Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A few dates on August on my calendar

August is not on my favorite months list, as a matter of fact, I cannot think of a month I would put below it. I know that some of you folks enjoy very hot weather, you should be studied in a lab over at UC Davis because there is something definitely wrong with you. I hate the 100 degree days of August. Give me a foot of snow and a sweater and I will be out enjoying the day.

I will admit there are a few dates in August that I look forward to. The first special day is my wife's birthday on the 4th. I enjoy the heck out of that day because from the 4th until my birthday in November, we are the same age. No calling me the 'old man', no wise cracks about being a 'fossil', just blessed parody. Together we will be a pair of fossils for 4 months, then she magically sheds 10 years in her mind as I get one year older and the teasing begins again.

The next big day on the calendar is the second Saturday in August. That is the opening day of deer season. Why the Fish and Game Department has A-zone deer season in the middle of summer is a mystery to me, but hunting the hills of the Blue Ridge is not for the faint of heart. When I see adds in hunting magazines of guys in flannel shirts and wool pants sitting around a cabin in the woods, I chuckle. Deer hunting in Yolo County is trying to park in a patch of shade so your ice chest won't boil, then sweating through your shirt and blue jeans as you hike into a sea of chamise brush. Its hot, its tough on your body, you may come face to face with a 40 inch rattle snake, but sitting in your folding chair at deer camp swapping stories with your friends makes up for it. I remember when I was little younger, and a lot dumber if you can imagine that, there was a good deal of adult beverages consumed after the sun went down.

Deer camp in Yolo County; Larry the Cable guy should make a movie about it.

The next date on my August calendar is the 13th, the opening day of the Yolo County Fair. I may only get to the fair once this year to man the booth for my church, and to check out Peter Neumann and the worship team at the bandstand. The team Peter puts together for the fair is just great. People who sit down to listen always say the same thing, "That's a church band? They rock." Yes, they certainly do.

One special day on my August calendar is Sunday the 10th. My friend, Pastor Pamela of Countryside Community Church in Esparto, asked me to preach at her church. When she first asked if I would consider guest preaching at her church, I thought she was kidding, but she asked again and after some considerable prayer, I accepted.

For anyone who attends church on a semi-regular basis, being a preacher might seem like an easy job. Goof off all week, then get up on Sunday and talk about God, how hard could it be? If I ever held those views in the past, let me assure you, I don't any longer. I have been working on this for two weeks now, and writing a 14 minute sermon seems like writing a doctoral thesis.

Countryside is a very quiet country church and I hope I don't shake these good folks up too much, but I will be speaking from my heart, with a little humor thrown in for good measure. My sermon is entitled "The pursuit of happiness". If your in the area, or even if you are not, stop by beautiful downtown Esparto on Sunday the 10th at 10:00.

The last date on my August calendar is Thursday, the 21st. The Yolo County Cattlemen and Wool Growers Association hold its annual Fall Tour. Its and educational program with local officials and representatives from the livestock industry speaking about issues that effect rural landowners and livestock producers. Rick Landon, the Yolo County Ag Commissioner along with Max Stevenson from Yolo County Flood Control will discuss the hot topic of ground water and our water wells. The program concludes with a barbecued steak dinner. Tickets are $25 and you can find more information at the YCCWGA.com website.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Media bais? What media bias?

When talk turns to politics, one of my favorite subjects to discus is the slanted coverage in almost every aspects of the news media today. Most democrats don't think it exists, its kind of like being in the home of a smoker, they don't smell the cigarette smoke, but it hits you square in the face when walk in. If you mention Fox News, they are more than happy to tell you how Fox it just a shill for Bush and the Republicans. When I mention the fact that in a recent study only 11% of journalist gave money to the GOP while 88% gave money to Democrats, they shake their head and say it doesn't matter, the media is neutral.

Suuuure, it is.

Listening to the news on the drive to work today, I was bombarded by the latest Gallop poll that shows Senator Obama up by 8 points. You could almost hear the glee in their voices. I wonder how they will sound when they report this poll, if they even bother to mention it at all.

