April 29, 2010

What is odd about this report?


LiveScience reports.
"Warming temperatures are melting patches of ice that have been in place for thousands of years in the mountains of the Canadian High Arctic and in turn revealing a treasure trove of ancient hunting tools,"

They cite as examples:
In 1997, sheep hunters discovered a 4,300-year-old dart shaft in caribou dung that had become exposed as the ice receded. . . . [Archaeologist Tom] Andrews and his team (including members of the indigenous Shutaot'ine or Mountain Dene) have found 2,400-year-old spear throwing tools, a 1000-year-old ground squirrel snare, and bows and arrows dating back 850 years.


So what does this dire news add up to? A NO-Prize to the first commenter who spots it.......

More on the Border


The Federal Government is not protecting our boarders and it is a big deal. The State stepping up certainly makes sense. One of the Authors of the bill has an Op-Ed about the reasons Why Arizona Drew the Line.

Open Boarder Policy or Amnesty is just insane. Our President spreading dis-information is hypocritical. I guess you could say he acted stupidly.

April 28, 2010

Muscle Strain Treatment

Most muscle strains can be treated with the RICE protocol. RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.

Rest: Take a break from the activity that caused the strain. Your physician may recommend that you use crutches to avoid putting weight on the leg.

Ice: Do not apply ice directly to the skin, but you can use cold packs for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.

Compression: To prevent additional swelling and blood loss, wear an elastic compression bandage.

Elevation: To minimize swelling, keep your leg up higher than your heart.

Your doctor may recommend aspirin, ibuprofen or another analgesic for pain relief. As the pain and swelling subside, physical therapy will help improve range of motion and strength. The muscle should be at full strength and pain-free before you return to sports.

For my calf muscles I am looking at two weeks for a full recovery. With some stretching and easy walking after the first week. I am really trying to focus on hearing what my body is telling me.


April 27, 2010

Immigration

Arizona passed a law that made it illegal to be in the USA illegally. This is being lambasted by the MSM and likened to Nazi Germany rounding up the Jews. It is being heralded as being racist as well (which is just getting as old as yelling socialist).

I am perplexed by the open borders, amnesty for all crowd. Congress should not by pass an amnesty reform package. Instead how about amending the statutory (not constitutional) provisions that limit the actions States can take and increasing the legal means for foreigners to come to the United States to work.

The only way to end or significantly slow illegal immigration in America is to create a mosaic of laws across the country that increase the cost of illegal immigration to a point that the supply dwindles to a trickle as the demand is filled by legal workers.

Require the use of the E-Verify system for all businesses;

Suspend the licenses of businesses that hire unauthorized aliens;

Require business filings and business tax returns to include an attestation from the employer that he did not employ unauthorized aliens in the past 12 months, and make it a felony to file a false attestation;

Require state income tax returns to include an attestation from the filers that they did not employ unauthorized aliens in the past 12 months and make it a felony to file a false attestation;

Make it a felony for unauthorized aliens to work in the U.S., punishable by imprisonment and a fine;

Make it a felony to falsely claim legal presence in the United States;

Make it a felony and a predicate racketeering crime to smuggle aliens;

Make it a crime to rent, lease, or sublease living space for use by unauthorized aliens;

Expand law-enforcement arrest power to include misdemeanor violations of the INA;

Permit the temporary detention of individuals charged with misdemeanors, such as traffic violations,where probable cause exists that they are unauthorized aliens, so that federal entities can retrieve them;

Outlaw sanctuary cities, including day-labor sites;

Mandate the use of the Systemic Alien Verification for Entitlements system to verify entitlement to all state and local government benefits;

Deny enrollment to or financial aid for state-licensed higher education institutions to unauthorized
aliens, including in-state tuition qualification;

Restrict unauthorized aliens’ access to non-essential public benefits and services;

Prohibit tax deductions for business expenses related to unauthorized aliens;

Institute a withholding tax for all electronic funds wire transfers to foreign parties or on negotiable bank drafts and international money orders without a valid Social Security Number;

Ban the use of foreign identification documents to establish identity or to obtain state identification cards unless accompanied by a U.S. document that demonstrates legal presence in the United States; and

Restrict the use of taxpayer identification numbers for purposes not authorized by the Internal Revenue Service, including identification, unless accompanied by a U.S. document that demonstrates legal presence in the United States.

www.heritage.org for this info.

April 24, 2010

My first 10K

It was a brisk cold, clear Oregon morning in the little town of Glide. The line up to register for the three races, was much longer then expected. The small table had forms that needed to be filled out and there was little done to make the process efficient. There was a surprising bunch of 40 and older, all dressed in what I can assume is higher tech gear then my shorts,Tee-shirt and river shoes.

Some faces I knew, some Tina knew. One of the advantages of living in a smaller town area. The crowed seemed a nervous excited about the event. There was a 1 mile run, 5k and a 10k. I have not been running all that long. This was the first 10k I have had the ability to run.

The course was a large triangle shape that ran alongside the river through a park and down the main highway for two laps. My mind briefly flirted with the idea of being first. Which was quickly ridiculed into submission by my concept of reality. I actually had a couple of goals. I wanted to finish the race and I wanted to run non-stop. Running like Kenenisa Bekele and finishing in 26min 46.19 seconds was not a goal.

It was cold enough that I left on my hoodie as the group lethargically headed to the starting line. Oddly enough no one wanted to approach the line and stood a wary distance away. Not knowing any better I went right up to the line and scooted to the far right hand side of the road. There was some arm waving and stretching and then the rules were explained. With a ready, steady go we went...

I decided to keep to the far right hand side of the road and find a pace. My instinct was to match each grouping as it formed along the run. There was a large herd that quickly took the lead. That human cloud would no doubt break down into smaller components. I admit my ego did take some bruising as groups slowly passed me, I tried to comfort myself by focusing on my goal.
As this fore-footed running style is still quite new I tried to focus on running smoothly and letting the full foot touch, allowing the calf muscle to have a moment of relaxation. Eventually I was running all alone in a further crushing thought that I was in last place.

I must mention that this stretch of road in Oregon is gorgeous and interesting. Lots of things to see at a 6 MPH pace. There was very little wind other then a river chilled gust. The canopy of tree's shading and retreating from the road. I had settled into a pace and my wind was good. I was not under any duress. My mind was wondering exactly how long it would take as the path seemed much longer then it should have been. Finally, the course finish line appeared. While this WAS the finish line, I still had another lap of the course. Tina and the boys were there. I handed off my hoodie and watch and kept. running.

Almost immediately I noticed the difference in weight. I also realized that I was not all that fatigued. So I threw my ego a bone and aimed my sights on the last person who passed me. This lap I would try to catch her. It is a machine like rhythm that took me by surprise. Music is something very personal and emotional. It is an important expression and I hold it in awe for its natural and supernatural existence. This running cadence brought to mind many different songs that played unbidden in my mind.

I greatly increased my running for a good minute and then slowed to recover. I had made up a good amount of ground. I was running faster then before or my opponent was slowing. The new goal was a nice diversion. Something was happening in my left shoe that felt wet, I figured it was a blister. There was nothing painful, just an annoyance of having to doctor that up later. My calf muscles were feeling tight, despite my efforts to relax each step. Heart and wind was perfectly fine. I caught up and passed the closest runner in front of me and it did feel pretty good. There was actually quite a few people on the course. A glance showed that they had started the 5k. (The nametag had a yellow dot).

I looked ahead to the next runner. I did not know If I could make up the distance but I decided to keep up with the faster, passing pace, I had acquired. At least I knew I was no longer in last place. Tina assures me that there were plenty of folks after me. I passed two lumbering masses I recognized from earlier. A couple of boys, late teens, who had ran out of energy to run any further! I was happy to have more people to pass.

As I headed down the final approach, again Tina and the boys were there and lofted a cheer. I went into a near sprint to shave a couple of 10ths off my time. As I ran through they had a ribbon and a glass of sports drink. Both were appreciated.

I headed back to find my time. It was just six seconds over an hour. Which is a pretty pathetic time for a 10k runner. The average falls closer to 35-45 min.

