Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh Happy Day...

We're proud conservatives. We believe in the principles of conservatism. John McCain wasn't our first choice for the Republican candidate. He's more moderate in his politics than we are, but, then, it's hard to find any candidate who completely matches your views.

We've heard political pundits say that the vice president rarely makes or breaks a presidential candidate, but for us, the vice president pick was the deciding factor as to whether or not McCain received our vote.

You can only make so many compromises before you sell out your own values. The breaking point for us would have been a Joe Lieberman pick and maybe even a Tom Ridge pick. We anxiously awaited McCain's running mate announcement, and we couldn't be more pleased.

We don't know a lot about Sarah Palin, but what we know, we like and approve. Was picking a woman politically motivated? Of course. But aren't all running mate choices politically motivated? If they aren't, they ought to be. We assume that Barack Obama's choice of Joe Biden as a running mate was politically motivated. If it wasn't, then we have to question what Barack's motives are for running for political office. He might as well be running for ice cream vendor if he has no political motivation.

Based on what we know of Sarah Palin, she was a brilliant choice. A big factor is that she's a governor. A governor is always a better choice for president than a senator. Governing a state has many similarities to running a country. Of course, there are some issues unique to being the president of the United States; only the current and former presidents can understand those issues. But a governor has to veto bills and balance a budget, they take care of emergency situations in their respective states and activate the National Guard, and they are responsible for appointing some key personnel positions within their states. They also receive appeals for death row inmates within their states, literally holding the choice of life and death within their hands. A senator is one person in a voting body who governs nothing but his or her office. Unfortunately, we don't have a governor running for president, but we do have Sarah Palin to advise McCain.

Liberals will tell you that Sarah Palin doesn't have enough experience -- that John McCain is being hypocritical by choosing Palin while criticizing Barack Obama's lack of experience. Being a Governor edges out a Senator any day. Sarah Palin has made more decisions in the last two years as governor than Barack Obama has made in his life (okay, that may be an exaggeration, but if it is, it's barely one). And Barack can't criticize her lack of experience without drawing attention to his own experience, which is oh... NONE.

Barack is the one who talks about hope and change and then he picks a tired career politician for a running mate. Where's the hope in that choice and how does that define change? We would rather have a President Palin than a President Biden.

Governor Palin is a pro-life woman who chose to have and keep a down syndrome baby, even though she knew there was a problem with the baby while the baby was still in the womb. To paraphrase her words, to her the baby is perfect. Who defines what a normal child is?

Todd Palin, Sarah's husband, works in the oil fields and is a member of The Steelworkers Union. Sarah's parents are educators. She is a lifetime NRA member; her son is being deployed to Irag on September 11.

Members of the media stated today that John McCain's VP choice doesn't back up his maverick image. We disagree. Sarah Palin is a maverick in her own right. She took on the corruption in her own Republican party and re-established ethics in politics. Now that is change that we can vote for. Barack only talks about change; Sarah has actually done it.

With VP experience on her resume, Sarah Palin will be able to run for President -- possibly against Hillary Clinton. Then we'll see who has the real experience.

We couldn't be more pleased with this choice and, hopefully, we will have no reason to change our minds as the election gets closer. Unlike Michelle Obama, we've always been proud of our country, but there have been times when our hope for the future of this country has been low. Thank you, John McCain, for giving us new hope today.

In non-political news, we are heading to Utah this afternoon. We don't have internet service in Utah, so we won't be posting again until Monday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Family and Friends

We mentioned in a previous post that Sandy's granddaughter, Savannah, is in town for three weeks. Sandy likes to be an equal opportunity grandmother, so since we posted pictures of Isaiah and Kobe on Tuesday, today we are posting pictures of her other two grandchildren, Savannah and Jonas. Isaiah, Kobe, and Jonas are the sons of Paul and Ines (Sandy's son and daughter-in-law); and Savannah is Bill and Karen's daughter and step-daughter (Bill is Sandy's son).
The first picture is of Savannah and Jonas at the District in Green Valley. Savannah is smiling for the camera, but we don't think Jonas really gave a hoot about being photogenic.

The next picture is of Jonas at the Claim Jumper. He wants to know where his food is and why it's taking so long.

And then there's Savannah again, smiling pretty and anxious for lunch.

Lunch is our favorite hobby--unless there's dinner...or breakfast, and then it's a three-way tie. Oh wait--then there's snacks. Snacks are our friends.