McCain is up by 4 point among likely voters, you know the ones everyone pays attention to come November. It seems that in July, they don't seem to count as much...... UPDATE! I just received an automated call from my old buddy Denis Kucinich asking me to press 1 to support impeachment of George W Bush! I waited to see if Denis gave me any other choice, but alas, he didn't. I pressed 9 and I was disconnected. (frown)

Anyway, back to the media, check out the frame capture from USA Todays political pages. Check out the headline on the poll that shows McCain up by 4 among likely voters.
Gains for McCain in latest USA TODAY/Gallup Poll

Gains? No headline about him leading? Hmmm? My favorite is, just in case Republicans started to get their hopes up, is the disclaimer banner on the side of the story.That is classic. Hey folks, polls are just a snapshot when they show Republicans ahead. I didn't see this banner on a story further down the page talking about Obama's bump. Hmmmm?

Oh well, its kind of like playing football on a field slanted uphill . Only the Republicans never get to change ends at the half.

You can't change it so you might as well just suck it up and get the game.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The first Presidential debate 2008

After months of negotiations between the two candidates to find a neutral media outlet to moderate the first debate, both parties have agreed to this format.

In a first for a Presidential debate, the Infomercial Chanel brings you your host for tonight's debate, Billy Mays....

Thank you both for attending this first Presidential debate of the 2008 election and to the folks at home, thanks for tuning in to this groundbreaking format. May I first say that both your shirts look exceptionally clean and free from stains.

Thanks Billy, I use Oxyclean, I have for years, and this is a position that I will stand firm on.

Um, thanks Mr. Mays, I use Oxyclear too.

Are you sure its Oxyclear Senator McCain, that product is for acne?

Um well, I may be old, but it always pays to keep those breakouts from flaring up.

Okay, my first question is for Senator Barack Obama,,

Call me Barack if you like Billy, we're tight.

I think I'll stay with Senator if you don't mind. Senator Obama, folks out there say you are young and charismatic but you lack any real foreign policy experience, what do you say to that?

Billy, its kind of like that catch 22 so many of our young people are facing today; when you apply for a job the employer wants experience, but as a young person how are you going to get that experience if they don't give you the chance?

So you're saying that the American people should just ignore you rather weak resume' and give you the job as President because you look good in a suit and speak eloquently?

Well, I would not phrase it in such an inarticulate manner, but yes. How else could I acquire foreign policy experience as a first term Senator?

Could have served your country in uniform you spoiled little bra.....

I'm sorry Senator McCain, did you wish to comment?

No, no I have the deepest respect for my colleague, I just think there are ways to gain experience in foreign affairs and the military that don't include running for public office.

You see, right there is a demonstration of how this race has devolved into attacks on my background and family. Lay off my family Senator, she is not running for office.


Lets get back to the questions shall we? Senator McCain, folks seem to see you as another old white guy who is out of touch with today's problems and today's generation, after all you admit you don't know how to use a computer, do you think you're too old to relate to younger voters?

Mr. Mays, I am older than most people I meet and I don't know all about iPods and Cranberries, or YouTube, but..

Blackberries John, they are called blackberries.


Whatever, all I know is all these gadgets and all this technology doesn't mean a thing when you have a few million Islamic radicals who want to kill every man, woman and child that don't believe exactly what they do. These Islamic radicals are a real threat that we have to face and defeat now, we can't afford to retreat behind our borders and hope they go away.

That is another example of the politics of fear Billy, sure there a few crazies out there, but if we could just talk to them, show them we mean them no harm, we could...

You know it's pretty hard to talk when you have a black hood over your head and a group of Wahabist terrorist is sawing your head off with a rusty knife....

Cmon, John. That isn't what I'm talking about. If you had listened to me, we wouldn't have stirred up this hornet's nest by going into Iraq. I didn't vote for this war like you did..

You were a state Senator back in Chicago when the war started, you didn't vote on the war because you had just lost your race for Congress and you were planning your run for the US Senate. You were not there to make a vote..

Gentlemen please, lets get back to the questions.
Senator Obama, you said that Republicans would use race in this election, "and did I mention he's black" was the famous line you used. Do you think any vote cast for Senator McCain come November will made because the voter is racist?

No, that is not exactly what I said..

I could read you your own quote Senator..

That's not necessary, Billy what I meant to say is there are a small portion of the Republican party for whose the color of my skin will be enough for them not to vote for me.

Like all those bitter people in the middle of the country who are clinging to their guns and religion? Are those the people you are talking about?

