September 2008


FINALLY!  A WIN!

For the past few weeks, I’ve been afraid that my fantasy football team was going to match my quickly sinking Cincinnati Bengals game-for-game all season (i.e. not winning ANY games).  And in week 4, the Bengals continued on their path toward self-destruction, losing to the also previously winless Cleveland Browns, but fortunately for me, the Cobra Vipers pulled off an upset this weekend.

The statisticians behind Yahoo’s Fantasy Football system projected that my team was going to lose by about 11 points, but my team would have none of that.  Tony Romo, the always dependable overachieving power behind my team, came through in a big way, scoring 51 fantasy points when he was only originally projected to score around 31.  But my gamble on signing little-known running back Steve Slaton of the Houston Texans prior to this weekend’s game proved to be the best move I’ve made all season.  The man is amazing!  I didn’t know if he’d be able to repeat his performance this week or not, but when he played against the Titans last week, I noticed they just couldn’t take the man down.  So I signed him.  And he did repeat … in a big way.  He was only projected to pull in 7.68 fantasy points, but he wound up netting me 21.  Woo freakin’ hoo!

Other superstars that came through for me this weekend were Chad John … err … Ocho Cinco (FINALLY), Antwaan Randle El, and Rob Bironas.  And, of course, the defense of the Tennessee Titans continues to be an unstoppable force!

Now, I realize I may be get a little too excited, considering that my team is 1-3, but I really have a good feeling at this point.  I think I may have finally found a good mix of talent.  Time to turn this season around!

Oh … and I am still a Titans fan.  This was certainly an unexpected event, but I am really having fun watching them this season.

Go Titans!  Go Vipers!

I think this would probably qualify for the “A Moment of Zen” segment on the Daily Show.  Enjoy:

Check it out:

House ignores Bush, rejects $700B bailout bill

This isn’t the end of the fight, but it at least shows that the representative form of government we have CAN actually work when the people care enough about what is going on to actually get in touch with their representatives and express their concerns.

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) thinks the bailout proposal would have been passed if not for a scathing partisan speech delivered by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) just prior to the vote.  I hope he is incorrect.  I really do.  I hope the reason this bill failed was that the representatives, both Democrat and Republican, who voted against it did so because they were actually representing their constituents.  They heard from the people they are serving and knew that they must vote against this bill.

It is not the job of those in Congress to do what they feel is best for our country.  They are not voted into office to do their own will.  They are voted into office to do the will of those who put them there, and it is their duty to represent the interests of the people.  Presidents and governors are part of the executive branch.  They are leaders.  Those in the House and Senate do not hold executive branch powers.  They are not leaders.  They are representatives.  Unfortunately, many of them either don’t realize this or have chosen to willfully go against the duties of their office.

For those of you who have representatives that voted against this proposal, please write to them and thank them.  Let them know how much it means to you that they are actually representing your interests.  For those of you who have representatives that voted for this proposal, let them know that they are walking a thin line, and that if they continue on this path they have chosen, you will not be voting for them to represent you when they are next up for election.

They have another chance now.  Another proposal will be brought up since this one failed.  They must choose to do the right thing this next time around.  It is imperative that we, the people, stand up for our right to be honestly represented in our government.  These representatives are the only voice we have.  We have to speak through them.  They have to speak for us.  Let them know how much you are counting on them.  Our way of life depends on it.

The abortion issue is given special attention every election year, and this election year is no exception.  The battle between those who feel abortion is the killing of a child in the womb and those who feel abortion is just the removal of nonviable tissue seems like it will go on forever.  Each side seems immovably convinced of their positions on this issue.  That said, Obama has shown an incredible amount of audacity in his stubborn refusal to acknowledge that beings removed from the womb during a failed abortion, beings that are breathing and moving, are worthy of any effort to save them.  He believes it is still the prerogative of the abortionist to kill this living and moving being if he/she sees fit to do so.

Here are the facts we learn in an article titled Obama Campaign Ad Targets Abortion Survivor on www.cnsnews.com:

While Obama was in the Illinois State Senate, bills introduced in 2001, 2002 and 2003 were designed to ensure that newborns who survived abortions would be treated as a “person” with a right to the same equal protection of the law as any other person under the 14th Amendment.

