Saturday, February 26, 2005

Saturday Puppy Pic

Here's today's picture of Wyatt. It was taken at Christmas time when we were visiting Dale's family.

That was the weekend he brought his harness and leash to me so that I would take him outside. It was too cute! Of course, I still had to fight him to get the harness on him. I think he thinks it's playtime. arrrrghhh!
hmmm....looks like I resized this too'll be updated sometime this weekend. Can't hardly see my baby!

Friday, February 25, 2005

The Future

Picture this: a 19% flat income and corporate tax. The tax reform results in an increase of tax revenue from 200 billion to 209 billion - 30% over government expectations.

No, I'm not writing about the US future. I'm actually writing about what happened in Slovakia in 2004. It's apparently a regional trend. Estonia, Latvia, Russia, and the Ukraine also adopted flat tax programs. Georgia, Romania, and Serbia are getting on the bandwagon. Slovakia increased their tax revenue from 200 billion in 2003 to 209 billion in 2004. That's 9 billion dollars in the first year in a country twice the size of New Hampshire.

These are countries that will be emerging from third world status because they have realized that they needed to make a change. They have found that by allowing their citizens to retain more of their paychecks, the citizens will spend more money. Spending money puts money into the economy. This is a good thing! Just in case I haven't made it clear, I prefer the Fair Tax over a Flat tax (go here to see a comparison).

Maybe President Bush should appoint Jose Pinera to the tax reform panel. Mr. Pinera, now with the Cato Institute, is the former Chilean minister of labor and social security who reformed the Chilean Social Security system. He helped Slovakia design their Social Security legislation. Already, more than one-third of Slovakians have switched to private accounts.

Slovakia joined other European countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Sweden in allowing their eligible workers to put half of their social security contributions into private accounts.

Now that Chile, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Russia, the Ukraine, Georgia, Romania, and Serbia have reformed their tax codes and/or Social Security systems, maybe it's time the US did the same.
Rice/Clinton 2008?

While I am in favor of having a woman president, I just don't believe, in my heart, that it will happen in 2008. I honestly believe that America just isn't ready for a woman to lead the most powerful nation on Earth. And, I'm not sure that the world is ready for a female POTUS.

"People in the know" claim that Hillary Clinton is gearing up for a run in 2008. She might well be, and maybe there will be enough polls to convince her that America wants her as POTUS. I don't think it she will be elected for several reasons.
  1. She's got too much baggage (can we say Whitewater?)
  2. She's a Northeasterner although I'll bet she'll play up the fact that she's originally from Illinois (the coveted heartland) and lived many years in Arkansas (the south)
  3. But most of all, she's a woman.

Although I trust her about as much as I trusted John Kerry, I admit that she's intelligent, speaks well, and she's turning more to the right than she ever was before. Although I think that's merely a ploy to garner votes. Do whatever is necessary to win the office. Sympathy over the Monica situation isn't enough to get her elected to the presidency.

Other "people in the know" say that Condi Rice is the only Republican who could possibly beat her. While I have the greatest admiration for Dr. Rice, she's got a few things against her as well. She's never held elected office, much less run for office. And the big two: she's black and she's a woman.

Are there any circumstances under which I would vote for Hillary? Perhaps, it would depend on who the Republican and third party candidates were. I would not vote for her, or any woman, simply because they are women, but I wouldn't hold that against them either. Many people would, however. I wouldn't hold it against Dr. Rice that she is black. Again, many people would. Of the two, my vote would go to Dr. Rice, hands down.

I think that before we start planning a POTUS run, we need to get a female VP elected. Get the public used to the idea of a woman a heartbeat away from the presidency. Then, we can start thinking about a female POTUS. One step at a time.

We've come a long way, baby. I just don't think we've come that far yet.