Sandy also enjoyed dinner with her dear friend, Vicki, of whom we have no picture. However, we do have a picture of one of the birthday cards that Vicki gave to Sandy (they go to dinner every year to celebrate their birthdays). Click on the card for a bigger view.
On the inside of the card it says something about memory loss--we forget what exactly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Roll Call -- The Sequel

Ted Stevens (R) Alaska

When we do our Roll Call series, we like to take the information directly from each senator’s website. Senator Stevens website set-up is difficult to copy and paste so the below links will take you to his website. The first link is Senator Stevens’ voting record and the second link is his dealings with issues.

The following information is taken from Wikipedia. Since anyone can post to Wikipedia, it’s possible that there could be errors in the provided information. That’s our disclaimer to the following post. If you want to know more or would like to check the accuracy of the below information, we’ll leave that search up to you.

Theodore Fulton Stevens is the longest serving Republican in the Senate. Stevens has had a six-decade career in government, beginning with his service in World War II. In the 1950s, he held senior positions in the Eisenhower Interior Department. He has served continuously in the Senate since December 1968. He is known for his sponsorship of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, which resulted in the establishment of the United States Olympic Committee.

On July 29, 2008, Stevens was indicted by a federal grand jury on seven counts of failing to report gifts received from VECO Corporation and its CEO Bill Allen on his Senate financial disclosure forms. Stevens is specifically charged with violating provisions of the Ethics in Government Act.

Stevens is running for re-election for his Senate seat in 2008
. He won the Republican primary in August and will face Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in the general election. (Blogger Comment: okay, this is a hard one for us. We have stated several times that we do not believe in career politicians and that the people need to use their vote to term limit their politicians. As the longest serving Republican in the Senate, Senator Stevens definitely falls in that category. It’s time for him to go. However, his opponent is a Democrat and we are really opposed to adding to the roster of Senate Democrats and giving Harry Reid a filibuster-proof Senate. Oh, what to do, what to do…)


Stevens considers himself "pro-choice". According to and NARAL, Ted Stevens has a mildly pro-life
voting record, despite some notable pro-choice votes.

However, as a former member of the moderate Republican Main Street Partnership
, Stevens presumably supported human embryonic stem cell research.

Global Warming

Stevens, once an avowed critic of anthropogenic climate change
, began actively supporting legislation to combat climate change in early 2007. "Global climate change is a very serious problem for us, becoming more so every day," he said at a Senate hearing, adding that he was "concerned about the human impacts on our climate."

However, in September 2007, Stevens said:
“We're at the end of a long, long term of warming. 700 to 900 years of increased temperature, a very slow increase. We think we're close to the end of that. If we're close to the end of that, that means that we'll starting getting cooler gradually, not very rapidly, but cooler once again and stability might come to this region for a period of another 900 years.”

The following is taken directly from Senator Landrieu's website:

Mary Landrieu (D) Louisiana
I firmly believe that the best investment we can make in our future is in the education of our children.
As we bring the 109th Congress to a close and prepare for the 110th Congress, there are many education issues that we must focus on:

Finish What We Started in No Child Left Behind...
Two years ago, Congress laid down a plan for change. One of the founding principles of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act was a commitment to hold States and school districts accountable for closing the achievement gap. Among other things, the No Child Left Behind Act requires states to provide a high quality education for every child and to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. In exchange for their commitment to reform, states were promised the funding necessary to do so.

If the promise of No Child Left Behind is to be fulfilled, we must not only continue the reforms begun under NCLB, we must fully invest in them. Since we made the commitment to go in this new direction, this Administration has left States to deal with $26.4 billion shortfall in education funding. While investments in education without accountability are a waste of tax-payer dollars, accountability without strategic investments in education are a waste of time. As a member of the committee on Appropriations, I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that our schools have the tools they need to help every child. (Blogger Comment: “whatever is necessary” translates into more taxes. Why do politicians think that they can keep throwing money at issues that aren’t working? More money doesn’t make up for poor legislation or the lack of parental involvement in their child's education.)

Making the Dream of a College Education a Reality for All...
In today's world economy, having a college degree is fast becoming a necessary pre-requisite to long-term success. For too many American's, the rising cost of a college education has made graduating from college a dream instead of a goal. One of the most pressing issues before Congress is how to make college more affordable. (Blogger Comment: that’s not the role of government, nor is it any of their business.) There are many federal programs in place to help students pay for college, such as Pell Grants, Stafford Loans, and ROTC, but these programs do not go as far as they used to in covering a student's tuition. In addition, outdated regulations and conflicting special interests serve as barriers for students trying to get help in paying for college.

I believe that the federal government can and should do more to help families afford for their children to go to college. (Blogger Comment: Here’s a tip – give us back our tax money and we can afford to pay for our own education.) As state treasurer, I worked with the Governor and the Legislature to begin the "Student Tuition Assistance Revenue Trust Program" (START). (Blogger Comment: Are you kidding? Were the people of Louisiana asleep when they passed this?)

