Self-Indulgence Gives Me a Tummy Ache

And I’m not talking about candy  (although I’m heading in that direction, too)

 

Seriously, you think YOU are sick of hearing me talk? 

 

I am even getting sick of it. 

 

 

 

Just remember, it helps me to get this stuff out of my head, but that doesn’t mean it needs to go into yours.  Read at your own risk.

 

Socialism & Taxes

You knew I lied when I said I thought I might be done talking politics.  At the time, I didn’t.  It was late at night and I felt so tired I thought I’d never have the energy to think about it again. 

 

But, for the sake of the archive (because I’m soon going to print this and need a comprehensive volume so my kids can see how crazy their mom was), long ago when I wanted to blog and didn’t know about the secret email address, I read this great article that really sold me on taxes.  The jist of it was that taxes are an investment in our common future, it is the way we literally support the troops–taxes are the way we train, arm, care for and support our troops and military families. Taxes pay for the police, firefighters, teachers and civil servants. Taxes build highways, bridges, tunnels and prepare a future for our children.

 

In short, taxes are not evil. They build our communities and our nation.  Yes, the tax system is illogical and unfair and yes, tax money is used irresponsibly.  I liked that article, I wish I could find it again for you.

 

But let’s move on to the sin that has replaced taxation.

 

About that time a friend asked me to give her a reply to send to some “Obama’s a militant socialism Muslim” email spam she received.  Since my day job is to write stuff all day, it is in my nature to be happy to be the outsourced option for people’s personal communications (seriously, people here at work ask me to write emails for them—I can’t say that is a testament to my talents as much as a testament to well-intended laziness).

 

I will spare you the full response, but will give you an excerpt.  I’ll warn you that I got a little angry so I may seem a little aggressive, but if you read carefully, you’ll also see why I say I’m secretly a conservative:

 

Don’t you think it strange that the Republican president just last week oversaw the largest socialization effort this country has ever seen?   (So if a few poor people get a handout after all those banks, what can it hurt?)  People call the left the “tax and spend” crowd, but the right has proven to be a “borrow and spend” crowd, so instead of paying our own expenditures and obligations with taxes, we are now subject to our debtors, ironically, China, Dubai, the Saudis–among many others.  Those socialists, communists and Muslims you find so scary actually have increasingly owned this country to the point they could shut us down in a heartbeat without a single weapon should they choose to do so, and not because of some fake Muslim candidate, but because of how W has sold us in the 8 years.  We have literally been sold to the highest bidder, right under our noses.  Now that’s is what is really scary.

 

Now, I’ll be open and tell you that my family’s tax burden has literally kicked us in the @$$ the past three years and I won’t be stretching too far to say it has seriously messed with our lives.  Nonetheless, although obviously my first choice would be the impossible dream of responsible government spending only for necessities, I would rather be taxed for our nation’s needs than indebted to other countries—many of which we do not even consider allies, only creditors.

 

As you know, recently McCain has been playing the socialism and tax cards.  In a recent interview he decried the idea of people who have more paying more taxes as socialist “spreading the wealth around.”  The anchor asked if the government bailout of the banks wasn’t clearly socialism?  He responded, “Well, you know, these very difficult economic times and unusual circumstances.”  

 

Yes, they are John.  But not just for banks.

 

My Favorite Quagmire of Partisanship

Like my friend Lisa, as much as I vent my thoughts out here on the blog about the election, I am in knots over it and also can’t wait until it, and its forboding aftermath, is over. I am not sure, but I think I may have finally got all my political angst out of my system in all these long-winded posts and hopefully now I can go back to whatever else it is I use my blog for.

But before I make a lame attempt to swear off of politics, I’ll introduce you to www.realclearpolitics.com as a fun place to go if you are a politico-junkie to any degree. It cumulates all polls, both state and national, it gives you the interactive maps and it has loads of featured articles that will make lefties and righties both scream “bias!” The articles are from papers and online sources all over the web from varying viewpoints–left, right and center. It’s good stuff if you are willing to read both sides.