Still, I was very happy that I finished and ran non-stop. Now for some rest, ice, ibuprofen and leg elevation.

GM, Government loan and spin (lies?)

Source

I saw the commercial where GM says it paid the loan back in full. Like anything reported in the apparatchik media posts I waited until the other shoe dropped. Here is that boot...

... before belting out their victory aria, GM-boosters ought to hear the whole story--not just the fairytale version about Government Motors' grand comeback that Mr. (GM Chairman Ed) Whitacre is feeding them.

Uncle Sam gave GM $49.5 billion last summer in aid to finance its bankruptcy. (If it hadn't, the company, which couldn't raise this kind of money from private lenders, would have been forced into liquidation, its assets sold for scrap.) So when Mr. Whitacre publishes a column with the headline, "The GM Bailout: Paid Back in Full," most ordinary mortals unfamiliar with bailout minutia would assume that he is alluding to the entire $49.5 billion. That, however, is far from the case.

... when Mr. Whitacre says GM has paid back the bailout money in full, he means not the entire $49.5 billion--the loan and the equity. In fact, he avoids all mention of that figure in his column. He means only the $6.7 billion loan amount.

But wait! Even that's not the full story given that GM, which has not yet broken even, much less turned a profit, can't pay even this puny amount from its own earnings.

So how is it paying it?

As it turns out, the Obama administration put $13.4 billion of the aid money as "working capital" in an escrow account when the company was in bankruptcy. The company is using this escrow money--government money--to pay back the government loan.

GM claims that the fact that it is even using the escrow money to pay back the loan instead of using it all to shore itself up shows that it is on the road to recovery. That actually would be a positive development--although hardly one worth hyping in ads and columns--if it were not for a further plot twist.

Sean McAlinden, chief economist at the Ann Arbor-based Center for Automotive Research, points out that the company has applied to the Department of Energy for $10 billion in low (5%) interest loan to retool its plants to meet the government's tougher new CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. However, giving GM more taxpayer money on top of the existing bailout would have been a political disaster for the Obama administration and a PR debacle for the company. Paying back the small bailout loan makes the new--and bigger--DOE loan much more feasible.

In short, GM is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money. And at a 2% lower interest rate at that. This is a nifty scheme to refinance GM's government debt--not pay it back.

Personal best 10K time!

video

I ran my personal best 10k today. Not really all that impressive, as it was my first 10K run today. My video crew filmed a bit near the end, in which I have been running an hour.

Time: 1:00:06
Shoes: River shoes (see previous blog entry)
Style: Forefooted running style (aka: barefooted style)
Calories burned: 890
Distance covered: 6.21 miles (10k... duh)

Aftermath:
Cardiovascular system, no issues, I had plenty of wind. Lower back, Forefooted style is with a straight back and level head, no issues. Knees, no issues. Shin splints, no issue. Ankles, no issue. Feet, nothing structural. I did suffer some blisters on my big toe. Next time I will need some socks to wick away the sweat in the river shoes. Yes, I said next time. Calf muscles, strained and sore. In getting the running style down I have a tendency to not let my heel touch the ground at all. I believe I have this issue resolved.

I cannot recall needing to ingest food like I did after the race. In a good way. More to follow, I have to go ride bikes with Connor now.

April 22, 2010

The fastest production car EVER!

Happy Birthday Tina!

I would have to say the second half of my life has been a very happy one. Thanks to Tina.

Byron and myself had a gig at a Catholic Church Group dance. The leader, Marty, had a limited budget and we took the job. We used a combination of his and my stereo systems, Byron had built a full set of lights and plug in modules that allowed us some limited FX abilities. There was strobe lights as well. We could have brought a fog machine, if we had thought longer.

It was a lot of younger kids. We requested people bring in records (much easier to get an idea of what they listen too). And I went through creating play lists and checking albums for play ability. Byron pretty much ran everything else. I recall him having a good time. I had a better time when a couple of girls closer to my age (by estimation) arrived.

There was one in a cute short black dress and another in some 60's\gypsy garb. I should mention this was a Halloween dance.

I found out later that Tina (the black dress) had been corralled into the dance by her neighbor Rick. She and her sister (gypsy) were a bit taken a back by the general youth of the attendee's. Neither of them would give up an opportunity to dance, which was good news for me.

At this point in my life I my knee was recovering from a motorcycle wreck. I owed lots of $$$ to the ER and I had a job with two bosses who would constantly countermand the other. I had given up on Collage, due to my own unfocused attempt at sublime laziness.

Funny to think that I almost turned down the job out of too much Hassle. Also, I was not sure Byron would be available to help. Interesting how the universe lined itself up.

So I was impressed with her musical tastes and surprised that she had a record that was not released in the USA. We danced and I recall it being a good, good night. At one point she vanished and I was a bit sad, my mind trying to figure out how to get back in touch. She had gone out to get a soda, and returned later.

I ended up asking her to join me skating that Sunday.

I love you very much Tina. Happy Birthday and Thank you.

April 20, 2010

Doctor Roy's New Book

The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists


"The supposed explanation that global warming is due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide from our burning of fossil fuels turns out to be based upon little more than circumstantial evidence. It is partly a symptom of our rather primitive understanding of how the climate system works.

And I predict that the proposed cure for global warming – reducing greenhouse gas emissions – will someday seem as outdated as using leeches to cure human illnesses."

Bumper Sticker

LIbEraliSm

April 19, 2010

Tech under tech support.

One of my jobs was technical support for Dell Computers. There was a tendency among my fellow techs to disparage those who called in need of help. I refrained for the most part. Yet, every so often I would find someone on the other end of the phone that would make me questioned that stance.

I would state "every computer users starts someplace and learns more from there."

When it comes to PC support at home I tend to let the kids deal with the tech support personnel and only jump in when needed. There is a tendency among my technically savvy friends, family and workmates to disparage those tech support people on the other end of the phone.

Oh what a dual edged sword!

I regularly diagnose PC and network problems, sometimes dialing into various tech support lines and proceed to convince them that I know what I am talking about.

Last week I had two calls I had to make. One went swimmingly the other, not so much. My wife purchased some headphones for PC gaming. We had tried various kinds and this one actually worked to her liking until it didn't. We tried various settings and none of them helped.

Finally it was determined that they broke. As Logitech has a great warranty on products, (upwards to seven years on some), I made the call. The tech was jovial and sounded confident and was familiar with US slang and spoke without an obvious accent. After the preliminary identifications was out of the way he asked plainly if I had done any diagnostics. So I recounted what had been done and he was satisfied. A new headset should be winging its way to our house.

Next up was internet trouble. Our Internet Service Provider (ISP) is Qwest. For some reason our signal started bouncing between working and not working. Not being the bulk of the time.

Thinking it could be the modem I tried adjusting some of the settings and ran the handy diagnostic tool they provided. This lead me to calling in and finding out there was an outage in the area. They set up a call back time to notify me when service was restored. Good enough!

The next day I got the call and things got a little bit odd. The various websites I was used to going too would take a long time to load and then stopped loading all together. A shut down and start up of my web browser (Chrome) would seemingly resolve the problem. Which is even more perplexing. It also turned out that was a coincidence. As a couple of easy ping tests proved.

Qwests DNS server was not working, was my conclusion. At which point I realize that not everyone who reads this could possibly know what that means....

DNS is Domain Name Service. It is a computer that maintains a list of where everything on the internet is located. All the computers on the internet have an address. This is a unique identification that tells data where it has been and were it is going.

An IP address looks like this: 192.168.1.100
Which is actually:C0.A8.1.64 or 11000000.10101000.00000001.1100100 (which is me just showing off)

Without getting into a bunch of tricky stuff about switches and routers and subnets and such. Lets just say that in a DNS server 74.125.127.99 = www.google.com

Computers only work with binary numbers 1 or 0 or on and off. So a computer can only translate text into numbers to work. Trust me when I say there are lots and lots of Ones and Zeros working tirelessly day and night so you can watch youtube.

So launch your web browser, type in www.google.com. Your DNS server looks that up and sends back the web page you requested. Unless the look up table is not there. Trying to convince the tech that the DNS server was down was an exercise in frustration.