In this next year, Congress will begin to look at issues affecting our colleges and universities and the students they serve. (Blogger Comment: Thanks for the warning. We’ll be all over that.)

Giving children a head start in life...
Over the last ten years, research on the development of the human brain has helped to us to reach a very important conclusion: if children are going to reach their full potential as adults, they must have access to early childhood education. With this in mind, each year, the federal government spends nearly $8 billion in early childhood programs that are designed to ensure that all children come to school ready to learn. This year, Congress will be taking a second look at these programs and hopes to strengthen and improve their impact on our nation's children (Blogger Comment: Since when is the federal government the expert on childhood education? Where does it say in the U.S. Constitution that the federal government is in charge of children reaching their full potential? And how would they know what that full potential is or what path is correct for each person to take to achieve that potential? Someone needs to pass legislation on saving common sense because it's becoming extinct! Geez…).

I would like to see more state involvement and community leadership in the area of early childhood education (Blogger Comment: Warning – conservative heads exploding all over the place. Why would parents want more state involvement in their child’s education? Everything the government touches, at either the state or federal level, ends up worse than when it started. The day is coming when the government will require that parents just turn their children over to the federal government to raise. Government-mandated education and curriculum is already molding the way children think. It's just a more subtle method of government raising children than actually taking the children out of the home.). Hospitals, universities and community based programs can play a vital role in extending the opportunity of a high quality education to all children. In Louisiana, we have seen that it pays to make this early investment. Through programs like LA-4 and Smart Start, communities across our state are giving the children of our state a chance to succeed.

Civil Rights
As part of her unwavering support for Civil Rights, Sen. Landrieu has called for the full reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act in 2007, saying, "The best way for us to honor the brave men and women who fought so hard for the right to vote is to ensure that the right is never taken away."

Believing that every family has a right to a quality education, better jobs, and affordable and accessible health care, Sen. Landrieu has sponsored and supported countless pieces of legislation expanding opportunities for all Americans. (Blogger Comment: This is a HUGE mistake that some Americans make. No one has a “right” to a quality education, health care, or a better job. Those are things that people work for – the “right” that Americans have is being free to pursue their dreams and goals. In fact, this kind of legislation ends up punishing others as they lose more of their hard-earned money and freedom to pay for someone else’s dream. We can all dream big, but we do it on our own time and money. The only time a person's dream can impose on someone else’s is when the giver does the giving freely. And why does anyone think that the government offers a "quality" education?!)

Anti-Lynching Resolution
Sen. Landrieu also believes that in order to move forward, we must recognize and learn from mistakes of the past. Because of Sen. Landrieu's vision, the United States Senate made history in 2005 when that body apologized to lynching victims and their families for the Senate's failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century, when nearly 5,000 Americans have been documented as having been lynched.

In more than 200 years, the United States Senate has rarely found an occasion to apologize. But through the work of Senator Landrieu, the body apologized to lynching victims and their families for the Senate's failure to enact federal anti-lynching legislation during the first part of the 20th century (Blogger Comment: It’s very sad that we even need anti-lynching legislation. What happened to the Bible and loving your neighbor?).

Small Business
In the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, one of my top priorities has been assisting affected small businesses in Louisiana. These businesses will be key to the economic recovery of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast and there are numerous ways that I am working to help these businesses:
Gulf Coast Open for Business Act of 2006

The Gulf Coast Open for Business Act is meant to address the needs of small businesses along the Gulf Coast, focus on the long-term recovery of the region, and aid victims of future disasters. I introduced this bill to create new tools, bolster existing programs that work, and ensure accountability at all levels so we can help the people of the Gulf Coast reopen their small businesses which will in turn help all of us reopen our homes. This legislation calls for:
· Critical provisions to ensure oversight of the Small Business Administration's (SBA) disaster loan program and contracting practices.
· Authorizes the SBA to pay banks to process disaster loans.
· Changes the Stafford Act to require local firms to get preference for 10 percent of contracts.
· Requires the SBA to develop a comprehensive disaster response plan by the start of the hurricane season (June 1).
The Gulf Coast Open for Business Act also includes some provisions from bipartisan legislation (S. 1807) championed by Sens. Landrieu, Kerry, and Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, last fall, including:
· Authorizing $50 million in grants to states for Bridge loans to get immediate financial assistance to those devastated by a disaster.
· Providing authority to SBA to back disaster loans for non-profits located or operating in the disaster area or helping evacuees.
· Declaring the disaster areas as Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZones) giving small businesses in the disaster area preference for contracts.
· Extending the deadline for applying for disaster loans and granting borrowers a one-year grace period after receiving a loan to begin repaying, including interest.
· Increasing disaster mitigation loan amounts so borrowers can apply for 20 percent of the total assessed damage.
· Waiving the cap on grants to Small Business Development Centers.