DISCLAIMER: Although I think it is obvious, I somehow feel the need to make the disclaimer that I am stating entirely my own opinions here on this blog–the facts I choose to share are the ones I personally believe to be true. I reserve the right to rant, to assume, to speculate, to be angry, sometimes be irrational and snarky, and sometimes be wrong all together. This blog is cheaper than therapy, although not much less self-indulgent, and heaven knows I need a little therapy these days.

My Favorite Quagmire of Partisanship

Like my friend Lisa, as much as I vent my thoughts out here on the blog about the election, I am in knots over it and also can’t wait until it, and its forboding aftermath, is over. I am not sure, but I think I may have finally got all my political angst out of my system in all these long-winded posts and hopefully now I can go back to whatever else it is I use my blog for.

But before I make a lame attempt to swear off of politics, I’ll introduce you to www.realclearpolitics.com as a fun place to go if you are a politico-junkie to any degree. It cumulates all polls, both state and national, it gives you the interactive maps and it has loads of featured articles that will make lefties and righties both scream “bias!” The articles are from papers and online sources all over the web from varying viewpoints–left, right and center. It’s good stuff if you are willing to read both sides.

DISCLAIMER: Although I think it is obvious, I somehow feel the need to make the disclaimer that I am stating entirely my own opinions here on this blog–the facts I choose to share are the ones I personally believe to be true. I reserve the right to rant, to assume, to speculate, to be angry, sometimes be irrational and snarky, and sometimes be wrong all together. This blog is cheaper than therapy, although not much less self-indulgent, and heaven knows I need a little therapy these days.

Scary Halloween Candy

I’ve heard about the TV ads promoting the wonderfulness of high-fructose corn syrup, but I didn’t believe it.  I guess I should start watching TV and learn more about how safe it is, but I found this NYT Article relevant since all our kids (and we ourselves) will be snarfing down gobs of it over the weekend.

 

Link: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/30/still-spooked-by-high-fructose-corn-syrup/?hp

 

In true mean-mom style, I also told my kids they’d have to go through their candy and throw out anything made in China, as Oreos, Snickers, and M&M imported from China have tested positive for melamine.  Melamine was found in candy in four Connecticut stores this week, a state official said the week of 10/7. 

 

In my opinion, we can trust that “they” have surely tested and found any tainted candy, or we can be logical. 

 

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/world/asia/02milk.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=melamine%20candy%20china&st=cse&oref=slogin

Link: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2008/10/chinese_formula11.htm

The following are some of the more popular food products reported to be tainted with Melamine and recalled in various places around the world, we are advised to avoid these food products for the time being:

DOVE H/NUT ALM & RAISIN CHOC
DOVE HAZELNUT CHOC
DOVE MILK CHOCOLATE
Dreyers Choc Cake Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Choc Cake Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Cookie & Cream Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Cookie & Cream Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Mint Chip Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Mint Chip Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Rocky Road Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Rocky Road Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Strawberry Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Strawberry Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Toast Almond Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Toast Almond Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Vanilla Ice Cream 887ml
Dreyers Vanilla Ice Cream 887ml
KRAFT OREO WAFER STICKS 18S
KRAFT OREO WAFER STICKS 5S
KRAFT OREO W/STICK WH CHOC 18S
KRAFT OREO W/STICK WH CHOC 5S
M & M Chocolate Peanut 200g
M & M Chocolate Peanut 200g
M&M CHOC CANDIES PLAIN%
M&M CHOC CANDIES PEANUT%
M&M CHOC CANDIES-PLAIN
M&M CHOC CANDIES-PEANUTS
M&M FUNSIZE MILK
M&M FUNSIZE PEANUT
M&M Chocolate Candies Plain 200g
M&M Chocolate Candies Plain 200g
NABISCO IN A BISKIT CHICKEN
NESTLE NES D/STICK MINI VANILLA
NESTLE NES DISTICK MINI CHOCO
NESTLE MILK & BERRY STARS CRL
Snicker Candies Funsize 240g
Snicker Candies Funsize 240g
SNICKERS PEANUT CHOCOLATE%
SNICKERS SNACKSIZE BARS PNUT 5
Vitasoy Chocolate Drink 4s 125ml
Vitasoy Chocolate Drink 4s 125ml
Vitasoy Melon Soya Bean Milk 4s 125ml
Vitasoy Melon Soya Bean Milk 4s 125ml
Vitasoy Q Soya Milk 4s 125ml
Vitasoy Q Soya Milk 4s 125ml

l

Why Pro-Life Voters Should Choose Obama

I’ll start with this: If you want a reduction in the threats to traditional marriage, neither presidential candidate is likely to give you that.