UPDATE: I'm not the first to write about a Rice/Clinton 2008 matchup, not by a long shot. Many have written on this topic. Here is a post from Stolen Thunder that very nicely details why Dr. Rice is the most likely choice for POTUS in 2008. And here is a website dedicated to electing Dr. Rice in 2008. I'm not backing down from my previous statements that I don't believe we'll see a woman president, but if Dr. Rice indicates she's interested, I'll do what I can to get her nonimiated, and then elected.

Maybe we've come further than I thought?

Katherine's Blog

I was reading GOPBloggers today and found that Representative Katherine Harris of Florida is one of the four members of Congress who regularly blog. Actually, I had come across her blog a few weeks ago and promptly forgot about it (must have been one of those shiny objects that distracted me).

I checked it out again today. I sort of doubt that Katherine herself posts to it. There is a lot of "we" running around as in "we have spent", "we have traveled", "we have seen" and "we've met". I'm not critizing Ms. Harris. Really. But when I read "we" I would like to know who the "we" are. Is she traveling with staff? Then say somewhere in the lead "My staff and I" spent, or "My husband and I", "My dog and I", then go on with "we" did such-and-such. It reads to me like a staff member is posting for her. Perhaps a staff member who is one of the "we" and has first-hand knowledge of what happened when "we" did whatever. Great! First hand blogging is always better than getting the information from someone else. If someone else is actually blogging, even at Ms. Harris' direction, then it isn't really "Katherine's Blog" unless the staff member is another Katherine.

According to the Fair Tax website, Ms. Harris will not commit, either for or against. I've sent emails and snail mail to Ms. Harris' office asking her stance on the Fair Tax issue. She can blog on issues of interest to the 13th District, and can mention that Jeff Gordon won Daytona again, but there is mention of the Fair Tax or Social Security. Two very big, vital issues today and issues that directly effect all her consitutents.

I sincerely appreciate that Ms. Harris is using the Internet to reach her consitutents. She realizes the importance of the Internet in today's world. And this not just a good thing, but a very intelligent thing as well. But how about actually responding to constitutents email and/or snail mail?

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Terri Schiavo

I hadn't posted on this case before, even though it's happening right in my neck of the woods and in the local news even more than the national news, if that's possible. I hadn't posted on it because I was just avoiding the story. When I did think about it, I went back and forth. Let her go, keep her alive, back and forth.

I mentioned it at work one day to our nursing staff. This was when they were talking about removing her feeding tube, oh, a couple of months ago. I had heard this was a particularly gruesome way to die. Both nurses, one an RN the other an LPN, said that it wasn't. It was a humane way to end her life. Being that I had absolutely no experience with ending a life this way, I accepted what they said. Then, today I read this.

Some people say that her husband wants the money that she received from a malpractice suit won after she suffered the stroke that put her in this situation. According to news here, there is no money left. All the money has been used to care for her.

What I do know is that her husband has gone on with his life. He has a girlfriend he wants to marry. Good thing since they have two kids together. Terri's parents want to keep her alive. Some have asked why her husband doesn't just divorce her and turn her care over to her parents. I don't know. There is one group I haven't heard from or about. Maybe they've spoken out and I've missed it. I admit to avoiding this story, it's too painful for me. What do her kids think? I think there are three? I hope her youngest, the child she gave birth to when she suffered her stroke, isn't blaming herself (I think it was a daughter). It can't be easy for her. This child is now a teenager, which is hard enough under the best of circumstances and to have your father and grandparents at odds about what to do about your mother. Plus the daily local and national coverage.

Doctors say that Terri is brain dead. That her brain has turned to mush or a liquid. That she is in a persistent vegetative state. That description says to me that there is no muscle movement except when done by someone else (someone lifting her arm, leg, moving her head etc). Brain dead would say to me that she can't breathe on her own. There is footage showing that she reacts to people, her head moves, she seemingly is excited to see her mother. That doesn't sound like there is no brain activity to me. I don't know that she is really understanding that she is seeing her mother or nurse or whomever, but she's apparently reacting in some manner. I have seen that. I don't believe that she's on breathing apparatus, so she's apparently breathing on her own.