April 18, 2010

Minimalistic Running.

Vibram makes a really cool shoe glove. It gives you a bare foot feel when running.

Unfortunately the ones I want are $85.00.

So, I was reading various blogs about barefoot running, I came across some guy reviewing various minimal footwear. Lo and behold, River Socks get a great rating! At $9.00 a pop I picked up a pair from Fred Meyers.

They weigh 290 gram compared to 350 for my New Balance. That 60 grams of bulk is VERY noticeable when running. I did remove the insole as recommended (it will jettison itself if you leave it) and tried a bit of running.

When you run the weight of the shoes on your feet must feel heavier due to the pendulum swing. Less weight means less fatigue, or so I noticed on a 25 min run this morning.

If this running thing sticks I may, at some point, get the betterest ones. In the meantime, $9.00 is a big win.


Doctor Who's New Season

This is a clip from the next weeks episode. They did start off with a BANG, well, a crash actually. The Doctor newly regenerated and not quite finished before having to save the planet.

Matt Smith does a brilliant job being the Doctor. His manic explosions and exposition is just as quirky and eccentric. Karen Gillan exceeded my expectations 10-fold. I am really looking forward to this season.


April 16, 2010

Fog! Oh noes its Global Warming! No Fog! oh noes its Global Warming!

In 2009, environmentalists were sure global warming was the reason California’s Bay Area fog was increasing. Now they’re saying global warming is making the fog go away—indicating that the science may not be as “settled” as some seem to think.

Gateway Pundit noted that in 2009, The San Francisco Chronicle claimed that “The Bay Area just had its foggiest May in 50 years. And thanks to global warming, it’s about to get even foggier.” Yet, in 2010, The Telegraph has asserted that “the sight of Golden Gate Bridge towering above the fog will become increasing [sic] rare as climate change warms San Francisco bay.”

The first article was written in May of 2009; the second, February of 2010. When scientists start trying to explain how global warming is affecting our everyday life, their findings conflict drastically. Both papers and claims are under a year old. Which one do we trust?

The issue isn’t whether or not global warming is happening: the issue is how much scientists really can know about how new climates will effect us. There are far more variables involved with climate change than any scientist in today’s world could hope to understand. Given the constantly evolving stances of climate scientists, we ought to be more careful when it comes to what we believe about climate change.

As Heritage expert Dr. James Carafano explained in his 2009 testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee, the global warming theory suffers the “folly of simplicity,” pointing out that in Jared Diamond’s study Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, “Diamond lists a daunting 12 factors that historically contributed to the collapse of a society–and these are only the factors directly controlled by humans. It is worth noting,” Dr. Carafano went on, “that Diamond is able to detail how this myriad of forces and choices interacted with one another only through the hindsight gained through hundreds of years of historical and archeological research.”

In other words, the complexity of human-environment causal relationships is such that it typically takes many years—centuries, even—to fully understand what causes what when it comes to humans interacting with the environment:

History is in fact littered with case studies that suggest straight-line mapping of human-environment interaction is problematic,” Dr. Carafano testified. “Anticipating with certainty how climate change will affect human progress is a march of folly.

His points are only validated by the assumptions regarding the Bay Area’s fog today. We cannot anticipate anything regarding climate change with certainty—and the “new” research is proving it.

Allie Winegar Duzett currently is a member of the Young Leaders Program at the Heritage Foundation.

April 15, 2010

Tax day

It's a myth. FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression


'He got us out of the Great Depression." That's probably the most frequent comment made about President Franklin Roosevelt, who died 65 years ago today. Every Democratic president from Truman to Obama has believed it, and each has used FDR's New Deal as a model for expanding the government.

It's a myth. FDR did not get us out of the Great Depression—not during the 1930s, and only in a limited sense during World War II.

Let's start with the New Deal. Its various alphabet-soup agencies—the WPA, AAA, NRA and even the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority)—failed to create sustainable jobs. In May 1939, U.S. unemployment still exceeded 20%. European countries, according to a League of Nations survey, averaged only about 12% in 1938. The New Deal, by forcing taxes up and discouraging entrepreneurs from investing, probably did more harm than good.

What about World War II? We need to understand that the near-full employment during the conflict was temporary. Ten million to 12 million soldiers overseas and another 10 million to 15 million people making tanks, bullets and war materiel do not a lasting recovery make. The country essentially traded temporary jobs for a skyrocketing national debt. Many of those jobs had little or no value after the war.

No one knew this more than FDR himself. His key advisers were frantic at the possibility of the Great Depression's return when the war ended and the soldiers came home. The president believed a New Deal revival was the answer—and on Oct. 28, 1944, about six months before his death, he spelled out his vision for a postwar America. It included government-subsidized housing, federal involvement in health care, more TVA projects, and the "right to a useful and remunerative job" provided by the federal government if necessary.

Roosevelt died before the war ended and before he could implement his New Deal revival. His successor, Harry Truman, in a 16,000 word message on Sept. 6, 1945, urged Congress to enact FDR's ideas as the best way to achieve full employment after the war.

Congress—both chambers with Democratic majorities—responded by just saying "no." No to the whole New Deal revival: no federal program for health care, no full-employment act, only limited federal housing, and no increase in minimum wage or Social Security benefits.

Instead, Congress reduced taxes. Income tax rates were cut across the board. FDR's top marginal rate, 94% on all income over $200,000, was cut to 86.45%. The lowest rate was cut to 19% from 23%, and with a change in the amount of income exempt from taxation an estimated 12 million Americans were eliminated from the tax rolls entirely.

Corporate tax rates were trimmed and FDR's "excess profits" tax was repealed, which meant that top marginal corporate tax rates effectively went to 38% from 90% after 1945.

Georgia Sen. Walter George, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, defended the Revenue Act of 1945 with arguments that today we would call "supply-side economics." If the tax bill "has the effect which it is hoped it will have," George said, "it will so stimulate the expansion of business as to bring in a greater total revenue."

He was prophetic. By the late 1940s, a revived economy was generating more annual federal revenue than the U.S. had received during the war years, when tax rates were higher. Price controls from the war were also eliminated by the end of 1946. The U.S. began running budget surpluses.

Congress substituted the tonic of freedom for FDR's New Deal revival and the American economy recovered well. Unemployment, which had been in double digits throughout the 1930s, was only 3.9% in 1946 and, except for a couple of short recessions, remained in that range for the next decade.

The Great Depression was over, no thanks to FDR. Yet the myth of his New Deal lives on. With the current effort by President Obama to emulate some of FDR's programs to get us out of the recent deep recession, this myth should be laid to rest.

Mr. Folsom, a professor of history at Hillsdale College, is the author of "New Deal or Raw Deal?" (Simon & Schuster, 2008). Mrs. Folsom is director of Hillsdale College's annual Free Market Forum.

The 10th Amdendment

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

April 14, 2010

Trying a google book embed.

how to circumvent a free press

When Dana Milbank and Bret Bozell agree... Well that is news!


Once upon a Mesa

The suburban housing tract I grew up in provided me with many wonderful memories. One such memory was unlocked yesterday through a series of scanned pictures dating back to the late 1970's.

Getting in front of a group of people and making a fool of myself is not a big deal. While I can get embarrassed I always figure my quick wit will pull me through. However, getting up on stage, pretending to be someone written by someone else and parroting out the lines like they are my own, tends to tie my stomach up. So entertaining good, acting bad... for me...

In my formative years (read: High School), I was involved in, yet apart from the Drama Department. There was any number of reasons. Primarily because I was a willfully distracted student and my folks saw drama as a greater distraction.

They did strongly support and encourage my singing in Choir and Madrigals, without which I might have not attended school as regularly as I should. I guess I owe my parents many apologies for the angst I caused.

So I knew the Stage Crew, I knew the Drama kids, I was the Usher at many, many performances and did swing a hammer and grab a paintbrush or two.

A drama friend from High School posted a group of pictures from those old days on her Facebook page. This lead me to find David, the kid from up the street. An old friend.