When the bill came up in 2001, Obama voted “present,” which in the Illinois Senate had the same effect as a “no” vote.

In 2002, when the bill came up again, Obama voted “no.”

That same year, a similar bill became federal law when, at the insistence of Democrats, language was added to protect Roe v. Wade from any impact of the law.  It passed the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent.

In 2003, as reported in January by CNSNews.com Editor-in-Chief Terence Jeffrey, the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Act, along with a Roe-v-Wade shield amendment identical to the language added to the federal version of the bill, was assigned to the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, which Obama then chaired.

Obama’s committee first approved the amendment, making the Illinois bill virtually identical to the federal law, and then voted 4-6 on party lines against passing the bill as amended.  Obama voted “no.”

Obama nonetheless has said he would have supported the federal law because it protected Roe v. Wade.

He would have supported the federal law because it protected Roe v. Wade?  How can he even pretend like this is true?  As was quoted from the article, he was on the committee in the Illinois Senate that added language to the Illinois proposal identical to the language of the federal law!  The bill was identical after his committee approved it, and he STILL voted against it!  His statement doesn’t make any sense whatsoever!

The Obama campaign has released an ad saying that his votes were taken out of context and that he has always supported medical care to protect infants.

First of all, as Gianna Jesson (a 31-year-old survivor of an abortion attempt and the focus of his ad) so poignantly puts it, “I don’t know how you can take a vote out of context. It’s a vote.”  The reason she is the focus of the ad from the Obama campaign is because she released a statement on the website www.bornalivetruth.org saying that if Obama had had his way, she wouldn’t be here.  The Obama campaign denounced this statement as “a despicable lie,” but given Obama’s record, I don’t think he has given himself a very solid foundation to stand upon.

Maybe Obama wants us to believe that the vote was taken out of context due to the fact that perhaps he doesn’t recognize the unwanted being pulled from the mother’s womb as an infant (since he does, after all, support medical care to protect infants).  When does this lump of tissue (as some people see it) become a living, breathing human being?  Well, apparently, breathing isn’t enough, nor movement of limbs, nor thumb-sucking, nor functioning organs, nor DNA that is completely separate from the mother’s own DNA.  Its DNA is completely unique from the mother’s DNA; how can it just be an extension of the mother’s body as so many pro-choice advocates claim to believe?

But this question of when a “nonviable fetus” becomes a living child is exactly the main concern Obama seems to have.  In 2001, when speaking on the floor of the Illinois Senate regarding the Illinois version of the Born Alive Infant Act, Obama said this:

Number one, whenever we define a pre-viable fetus as a person that is protected by the Equal Protection clause or the other elements in the Constitution, what we’re really saying is, in fact, that they are persons that are entitled to the kinds of protections that would be provided to a–a child, a nine-month-old child that was delivered to term. That determination then, essentially, if it was accepted by a court, would forbid abortions to take place.

He seems so much more concerned with a woman’s right to do whatever she chooses with her body (in this case, having an abortion) than he is with whether or not we are accurately determining if the being which is being aborted is, in fact, a person.  This is just sick and wrong.  To further lay out his concerns, Obama said this on April 4, 2002:

As I understand it, this puts the burden on the attending physician who has determined, since they were performing this procedure, that, in fact, this is a nonviable fetus; that if that fetus, or child — however way you want to describe it — is now outside the mother’s womb and the doctor continues to think that it’s nonviable but there’s, let’s say, movement or some indication that, in fact, they’re not just coming out limp and dead, that, in fact, they would then have to call a second physician to monitor and check off and make sure that this is not a live child that could be saved.

Does it get any colder or more callous than that?  Let’s not put any burden on the attending physician to determine whether or not this baby (what else can you call it when it has exited the womb and is moving and breathing on its own?) can live.  Whatever happened to the Hippocratic Oath?  In the classic version of the Hippocratic Oath, there is a section that says:

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I think any doctors that have decided they can practice as abortionists have traded the Hippocratic Oath for the Hypocritical Oath and should have their licenses taken away.