That was taken out of context and you know it.

Hey, I'm not very popular with evangelicals either, but I don't go around telling my big, check writing donors in San Francisco the reason the middle of the country won't vote for me is they are too simple minded or too racist.

Hold on, that is not what I said.

Okay, final question; If you had to pick one image, one message to sum up your qualifications to be our next President what would it be?
Senator McCain you first.

I would want the American people to know that I have spent my life serving the country that I love.

Senator Obama?

I would want the American people to know that I have spent my adult life running for this office and this country loves me.

Thanks for tuning in folks and be sure to be here for the next debate focusing on domestic issues hosted by

The ShamWow guy.

Friday, July 25, 2008

John McCain, tells Obama how the cow ate the cabbage.

In a world where Chris Mathews admits openly that when listening to Obama speak "I felt this thrill going up my leg", or the New York Times is unwilling to publish John McCain's editorial response to Barack Obama's own opinion piece, is there any reason to think the general public will understand what just happened today?

This week has been filled with media story after media story fawning over the junior Senator from Illinois as he proclaims his Citizenship of the world. This week has also been a nightmare for John McCain from a PR standpoint, bad weather forcing him to cancel his trip to an off shore oil rig and a series of lame photo ops. All that came to an end today when Senator McCain must have told his advisers to take a hike and fired a broadside of pure unadulterated facts at the good ship Obama.

If you are an Obama supporter, you may want to avert your eyes, this could be upsetting to your image of Barack riding a snow white, winged unicorn through the rainbow covered fields of your imagination.
Senator Obama and I also faced a decision, which amounted to a real-time test for a future commander-in-chief. America passed that test. I believe my judgment passed that test. And I believe Senator Obama's failed.

We both knew the politically safe choice was to support some form of retreat. All the polls said the "surge" was unpopular. Many pundits, experts and policymakers opposed it and advocated withdrawing our troops and accepting the consequences. I chose to support the new counterinsurgency strategy backed by additional troops -- which I had advocated since 2003, after my first trip to Iraq. Many observers said my position would end my hopes of becoming president. I said I would rather lose a campaign than see America lose a war. My choice was not smart politics. It didn't test well in focus groups. It ignored all the polls. It also didn't matter. The country I love had one final chance to succeed in Iraq. The new strategy was it. So I supported it. Today, the effects of the new strategy are obvious. The surge has succeeded, and we are, at long last, finally winning this war.

Senator Obama made a different choice. He not only opposed the new strategy, but actually tried to prevent us from implementing it. He didn't just advocate defeat, he tried to legislate it. When his efforts failed, he continued to predict the failure of our troops. As our soldiers and Marines prepared to move into Baghdad neighborhoods and Anbari villages, Senator Obama predicted that their efforts would make the sectarian violence in Iraq worse, not better.

And as our troops took the fight to the enemy, Senator Obama tried to cut off funding for them. He was one of only 14 senators to vote against the emergency funding in May 2007 that supported our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. ...

Three weeks after Senator Obama voted to deny funding for our troops in the field, General Ray Odierno launched the first major combat operations of the surge. Senator Obama declared defeat one month later: "My assessment is that the surge has not worked and we will not see a different report eight weeks from now." His assessment was popular at the time. But it couldn't have been more wrong.

By November 2007, the success of the surge was becoming apparent. Attacks on Coalition forces had dropped almost 60 percent from pre-surge levels. American casualties had fallen by more than half. Iraqi civilian deaths had fallen by more than two-thirds. But Senator Obama ignored the new and encouraging reality. "Not only have we not seen improvements," he said, "but we're actually worsening, potentially, a situation there."

If Senator Obama had prevailed, American forces would have had to retreat under fire. The Iraqi Army would have collapsed. Civilian casualties would have increased dramatically. Al Qaeda would have killed the Sunni sheikhs who had begun to cooperate with us, and the "Sunni Awakening" would have been strangled at birth. Al Qaeda fighters would have safe havens, from where they could train Iraqis and foreigners, and turn Iraq into a base for launching attacks on Americans elsewhere. Civil war, genocide and wider conflict would have been likely.

Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. ...

Senator Obama told the American people what he thought you wanted to hear. I told you the truth.