If she weren't able to breathe on her own and did not have the ability to move her body, I would agree that ending her life might be in Terri's best interest. I would say, take away the ventilator and let God take her if He deems it's her time. But, since she's apparently able to breathe and to move, and apparently react to at least her mother, I can't agree with taking away her feeding tube. After reading how the last week or so of her life would be, I wouldn't, couldn't, do that.

I remember my mother. Because of the illness she was suffering, she wasn't allowed to have water. She couldn't swallow correctly and the medical staff was afraid she would take water into her lungs. She cried out because she was so thirsty. We were finally allowed to wet a washcloth and let her suck on it. Had I known how close she was to her death, I would have given her the freaking water. This only went on for a couple of days. I can't imagine watching a loved one die the way that Raven describes.

Unfortunately, at this point, Terri's wishes can't be carried out. No one knows what she would want to do. There is one way to keep this from happening to you. Make sure that your loved ones know what you want. I don't want to be "kept alive." If I'm on a ventilator, remove it. If God wants me, He'll take me. If not, then let me live. It might not be the life I would want, but I know I don't want to die by starvation either.

We put animals to sleep with chemicals. We execute criminals using lethal injection so they don't feel pain. We spend billions of dollars to keep children overseas from dying of starvation. Why do we think starving this woman to death is humane?

Thanks to Matt Margolis, here is a site where you can get answers to just what a living will is and how to customize one to your own wishes. Don't wait until later. This is too important to wait. Your very life may depend on what your wishes are and who knows about it.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Florida Amber Alert!

It's not appearing on the Amber Alert ticker, but 9-year old Jessica Lundsford is missing from her Citrus Country, Florida home. BayNews9 isn't showing a picture, but if I find one, I will post it here. Remember, this is a 9-year old. She needs to be found quickly. Update: Thanks to FOXNews, I found a picture.

Jessica is described as four-feet-ten-inches tall, weighing about 70 pounds with light brown shoulder length hair and brown eyes.
Image hosted by

She was last seen wearing a pink nightgown and white silk shorts. If you see Jessica or know anything about her disappearance, call the sheriff's office at 352-726-1121 or call 911.

Call your own local law enforcement agency if you can't remember the Citrus County number.
Update: Jessica is still missing. Reader Doyle explained why an Amber Alert has not been issued (I disagree, not with Doyle, but with not issuing the alert, but that's another story). Jessica is listed on the Amber Alert website (click on the banner above) as an endangered child, the very reason I think an alert should be issued, but as I said, that's another story.
Winning the Future: Part 3

Here is how you can help.

What You Can Do to Win the Future

A Citizen's Action Center

Write Letters to the Editor

Attend Town Hall and City Council Meetings

Call Talk Radio

Spread the word about Winning the Future

  • Email your friends about the book (entice them with the free chapter)
  • Let your congregation know about the Walking Tour of God in Washington (also free to download)
  • Photocopy the Social Security chapter and give it to young people

Blogs, Bulleting Boards, and Meetup

Volunteer Organizations to Get Involved With

Write your Representative or Senator

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Winning the Future: Part 2

Here's the test I previously wrote about. It's taken directly from the website and more information can be found there.

Where do you stand on the great and growing gap between traditional American values and the secular liberalism of the Left? Take the following test.

Score each statement from 1 to 10 depending on how much you agree or disagree with it, with 10 meaning you strongly agree and 1 meaning you strongly disagree. If you’re neutral, write 5.

Add the score at the end. The higher the score, the more you lean toward traditional American values. The lower the score, the more you favor the secular left-liberal system.