Jesson said that those in favor of allowing abortions have ignored “technological advances that offer more evidence about human development in the womb.” The CNS news article continues:

“Abortion proponents seem to ignore medical science,” she said. “How can you have in-utero surgery going on in one wing of the hospital and abortion in another wing?”

Jessen added that protecting babies who survive abortion goes beyond the abortion debate. “We are not talking about children inside the womb, we are talking about living, breathing children outside of the womb,” she said.

Think about in-utero surgery for a moment.  This is an operation in which the uterus is cut open and a surgical procedure is performed upon the fetus.  Why must the doctor be so careful if the fetus isn’t alive?  If the fetus isn’t alive, then it can’t die, right?  If the fetus isn’t alive, then why does the doctor monitor its heartbeat and other vital signs?  Does it not mean that fetus died if its heart stops beating?  These are all very serious questions that demand very serious answers.  But one should not have difficulty in determining the answers, and I think anyone who denies that a fetus (that is, baby) is alive, is deliberately lying to himself and to everyone else.  Denial can lead us to believe a lot of things, but it cannot alter absolute truth.

This is why doctors must be so careful when performing in-utero surgery.

I think most pro-choice advocates really do not say what they believe.  I think one cannot honestly believe that abortion does not end a life and is, therefore, murder.  I think one can convince himself or herself that it is ok, but I do not think one can actually deny that, during an abortion procedure, a life exists one moment and then is gone the next.  Prominent feminist Camille Paglia said in a Salon.com editorial:

Hence I have always frankly admitted that abortion is murder, the extermination of the powerless by the powerful. Liberals for the most part have shrunk from facing the ethical consequences of their embrace of abortion, which results in the annihilation of concrete individuals and not just clumps of insensate tissue. The state in my view has no authority whatever to intervene in the biological processes of any woman’s body, which nature has implanted there before birth and hence before that woman’s entrance into society and citizenship.

On the other hand, I support the death penalty for atrocious crimes (such as rape-murder or the murder of children). I have never understood the standard Democratic combo of support for abortion and yet opposition to the death penalty. Surely it is the guilty rather than the innocent who deserve execution?

This is the belief over which I believe all pro-choice advocates must truly be in denial.  That is, perhaps, the most cold-hearted statement I have ever read.  She fully admits that abortion is murder, but she believes a woman’s right to choose an abortion gives her the right to commit that murder.  There is no other way to say it.  Having an abortion makes you a murderer.  Performing an abortion makes you a murderer.

And voting multiple times against a measure which would have provided protection to children who happened to survive initial abortion attempts (let alone voting to keep abortion legal at all) makes you a willing accomplice to every murder which that bill you helped strike down could have prevented, Senator Obama.

Despite efforts by certain members of Congress to just get the $700 billion bailout passed, some of our representatives are trying to do the right thing!

Check it out:

Conservative Republicans Say They’re Standing Up for Taxpayers

In a blog entry on abcnews.com, Alcee Hastings, a Democratic Congressman from Florida, is quoted as saying what is perhaps the most idiotic thing of this entire election season.  Maybe the most idiotic thing of this entire decade.  What is his quote?  Well, here you go:

“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention.  Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”

And if that wasn’t enough, he went on to say things like this:

“Just like Jews, blacks care about affordable health care, energy independence, and the separation of church and state, and just like blacks, Jews care about equal pay for equal work, investment in alternative energy, and a woman’s right to choose.”

When questioned about Hastings’s criticism, realizing that such a statement was nothing short of disastrous for Democrats and could pretty much do nothing but backfire, Maria Comella, the spokeswoman for Sarah Palin, simply stated, “We’re taking a pass.”

I, for one, am very glad that Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his vice presidential running mate.  This guy is definitely the comic relief of this whole election process (though, admittedly, some of his gaffes aren’t that funny).  Let’s take a look at some of the fun we’ve had with “Anvil Joe” (as some have dubbed him) thus far.