Fortunately, Senator Obama failed, not our military. We rejected the audacity of hopelessness, and we were right. Violence in Iraq fell to such low levels for such a long time that Senator Obama, detecting the success he never believed possible, falsely claimed that he had always predicted it. ... In Iraq, we are no longer on the doorstep of defeat, but on the road to victory.

Senator Obama said this week that even knowing what he knows today that he still would have opposed the surge. In retrospect, given the opportunity to choose between failure and success, he chooses failure. I cannot conceive of a Commander in Chief making that choice.

Hat tip to Powerline.

That is nor rhetoric, or spin, that's just the truth.

You can't hide behind 'Hope' and 'Change' forever, you have to explain yourself, and the more Obama is pinned down on his beliefs, the worse he looks as a commander in chief.

If you want a President looking for defeat first and victory never, vote for Senator Barack Obama, its that simple.

Summer Reading

This must have been a phrase developed by teachers or persons of leisure who take a few weeks off in the summer to visit the Hamptons or some other such place where lots of relaxed reading takes place. For me, winter is the best season for reading. I love sitting quietly in front of my fireplace with a good book, or at least I would like to imigine sitting in front of my fireplace reading a good book because the odds of that are about the same as Jim Smith publishing my stories about cows. Our living room is a whirling hive of children, dogs, cats and the battle over watching Hannah Montana or Steven's Untitled Rock Show on the big screen.

There is just too much going on in the summer to get any good reading in. When the sun is up till' 9PM, there are all kinds of things to keep you busy when you live in the country. I still have a stack of new books waiting to be read on my bookshelf and on my nightstand. That seems to be the pecking order, the bookshelf is the dugout and the nightstand is the on deck circle.

I have been reading all summer, just not for fun. I have been taking a particularly in depth class at my church and I have been reading the study materials and handouts. I like the information, and I am learing many new things about my faith and about how we think as human beings, but the information is a little dry.

So as a little break this week, I read 'Big Russ and Me'. Tim Russert's book about his father and his youth, growing up in Buffalo New York in a close knit, working class neighborhood is a great book and an easy read.

I am glad to see my son is starting to read on his own. He asked for two books for his birthday, one was Slash, the bio of legendary Guns and Roses guitarist and Save me from myself, written by former Korn guitarist Brian Welch. I gave him Save me, and I told him when Slash comes out in paperback, I would get it for him. Welsh's book looks more than a little menacing with its cover, but the story is compelling, or so my son has told me.

Hey, if this could guy could turn his back on fame, fortune and the sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle, to give his life to Christ, I certainly have no excuses when it comes to giving up my sinful ways.

I have put Save me on my nightstand and when my class lets up a little, I will check it out.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

If you build it, they will come, then what?

I remember when I moved to Yolo County after high school. Our family ran cattle in the Capay Valley near Guinda. There was no casino in Brooks at that time, not even the bingo parlor. You could literally set up a folding table, and hold a poker game on the yellow dividing line of Highway 16 at 11:00 PM and not be bothered until the farmers started moving around 5 AM.

Things, as they do, have changed.

The casino has made members of the Rumsey tribe wealthy beyond their imagination, if they had a gold mine when they built the bingo parlor, they now own a diamond mine with the casino/resort. I say good for them, as someone whose wife is a member of a Native American tribe, the American Indian has received the short end of every stick they were ever offered. Now it is they who are wielding the largest club in the County; money, political power and sovereignty. However, with great power comes greater responsibility.

The multi million dollar Nevada style casino the Rumsey tribe has built in Brooks is as out of place as a cattle ranch in downtown San Francisco. The infrastructure needs for the 4 million + patrons flowing into the casino annually simply is not there. While the tribe contributes millions of dollars to try an offset some of the impact the casino has in the local community, the casino is still seen as a bad neighbor to most who live in the Capay Valley.

Now the tribe wants to expand the casino and hotel once again. The project includes 467 additional hotel rooms and 27 new hillside casitas, two new formal restaurants, five small restaurants, an event/conference center, 3-4 new retail shops, six new spa treatment rooms, additional gaming floor and office space, three new swimming pools, and related support facilities and utilities.

I realize that competition from other tribal casinos closer to major population centers is growing, but at some point you have to face the limitations of geography and infrastructure.