____ 1. We should be allowed to say “one nation under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.
____ 2. Able-bodied people on welfare should be required to work.
____ 3. Men who assault pregnant women and kill the unborn child should be prosecuted for a
ssault and murder.
____ 4. The United States should put its own interests first and cooperation with international
organizations second.
____ 5. Believe in God.
____ 6. Proud to be an American.
____ 7. Schools should teach new immigrants about American values.
____ 8. Everyone should learn English.
____ 9. Personal injury lawyers should get no more than 15 percent of any award.
____ 10. It is possible to use new technology and new science to develop clean, renewable energy t
hat protects the environment and the economy.

Add up your score. If you scored above 51 points, Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America is for you. This book is about how you can protect and defend America’s traditions and values.
Eminent Domain

There is a case before the Supreme Court that will have an effect on homeowner's rights from now on. In 1954 the Supreme Court ruled that property in blighted neighborhoods could be seized. Since then, lower courts have held that if the property can be redeveloped to produce more jobs or generate tax revenue, eminent domain could be applied.

The Fifth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States says:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Public use is generally defined as being property taken for firehouses, schools, roadways, and the like. Recently though, public use has been expanded to include any use that will increase the tax base, such as shopping centers and housing developments.

Okay, so you say, I don't want to sell or I'll sell, but this is my price. The local government can say, too bad, so sad, this is what we will pay. Take it and like it. We're gonna take your property anyway.

If you have property that has been in your family for generations, or if you just bought it last week, the local government can take the property from you, at a price they determine to be "just" and turn it over to a developer. Why? Well, the developer will build a shopping center or housing development that will pay thousands and maybe millions more in tax revenue than you would. The developer gets the land dirt cheap (forgive the pun), builds whatever, sells it off for a profit (why build if you're not going to make a profit?) and the local government begins collecting a whole bunch more taxes than you ever paid. It's a win-win situation for everybody.

Except for the person who has lost his house. Do you really think the local government is going to pay what the property is really worth? Fair market value doesn't really mean anything. Fair market value is what the government is willing to pay. That's it.

Okay, so the developer comes knocking on your door and says, I want to buy your property and I'll pay this much." Let's say you want more. After some dickering back and forth, the developer decides you want more than he's willing to pay. That's when he goes to local government and tells them that he wants your property to build on. Doesn't matter what he wants to build. He tells local government that his development of the property will bring in this much more tax revenue. Dollar signs light up in the eyes of the local government officials. They need more revenue, what municipality or large city doesn't? So they apply eminent domain, you are forced out of your home for less than you wanted. The developer gets the property, the city gets more tax revenue, and you get the shaft.

It doesn't just happen to blighted neighborhoods. In the case before the Supreme Court, Kelo v. The City of New London, the Connecticut Supreme Court agreed with New London, ruling that promoting economic development outweighed private property rights. However, the property owners argued that their neighborhood is not a slum nor is it crime ridden, so it does not meet the legal standards to appy eminent domain. It's taking private property from one private owner to give to another private property owner who will then make money on your property.

I can understand applying eminent domain to build a school or firehouse or improve roads. But I had a thought about appying eminent domain to build a shopping center or housing development. Sure, tax revenue will be increased, but won't the government expenses also increase? Think about it. More housing means more firefighters, EMT's, police, schools, hospitals, roads, and so on. I suppose local government officials figure out whether the additional revenue will offset the additional expense. Don't they?

I can understand razing a slum and building a housing development but, there are better ways of doing it. If the area is blighted, tell the property owners to clean it up. If they don't assess fines against the property. Then, when the fines aren't paid, local government comes in a cleans it up, removes the residents, and sells the property to another private party to develop the property as he sees fit. This way, the original property owners have a chance to keep their property. It's a fairly simple matter of cleaning up the property. If the owner isn't able to, they can get help from friends and relatives to do the clean up or even pay someone to do so.

We have got to think about private property rights now, otherwise we might not have private property tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2005

The 50 Reasons I Support the Fair Tax

I decided to make it a little easier on myself and on anyone who wants to look for this information. I've posted all 50 reasons on one blog page which can be found here. I've also put a link on the sidebar along with the five parts I originally published.