David M. lived a few houses down from an outlet from our tract that was supposed to be a cul-de-sac. His backyard was next to the drainage ditch and the layout of his home matched my own. We both liked Sci-fi, and played Wild Wild West in his backyard. He was always building, forts and stages and other wonderful sets. He made a tropical paradise at one point, complete with Hammocks. We both started doing magical illusions around that time.

Still it was one of those friendships that lacked consistency. Every few months we would hang out then time would pass between.

Come High School things changed. He did hang out with a different crowd then I. However, I would catch up with him when I was hanging around the Drama folks. He was an artist, the best one I knew. Come graduation divergence of life paths occur and like so many others, I never really kept. track.

It is one of those things you wonder "whatever happened too" followed by the hope that they made themselves a good life.

Dave Wilder did just that and kept. very true to himself as well. He changed his last name (from Meek) to something fitting and as you can see on his link, is still very much an artist. He is also a cowboy, which fits his nature.


April 13, 2010

Autism and World of Warcraft

Autism and World of Warcraft. Meet Merve he is Eight years old and has Aspergers. This is of great interest. Both of my boys having Autism, Trevor on the Aspergers side of the scale.

W0W.com ran a feature on him which explains much better then I would in writing.

As parents we let our children play MMORPG's back when we were running around Asherons Call. Our kids would watch and hear the tales, naturally they wanted to give it a try. Both of them learned how to touch type and got to have their own adventures. We monitored them quite carefully and used every opportunity to teach them safe interaction skills.

"So where are do you live?" was answered with "Hebian-To in Dereth of course"

"How old are you?" was "level 26 now, should be 27 in a little bit"

Eventually we moved on to a superhero genre game City of Heroes. Connor was old enough to want to play. So we would let him explore the virtual city. Sometimes with surprising results. Once we found him leading a super team in a 'dangerous' warehouse raid, despite them warning him to "slow down" and asking "what are you doing?" he was surprisingly successful.

The group had a laugh to find a five year old Autistic boy was their erstwhile leader. Now it is a standing reward system for our boys, depending upon work done or activity earned. Connor still loves exploring and his ability to get a weaker character to the middle of a very dangerous zone baffles the mind.

The linked blog and write up is a great example of how autism can work.

How to ruin a nation.

Nearly half of US newspaper and broadcast TV news executives believe their organizations will fold within 10 years unless they find new revenue streams, according to a survey released on Monday.

So revenues are down, jobs are being cut. This does not point to a recovered economy, regardless of the hopes and wishes of the administration. A committee of economists, charged with determining the official turning points in the nation’s business cycles, certifies the beginnings and ends of recessions. But this time, the committee members say, the evidence is not so easy to decipher.

Newsweek magazine declares that "America's back!" We hear numbers out of Wall Street. We see covers of magazines like that. People are in the grips of unemployment and poor financial times wondering when they're going to start feeling some of this.

Add that to the huge tax increase that will hit everyone, just to prop-up unsustainable socalist programs. That is just more money out of the pockets of hard working Americans to line the pockets of those who want a free ride. No wonder most of us feel overtaxed!

Obama likes to spend money, our money, with no regard for outcome or sustainability. The stimulus package is a dismal failure by Obama's standards. With the anti-job regime puffing away on the tax dollar hash-pipe millions of jobs are lost and may never return. You start to wonder if this was the plan? More people dependent on a fat government.

We know that FDR's new deal was a raw deal. Nothing his government spent could stop the great depression. You would think someone so "highly intelligent" would look to history. The only glimmer of light is that the congress is too inept to take advantage of running the whole show. I guess it could be that there are a few representatives that actually care about the Country and not the ideology.

Still we sit watching prices going up, jobs being lost, lies being told and ponder a future that is not bright. A future where the current regime is unwilling to defend itself.

There is a lot of great things happening. The awesome Tea Party movement is driving a fiscally conservative grass roots agenda that has much promise for November elections. And Paul Ryan has emerged as someone who represents this much needed view.

April 12, 2010

Good news for polar bears

The Arctic Ice has gone back to "Normal." Which should be awesome news to people worried about the planet warming. Terrible news to the zealots of Gore who must now start preaching that more ice means huge amounts of heat!

The MSM will either ignore or just cry quietly sucking its thumb in the corner at this Horrible news.

Some info with links and charts with crappy fonts.

Count down to April 17th!

Doctor Who Season is about to begin! The longest running sci-fi series has a new face in Matt Smith.

He replaced the beloved David Tennant last year who left us with a sad
David Tennants Regeneration into Matt Smith - Click here for the most popular videos">"I dont want to go" changing to a near manic Matt Smith.

The innovation of the series is the written in ability of a Time Lord to regenerate into another person or actor. Matt Smith being the 11th actor in the series.

Mr. Smith is the youngest Actor to take the role and has suffered many doubts of his ability based on Mr. Tennants favored portrayal. Which is pretty funny as Christopher Eccleston, the previous doctor to Tennant, was likewise deemed impossible to follow.

I myself have haunted the various Whovian websites getting those bits of information that only wet the appetite for us fanbois, and I have really liked what I have seen.

So this Saturday, tune into BBC America (check listings) or set the DVR. This is going to be quite a fun ride!

April 08, 2010

Working World

The sun peeked out yesterday and I got a good 20 minutes running among the photons. This brightened my significantly dour mood for the rest of the day.

I enjoy my job, even though DOOM is in the air. The cuts that are coming have everyone feeling down. Getting a second part time job is very tough around this area. I have a couple of prospects that I have been praying about.

On the brighter side, Trevor was able to stop his sinking ship college career. He had achieved a fiscal suspension for poor grades. At my eldest sisters suggestion Tina has me run interference at his collage. It was a little too eye opening. Personally, I cannot conceive how you can get below a B at our community collage. Just showing up and handing something in will get you a C.

We were able to work with the administration to finish up and turn in unfinished assignments. This got him back on the grants list. Part of me is glad he can further his education, part of me moans for my ill spent tax dollars.

Here is a question for you. How can a huge increase in enrollment (students = customers) mean a shortfall in revenue for the collage?? Ugh! We cannot afford to have this many customers! HELP!!!

I hope there is more sunlight today. I could use another soak.

It just keeps getting worserist. Real Hope and change in November.


First Watch this one...


Then watch this one...



Personally, I am waiting for the other shoe to drop. This is a result of having 2700 pages of legislation that contains anything and everything. The Obama regime is still trying to sell healthcare and we keep getting these bombshells aimed at our wallets.

SOURCE:

The president kept telling us we could keep our coverage if we liked it. Observers replied that employers will have every incentive to dump us onto whatever kind of subsidized provision eventually emerges.

This is exactly what observers say will happen with retiree drug benefits: The tax change will mean about 1.5 million to 2 million people will be dumped onto Medicare Part D, usually with inferior benefits.

It's not just taxes, either. The tax break staved off the reality that when public options duplicate what employers provide, employers have every reason to stop providing.

Nice benefits, while costly, help employers compete in hiring talent. But if taxpayers cover the benefit for everyone else, employers get no boost from generosity.

Even if employers want to be generous anyhow, the state's generosity makes theirs meaningless. It inculcates a sense of, "We already gave - through the IRS."

The Sell Job has been confusing and the backlash is going to propel lots of change in DC

SOURCE:

"They're saying, 'Where do we get the free Obama care, and how do I sign up for that?' " said Carrie McLean, a licensed agent for eHealthInsurance.com. The California-based company sells coverage from 185 health insurance carriers in 50 states.

SOURCE:

Presaging the looming Republican sweep is the shift in the party ratings on various issues. Rasmussen has the Republicans ahead by 49-37 on the economy and 53-37 on healthcare. His likely-voter poll shows GOP leads on every major issue area: national security (49-37), Iraq (47-39), education (43-30), immigration (47-34), Social Security (48-36) and taxes (52-34).

When Republicans are winning issues like education, healthcare and Social Security — normally solidly Democratic issues — a sweep of unimaginable proportions is in the offing.

The Teaparty movement is gaining momentum. Even CNN has tried embracing them. Not that anyone is watching CNN. Way too much liberal bias is driving the population to watch FOX. The race baiting and intolerance of the Liberal mindset is unattractive to say the least.