The amount of water the casino uses in its day to day operation is tremendous, this is sure to be a contentious issue as the County continues to grow and the available amount of water stays constant or even decreases. The increase in traffic is the issue that impacts most of us who live in or near the valley. The road widening project on Highway 16 has started and while a wider and straighter road will help keep more cars on the road and out of the farmers fields, orchards and front yards, hopefully it will also cut down on the deadly accidents. It will not however make it much easier to pull out from your drive way onto what has become a freeway. From a dead stop, imagine trying to pull out onto I-80 at rush hour and you will get a sense of how the amount of traffic has completely changed the Capay Valley.

Lord help you if you ever have to take a tractor or farm implement down Highway 16 between Capay and Brooks, in a five minute span you could literally have two miles of cars backed up behind you. Some of those on their way to work or on the way to spend their money at the casino do not care about who they endanger as they pass twenty cars at a time on a double yellow line. I have seen it dozens of times as these people pass on blind corners and over hills where they can't see oncoming traffic.

Besides the crazy drivers, if I do have an axe to grind with the tribe, it is the lack of signage along the way to the Casino. I live on Road 23 which is the way Mapquest and other online or GPS devices as well as the casino itself sends you if you are coming from the Bay Area. There have been three people who ran off this straight road into my ditch and one who flipped over into my neighbor's irrigation ditch. In the past four years since the hotel/resort opened, I have had over 100 people drive up to my front door lost and looking for 'the casino'. Several at dinner time, several more after dark, two at midnight and one guy, I'm not kidding, at 3:17 AM. His knock on my front door was answered by me and my Colt 45. When my neighbor was finishing his new house, a lost casino goer drove through their unfinished back yard at midnight, over their septic system, to their bedroom window to get directions.

The tribe has studied the traffic patterns of its patrons, it knows where they come from and how they get to the casino. A responsible neighbor would try to keep them from getting lost and becoming a major nuisance to the local residents. Maybe it's a County ordinance issue, but for an business that attracts millions of patrons a year, a few inexpensive signs along the way and at intersections would go a long way towards keeping the peace.

I have several friends who work at the casino and from all I hear, it is a nice place to work. The tribe gives to charity, and that's great. It also has a community outreach component to help improve its relationship with its neighbors. My daughter plays soccer with some children who are tribal members and their parents are great people. However. trying to be a good neighbor, and being a good employer does not give you carte blanche when it comes to expanding a casino 20 miles from the Interstate.

The Rumsey tribe has become the 800 pound gorilla of the valley, and the county for that matter. Being a capitalist at heart, I am reluctant to restrict business from expanding or improving, but the process needs to slow down. The tribe and the casino management team always want to expand first and deliver the improvements to infrastructure later. This is backwards to my way of thinking. The 'Field of Dreams' mentality that has driven the expansion beyond anything the community once imagined has to be revised. Before you ask for another expansion, you should deal with the problems you have created today. 'If you build it, they will come' has to be replaced by, they are here by the millions right now, how do we handle them?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Genealogy, how far can you go back?

As I grow older I try to remember the stories my father told me as I was growing up. My father was 52 when I was born so we were very far apart when it came to music, culture and the very basics that made up our life experience. My father was born in 1915, one of six children born in Amador county. He rode a horse to school, literally. Being the oldest son, he milked 40 cows by hand before and after school. His father died when he was 20 and he worked the family farm in the middle of the depression. I would not characterize my father's youth as a care free adolescence.

When my son asks me why I don't talk about how bad it was in the 'old days' when I was kid, I tell him that after I listened to his grandfather's stories, what ever chores or work I did around our ranch would seem like a summer vacation compared to father's childhood.

When my father died I lost my link to his family, he did not get along with many of his siblings and all the stories I had of my grandfather and grandmother were just memories. I had tried to research my family history on the internet and found when you have a common name, the amount of data you have to sift through is rather daunting.

Last year I found my grandparent's grave site in Lockeford California after asking my mother if she remembered where they were buried. I found dates of birth and full names so I could narrow my search. I hit another dead end after hours of goggling and searching through message boards, I became frustrated and stopped looking.