I did it this way because it might be easier for some people to digest it in parts, but can also be read in it's entirety.

I think the Fair Tax is important enough that I want to make sure everybody has a platform that they are comfortable with to read and understand.

Go to Americans for a Fair Tax for more information.
Fair Tax - The 50 Reasons

I sent The 50 Reasons to Senators Mel Martinez and Bill Nelson and to Representative Katherine Harris last week. Not enough time for any response. I did check the Fair Tax Scorecard today and found that Nelson and Harris are in the Will Not Commit column. Gee...why am I not surprised? Martinez is leaning toward the Fair Tax.

I'll check with Nelson's and Harris' offices to see if there is any change. Don't hold your breath. Nelson is a Democrat and Harris just won't commit. I think she's waiting to see which way the wind blows. I really didn't want to vote for Harris last November, but I just couldn't bring myself to vote for the opponent. The lesser of two evils, you might say.

This link will take you to the page where you can check on your own Congressional representatives.
Winning the Future: Part 1


We are committed to a safe, healthy, prosperous, and free America.We believe our children and grandchildren deserve the opportunities our parents and grandparents gave us.

In a rapidly changing world with new threats and new competitors, we must implement policies that will ensure America’s leadership, safety, and prosperity. And we must reinvigorate the core values that have made America an exceptional civilization.

We do not believe the traditional instruments of government will reform themselves fast enough and thoroughly enough for the twenty-first century.

The entrenched lobbyists and entrenched bureaucracies will do all they can to minimize the changes no matter how vital those changes are to America’s future. Self interest will dominate national interest if the normal political system operates with business as usual. The pressure of daily events will keep both the news media and most politicians focused on the immediate and the trivial rather than the long-term and the profoundly important.

Only a grassroots citizens’ movement can insist on the level of change that is needed for our children and grandchildren to have a successful future.

Such a citizens’ movement would have to be focused on goals rather than on interest groups. The goals define the America we want our children and grandchildren to have.

To achieve this future we will:


Defend America and our allies from those who would destroy us. To achieve security, we will develop the intelligence, diplomatic, information, defense, and homeland security systems and resources for success.


Transform the Social Security system into personal savings accounts that will enable every worker to have higher retirement incomes from their own work and avoid the need for financial support from their children.


Recenter America on the Creator from Whom all our liberties come. We will insist on a judiciary that understands the centrality of God in American history and reasserts the legitimacy of recognizing the Creator in public life.


Establish patriotic education for our children and patriotic immigration for new Americans. To achieve this, we will renew our commitment to education about American citizenship based on American history and an understanding of the Founding Fathers and the core values of American civilization.We will insist that both our childrenand immigrants learn the key values


Meet the triple economic challenges of an explosion in scientific and technological knowledge, an increasingly competitive world market, and the rise of China and India by implementing:

A new system of civil justice to reduce the burden of lawsuits and to incentivize young people to go into professions other than the law.

A dramatically simplified tax code that favors savings, entrepreneurship, investment, and constant modernization of equipment and technology.

Math and science learning equal to any in the world and educating enough young Americans to both discover the science of the future and to compete successfully in national security and the economy with other well-educated societies.

Investing in the scientific revolutions that are going to transform our world—particularly in energy, space, and the environment.

Transforming health care into a 21st Century Intelligent Health System that improves our health while lowering costs dramatically. In the process, American health care will become our highest value export and foreign exchange earning sector.


Work to include every American in a system of patriotic stewardship so every person has a real opportunity to pursue happiness as their Creator endowed. Prepare for the aging of the baby boomers and their children so we can have active healthy aging with the best quality of life, the longest period of independent living, and the greatest prosperity. We will:

Develop a system in which those who wish to stay economically active are encouraged and incentivized to do so because active people live longer and healthier, have a greater opportunity to pursue happiness, and are less of a burden on their fellow citizens;

Develop a system of independent living and assisted living that increases the years in which people can be on their own and in most cases enables people to live their entire lives with freedom and dignity;

Develop a new model of quality long-term care in which both the care and the quality of life are compatible with a twenty-first century American expectation of progress and innovation.

