Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Reaping What We Sow VII

Jeez, who would have thought?  And as gas averages $3.78 a gallon, maybe...just maybe it would be a good idea to drill for more oil.  Here on American lands!!  Or approve the Keystone XL pipeline.  Or open ANWR.  Or open up continental shelf drilling.  Or allow for more fracking.  The possibilities are endless...

Please, do not tell me the lie that the President peddles every chance he gets about oil production increasing. That is a private sector thing.  The federal government does more to restrict access to our own resources, thanks to enslaving itself to radical environmentalism.

Congratulations.  Enjoy the $4 and $5 gasoline.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Sequester...

Mr. President, stop lying about the nature of sequestration and its effects.  Ladies and gentlemen, if I may, I wish to present a graphic that will show the nature of the "drastic cuts" that are allegedly coming on March 1:

The circle represents the federal budget.  The sequester is the little red dot in the middle.  If my household can make the requisite cuts to get under budget with a baby, I think the United States government can manage to lower its FY2013 deficit from $1.2 trillion to $1.156 trillion.  Bring on the sequester. And then let the real meat cleaving begin (et tu, Mr. President?).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Viva Papa!

When I got into my car at 5:50 this morning, the last thing I was expecting to hear when the hourly ABC News report came on (I listen to WMAL many mornings) was that Pope Benedict XVI will be "resigning", effective at the end of the month.  These are the best of thoughts I could organize regarding this somewhat unexpected move...

- I hate the word "resignation" in this context.  As if he could just hand a letter to God saying "I quit".  The proper word is "abdication", which brings me to the point that the Church ought to reinstate all the royal terminology regarding the pomp and ceremony of a new Pope, such as "coronation" and "abdication".  "Installation" and "resignation" sound too corporate for my taste; football coaches and CEOs are installed and resign.  Popes are crowned.

- I cheered loudly when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was elected to the Papacy in April, 2005.  I even belonged to the "Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club", owning a t-shirt and enjoying his theological and liturgical works such as The Spirit of the Liturgy and Jesus of Nazareth.  The Conclave that elected him had my utmost attention as I had never witnessed the proceedings before (previous Conclave being 1978, four years before my birth).

- No, I don't engage in speculation as to who is going to be the next Pope.  I don't treat this as a horse race and quite honestly, media figures and publications that engage in such thinking are completely wasting their time.  Only Americans (and some Western Europeans) actually spend any time considering whether or not there should be a black (or fill in the blank ethnicity, for that matter) Pope.  I know I am in the minority here, but I actually do believe that the Bishop of Rome ought to be someone who is relatively local.  For all the talk about the Pope being the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, he is also the local ordinary for a very specific group of Catholics, and thus needs to be in tune with their needs as well.  I am not sure that having a Pope from South America, Asia, Africa, Australia, or North America will be the right call.

- The burning question to all of this is...what shall I do with my Benedict XVI bobblehead?  Is it now a priceless collector's item?  You tell me...

- I am a bit amused by some of the reaction from certain anti-Catholic media sources about how much the next Pope might "change" the teaching on [fill in the blank hobby horse]. Nowhere better are my feelings summed up by Robert George. A small taste:
Although I ought to be used to it by now, I still find the parochialism of liberal secular elites stunning. Their small-minded preoccupation with sex and gender is, in its way, amusing. A pope abdicates for the first time in centuries, and what immediately pops into the mind of Nicholas Kristof and his ilk? Contraception, women’s ordination, and celibacy. Oy vey.
As they say, read the whole thing.

I will have more thoughts as we get closer to D-Day and the new Conclave.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Observations - Super Bowl Edition

It has been a long time since I have done a Sunday Observations post (last May was the most recent one), and figured since it is the day of the Super Bowl Big Game, it would be a good time to make a few quick hits about this day.  They are all football related, so if you got tired of all the political stuff, this is for you!

- The NFL has gotten really lazy about the logos for the Super Bowl.  It used to be that every year had a nice, new, and original logo.  The past three years (beginning with 45), it has devolved into a repeat scheme, with only the number and the stadium changing slightly and the Lombardi Trophy rising from it like a large phallus.  Judge for yourself.

- The two stories that have been beaten into the ground so hard these past two weeks are the Harbaugh brothers and Ray Lewis' final game.  One reason I have been waiting for the actual game to begin is so people can shut up about the puff pieces regarding the two stories.  No, I don't give a damn about what Mr. and Mrs. Harbaugh are thinking or for whom they are rooting.  No, I don't care about the alleged redemption of Ray Lewis.  I want to watch the game.  The game.  Remember the game?  I blame Monday Night Football and ABC Sports (1970, no less!) for this kind of nonsensical proliferation of puff pieces and four-hour long pre-game shows.