Last week I was cleaning my files in the office and I found the piece of paper I had written my grandparents information on. I started looking for my father's family again. I found a link to my great grandfather, Christopher Columbus Lucas, I never knew his real name but I remember my father telling me about Christopher Columbus Kit Carson Lucas, so I knew that had to be him. If you do any genealogy research you will soon find many of the links take you to subscription research sites. After trying to get around these sites I finally gave in to the corporate giant of the genealogy world, Ancestory.com and joined for a month to try it out. They are the 'Google' of genealogy because they have a lot of data and a lot of members in a format that makes it easy to search.

In a few hours I was able to track my father's family back to my great, great, great, great, great grandfather, Ignatius Lucas born in Prince George County, Maryland. How far back was he? He was 45 years old when the Declaration of Independence was signed.

He was born a subject of King George II in 1731, he would become an American after the defeat of George III in the revolutionary war. Pretty cool.

I am now putting together my mothers side to see where that takes me.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Daily Democrat backdoors the 2nd Amendment.

On the heels of the landmark Heller decision by the Supreme Court, it seems liberals, including the ones who copy and paste editorials from their sister publications, want to change tactics to be rid of those evil handguns. If we can't take their guns, we'll take their ammo, or at least make it such a pain in the butt to purchase, and sell handgun ammunition that most stores accept those in the business of selling firearms won't bother to stock it. That is the real goal here, like the DC gun ban, its not about stopping criminals, its about eliminating something they don't like, guns.

At Issue: Forget handguns, go after bullets.

Our Opinion: Bullets kill people, and they're not governed by the Constitution, so let's restrict their sale.

You don't get it, and it seems you don't want to get it. Guns don't kill people, people kill people. Human beings have been killing other human beings since Cain and Abel, or if your an atheist, since the first human smacked his rival in head with a large stone. Implements may change over the years but the nature of mankind is the one constant. If you think a controlled environment where no handguns exist would be a better and safer place to live, Folsom State Prison is an hour away from Woodland, go visit this handgun-free environment and let me know what you think.

If a felon, parolee or someone who has been adjudicated as mentally impaired cannot purchase any firearm, then what is to be gained by running the law abiding citizens and small business owners through more regulation and paperwork? If there are laws to stop criminal from buying, owning or possessing firearms, we should be perfectly safe, right?

Oh that's right, criminals break the law, that's why they are criminals. No amount of paperwork, background checks, micro-stamping firing pins or regulation of ammunition sales are going to keep hardcore, violent criminals from getting their felonious hands on guns. The only way to keep guns out of their hands is to put them in the aforementioned prisons.

In response to this editorial, I am going to purchase a few boxes of ammunition and go shooting this weekend.

Handgun shooting.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I know its not Friday, but I couldn't resist......

The things we do for science?

Experts said the slow digestive system of cows makes them a key producer of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that gets far less public attention than carbon dioxide.

In a bid to understand the impact of the wind produced by cows on global warming, scientists collected gas from their stomachs in plastic tanks attached to their backs.

The Argentine researchers discovered methane from cows accounts for more than 30 per cent of the country's total greenhouse emissions.

Before you start banning cows remember that Argentina has about 49,000,000 cows and 7,000,000 automobiles.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

America, are we ready to change?

I will begin by making a few statements, lest anyone think I am a heading for the hills to build my log cabin and blow up the only bridge leading back to civilization. The nation we share is by most any measure the best place on this planet to raise a family, start a business, fail, start another business, worship the God of your choice and live free from the tyranny of an oppressive government. Sure, you can make your case for Denmark or some other nation, but if you feel there is a better place to live, why are you still here reading this?

As the late Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Am I embarrassed to speak for a less than perfect democracy? Not one bit. Find me a better one. Do I suppose there are societies which are free of sin? No, I don't. Do I think ours is, on balance, incomparably the most hopeful set of human relations the world has? Yes, I do.”

As I compose this, I am not writing as a Republican or a conservative, I am writing as a citizen of these United States and will try to keep partisanship to a minimum however if I gore your ox, try not to take it personally.

As this Presidential election season begins in earnest, I would like you to take a step back, forget about the bumper stickers on your car and look at where, we as a nation, are heading. The citizens of this country have made up their minds that government, in all its forms, local, State and federal should fix whatever they think is wrong with our nation, our towns, and our lives.

Housing bubble crash? the government should bail out the lenders and the borrowers. Prescription drugs costing you too much? the government should pay for drug coverage. Childhood obesity? the government should pay for programs to tell kids to turn off the TV and go outside. A museum to commemorate the anniversary of Woodstock? the government should pay for that too.

