Wednesday, February 27, 2008

first time since 1880

Pro-Life Democrat Darrell Aubertine won yesterday's special election for the 48th NYS Senate District. This is the first time a Democrat has held this seat since 1880.

Pro-Choice Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava was snubbed by party leadership, the old boy network wanted Pro-Choice Barclay. She would have won easily. Albany Republicans are not the sharpest.

Monday, February 25, 2008

money. power, garbage, dirty, babies, and stupidity makes this election special

Despite the heading above, this post has only one topic: tomorrow's special election in NYS Senate District 48 between Bill Barclay (R) and Darrel Aubertine (D). Each candidate is expected spend over $1 million. Why all the money in some backwater upstate district? Well, the Republican majority in the state senate is getting smaller. With a Democrat win in the 48th, coupled with a some other districts at risk this year, the Democrats could win control of the state senate.

People complain about the undue influence of money in campaigning. However the campaign contributions are not the problem, they are just the symptom. The problem is with the power of government; the problem is with the government controlling or impacting so much money that the stakes in controlling government is so big.

Get rid of excessive government power and the influence of campaign money will go away. Don't limit government power and there is nothing that will get rid of the influence of campaign money. It is like if you want to get rid of rats, first get rid of the garbage. In this case, get rid of the problem that is attracting the money.

This is also the dirtiest campaign anyone has seen in NNY. Personal attacks, many with distortions or misleading "facts" is more to be expected downstate in NYC than NNY. I think Aubertine is worse but Barclay's hands are not clean.

In a reversal of stereotypes, the Republican candidate is 100% pro-choice and the Democrat is 100% pro-life. At least that is the way the NYS chapter of NOW sees it.

This election also highlights the general stupidity of Republican leadership. Two members of the Assembly wanted to run for this senate seat. Dede Scozzafava was snubbed by party leadership in order to pick Bill Barclay, son of a former state senator leader. Scozzafava would have been a slam dunk. Thus, the old boy network has turned a race in an overwhelmingly Republican district into a nail biter.

Politically speaking, you really can't much dumber than that.

This same Republican leadership has inadvertently given a candidate with a strong record of supporting the sanctity of life, of defending the defenseless unborn, of protecting life, a good chance of winning.

Be blessed.
RB

Note: She researched the pro-life records of the candidates and passed them on to me.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

xmas '07 & january '08 photos

Another batch of photos uploaded:

Xmas 2007 (Webshots Page #1)

January 2008 (Webshots Page #2)

Be blessed!
RB

november & december photo update

I finally got around to uploading family photos:

November 2007

December 2007

Be blessed!
RB

Saturday, February 23, 2008

tax time conspiracy

Thursday afternoon I left work a little early. I had done all that I could do there so I thought I go home to finish doing my income taxes. I don’t mind doing taxes. Our situation is not complicated and so there is nothing fancy about our returns. Just follow the directions, not too stressful, but with the occasional intellectual challenge to make it somewhat interesting.

This year was different. Everyone around annoyed me. It was too much to be merely coincidental. First, a certain mother of my children walked around humming and singing just loud enough so that I would hear but not loud enough so that I could complain. You know the game. What she should have been doing is sitting quietly in the next room prepared to jump up instantly when I would inevitably yell out with a question or loudly wonder where a form or piece of information was. Was she helpful? Was she willing to engage in meaningful communication so essential to a successful marriage? NO!

After I let her know I was on to her humming game she went upstairs to wash clothes and clean the bathroom. Of course, it is all too easy for us to see how this obviously exposed her true heart and attitude. She’d rather seek her own pleasure than be a helpmate to ME.

That is annoying.

Did know that there are now THREE ways to get a tax break for tuition expenses? One of them is new and you can only use one of the three. To find out which is best, you have to do ALL the calculations for your taxes three times. Now that is annoying. Why three? There is not much difference between them. Politicians want to say they are concerned about helping “hard-working middle-class” families with the rising cost of higher education. So they have to come up with another option so they can say they did something. They can’t come out and say we already did something. Instead they add another complication that doesn’t really help so they can get credit for “doing something.”

That is doubly annoying.

I was still doing the taxes when one of three sons came home from work in a very good mood. He was all chatty and happy, asking me how I was doing, how was my day, and all that. As if that wasn't annoying enough, his mom came downstairs and they talked happily together in the next room. Of course they were loud enough for me to hear. Here I was working hard, trying to save the family some money, and they are in cahoots to annoy ME. With his old job he was always tired, miserable, and uncommunicative. Could it be that the real reason he changed jobs was that he was thinking ahead to such a moment when he could really annoy me? Hard to prove but I am starting to put two and two together.