- Rooting interests in this game are very interesting.  However, there are two types of fans that are driving me nearly bat-guano insane.  The first are the local Redskin fans who are rooting for the Ravens in the name of "locality". I hope those people know that the Raven fans would never repay that favor.  The second fans (and even more annoying) are Steeler fans who are rooting for the Ravens in the name of, get this, ensuring that the 49ers don't win their sixth title and thus "tie" the Steelers for the most.  What garbage!  First of all, you never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever root for your divisional rival in the Super Bowl.  EVER!!  Secondly, while the Steelers have won six, they have also lost two.  This is an apples to oranges comparison, and any Steeler fan who is rooting for the Ravens ought to have their fan card ripped up and burned.  Yesterday.

- This is going to raise the ire of a few people - but I am going to say it anyway.  If you watch the Super Bowl just for the commercials, do not advertise this fact.  What happens then is that these people tend to betray their complete and total ignorance of what the event actually is. It's a football game!  Try to remember that and remember the proverb "tis better to remain silent and be thought the fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt."

- So the question is, for whom am I pulling?  Technically speaking, I don't have a horse in the race.  However, I don't care for the Ravens.  I don't like the Ravens, or their fanbase.  The same fanbase who will hypocritically pine for the Colts yet root for another stolen team.  Nowhere was this worse than during the wild-card round when the Colts came to Baltimore.  Every sign that mentioned the Colts leaving should have caused a puppy to be tortured (Michael Vick, call your office).

- Otherwise, I am hoping for the 49ers to win the game.  I think Colin Kaepernick and company will run the old and rickety Ravens defense (who live on reputation at this point, and PEDs).  I am going with 49ers 27, Ravens 20.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reaping What We Sow VI

Who couldn't have seen this coming?  Actually, I can think of quite a few people...
In a final regulation issued Wednesday, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) assumed that under Obamacare the cheapest health insurance plan available in 2016 for a family will cost $20,000 for the year.
After being told by some of our brightest minds and talking heads that Obamacare would lower the cost of medical care for people, I bet a lot of people are surprised by the constant rising of costs.  I, for one, was shocked, shocked to discover the increases.  As I wrote about two weeks before the election:
Before anyone accuses me of raging paranoia, just keep in mind that no one who actually has business experience (unlike a certain occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue) would be dumb enough to increase demand while stagnating or even decreasing supply and expect to lower costs. And yet, that's precisely what the ACA does. And since we have the smartest man who has ever occupied the White House in office, he would never stoop to such an incompetent practice, right?
I go on to say that the only explanation then is a malicious intent on the part of the advocates and authors of the bill. Anyway, the original article continues on:
“The annual national average bronze plan premium for a family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children) is $20,000,” the regulation says.

Bronze will be the lowest tier health-insurance plan available under Obamacare--after Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Under the law, the penalty for not buying health insurance is supposed to be capped at either the annual average Bronze premium, 2.5 percent of taxable income, or $2,085.00 per family in 2016.
Even at present, it would be cheaper to just pay the fine and go see a for-cash doctor (called "concierge medicine" -- which I wrote about in piecemeal fashion) rather than pay for medical insurance. 

Remember, these people have our best interests at heart!

Reaping What We Sow V

If you are still having a hard time figuring out why I entitle these posts as I do - how about continuing to elect people who are in favor of government intrusion into every aspect of our lives:
The Obama administration proposed regulations Friday that would prohibit U.S. schools from selling unhealthy snacks.

The 160-page regulation from the Department of Agriculture (USDA) would enact nutrition standards for "competitive" foods not included in the official school meal.

In practice, the proposed rules would replace traditional potato chips with baked versions and candy with granola. Regular soda is out, though high-schoolers may have access to diet versions.
Oy vey...
"Although nutrition standards for foods sold at school alone may not be a determining factor in children's overall diets, they are critical to providing children with healthy food options throughout the entire school day," the proposed rule states.
Really.  Options, eh?  If you are replacing candy with granola and regular chips with baked ones (which are disgusting, in my opinion), then what "options" are you granting them?
"Thus, these standards will help to ensure that the school nutrition environment does all that it can to promote healthy choice, and help to prevent diet-related health problems."
Translation - we are going to steer you to the options we believe are best for you, because we are the all-knowing government of the United States, and we know what's best for you more than you or your parents.

Another reason for private or homeschooling, indeed.