I have heard from countless Louisiana businesses that they are frustrated by the Federal Government's response following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (Blogger Comment: This is classic Democrat. Democrats want bigger government to legislate more social programs, yet they complain about the very assistance they demand. This one sentence by Senator Landrieu explains why Republicans want the government to get out of our business and let us handle our communities without government red tape. The first responders to Katrina were private organizations and churches – not the government. Let’s get the government out of the way of these private organizations so that they can provide relief and emergency help. Can any Democrat explain why they want government help from a government who rarely comes through for them?) In Small Business Committee hearings, floor speeches, and through legislation since these disasters, I have focused on creating a more responsive and transparent Small Business Administration. Without this important agency, our businesses cannot fully recover so I want to ensure that it is doing everything it can to help our affected businesses as well as that the SBA is better prepared and more accountable for future disasters.

The Appropriations Committee of which Sen. Landrieu is a member writes legislation allocating federal funds to the numerous government agencies, departments and organizations on an annual basis. Some of this funding is spent directly by the agency, department or organization, and some is then distributed to states, municipalities and local organizations. (Blogger Comment: Why don’t they appropriate less taxes?)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

In the Beginning...

Everyone has to experience some firsts in life: first birthday, first tooth, first heartbreak, and, well, you get the idea. Some firsts are fun and eagerly anticipated, such as the first time you get to drive a car, or the first dance you attend as a teenager. Other firsts are scary, like your first time speaking in public, your first day at a job, or your first recital or competition.

All firsts are a step to something new, something that will give wisdom or confidence with having gone through the experience. Most people would prefer not going through the scary or painful firsts, but avoiding them would deny each of us the personal growth and fulfillment that the experience brings.

This week many people, from preschool to college, are experiencing their first days of school. For some it really is a first as they start preschool or kindergarten for the first time ever, not having attended school before. For most, it’s not the first overall day of school, it’s just a first for that grade in school.

Today Sandy’s grandsons, Isaiah and Kobe, started their first day in a different school. There was excitement and there was trepidation. Isaiah was eager to start on this new adventure; Kobe not so much. This afternoon Sandy asked Kobe about his first day in the new school. He told her that it didn't go very well. Evidently at 11:15 this morning, he told his teacher that he wanted to go home, and she told him he couldn't. We're confident that once Kobe gets acclimated and makes new friends, he'll be just fine. Sometimes it's the first step or the first day that's difficult; but once that hurdle is crossed, the scary situation becomes more user friendly. Thus begins the first steps of a first and second grader to the eventual independence of responsible young men.

It also continues the steps that mom and dad have to take to letting their children become independent, responsible young men.

Both journeys are difficult, each step bringing joy and heartbreak for everyone involved, eventually leading to the big step of taking the first step to each starting down new paths.

But for now, we'll enjoy this time with the boys, watching and sharing each of their first steps, and growing as they grow.

(Pictures are of Isaiah and Kobe, standing in front of their new school; Kobe on the playground doing okay; Kobe having an unsure moment about his new school; and Isaiah waiting impatiently for class to begin.)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Poetry in Motion

The Olympics closing ceremony was held yesterday. As a tribute to the Olympics and in an effort to add a little humor to your day, please check out the following links:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Put On the Whole Armour of God

"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverence and supplication for all saints;"

-Ephesians 6:11-18

Our Sunday School teacher reminded us today that the forces of evil are real, that Satan waits for our moments of weakness to attack, knowing exactly which tools to use on us. They are the same tools he has always used on us and he knows what adjustments to make for each individual person.

He hammers at us with discouragement and frustration while chipping away at our self-worth and divine nature. If he can encourage us to believe that there is no evil force and especially no Satan, then he can encourage us to believe that there is no God, no reason to pray, no reason to have faith, no reason to do good, and especially that there is no heaven.

His attacks on the family are relentless because he knows that the family is the foundation for all civilization. If the family falls, so does society. Sadly, he has managed to convince others that his lies are the truth.

We read the above passage from Ephesians in Sunday School today. The teacher stated that the times we live in don't allow for just one evening prayer anymore. Ephesians says to pray always. We are also reminded in Luke 21:36:

"Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man."

Pray always. Pray without ceasing. Never stop calling on the Lord for deliverance. One prayer a day isn't enough. Reading scriptures on Sunday isn't enough. The teacher told us that if we intend to be saved with our families, then family nights must be held consistently, family prayers must be daily, scripture study isn't just for adults; children should also be on a scripture study plan.