That is really annoying.

Being the man of God that I am, I decided to try to break the cycle and take ownership for my part in all this. We are all called to be peacemakers and I decided to step up, to take the initiative. I needed to humbly apologize for for what I did, no matter how small.

So I went up to the love of my life, hugged her and tenderly, lovingly said, “I didn’t speak to you very nicely earlier. I’m sorry you annoyed me.”

Her response? She just laughed at me! Here I had come clean about what I had done even though it was very minor compared to what she had done. I made myself vulnerable, I did the right thing, only to be laughed at. I had been so incredibly gracious, but this hard-hearted woman was unwilling to admit her far, far greater sin. I was the one to say I was sorry when she should have been begging for my forgiveness.

Now that is annoying!

Yes it was all quite annoying but thank God I’m not a sinner like others.

Be blessed,
RB

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

caucasian studies

A former student and current friend, non-white of foreign origin, who works in NYC sent me this link:

Stuff White People Like

I read all 71 posts and I found it laugh-out-loud great. It shows what can happen if you send your kids to college in Boston, NYC, or Washington. They are at risk for becoming excessively White.

Be blessed!
RB

Sunday, February 17, 2008

paying for self-discipline

Would you pay yourself $200 to lose weight? How about $500 to stop smoking or $300 to read your Bible through in a year? Now you can. According to last week's edition of THE ECONOMIST, there is an online site developed by a couple of economists to help you do this.

StickK.com enables you to make a "commitment contract" to achieve a goal, say losing 20 pounds, and then enforces the contract. For example, you can pay them $200 which will be returned to you if and only if you lose the weight. If you don't lose the weight then you lose the bet and the money goes to someone you designate. (Maybe a charity or a political campaign you don't like?) To prevent cheating, you also need to assign an independent referee to verify that you have accomplished your goal.

Would you lose the weight or give up $200? Resolutions and good intentions are fine, but show yourself the money.

Be blessed.
RB

P.S. I love stickK.com's slogan: Put a contract out on yourself!

Friday, February 15, 2008

recession watch update

My prediction of the chances of a possible recession this year, 50%, posted three weeks ago matched the medium prediction of 55 economic forecasters surveyed by THE WALL STREET JOURNAL in early February. I feel pretty good about this since the medium prediction of these folks has a better track record than any individual forecaster.

What is the latest evidence of a recession? Today the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) released January’s Index of Industrial Production. This is the best coincident indicator of economy. (That is it rises and falls at the same time the economy rises and falls.) It has remained steady since October. While not a perfect indicator, it has always fallen during past recessions. Not a bad 50-plus year track record.

Another good indicator is “nonfarm payroll employment.” Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show employment grew by 82,000 in December but fell by 18,000 jobs in January. Given total employment of over 138 million, these are not very significant changes.

I should note that all these statistics are seasonally adjusted so the time of year or particular months do not matter. The data from any month is comparable to the data from any other month.

In testimony before Congress yesterday, Fed Chairman Bernanke said, "At present, my baseline outlook involves a period of sluggish growth, followed by a somewhat stronger pace of growth starting later this year as the effects of monetary and fiscal stimulus begin to be felt." This is a guy who should know. He has the best data and the best analysts at his disposal.

A recession occurs when there is negative growth, a decline, not little to no positive growth.

The bottom line: It does not appear a recession started in January. There is still a significant risk, a 50-50 chance, of a recession this year.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

twinsies?


A number of students claim the guy on the left looks like Mitt Romney on the right.

I don't see it myself.

Monday, February 4, 2008

news reporter gets a taste

Some can dish it out but can't take it:

Sunday, February 3, 2008

puppy bowl iv; nature v. environmentalists

There are two quite separate topics in today's post:

#1. Showing today starting at 3 p.m. is Puppy Bowl IV on the Animal Planet channel. It's a hoot: 3 hours long and repeats until the wee hours of the morning. Great to watch bits of it while channel surfing.

#2a. SLU owns a number of old houses on the edge of campus that are used as student residences. Students sharing particular interests can live together in these "theme cottages." A few weeks ago during the wind storm, a three-foot diameter section of an old cottonwood fell through the roof of one of these theme cottages. The damage was so extensive that the building will have to be torn down.

This theme cottage, The Greenhouse, was created to provide "a living environment for ecologically-minded and environmentally-conscious individuals on campus."

#2b. Focus the Nation, a series of forums and teach-ins on global warming, was scheduled last Thursday and Friday at SLU. It had to be canceled because of winter weather conditions.

#2c. Nature has a 2-0 record against environmentalists at SLU so far this year.