So let’s just move on to abortion. John McCain says he is pro-life, which he must, because he needs the socially-conservative vote, however, 1) his record has been anything but solid on this issue, 2) he has proposed no plan for actually reducing the number of abortions taking place in this country, 3) the abortion rate has not been impacted by any policy put in place during the eight years Republicans have held the presidency,* which has 4) taken no action on the issue outside of an election. Fundamentally, political expediency is the only value at work for McCain when it comes to life and family issues.

A vote for McCain is not a pro-life vote.

On the other hand, Obama has actively addressed abortion as something we need to reduce at its cause and has proposed solutions that have the potential to actually reduce the number of abortions in this country. Obama has stated that he has been influenced by his time with Americans over the past two years, that he has met and heard people who hold life dear and want to see an end to abortion. He has recognized that his interaction with these voters has caused his view on abortion to evolve, although he still feels that no one but “the mother” is in a position to make that decision. His public acknowledgement of his observations (as well as using the term “mother” when referring to the woman deciding to have an abortion) has brought him criticism from the traditional NOW feminists, but he simply recognizes the obvious—that abortion is not a great banner of freedom and equality, but the result of many personal and societal failures—and it must be reduced.

But more importantly, he understands the fundamental truth that abortion is not caused by its legality, even if it is facilitated by it. It is caused by poverty, ignorance, low education levels, lack of opportunity, hopelessness and irresponsibility. That is why these societal issues—along with the unwillingness/ineffectiveness of the Republicans do anything about abortion while in office—must be weighed more heavily than the lingering assumption that Republicans are supposed to be pro-life, or were historically. Incidentally, much of this same argument would apply to the lingering assumption that Republicans stand for smaller government, low spending and protecting liberties. When it comes to life, I doubt there has ever been a presidency with an eye so focused on financial and political power that translates into such low regard for human life at all levels–from fetuses to soldiers to veterans to foreign citizens to the ill and elderly with poor or no healthcare.

But back on point–even in the Catholic 36-page report on voting, which supposedly the aforementioned video was based on (which everyone took as a mandate to vote right-wing) it explains that because many factors impact abortion, all the issues facing society must be considered.

It reminds me of the parable where the master asks two servants to labor—one says “I will” then does not, the other says, “I won’t” but then decides to labor after all. The Lord asks in that parable, “Who will have the reward?” Whether you think that a reduction in abortion levels should come because the mother doesn’t have the legal choice to abort when she wants to, or whether you think that reduction should come as a result of addressing the causes, McCain will not give you the former, and Obama has committed to working on the latter.

If you want a better chance of actually reducing the number the abortions in this country, you need to surrender the idea that the Republicans will “fight” for that. Obama is your man.

If you agree with me at any level, I’m going to shamelessly ask you to send this post to your pro-life friends.

*See comments on the change I made here.

Why Pro-Life Voters Should Choose Obama

I’ll start with this: If you want a reduction in the threats to traditional marriage, neither presidential candidate is likely to give you that.

So let’s just move on to abortion. John McCain says he is pro-life, which he must, because he needs the socially-conservative vote, however, 1) his record has been anything but solid on this issue, 2) he has proposed no plan for actually reducing the number of abortions taking place in this country, 3) the abortion rate has not been impacted by any policy put in place during the eight years Republicans have held the presidency,* which has 4) taken no action on the issue outside of an election. Fundamentally, political expediency is the only value at work for McCain when it comes to life and family issues.

A vote for McCain is not a pro-life vote.

On the other hand, Obama has actively addressed abortion as something we need to reduce at its cause and has proposed solutions that have the potential to actually reduce the number of abortions in this country. Obama has stated that he has been influenced by his time with Americans over the past two years, that he has met and heard people who hold life dear and want to see an end to abortion. He has recognized that his interaction with these voters has caused his view on abortion to evolve, although he still feels that no one but “the mother” is in a position to make that decision. His public acknowledgement of his observations (as well as using the term “mother” when referring to the woman deciding to have an abortion) has brought him criticism from the traditional NOW feminists, but he simply recognizes the obvious—that abortion is not a great banner of freedom and equality, but the result of many personal and societal failures—and it must be reduced.