Tighten your belt and support fiscal conservatives would be the mantra of the day.


April 07, 2010

Congress pushed Fed on housing boom

This places the blame where it should be. Congress!

I would go further and say Barney Frank.

Small goals

Since I started walking to and from work, I always wanted to be able to run. After learning how to run again. I was able to attain that goal. I did not put much into that achievement. It had a feeling of "wow I did it, glad thats over" and running less then a mile is hardly anything by my measure.

Last week I started a good 10 week low calorie cycle, to loose down to a more healthy weight. Being nearly 6' and at 207 pounds is not a healthy weight. Yes, I know that height weight charts are fraught with errors and everyones body needs to be what it needs to be, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Still...

I am carrying too much body fat. By my estimation about 20 pounds too much. ANY physical activity I do would benefit from not carrying around 20 pounds. (I am hoping to find someplace that can check my fat by immersion... but thats another deal.)

So today I felt was worthy of a self-nod, this was the second day in a row I was able to run 30 minutes total. While that is 2.5 miles I would note that includes 783 foot climb and descent. I would love to do that barefoot. Over the last seven days I have been running 20 minutes a day with a 30 minute walk.

With a bit of work I will be eliminating the walk and running the full route. I guess thats my next small goal.


April 06, 2010

Forefoot style running.

Something that just makes sense to someone, can still produce abject failure when empirically attempted. Not so with forefoot running.

Heel strike running my 1.65 miles to and from work would result in the bottom of my foot having a spasm like muscle or tendon that would produce a stabbing pain. My ankle feeling the old car crash injury. Also, my knees would have an ache and not want to do much. This would mean running a couple of days, then walking the rest. Or depending upon how badly I was hurting, take the truck.

Today was my fifth day running out of six days. Which is fairly unprecedented. The hill still requires a bit of will power to keep running up and over. But, that is minor.

Ankle feels fine. Bottom of the foot does not hurt, although walking fast can still flare it up. Knees do not hurt, unless I do not do the stride correctly. The only way I can describe the needed motion is a slight kick. Which is a further extension of the leg prior to your foot landing. If I shorten that kick I start to feel a twinge in my knee. Adjusting the stride eliminates that twinge.

It is very interesting.

Never having been much of a runner there are certain notions I had that were left unchallenged until recently. One of the bigger ones was the thought of recovering while still running. That is to say, if you do a sprint, at the end of the sprint, you stop and breath hard until you have re-gained your "breath". Now I realize you can do the same thing and keep running.

The second was that a marathon consists of some small stopping here and there instead of a continuous run for the full 26 miles.

In retrospect it is a 'Duh!' in my mind.

April 05, 2010

Debate .vs. Fraud (AGW debate)

Quite a write up in Der Spiegel.

The zealots are loosing lots of hearts and minds by loosing Germany.

Thought on Offensive.

When someone claims to have been “offended” by someone else’s remarks, he is usually grandstanding.



It is a choice to be offended, after all.

Top 15 Misconceptions About Catholics

Original Posting (As a Catholic I enjoyed this read as I have heard all of these)

With nearly one quarter of the U.S. population Catholic, they make up a huge part of society and the largest Christian denomination. Yet with so many, how is it they are so misunderstood and characterized by films, television shows, etc.?

Failing to do the proper research explains a great deal of it. With a simple search on the internet, we were able to find many interesting answers to the top 15 misconceptions about Catholics. They are both from official sources, reporters, academics, and more.

1. Priests Are More Likely to be Pedophiles : The most dangerous of all myths concerning Catholics, this can lead to many negative and unfair consequences. Recently in a book entitled Pedophiles and Priests, an extensive study – and the only one of it kind – took a look at the pedophile statistics of over 2,200 priests. It found that only 0.3% of all Catholic clergy are involved in any pedophilia matter, guilty or not. This number is actually very low and according to Counter Pedophilia Investigative Unit, who reports that children are more likely to be victims of pedophile activity at school with nearly 14% of students estimated to be molested by a member of the school staff.

2. Everything in “The Da Vinci Code” is True : Even author Dan Brown himself doesn’t agree to this. In this free film from Hulu, Mr. Brown admits to writing his novel as a step in his own spiritual journey. As he confesses to being swayed by his extensive research, the experts behind the research weigh in with facts. Simon Cox is the author of “Cracking the Da Vinci Code” and tells more about his work in this documentary. If you don’t have 90 minutes to view it, you can get the real story behind Opus Dei, the villain organization in the novel, from ABC news.

3. Women Are Oppressed in the Catholic Church : Although women are still not eligible to become priests as explained by Pope John Paul II, they were still acknowledged as valued members of the church as far back as 1947. In a Papal Directive from then Pope Pius XII, he expressed his admiration of women “to take part in the battle: you have not sought to do so, but courageously you accept your new duties; not as resigned victims nor merely in a defensive spirit.” Also, in 2004 then Pope John Paul II historically appointed two women theologians to the International Theological Commission and named another as the president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

4. Catholicism and Science Don’t Mix : It has been theorized that science leads down one path while religion, such as Catholicism, leads down another. However, in the mid 1200’s Saint Thomas Aquinas was preaching just the opposite: that all paths lead to God. In fact, one of his most notable quotes “The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Catholic, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false” is listed on Brainy Quote. A modern day professor from Columbia University also gives his take on the subject.

5. Catholics Place Too Much Emphasis on Jesus’ Mother : Believing in the Immaculate Conception – the virgin conception of Christ – is a key factor in Catholic belief. But does that mean that she sits above or even at the same level as the Son or the Father? This article by Bishop Pivarunas details her role in the church and even uses actual scripture to explain why.

6. Catholics are Cannibals : The Eucharist is a sacred part of the Catholic mass and in it, followers are asked to eat the body and drink the blood of Christ. But is it a figure of speech or is there actually flesh and blood involved? In this article from Catholic Answers, two church officials certify that the answer is in keeping with the Catholic faith. The meaning of the scripture quote “”I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst” is discussed thoroughly.

7. Catholics Don’t Believe in Dinosaurs : In a popular Catholic forum, the question of the dinosaur comes up. Expert Apologist Michelle Arnold tackles the age-old question in a four part answer, which acknowledges the existence of dinosaurs. It includes universal death, life after death, the opportunity to question one’s own faith, and reassessing one’s own beliefs.

8. No Meat on Fridays : Until 1983 Catholics were required to abstain from eating meat on Friday for the 40 days of Lent and the following Holy Week. However, the rule was changed to “abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays.” Which basically means that instead of foregoing meat on Fridays, Catholics can choose to give up something else. In addition, abstinence and fasting are required on both Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

9. No Alcohol for Catholics : Although a certain sense of moderation is present, Catholics are actually encouraged to feast, have joyous processions, and an elated thanksgiving for God’s grace. In fact, this priest from Saint Mary Magdalen in Brighton proclaims that champagne is the preferred drink of Catholics.

10. Catholics Worship Saints : Father Jeff explains the myth behind saint worship in this video from YouTube. He explains how prayer is different from worship and how the lives of saints are remarkable. He also uses the more modern comparison of a Prayer Line in his explanation.

11. Purgatory is Another Hell : Catholic belief in purgatory can be confusing and perplexing. More a belief on the afterlife, purgatory is believed to be where sinners go to “purge” themselves of sin before entering heaven. This encyclopedia article from New Advent has more.

12. Catholic Mass is Really Just a Homily : Father Z. is a popular Catholic blogger and priest in Philadelphia. In answering a reader’s question, he discusses the issue of the importance and meaning of the homily in Mass. In short, a homily is a sort of summary by priest or deacon after a reading and before the Procession of Faith. Father Z. explains exactly what it is and why it is important.

13. Catholics Can Confess Anything Away : A belief that confession is just a formality with no real consequence is a myth. In fact, just the act of admitting a sin can be doubly cathartic and reconciliatory. This article tells more on what is expected of a good confession. However, even the Vatican warns that a confession is not a counseling session.