Actually, let’s get some of the not-so-funny mistakes out of the way.  Then we can have some fun.

  • In an article titled Biden, Obama helped keep ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ alive, we are shown the hypocritical side of Biden (and Obama, for that matter).  Almost immediately after Sarah Palin’s VP nomination was announced, both Obama and Biden started harping on and on about how she had originally supported the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere” in Alaska.  They say she supported it before she opposed it.  And this is true.  She did support the earmark while she a gubernatorial candidate, but after becoming governor, she realized it had become a monstrosity and a horrible waste of taxpayer dollars, so she told them, “Thanks, but no thanks,” and that was it.  But Obama and Biden wouldn’t let it go.  Biden has been especially fierce in his criticism of her.  Now, we come to find out that Obama and Biden both voted to keep the “Bridge to Nowhere” project alive on two different occasions.  A case of the pot calling the kettle black?  Indeed, it is.  Though, with liberals now trying to say that if Obama loses it will be because of racism, I will probably get in trouble for saying that.  That’s how ridiculous things have gotten lately.  Anyway, I digress.  The article says:

    Both Biden and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama voted to kill a Senate amendment that would have diverted federal funding for the bridge to repair a Louisiana span badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Senate records show.

    So not only did they vote to keep the “Bridge to Nowhere” earmark alive on the transportation bill,  they did so at the expense of funds that would have been used to repair a bridge that was badly damaged during Hurricane Katrina.  And Democrats have tried to say that President Bush didn’t care about those hit by the hurricane.  Also, when all was said and done, Obama and Biden both voted for the final transportation bill, which included the $223 million earmark for the Alaskan “Bridge to Nowhere” (which Governor Palin then rejected).

  • This one is decidedly the least funny of all the stupid things Biden has said.  In an article titled 1972 crash still haunts driver’s family, Delaware Online tells how Biden, on more than one occasion over the years, has told the story about how a drunk driver struck his wife’s car, killing her and their infant daughter and badly injuring their two sons.  The article then goes on to point out that the man who hit them was never accused of nor charged for being drunk.  The actual recorded facts of the case do not line up with Biden’s story.  And to make matters worse, the driver who hit them is now also dead and cannot even defend himself.  The man’s family, still grief-stricken by his death, has had to also listen to his name being slandered all across the nation.  Biden’s spokesperson has since said that Biden accepts the rumors about the man’s insobriety being false, but that still doesn’t explain why he ever said the man was drunk in the first place.  I understand that the whole incident was painful for him, but to lie and slander another person is never acceptable.

Ok, and now for the funnier stuff.

  • Biden tells Missouri State Senator, Chuck Graham, a paraplegic, to stand up:
  • Biden tells crowd that Hillary would probably have been a better VP choice than him:
  • Biden, during the primaries, also gave us his thoughts on Obama and McCain:
  • Help me out, Joe.  What is the name of the man at the top of your ticket?
  • FDR was not president during the Great Depression, so it also stands to reason that he did not address the nation on television when the stock market crashed.
  • Biden on the growth of Delaware’s Indian population and 7-Eleven:

The election is still more than a month away.  Stay tuned.  I’m sure there will be plenty more where all of that came from.

There’s plenty of blame to go around.  I think the current plan for a $700 billion bailout is a bad idea … a VERY bad idea.  Treasury Secretary Henry Paulsen and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are insisting this is the only way.  What this essentially means is that the all of the mortgages that didn’t get paid are going to be paid, and all of the bad debt that the banks and lending institutions currently have is just going to go away.

But nothing ever actually just goes away.  The government is buying the debt.  But wait!  Where is the government going to get the money to do such a thing?  Our government is massively in debt.  They can’t afford to buy all (or any) of that debt.

