of the time. The, (quote-unquote) "Christian man" is suppose to be this 'Holy and pure thinking person' 100% of the time as an expected standard. -I hate being held (or expected to be held) up to societies standards.. I don't believe that men who are passionate about drawing nearer to Jesus and Father God are given a fair shake.
Christian dudes need to know that other Christian dudes deal with the same real world bullcrap, struggles, successes, laughable, and relationship dilemmas'. For too many years the (and I use this term loosely), rudderless 'church' has had a habit of sacrificially smiting it's struggling and fallen.. I just cannot bring myself to accept that, that, is in-line with what God's plan is.. Actually, I strongly feel (believe) that the above mentioned is simply a highly successful ploy that Satan manipulates to alienate, conquer, and divide. Heck. If it works to separate the 'faithful' from the 'lost', how much more effective would it be to separate the 'faithful-but-falling', from the group they so desire to fellowship with?
I'm not saying that I'm "falling" (Ahem! Cough! Cough!), but I have not been able to go to church as much, or involve myself, like I would like to.
I think God is much more judgemental on the ESSENTIONALS of faith, to where, humans are not.. And, I also think that humans are even more-so judgemental and critical on the 'non-essentials'.. Kind of like the 'cut-your-losses', or 'shoot the horse with the broken leg' mentality. The fear of this, leads Christians to be less-than-authentic with other Christians.
Here's the straight scoop:
- My wife and I argue. (Crazy huh?)
- There are times (more than I can recall) when I am NOT Jesus to people!
- If I slam my finger with a hammer, I will probably say words you shouldn't ever speak in church.
- I totally stress about bills, time, money, future, ect.
- I've been known (busted by my wife) to exaggerate.
- I feel like a 35 year-old-'boy'... (Where is the wisdom Lord!?)
- I want the perfect kids to grow into perfect adults and at times, I feel totally inadequate.
Here's the other side of the straight scoop coin:
- I dearly love my wife, and pray for our marriage and family all the time.
- Once in awhile, there are 'million-dollar-moments' when I can see God using me in others lives.
- I know that; somehow, someway, things will be alright. My problems and stressors are NOT the center of the world. God is my father, and he wants no harm to come to me, my wife, or our children.
- I am a 35-year-old-boy. The more I expand my world through knowledge, the more inadequate I become.. and the more superiorly infinate God becomes to me. ...Whoa.
- My children are beautiful. My purpose is to foster their knowledge and passion for their true Father God. I am a simple caretaker and bound to make mistakes..
Men's discipleship is important. It's important to learn that your father felt the same way in one way/shape/or time, and is comfortable enough to share that with you.. (Hear that all you Dad's?)
It's important as a Christian man that; "might have fallen", to suck-it-up! -And instead of concerning yourself with the horse-shooters; Concern yourself with God first. -If the men you are surrounded by as 'Friends', are the first to pull their guns.. it's time to get new Friends, because they, are not.
I miss 'not having the time' for fellowship.
Often, I grow sick of spending my time with addicts and chronic system abusers that would just as well piss their earthy existances away and blame God, Jesus, the system, their parents, their surroundings, or a vast majority of any other excuses.. (Those in EMS, law enforcement, probation, courts, ect. know exactly what I'm talking about..)
However, it makes me treasure praise-and-worship time all the more. It makes me value, true fellowship with someone. And, I know it has made me spiritually stronger. (For what time and place, I have yet to know), but I do know that it's not taken for granted.
-ALRIGHT! Enough deep thoughts with Jack Handy (Old Saturday Night Live skit.) It's late for me, and time to retire for another fun filled day/night at Fictionville.
Keep it real, or don't keep it all.
(I'm still bummed about the mens group breakfast thing..)
Friday, July 4, 2008
When I get a chance, I've got to figure a way to get this tree down to the ground. It's wedged between two other trees behind the garage.. Definitely a two-person-or-more job.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Consumers Power says over 150,000 are out of power, and DONT expect it to come back online until JULY 5Th at 11pm..
No lighting. No AC. No telephone. No fax. No internet. No cooling power for the refrigerator or freezer. No washer. No dryer. Oh, and I have to chain saw the trees in the back yard that were hit by lightening. : /
Clearly, yesterdays thoughts can be catagorized as: "Good initial thought, poor initial initiative." -I've got to see if I can borrow a generator to at least power the freezer so 'Noah's frozen food' doesn't spoil.
Welcome to A-town survivor-man part I.