But more importantly, he understands the fundamental truth that abortion is not caused by its legality, even if it is facilitated by it. It is caused by poverty, ignorance, low education levels, lack of opportunity, hopelessness and irresponsibility. That is why these societal issues—along with the unwillingness/ineffectiveness of the Republicans do anything about abortion while in office—must be weighed more heavily than the lingering assumption that Republicans are supposed to be pro-life, or were historically. Incidentally, much of this same argument would apply to the lingering assumption that Republicans stand for smaller government, low spending and protecting liberties. When it comes to life, I doubt there has ever been a presidency with an eye so focused on financial and political power that translates into such low regard for human life at all levels–from fetuses to soldiers to veterans to foreign citizens to the ill and elderly with poor or no healthcare.

But back on point–even in the Catholic 36-page report on voting, which supposedly the aforementioned video was based on (which everyone took as a mandate to vote right-wing) it explains that because many factors impact abortion, all the issues facing society must be considered.

It reminds me of the parable where the master asks two servants to labor—one says “I will” then does not, the other says, “I won’t” but then decides to labor after all. The Lord asks in that parable, “Who will have the reward?” Whether you think that a reduction in abortion levels should come because the mother doesn’t have the legal choice to abort when she wants to, or whether you think that reduction should come as a result of addressing the causes, McCain will not give you the former, and Obama has committed to working on the latter.

If you want a better chance of actually reducing the number the abortions in this country, you need to surrender the idea that the Republicans will “fight” for that. Obama is your man.

If you agree with me at any level, I’m going to shamelessly ask you to send this post to your pro-life friends.

*See comments on the change I made here.

The Obama Infomercial: My response

My response to the Obama infomercial last night was the same as found in this article:

 

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_10/015433.php

 

If you take what he says as basically sincere and factual, I think the choice is a no-brainer.  But if a person just assumes that everything he says is a lie–that he’s totally lying and just wolf in sheep’s clothing, well, then—there is nothing to measure the candidates by.   If you didn’t watch it, I suggest you go to YouTube and check it out.

 

I have a family member who is very against the LDS church and speaks often of the evil intentions and abusive and controlling nature of the church leadership.  Every time I watch conference, I wish she would just watch it and tell me where the evil is—among all the pleas for love, faith, peace, kindness, responsibility, patience, service, etc.  I felt similarly last night—I don’t care that he paid a gazillion dollars for a prime-time Hollywood-quality informercial—unfortunately, I realize that if you want to talk to Americans, it’s pathetic, but you need money and their TV. 

 

The differences between the candidates are so apparent to me.  The only argument I can’t answer is when people respond that they simply won’t believe he means what he says—hey, I can’t say anything to that. 

 

Last night he presented his plans for the economy, national security and healthcare without resorting to attacks on McCain—whether you like his policies or not, he is clearly trying to persuade voters directly with what he DOES have to offer, not simply by attacks and creating panic scenarios—his campaign has been far more focused on the public than on his opponent, and I would like a president that focuses more on the people than on politicians, and Obama’s campaign has done this from the start.

 

With McCain, I see the opposite to be true.  I don’t agree both with what he says or his proposals to correct things AND I mistrust him–not because his opponents have told me I can’t trust him, but because I read the proposed policies of both sides in detail and I see him every day clearly and knowingly misstating the facts as they are to instill fear and gain support.   The misstating extends to his own record and beliefs, which I wish pro-life voters would review much more closely. 

 

So, there’s that.  There should probably be a rule about politics before noon—like with drinking.

Cute Noah

I promise I’ll post pictures soon, especially since now I can theoretically email them instead of uploading them in that time-consuming typical manner.  Tomorrow night maybe (tonight’s choir).