This is where the American taxpayer enters the picture.  This is a burden that will be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the American public.  We are going to be the ones bailing out these borrowers and lenders.  All of those people who got mortgages that they couldn’t afford and all of those institutions who loaned them the money (knowing full well that they couldn’t afford it)—we will now be paying for those loans.  How aggravating is that?  For deciding to bailout these companies instead of allowing the market to correct itself, I blame the Bush administration.  President Bush appointed Paulsen and Bernanke, and he is completely in their corner on this bailout.  In a letter from Ron Paul on his Campaign For Liberty website, Dr. Paul writes regarding the bailout proposal:

•    The Treasury Secretary is authorized to purchase up to $700 billion in mortgage-related assets at any one time.  That means $700 billion is only the very beginning of what will hit us.

•    Financial institutions are “designated as financial agents of the Government.”  This is the New Deal to end all New Deals.

•    Then there’s this: “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.“  Translation: the Secretary can buy up whatever junk debt he wants to, burden the American people with it, and be subject to no one in the process.

That is all very scary stuff.  That is not stuff which a free representative republic based on capitalism should ever accept as ok.  This is corporate welfare, and it is socialism at its most vile.  The government is out of control, and our Congress, while hesitant, is likely about to buy into all of it.  These are the people representing YOU and ME.  Only, by doing this, they aren’t representing you and me.  The majority of Americans are not comfortable with the bailout.  Write your representatives in the House and Senate and let them know that if this happens, you will not be voting for them when they are next up for election.

That is the current problem.  But who started this?

Well, many people on both sides of the aisle are to blame, but this started long ago.  To President Bush’s credit, he has been trying to rein in these financial institutions since his first year in office.  He saw from the get-go that we were in for a world of hurt if something wasn’t done about this.   Now, Barack Obama is putting the blame for all of this squarely on the economic policies of George Bush and John McCain, saying that we can’t allow the people that got us into this mess to be the ones who are going to get us out, but  solutions Obama is calling for are exactly what Bush has been calling for all along.  In an article titledCrony’ Capitalism is Root Cause of Fannie and Freddie Troubles in Investors Business Daily, Terry Jones says that George Soros has called this current crisis “a crisis of capitalism” and “a failure to regulate our markets sufficiently,” but regulation is exactly what Bush has been calling for.  Unfortunately, no matter how many times he has pleaded with Congress, his calls have fallen on deaf ears.  Jones continues:

Barack Obama has repeatedly blasted “Bush-McCain” economic policies as the cause, as if the two were joined at the hip.

Funny, because over the past 8 years, those who tried to fix Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) — the trigger for today’s widespread global financial meltdown — were stymied repeatedly by congressional Democrats.

This wasn’t an accident. Though some key Republicans deserve blame as well, it was a concerted Democratic effort that made reform of Fannie and Freddie impossible.

The reason for this is simple: Fannie and Freddie became massive providers both of reliable votes among grateful low-income homeowners, and of massive giving to the Democratic Party by grateful investment bankers, both at the two government-sponsored enterprises and on Wall Street.

How did all of this start though?  We need to take a trip back to 1977 and the 95th Congress.

Back in 1977, the 95th Congress passed a federal law known as the Community Reinvestment Act (or C.R.A.).  This was a measure to ensure that affordable housing was being provided for everyone—not just the wealthy.  This law was never meant to be a free-for-all, allowing anybody and everybody access to as much money as they needed for a home loan.  Specific measures and tests were put in place to make sure that people applying for loans were actually credit-worthy and good for the money.  For the most part, this worked.

Then, in 1995, the Clinton administration changed the C.R.A. to make housing even more available to low and moderate income families.  In doing so, he removed many of the measures put in place to verify that people were actually credit-worthy before they were given loans.  Jones writes:

Fannie and Freddie, the main vehicle for Clinton’s multicultural housing policy, drove the explosion of the subprime housing market by buying up literally hundreds of billions of dollars in substandard loans — funding loans that ordinarily wouldn’t have been made based on such time-honored notions as putting money down, having sufficient income, and maintaining a payment record indicating creditworthiness.

With all the old rules out the window, Fannie and Freddie gobbled up the market. Using extraordinary leverage, they eventually controlled 90% of the secondary market mortgages. Their total portfolio of loans topped $5.4 trillion — half of all U.S. mortgage lending. They borrowed $1.5 trillion from U.S. capital markets with — wink, wink — an “implicit” government guarantee of the debts.