14. The Pope is Perfect : Even Catholics don’t believe this and state that papal infallibility has its limitations. In an article from Slate, papal infallibility is explained as pertaining to when the pontiff is ruling on a spiritual or moral manner. There is a similar infallibility belief when ecumenical councils are ruling on similar issues. Other than that, the pope and the rest are just as fallible as the anyone.

15. Children Aren’t Allowed at Mass : In another answer from Father Z., he tackles the question of what to do with “wiggle aged” children at Mass. He addresses the positives and negatives of bringing these kids to church, what should be done, and what can be done as an alternative. Over 160 comments were left after the blog entry and tell even more on the subject.

Even if you disagree with any or all of the top 15 misconceptions about Catholics, it is important that you understand them fully so as to know why. Whether writing a paper, dating a Catholic, or just looking to understand the faith more, there is much to know and much damage to undo caused by myths.

There is also loads more to be found on the internet and a good place to start is these Twelve Catholic Myths where Michael Voris tackles even more misconceptions on Catholics.

April 03, 2010

Fire up the Quattro!

Indulge me in this one. On the left is a political ad from the UK. Pictured is David Cameron.

The only possible way you would get the reference is if you watched the TV show Ashes to Ashes. We saw it on BBC America.

The show is about a modern day detective whom has been shot and is on the verge of Death. Somehow she is in the late 1970's trying to figure out what is going on and why. She is partnered with a very Alpha male detective named Gene Hunt, which is the character being portrayed in the above Ad.

People living in the UK could not escape this show or this character. Back in the late 1970's a fatigued Labour government (Liberal) has left Britain dishonored and diminished, its treasury empty and its credit exhausted. Having spent years engorging the public sector, it now finds its obese, wheezing child turning on it in a spoiled rage. Strike follows strike. The Prime Minister, who took over mid-term without a mandate, is kicking himself for having missed an earlier opportunity to call a general election.

This should sound familier, and it is what is happening now in the UK.

Back in the early 80's the Conservatives stepped in. The strikes stopped. The economy revived. Having lagged behind for a generation, Britain outgrew every European country in the 1980s except Spain (which was bouncing back from an even lower place). As revenues flowed in, taxes were cut and debt was repaid.

One can hope that the UK has a Conservative movement that sweeps the globe!

Should America Bid Farewell to Exceptional Freedom? By Rep. Paul Ryan

This is long. This is well worth the read.

Last week, on March 21st, Congress enacted a new Intolerable Act. Congress passed the Health Care bill - or I should say, one political party passed it - over a swelling revolt by the American people. The reform is an atrocity. It mandates that every American must buy health insurance, under IRS scrutiny. It sets up an army of federal bureaucrats who ultimately decide for you how you should receive Health Care, what kind, and how much...or whether you don't qualify at all. Never has our government claimed the power to decide when each of us has lived well enough or long enough to be refused life-saving medical assistance.

This presumptuous reform has put this nation ... once dedicated to the life and freedom of every person ... on a long decline toward the same mediocrity that the social welfare states of Europe have become.

Americans are preparing to fight another American Revolution, this time, a peaceful one with election ballots...but the "causes" of both are the same:

Should unchecked centralized government be allowed to grow and grow in power ... or should its powers be limited and returned to the people?

Should irresponsible leaders in a distant capital be encouraged to run up scandalous debts without limit that crush jobs and stall prosperity ... or should the reckless be turned out of office and a new government elected to live within its means?

Should America bid farewell to exceptional freedom and follow the retreat to European social welfare paternalism ... or should we make a new start, in the faith that boundless opportunities belong to the workers, the builders, the industrious, and the free?

We are at the beginning of an election campaign like you've never seen before!

We are challenged to answer again the momentous questions our Founders raised when they launched mankind's noblest experiment in human freedom. They made a fundamental choice and changed history for the better. Now it's our high calling to make that choice: between managed scarcity, or solid growth ... between living in dependency on government handouts, or taking responsibility for our lives ... between confiscating the earnings of some and spreading them around, or securing everyone's right to the rewards of their work ... between bureaucratic central government, or self-government ... between the European social welfare state or the American idea of free market democracy.

What kind of nation do we wish to be? What kind of society will we hand down to our children and future generations? In the coming watershed election, the nature of this unique and exceptional land is at stake. We will choose one of two different paths. And once we make that choice, there's no going back.

This is not the kind of election I would prefer. But it was forced on us by the leaders of our government.

These leaders are walking America down a new path ... creating entitlements and promising benefits that model the United States after the European Union: a welfare state society where most people pay little or no taxes but become dependent on government benefits ... where tax reduction is impossible because more people have a stake in the welfare state than in free enterprise ... where high unemployment is accepted as a way of life, and the spirit of risk-taking is smothered by a tangle of red tape from an all-providing centralized government.

True, the United States has been moving slowly toward this path a long time. And Democrats and Republicans share the blame. Now we are approaching a "tipping point." Once we pass it, we will become a different people. Before the "tipping point," Americans remain independent and take responsibility for their own well-being. Once we have gone beyond the "tipping point," that self-sufficient outlook will be gradually transformed into a soft despotism a lot like Europe's social welfare states. Soft despotism isn't cruel or mean, it's kindly and sympathetic. It doesn't help anyone take charge of life, but it does keep everyone in a happy state of childhood. A growing centralized bureaucracy will provide for everyone's needs, care for everyone's heath, direct everyone's career, arrange everyone's important private affairs, and work for everyone's pleasure.

The only hitch is, government must be the sole supplier of everyone's happiness ... the shepherd over this flock of sheep.

Am I exaggerating? Are we really reaching this "tipping point"? Exact and precise measures cannot be made, but an eye-opening study by the Tax Foundation, a reliable and non-partisan research group, tells us that in 2004, 20 percent of US households were getting about 75 percent of their income from the federal government. In other words, one out of five families in America is already government dependent. Another 20 percent were receiving almost 40 percent of their income from federal programs, so another one in five has become government reliant for their livelihood.

All told, 60 percent - three out of five households in America - were receiving more government benefits and services (in dollar value) than they were paying back in taxes. The Tax Foundation estimates that President Obama's budget last year will raise this "net government inflow" from 60 to 70 percent. Look at it this way: three out of ten American families are supporting themselves plus - through government - supplying or supplementing the incomes of seven other households. As a permanent arrangement, this is individually unfair, politically inequitable, and economically dangerous.

It raises a subtle but real threat to self-government when the few are paying more and more of the bill for government services and subsidies to the majority: "He who pays the piper calls the tune." The next chapter is the rule of "crony capitalism," where those who pay most taxes get the privileges, and government by and for the people is replaced by government by and for the few. The end of this story is soft despotism.

We already see enough of "crony capitalism." When government sends bailout money to Wall Street firms they label "too big to fail," that's "crony capitalism." When government buys shares in General Motors, names their management, and dictates their salaries, that's "crony capitalism." When big health insurance companies, instead of competing for market, team up with Congressional Health Care writers to order every individual to buy their products, that's "crony capitalism." When thousands of small businesses have to meet bottom lines with no government bailout, well, you're too small to succeed...good luck!

The Democratic leaders of Congress and in the White House hold a view they call "Progressivism." Progressivism began in Wisconsin, where I come from. It came into our schools from European universities under the spell of intellectuals such as Hegel and Weber, and the German leader Bismarck. The best known Wisconsin Progressive was actually a Republican, Robert LaFollette.

Progressivism was a powerful strain in both political parties for many years. Theodore Roosevelt, a Republican, and Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, both brought the Progressive movement to Washington.

Early Progressives wanted to empower and engage the people. They fought for populist reforms like initiative and referendum, recalls, judicial elections, the breakup of monopoly corporations, and the elimination of vote buying and urban patronage. But Progressivism turned away from popular control toward central government planning. It lost most Americans and consumed itself in paternalism, arrogance, and snobbish condescension. "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson would have scorned the self-proclaimed "Progressives" of our day for handing out bailout checks to giant corporations, corrupting the Congress to purchase votes for government controlled health care, and funneling billions in Jobs Stimulus money to local politicians to pay for make-work patronage. That's not "Progressivism," that's what real Progressives fought against!