We seem to have this idea that government is immune to economic cycles, and that 'the government' we want to fix everything is somehow different than 'the government' we deal with, and are disappointed in everyday.

Have you ever experienced a time in your life where you had a large, unexpected expense come up? What about a time when your work hours were cut back or heaven forbid, you lost your job, did you continue to spend more money that you did the month before? I didn’t think so. You tightened your belt, you changed they way you spent your money and hopefully you had a little reserve that you could tap into until you returned to a more stable financial situation. You would not be eating out every night and trading in your two-year old car for a more expensive one. At both the State and federal levels, that is exactly what our government has been doing. When times are good, spend more money, when times are bad, spend more money.

I know those on the left will point to the costs of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan as examples of wasteful spending, money that should have gone to this government program or that program, but that misses the point. The idea is not where that money should have been spent; the question is what are we spending our money on and why are we spending so much on everything?

To those of you on the right, the small government ideals of the Republican revolution were tossed by the wayside as the GOP turned its back on its voters and spent money not only on the war, but expanded the size and role of government to a degree not seen since LBJ. It is shameful that those in Congress, talk at townhall meetings about cutting spending and fiscal responsibility, then fly back to Washington and vote to spend a few billion here and a few more billion there. Before you Democrats get too exited, there is a reason the Democratically controlled congress now has an approval rating of 9%, the lowest in history. The Democrats want to spend even more than Republicans do.

As a citizen, and as a taxpayer, you don’t need to watch CSPAN every waking hour of the day to understand the subtleties of monetary policy or keep up with the latest legislation, you need to know a few key facts to give you a perspective.

We are going broke. Not today, not next year, but just like an adjustable rate mortgage that keeps adjusting upwards until it completely overtakes your income, the interest on our debt and the entitlements we are promising will bankrupt our nation in twenty to thirty years. The interest we pay on our national debt along with these entitlements are what they call non-discretionary spending, simply stated, the bills we have to pay. By the year 2030, non-discretionary spending will take every penny of revenue the federal government collects from us, the taxpayers. There will no money for education, transportation, defense, nothing.

Before you roll your eyes at another doomsday scenario that will never come true, this is not a batch of doctored data or Al Gore’s climate models that can't stand up to any type of scrutiny, this is demographic fact. The numbers are the numbers, we have X amount of Baby Boomers in the country who are starting to retire, and as they grow older they will use more and more government services. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, all these programs will grow as America tries to digest this enormous amount of aging people.

So how do we fix it? First, you don’t add to the problem. When you hear politicians talk about ‘Universal Healthcare’ or ‘Single Payer Healthcare’ understand what they are talking about, its socialized medicine. They are talking about adding another huge amount of non-discretionary spending to the books. If you believe the fantasy these costs will be offset by getting the uninsured preventative care that will save money long term, you are not really paying attention. Lets say we ‘give’ folks such great health care, they all live into their 80s and 90s, its great for them. As they watch Jeopardy reruns in a full care nursing home, a young couple trying to raise a family has to pay the tax burden to keep them there at $6,000 a month, for a decade or two. If you like Sweden's 60% tax rate, you'll love universal healthcare.

No one likes a health insurance company, that is until you have a major illness, or a bus hits you and the insurance company pay the six-figure bill from the hospital. Right then, they are pretty darn likable. There are reasons why people who have ‘free healthcare’ in their own country flock here for life-saving operations and medicine, our system is based on performance. When was the last time a government agency took over any private sector industry and performed that job better and cheaper? If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free.

There are steps we can take to avoid this disaster, but I'm not sure if we are ready to take them.

Part one of two.

Obama loosing the pet owner vote

I am not sure who keeps up with this stuff and why but here it is.

An AP-Yahoo News poll found that pet owners favor McCain over Obama 42 percent to 37 percent, with dog owners particularly in McCain's corner.

I can't be sure, but I would bet Obama is smoking McCain among alpaca and llama owners.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of july Yolo County

Sure its cheesy, sure its jingoistic, but I do love the Duke..

John Wayne's Why I Love Her.....

Remember, a fire extinguisher in hand is better than a fire truck 12 minutes away.
Be safe.

I just couldn't resist.......