This created the problem we are having today.

In a 2004 USA Today article titled Subprime loan market grows despite troubles, Sue Kirchhoff and Sandra Block write:

Subprime mortgage activity grew an average 25% a year from 1994 to 2003, outpacing the rate of growth for prime mortgages. The industry accounted for about $330 billion, or 9%, of U.S. mortgages in 2003, up from $35 billion a decade earlier.

We knew back then that things were getting out of hand.  Still, nothing was done.

In a 2008 New York Post article titled The Real Scandal: How Feds Invited the Mortgage Mess, Stan Liebowitz writes:

Ironically, an enthusiastic Fannie Mae Foundation report singled out one paragon of nondiscriminatory lending, which worked with community activists and followed “the most flexible underwriting criteria permitted.” That lender’s $1 billion commitment to low-income loans in 1992 had grown to $80 billion by 1999 and $600 billion by early 2003.

Who was that virtuous lender? Why – Countrywide, the nation’s largest mortgage lender, recently in the headlines as it hurtled toward bankruptcy.

In an earlier newspaper story extolling the virtues of relaxed underwriting standards, Countrywide’s chief executive bragged that, to approve minority applications that would otherwise be rejected “lenders have had to stretch the rules a bit.”

In ‘Crony’ Capitalism, Jones also lets us know how insidious some of the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac practices have been over the years.  He writes:

Over the span of his career, Obama ranks No. 2 in campaign donations from Fannie and Freddie, taking over $125,000. Dodd, head of the Senate Banking panel, is tops at $165,000. Clinton, ranked 12th, has collected $75,000.

Meanwhile, Freddie and Fannie opened what were euphemistically called “Partnership Offices” in the districts of key members of Congress to channel millions of dollars in funding and patronage to their supporters.

Many Democrats were receiving money from these financial giants and, as such, were unwilling to help put them in their place and point out the underhanded business practices which they were employing.  Democrats helped out the subprime mortgage lenders, and then the subprime mortgage lenders returned the favor.

Going back to how George Bush tried to do something about this, Jones writes:

President Bush, reviled and criticized by Democrats, tried no fewer than 17 times, by White House count, to raise the issue of Fannie-Freddie reform. A bill cleared the Senate Banking panel in 2005, but stalled due to implacable opposition from Democrats and a critical core of GOP abettors. Rep. Barney Frank, who now runs the powerful House Financial Services Committee, helped spearhead that fight.

Now, with the taxpayer tab approaching $1 trillion or more, we’re learning the costs of crony capitalism.

So that’s how we’ve gotten where we are now.  The rules have been stretched to the breaking point.  Subprime loans were given out to people who never should have gotten them.  It is a shame.  Many of these borrowers were naive and saw the path towards home ownership put before them by these predatory lenders.  Some people weren’t so naive and just thought they could beat the system for a quick house-flipping project that they believed would lead to quick profit.  But those borrowers all played with fire, and they got burned.  The government is to blame, the corporations are to blame, and to some extent the borrowers are to blame (for borrowing money they couldn’t afford to borrow).  Now, we are being told that we should bail them out.  Democrats and Republicans are both to blame.

I’m sorry, but I did not borrow this money.  I am well aware of the fact that I cannot afford a home mortage right now, so I did not get one.  I did not go and try to live beyond my means.  And that is why the majority of Americans are disgusted by this bailout plan.  The people at the top are playing the role of Henny Penny, telling us that if something isn’t done very quickly, the sky will fall.

Well, I don’t doubt that there will be some hard times if the situation is left alone and no one is bailed out, but that’s the way it goes.  Our country has gone through hard times before, and we’ve made it out of them too.  We can’t revert to socialism just because some of the people are having financial trouble.  People, ultimately, need to be responsible for their own actions.  Compassion can and should be doled out by individuals as they see fit, but that should not be the job of the federal government.  The market needs to be allowed to work, and if that means some corporations go under, so be it.  The sky will not fall.  The country will not fall.  If anything, once things level out, our economy would be stronger than before, without the artificial housing industry inflation that we have seen over the last decade or so.