Since America began, the timid have feared the Founding Fathers' ideas of individual freedom, so they yearn for Old World class models. Our Progressivists are the latest iteration of that same fear of the people. In unprecedented numbers, Americans are speaking out against the intolerable Health Care bill and irresponsible debt-ridden spending.

Does anyone recall Norman Rockwell's famous "Freedom of Speech" painting of an average working Joe standing and speaking his mind at a town hall meeting? Today's Progressivists ridicule average Americans speaking out at tea parties across the nation and denounce their criticisms as "un-American." Millions of average Americans reject their big government solutions, and that scares them.

Last January President Obama said: "There are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, have been taking place for over two hundred years."

He was right. So let's examine these "philosophical differences" of government. Progressivists say there are no enduring ideas of right or wrong. Everything is "relative" to history, so our ideas need to change. Progressivists say the Founders' Constitution including its amendments, with its principles of equal natural rights, limited government, and popular consent is outdated. We should have a "living constitution" that keeps up with the times. Progressivists invent new rights and enforce them with a more powerful central government and more federal agencies to direct society through the changes of history. And don't worry, they say. Bureaucrats can be controlled by Congressional oversight.

Would you like an example of how successful Congressional oversight is? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Government-Sponsored Enterprises (or GSEs), underwrote trillions of dollars in junk mortgages. Year after year their officials and others from HUD, Treasury, and other agencies who supervise them marched up to Congress for hearings. Red flags were raised. The oversight committees had other priorities and dismissed them out of hand. With the housing market already tanking, Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank said: "This ability to provide stability to the market is what, in my mind, makes the GSEs a congressional success story." Less than 18 months later, the ‘market-stabilizing' GSEs went belly-up due to their shoddy business practices, collapsing the mortgage credit industry and sparking the worldwide financial meltdown. No one knows the ultimate cost to the taxpayers but it will be gigantic.

If Congress can't control what a few mortgage finance bureaucrats do with your dollars, why would anyone trust Congress to control what tens of thousands of bureaucrats will do with your health?

The Progressivist ideology embraced by today's leaders is very different from everything rank-and-file Democrats, independents, and Republicans stand for. America stands for nothing if not for the fixed truth that unalienable rights were granted to every human being not by government but by "nature and nature's God." The truths of the American founding can't become obsolete because they are not timebound. They are eternal. The practical consequence of these truths is free market democracy, the American idea of free labor and free enterprise under government by popular consent. The deepest case for free market democracy is moral, rooted in human equality and the natural right to be free.

A government that expands beyond its high but limited mission of securing our natural rights is not progressive, it's regressive. It privileges the powerful at the expense of the people. It establishes the rule of class over class. The American Revolution and the Constitution replaced class rule with a better idea: equal opportunity for all. The promise of keeping the earnings of your work is central to justice, freedom, and the hope to improve your life.

In their hearts Americans know this, but people were alarmed in 2008 by rising unemployment, falling home values, a credit crunch, and a financial meltdown.

They voted for a change of parties in the White House, and elected the largest Democratic Congressional majority in more than three decades. So overwhelming was their majority that the opposition is unable to do anything to stop them from running roughshod over our foundations. Harry Reid had a supermajority in the Senate that could not be filibustered. Still, the people's mandate for Congress and the new President was clear, simple, and unmistakable: get employment back on track ... get our economy growing again.

Americans have lost jobs nearly every month since these leaders took over the federal government in January 2009, more than 4 million at last count. The official unemployment rate hovers near 10 percent, but if we add in folks who have stopped looking for work due to lack of job prospects, the rate is a lot higher.

They began by passing the first Stimulus, a taxpayer giveaway to their favorite special interests. The price tag was $862 billion. They pushed through a second stimulus bill that cost you another $18 billion. Let's see: since 4 million Americans have been unemployed since they passed these "stimuli," that averages $220,000 per job lost. Think about that. Democrats can't even put people out of work without spending near a trillion dollars!

Just to return to where we were at the end of 2007, 8.4 million jobs have to be created. To reduce unemployment to its pre-crisis level of 5 per cent by the end of President Obama's term, our economy needs to create 247,000 new jobs per month. But we are headed in the wrong direction ... except in one field: the government is growing at breakneck pace in expanding federal payrolls.

Although millions of private sector jobs have been lost since the recession began, Washington is on track to add about 275,000 more people to the public payrolls - a whopping 15 percent increase. And we aren't talking minimum wages here. More federal workers make over $100,000 than those earning $40,000 or less. The average government worker's salary in 2009 was 21 percent higher than private sector salaries. The average federal worker's compensation package, including benefits, was nearly $120,000 in 2008, twice the private sector at $60,000. One study shows the private sector benefit package averages $9,900 while the federal package averages almost $41,000. Now the Administration wants Congress to privilege federal workers by writing off their unpaid student loans after ten years. People in productive private sector jobs would keep paying for twenty years. Progressivists would really like everyone to work for the government.

Has any Congress in history enacted, or tried to enact, so many foolish, squalid, and counterproductive programs?

It isn't good news when anyone losses his job. But I'll make an exception when the Speaker of the House and the Senate Majority Leader lose theirs in November!

As their first major item of business last year, these leaders pushed through a budget so bloated that it will double the federal debt in five years, and triple it in ten.

Now the Administration has sent Congress a budget that's far worse. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office [CBO] reports that 10 years from now, this budget will drive the federal debt burden up to 90 percent of the nation's entire economic production. It propels spending to a new record of $3.8 trillion next year [FY 2011]. It widens the annual deficit to a new record of $1.5 trillion this year [FY 2010], and raises $1.8 trillion in new taxes through 2020.

Two and a half years after this recession started, and no new private jobs? Think what these mind-boggling tax increases and mountain of debt are signaling to people who want to open or expand job-creating businesses. Congress keeps raising the barriers against work and production - that's your answer.

At a time when economic and job expansion should be Washington's highest priority ... and as if the multi-trillion dollar Health Care debacle were not enough, the Progressivist leadership in Congress are adding insult to injury by promoting their energy and climate agenda through their Cap and Trade plan. Put aside the fact that there is growing disagreement among scientists about climate change and its causes. This bill is a big mistake for other reasons.

CBO estimates that Cap and Trade's total cost is another near-trillion dollars. By one CBO estimate, the tax and energy cost bills for the average American household may grow by $1,600 a year. Other studies put this cost a lot higher.

If you don't believe me, let me quote a key Democratic Senator:

Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Coal-powered plants...natural gas...whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was...would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers...So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it's just that it will bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted.

That was Senator Barack Obama in January 2008, talking about what he would do as President. Don't say the man doesn't work to keep his promises!

Economists across the spectrum tell us that Cap and Trade would make our long-term national economic production fall below potential, causing higher unemployment. Federal spending is on an unsustainable path that can only get worse if this happens. There is general agreement that the environmental improvements from Cap and Trade are either nonexistent or too small to measure.

Congressional leaders are also pushing an unprecedented expansion of the Federal Reserve Board's regulatory powers over financial institutions under the belief that government must protect the people from themselves. This measure will direct federal agents to inspect, and at their pleasure object to, the wages and compensation which businesses on Main Street as well as Wall Street wish to pay employees. It puts bureaucracies in charge of deciding the type and line of credit which consumers and businesses will have access to when they shop for cars, homes, education, and expansion of facilities. The Fed has already failed the twofold assignment it has - keeping the economy and jobs growing, and keeping prices stable. It should return to its original mission of guaranteeing the long-term value of our dollar. Instead the same leaders who never knew the government mortgage giants were supplying credit for worthless mortgages now want Fed bureaucrats to regulate the businesses that supply personal and commercial credit? If that happens, economic recovery will be a longer time coming.

And now I want to return to the Health Care Frankenstein. Most Americans understand that government-run Health Care is not free, not cheap, and not compassionate. I think most Americans believe Congress has no idea of what the public demand will be for subsidized Health Care. They are correct. When Medicare was enacted, Congress guessed it would cost about 10 percent of what it turned out to be after 25 years. Heck, Congress couldn't even figure the cost of the 3-month long Cash for Clunkers subsidy last year, underestimating it on the order of 1 to 9. Most Americans know the Congressional majority are clueless about what their government-run Health Care system is going to cost.