 

Noah turned four last Friday.  What a sweet little guy.  He was so excited.  I got off early so we could all hang out, and we went to the park, where Ben cajoled his way into an ice-blocking party on the hill and tried that a few times—who says he doesn’t have social skills?  We ate at Spaghetti Factory and then had cake at Grandma’s (since Uncle Chad is morbidly allergic to cats).  For the cake, I finally tried this jack-o-lantern cake I’ve had in my file for nine years—you use 2 pound cake mixes and bake them one at a time in a 6-cup bundt pan.  Flatten the bottoms of the cakes, then color your frosting orange (you need a lot) and use frosting to put the bottoms together to make a pumpkin shape.  They say to put a cupcake in the center to fill it, but I just filled it with leftover gumdrops. 

 

After you frost the whole thing orange, you put a little HoHo-style chocolate cake roll as the stem, smash large green and yellow gumdrops for leaves around the stem, smash and cut black (outside) and yellow (inside) large gumdrops for the eyes, use yellow frosting (smoothed with a wet finger) for the mouth, smash and cut green gumdrops for the teeth, then outline the eyes, nose and mouth with black icing.  You can use licorice string to make stem coils, but I just used the black icing.  It is a perfect pumpkin size/shape and very cute!  Again, pictures are coming. 

 

On Saturday I taught an RS education class on “Going Green” because apparently my ward doesn’t already think I’m enough of a godless hippie already.  I focused on reducing consumption (storyofstuff.com) and going local (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) as a method of showing love for our fellowman (not exploiting or destroying them or their land) and alleviating poverty (not taking more than our share and giving away what we don’t need). 

 

On that note, we put up our THIRD Obama sign on Saturday—this time, the only way it will get stolen is 1) they will actually have to go around the hedges, through the fence enter our yard, climb up and pull it off the tree it is nailed to or 2) climb over a very tall, painful sticker hedge.  I will just be unchristian here and say I hope they choose the latter.  Is it not enough that my vote doesn’t matter here and I have to listen to my cousin tell me about how all the people in the ward are telling her to talk sense into me or have people tell me I’m “so brave”?  Brother!  No, apparently I’m not even allowed a sign, because stealing political signs is the pinnacle of political discourse in West Bountiful

 

Arg.  I swore I wouldn’t be a California snob when I came here.  I have nice neighbors and love the country life (hey, I live in real America!), so I’ll just quit whining now. 

 

On Sunday, David taught a good lesson on the gathering of Israel, we carved pumpkins at Oma’s and Sedo’s (Jessika’s, [wife of Danny, brother of David], parents—she is Dutch and he is Jordanian, these are the respective words for grandma/pa).  A good time was had by all.

 

Last night we went swimming for family night (and more of Noah’s birthday celebrations).  Lucy can get out of the pool on her own if you put her by the side, and then she happily jumps into your arms—over and over and over.  Although we were right next to Noah and playing basketball with him at the hoop, David and I were both looking at Lucy and apparently Noah jumped in (about 4’ deep).  We looked over and there were two teenage lifeguards pulling him out—right next to us.  We felt so lame—but I was also impressed, since it was literally just a moment since I was looking at Noah, and those lifeguards were way on the other side of the pool—those kids move fast!

 

So Noah is alive to enjoy his fifth year, no thanks to his parents.

Bin Laden for McCain?!?!

My after-lunch NYT break gave me a jaw dropper. I guess I can understand it, but ouch!  It makes me feel sorry for the man. 

 

Here’s the link and an excerpt—emphasis mine: 

 

Yet the endorsement of Mr. McCain by a Qaeda-affiliated Web site isn’t a surprise to security specialists. Richard Clarke, the former White House counterterrorism director, and Joseph Nye, the former chairman of the National Intelligence Council, have both suggested that Al Qaeda prefers Mr. McCain and might even try to use terror attacks in the coming days to tip the election to him.

“From their perspective, a continuation of Bush policies is best for recruiting,” said Professor Nye, adding that Mr. McCain is far more likely to continue those policies.

An American president who keeps troops in Iraq indefinitely, fulminates about Islamic terrorism, inclines toward military solutions and antagonizes other nations is an excellent recruiting tool. In contrast, an African-American president with a Muslim grandfather and a penchant for building bridges rather than blowing them up would give Al Qaeda recruiters fits.