Now is not the time to panic.  Now is the time to grit our teeth and set our feet against financial missteps.  Now is the time for frugal living and learning to live within our means.  Our grandparents didn’t buy things they couldn’t afford, and we shouldn’t do so either.  It’s time to get back to a simpler way of life.  That’s not to say luxuries have to be discarded.  But stick to the luxuries you can actually afford, and if you don’t have the money for something, save up for it.  That is the way to financial freedom.

Those who hold power in government only hold that power because of us.  They are our employees.  We need to always remember that.  Bill Cosby, in one of his most famous comedy routines, recalled how he once told his misbehaving children, “You know, I brought you into this world, and I can take you out!”   We need to relay that same message to our representatives in Congress while they are considering whether or not to forge our signatures on this $700 billion check.

A news article released on www.cnsnews.com today points out just how hypocritical Barack Obama can be.  Obama has released a new television commercial criticizing John McCain’s position on equal pay for women, pointing out that women only make 77 cents for every one dollar that men make.  Here’s the problem with his position.  Obama only pays the women on his staff 78 cents for every dollar the men on his staff make.

But surely McCain must be much worse if Obama is pointing this out, right?

Wrong.

The article states:

Women on McCain’s staff, meanwhile, earn 24 percent more on average than women on Obama’s Senate staff.  McCain also pays his female Senate staff members a higher average salary than his male Senate staff members.

Women occupy seven of the top 10 highest-paid positions on McCain’s staff, and five of the top 10 highest-paid positions on Obama’s staff.

I think Obama could have done some more research before releasing his ad.

More from the article:

In the period from October 1 through March 31, Obama paid women on his Senate staff an average annual salary of $44,953.21, which was $12,472 less than the $57,425.00 average annual salary he paid men.  Women outnumbered men on the staff 30 to 27.

McCain paid women on his Senate staff an average annual salary of $55,777.39, which was marginally higher than the average annual salary of $55,165.29 that he paid men.

In percentage terms, McCain paid female staffers 101 percent of what he paid men. Women outnumbered men on McCain’s staff, 26 to 16.

On average, McCain doesn’t only pay women on his staff equally.  He pays them MORE than the men on his staff.  So where does Obama get off thinking he can criticize McCain?

The article does tell the problem that some equal-pay-for-women advocates have with McCain.  Apparently, he voted against legislation that would have extended the “limit on how long an employee can wait before suing an employer for pay discrimination.”  Is this really a big deal?  I’m sorry for the people this has already affected, but from now on, couldn’t people just not wait before suing an employer for pay discrimination?  There.  Problem solved.

Honestly, I do not know what McCain’s official stance on equal pay for women is.  I don’t know how he has voted on issues regarding women’s wages in the past.  Except that maybe this issue touches upon whether my mother brought home as much money as she could when I was a child, I haven’t really been affected by Congressional decisions regarding it one way or another.

But I would rather have a do-as-I-do president than a do-as-I-say president.  That, I believe, is the difference between John McCain and Barack Obama.  Obama talks a lot and tells you exactly what he believes you want to hear.  McCain doesn’t talk as much or as well as Obama, but he doesn’t have to.  Actions speak louder than words.

No, this isn’t a post about Rice Krispies.

Yesterday, in an effort to relieve the pain I was experiencing in my neck, back, and shoulder, I finally relented and decided to take a trip to see a chiropractor.  I went to see Dr. Ben Sweeney at 180 Chiropractic & Wellness because he had come into my workplace to offer free massages during the workday to everyone who works there.  In addition to that, a number of people I know from work had started going to him for adjustments, and they recommended him to me.  So with much trepidation, I went.

You have to understand … I had always said I would never go to a chiropractor.  The idea of someone grabbing of my head and then whipping it around so that it makes a loud popping sound has always freaked me out.  I’ve seen it done on people, and it makes me cringe every time.  Not to mention, I’ve always had the likely irrational fear of a chiropractor accidentally going a little too far and snapping my neck.  I know, I know.  I’ve probably seen way too many movies.