The drama that brought this creature to life was unedifying ... part tragedy and part farce. Ethical categories went out the window. Never in history have the deliberations of Congress been subverted on this scale. The secrecy, the lack of transparency, the half-truths were stunning. The votes called at midnight ... the 2 and 3 thousand page bills members of Congress had no time to read before the votes ... the sordid backroom deals, the Cornhusker Kickback that shamed Nebraska, the Louisiana Purchase, the "Gator Aid" Medicare privilege for Florida, the additional Medicare dollars for states whose wavering representatives only yesterday were ferociously denouncing earmarks ... the federal judgeship dangled for one lawmaker's brother ... the raid on the Medicare piggy bank ... the lie that $250 billion for "doc fix" shouldn't count as a Health Care cost ... the double-counted deficit estimate scam that would land any accountant in jail ... the proposed Slaughter rule that Congressmen not record a vote on a bill their constituents hate, just "deem" it passed and vote on the amendments...and to complete the farce, the phony Executive Order pretending not to fund abortions when the Health Care bill, as "the supreme law of the land," does fund abortions. The level of political corruption to buy the votes for this debacle makes all past examples look penny ante by comparison.

Self-government stands or falls on integrity, not only in those who represent you but in the enactment of law. This indecency soiled our freedom and embarrassed the democracy we promote in other nations. And this may not be the last of it. To enact its transformative agenda, this leadership employs the Machiavellian saying that the end justifies the means. America was born in a revolution against that whole idea. Soon it will be the norm.

The Constitution and the consent of the people are all that stand between limited and unlimited government power. Zealous ideologues with the best of intentions brush aside the limits on power in order to get whatever they believe is good for the people ... no matter what the people believe. Our system of freedom can survive an assault, but it won't survive if the people are frightened, or angry, or asleep at the switch. A great Democrat, President Andrew Jackson, once said: "eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty." We can thank our current leaders at least for this: they have awakened the nation to the danger of taking self-government for granted.

Congress is not only enacting a social welfare state agenda over the objections of the people. It is failing to address the problems that threaten to engulf our country, principally economic decline and entitlement-driven debt crisis. The coming election will be a referendum on the agenda of our current leadership. Either it will give them a mandate that says "more of the same," or it will end the abuse of power and put America back on the path of growth and freedom.

Supposing the American people use their referendum in November to elect a new majority, what would the next Congress do?

The first order of business will be "repeal and replace." We will work to repeal federalized Health Care and replace it with a robust, competitive open market in health care that puts patients and their doctors at the center - not employers, not insurers, and not government agents. This takes at least two elections, and we must show our perseverance.

A new Congress will then turn to the great problem of our stagnant economy and the debt tsunami bearing down on us. The days of pretending not to notice are over. The next Congress will understand this threat and act after transparent deliberation and real debate.

I have put forward my specific solution, called "A Roadmap for America's Future," to meet this challenge. The CBO confirms that this plan achieves the goal of paying off government debt in the long run - while securing the social safety net and starting up future economic growth.

The problem in a nutshell is this: Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, three giant entitlements, are out of control. Exploding costs will drive our federal government and national economy to collapse. And the recession plus this Congress' spending spree have accelerated the day of reckoning.

Today, Medicare is $38 trillion short of its promised benefits. In five years, the hole will grow to $52 trillion. Your family's share of this gap is $458,000. Medicaid will add trillions more in state and federal debt.

Social Security's surplus is already gone, and its debt is mounting. Unless its finances are strengthened, the government will be forced to cut benefits nearly 25 percent or raise payroll taxes more than 30 percent.

Both Republicans and Democrats have failed to be candid about this. And we have only postponed the crisis by shaking a tin cup at China and Japan.

A new Congress could start by making you the owner of your health plan. Under my Roadmap reform, a tax break that now benefits only those with job-based health insurance will be replaced by tax credits that benefit every American. And it secures universal access to quality, affordable health coverage with incentives that hold down health-care cost increases.

Everyone 55 and over will remain in the current Medicare program. For those now under 55, Medicare will be like the health-care program we in Congress enjoy.

Future seniors will receive a payment and pick an insurance plan from a diverse list of Medicare-certified plans - with more support for those with low incomes and higher health costs. To reform Medicaid, low income people will receive the means to buy private health insurance like everyone else.

Under the Roadmap's Social Security proposal, everyone 55 and older will remain in the existing program with no change. Those under 55 will choose either to stay with traditional Social Security, or to join a retirement system like Congress's own plan. They will be able to invest more than a third of their payroll taxes in their own savings account, guaranteed and managed by the federal government. For both Social Security and Medicare, eligibility ages will gradually increase, and the wealthy will receive smaller benefit increases.

And we need to get this economy moving again, so the Roadmap offers taxpayers an option: either use the tax code we have today, or use a simple, low-rate, two-tier personal income tax that gets rid of loopholes and the double taxation of savings and investment. And let's replace corporate income taxes with a simple, competitive 8.5 percent business consumption tax. These low-rate and simple tax reforms would provide the certainty and the incentives for investors to open new enterprises and for workers to find a marketplace expanding in new jobs.

The Roadmap plan shifts power to individuals at the expense of government control. It rejects cradle-to-grave welfare state ideas because they drain individuals of their self-reliance. And it still honors our historic commitment to strengthening the social safety net for those who need it most.

I would welcome honest debate in the next Congress on how to tackle our fiscal crisis - and the larger debate on the proper role of government. It's time politicians in Washington stopped patronizing the American people as if they were children - deferring tough decisions and promising fiscal fantasies. Tell Americans the truth, offer them a choice, and count on them to do what's right.

A political realignment is on the way. Democratic leaders are staking their party's future on their ideological agenda. Financial Services Committee Chairman Frank candidly admits that his party "are trying on every front to increase the role of government." Former President Clinton told a Netroots convention last year that "We have entered a new era of progressive politics, which if we do it right could last 30 or 40 years."

The question is, do we realign with the vision of a European-style social welfare state, or do we realign with the American idea?

My party challenges the whole basis of the Progressivist vision of this country's future. We challenge their attack on American exceptionalism. We challenge their claim that bureaucratic centralization is the only way the US can meet the economic and social challenges of our time.

Those leaders have underestimated the good sense of the American people. They broke faith with independents, Republicans, and their own rank-and-file. They walked away from the foundational truths that made America the wonder and the envy of the world. The price of their infidelity will be high.

I hope you won't mind an aside. I absolutely love Oklahoma! As you may know, I married Janna Little, daughter of Dan and Prudence Little, from Madill. Well, Janna and I are planning on spending half of our year here in retirement. And I can tell you it won't be Summer...it's just gets too hot here for a Wisconsinite. We will be spending the Fall and Winter here. You see, I love to hunt and fish. Each year we come for deer, duck, and turkey season. Janna refers to these times as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. There's something about Oklahoma that is truly captivating. It's a beautiful, big, unconstrained country with great-hearted people who know what it is to live like free men and women.

Some of my friends in Marshall County have on occasion called me "yankee," which I find particularly disturbing. I have always thought a yankee is someone from the Northeast, not the upper Midwest. Needless to say, I am told this can be fixed if I include among my life's achievements the high and noble accomplishment of noodling a giant catfish from the banks of Lake Texoma. And so, I will be returning in early June, otherwise known as noodling season, to gain this rite of passage so that I may never be called yankee again, and also hoping I keep my ten fingers intact.

Knowing America, and Oklahoma as I have come to know it, I am confident that the American character is up to every challenge. America is not over. This exceptional nation will not go down the way of mediocrity. Ronald Reagan used to say: "Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction ... It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same." We are that generation. The fight is our fight, and it begins now! The time is at hand to reclaim America for freedom.

Thank you very much.

Note: Congressman Paul Ryan delivered this speech to the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs in Oklahoma City on March 31, 2010.

Paul Ryan represents Wisconsin's First Congressional District. He serves as ranking member of the House Budget Committee and senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.