Use the new technologies and new scientific knowledge to turn disabilities into capabilities and change government regulations and programs to help every American achieve the fullest possible ability to pursue happiness.


Change the mindset of big government in Washington by replacing bureaucratic public administration with Entrepreneurial Public Management so government can operate with the speed, effectiveness, and efficiency of the information age.


Balance the federal budget and insist on a lean government, low tax, low interest rate economy to maximize growth in a competitive world.


Insist on congressional reform to make the legislative branch responsive to the needs of the 21st century.


Ensure an election process that is honest, accountable, accurate, and free from the threat of illegal votes or subsequent litigation.

If we insist on these goals and insist on electing leaders at all levels dedicated to these goals, we will be able to leave our children and grandchildren an America of safety, health, prosperity, and freedom that would make our parents and grandparents proud. We too will have done our duty to our country and our achievements as citizens will be worthy of the America we inherited.
My Corner Photos

I decided to create a photoblog to link to pictures I post here. You'll find it here and on the sidebar if you're interested.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Did I Read That Sign Right?

Got this in an email from my father-in-law. Enjoy!

In an office:



In a Laundromat:

(sounds like fun laudromat, too bad my washer and dryer are working!)

In a London department store:


In an office:

(sounds like steps have already been taken)

In an office:

(I'd better have someone else empty the teapot, then)

Outside a secondhand shop:



Notice in health food shop window:



Spotted in a safari park:


(And when did elephants learn to drive????)

Seen during a conference:

(I really hope they know they have children)

Notice in a farmer's field:


(wonder what the interest rate is)

On a repair shop door:

(I'm having visions of Wizard of Oz)
Sunday Ramblings

More Woes: First it was the computer, which now doesn't seem to be turning on at all. Now it's the driver's side window on my van. So we'll be looking for a place to look at that. And the rear brakes still need work.

Photos: Dale took some photos Friday evening of Wyatt doing his Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy Mommy's Home! dance. He also took some of Wyatt washing, or trying to wash my face. If I can figure out how to crop me out of the picture without losing the jist of what he's doing, I'll post it sometime or another. Maybe I can put my head on another body? Or maybe just substitute another face and body altogether? Have to give this idea some thought. Kathleen Turner? She's about my age and still looks good....

Speaking of (Not) Looking Good: I watched Monk last night. James Brolin was the murderous guest star. Life with Babs must not be treating him well. He just doesn't look like he's aging well. But then, things didn't go well in November, so she might be a little cranky these days.

Quote of the Day: Founding Father Samuel Adams wrote, "It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds." Thanks to
Citizen Outreach for reminding me that the Founding Fathers were the first grassroots activitists.

Cell Phone Jammers: Boy howdy, I can relate to this one. Haven't we all been privy to a conversation that we didn't want or need to hear? With the advent of two way radio features in cell phones, we can now hear both sides of the conversation. We hear them in banks, restaurants, movie theaters, grocery stores, doctor's offices, and everywhere else. And don't we all know at least one person, and sometimes we are that person, who has to be in constant touch with girl/boy friends, parents, spouse, partner, and so on who will interrupt a face-to-face conversation with you to take a call from someone else? I find this to be very rude and consider these people to be either control freaks or co-dependent to a control freak. You knew that someone would come up with a device that would jam these calls. But, as with every good idea, there is a downside that comes with it. Jammers are now available, (not legally, however) but they can't differentiate between the call between that annoying person in line behind you and the person who is trying to call 911 for a heart attack victim or an accident where a life might be lost because the call can't go through. I cannot begin to endorse jammers until someone can program a jammer that will not interfere with a 911 call. But when the programming is available, and legal, I will not endorse it, but I will want one.