Upon my arrival, the receptionist had me fill out some obligatory paperwork, and then she gave me a quick tour of the place.  After passing by the offices of the doctors, she showed me a room with about four or five automated massage beds and said that that was where I would probably be taken first.  At that point, I was thinking that maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad after all.  She then showed me the adjustment rooms, the x-ray room, and the physical therapy section of the building.  After this, I was led to Dr. Sweeney’s office and offered a bottle of water.  Not bad so far.  After a bit, Dr. Sweeney came in and talked to me about what was going on with my neck, back, and shoulder.  He was very professional, taking notes the entire time, and this calmed me down a bit too.  I won’t lie.  I guess I’ve never really thought of chiropractors as real doctors.  They aren’t medical doctors, but they are still doctors of chiropractic.

Next, Dr. Sweeney led me to the x-ray room and first did a series of tests.  I was a bit bummed because I was expecting to go to that massage room first.  He tested the range of motion in my neck, taking note of where and when I was feeling pain.  Then, he did a hand strength test, having me grip this device and squeeze as hard as I could.  I was told that the dominant hand is typically about 5 to 10 pounds stronger than the non-dominant hand.  I am right-handed, but my left hand was about 7 pounds stronger than my right hand.  Not good.  He said that this probably indicated some kind of a nerve issue with the pain I was experiencing in my right shoulder and on the right side of my neck and back.  Then he took x-rays and told me to come back later in the afternoon.

When I returned in the afternoon, he spoke with me about the results of my x-rays, showing me how my neck isn’t at all curved like it should be.  He also showed me a place in the middle part of my back where my spine was a bit misaligned.  He said the good news was that this all looked to be very correctable.  He said he wanted to set me up for a series of eighteen visits, presuming that this is what it would take to fix me.  I agreed.  Then he led me into the massage room and set me up on one of those automated massage beds.  Yes!  The weirdest part was when he attached these two little electrodes, one on either side of my neck, that delivered little electric shocks to my muscles.  That was an odd feeling, but not painful.  The massage bed was nice, but the rolling bar going up and down my back was really pushing my body around a lot.  It was a weird experience.  After ten minutes of that, I was led into the adjustment room.

And here is where I started to get a little nervous again, though not as much as I expected.  He assured me that there was no chance of injury from the adjustments and told me to relax.  First, he had me lie down face first on the table while he pushed on various places on my back, testing for pain or tenderness.  After that, he told me to flip over.  And here is where he took my head in his hands and turned it slowly to the right.  After telling me to relax, he gave it a little nudge, and I heard three or four very loud pops.  That was kind of freaky, but I felt no pain from it, so that was good.  He then repeated the procedure with my head turned to the left.  Again, no pain.  Then, he told me to lie with my arms across me as if I was giving myself a big hug.  He turned me on my side a bit and told me to take a deep breath.  When I did, he pushed down on my left arm, and my back popped.  And that one hurt a bit.  But he said he expected that one to hurt a bit.  And I THINK I believe him.  Haha.  No, no.  I do believe him.

Well, anyway, when all was said and done, I still had the pain in my neck, back, and shoulder, but Dr. Sweeney didn’t seem to concerned with this.  For some reason, I had originally thought one adjustment was just going to take the pain away, but when we were talking in his office, he had told me that it could take seven or eight visits before the pain was gone.  So I wasn’t too dismayed.

A day later, I think I am feeling a bit better.  The range of motion in my neck is slightly better.  One thing I found a little weird is that my neck hurts a bit when I turn it all the way to the left now.  That wasn’t happening before the adjustment, but after talking to some other people who have been getting this done for awhile, I guess your body tries to compensate somehow and balance out the pain when you are getting adjusted like this.  I’ve got eighteen visits to go.  I’m not excited about the cost of all of this (though hoping that insurance will cover all or most of it), but I am kind of excited about the prospect of being properly aligned for the first time in who knows how long.  I’m wondering if I will feel significantly different (hopefully better).

I guess only time will tell.  I’ll keep you updated.

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