If we heard on the news that a hurricane was headed our way, we would secure our homes and get out of the way of the storm. Our spirits are in deeper need of protection. Put on the whole armour of God that you may stand protected against the storm of the adversary. How do we put on the whole armour of God? The scripture passage in Ephesians tells us: pray always, take the shield of faith, wear the helmet of salvation.

We can find peace from the passage in 2 Kings 6:14-17:

"Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about.

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

"And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

"And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha."

They that be with us are more than they that be with them. We are not alone. Jesus Christ is the Savior of mankind. He already suffered all the temptations that face us and he was victorious.

Satan may be winning battles, but he will never win the war. Jesus already won the war. All Satan can do at this point is collect prisoners of war, and, make no mistake, he will take all he can get. But the war has been won; Jesus is on our side as long as we are on the side of righteousness.

They that be with us are more than they that be with them. The greatest advocate we have is Jesus Christ, but let's not forget our loved ones who went before us. They cheer us on, they pull for us, they whisper in our ears to help guide us. They love us and want us to join them so they are interested in what happens to us.

They that be with us are more than they that be with them. It doesn't get any better than that.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Do Unto Others...

There is a game called the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon which is based on the theory that any actor or actress can be linked to Kevin Bacon, usually within six degrees (or six connections). There is also a theory that almost anyone in the world can be linked to anyone else in the world by six or seven degrees. We don't know if that's true or just a fun game, but it does make us think about the people who come and go in our lives, regardless of how short or long, or how functional or dysfunctional, the relationship is. They all leave their mark and that mark reverberates through our other relationships. And, usually, that reverberation comes back to us.

It's the little things we do that matter -- the brief moments of consideration we have for others. It's doing things for others that we wish would be done for us. Some people won't know that you thought of them, or that you did something kind, even though a kind act directly affects them. They won't know to be grateful that you moved a nail off the side of the road, but they will know that they have a flat tire if the nail is still in the road.

One of the acts of consideration that we appreciate is not having a shopping cart in the store parking space in which we want to park. Of course, we don't park and consciously think how grateful we are that no one left a shopping cart in the spot. But we do have disgruntled feelings when we attempt to pull into a parking space and find our path hindered by a shopping cart.

Every Saturday we go to lunch and then shopping for Sunday dinner ingredients. Today while walking into the store, we noticed several shopping carts abandoned wherever was convenient for the last shopper. Some carts were left in empty parking spaces, and some were left in between parked cars. Several carts were left within a few yards of the cart corral. Have we become so lazy that we can't walk a few feet to put away a shopping cart? If we consider that we might have no more than six degrees of separation from each other and that our actions reverberate, then how will that one action affect you later on? Will it be your neighbor, your sister, or your mother who will be inconvenienced by the shopping cart in her way? Will you be held up at your next appointment because the person who is supposed to help you had to take an extra minute to find another place to park when she stopped to run a quick errand at the store? It wasn't just one misplaced cart we saw today; it was several. Several people were inconvenienced today because several people before them were inconsiderate.

On another note, lunch today was very good. El Jefe’s did not disappoint. They have the best chips in town, and the service was excellent. We ordered two appetizers and shared them. The El Jefe’s on Stephanie closed down; we hope the restaurant on Eastern Avenue doesn’t suffer the same fate.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Obamanable Barack

Barack Obama Quotes:

Political Quote of the Week - maybe the Century!

"My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you'll join with me, as we try to CHANGE IT !"

-- Barack Obama



"Just this past week, we passed out of the U.S. Senate Banking Committee -- which is my committee -- a bill to call for divestment from Iran as way of ratcheting up the pressure to ensure that they don't obtain a nuclear weapon." --referring to a committee he is not on, July 23, 2008



"It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." --explaining his troubles winning over some working-class voters



"Come on! I just answered, like, eight questions." --exasperated by reporters after a news conference



"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died -- an entire town destroyed." --on a Kansas tornado that killed 12 people


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Roll Call Again

Another edition of Roll Call.

NOTE: All information below was taken from the senators' websites.

Susan Collins (R) Maine

Maine voters elected Susan M. Collins to represent them in the United States Senate in 1996 and again in 2002.

Senator Collins has served on the following committees: She is Ranking Member and former Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Department of Homeland Security and is the Senate’s chief oversight committee. She also serves on the Armed Services Committee and is a member of the Special Committee on Aging. Previously, she served for six years on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Senator Collins was also the first freshman Senator ever to lead the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

National Defense - Senator Collins has promoted a strong national defense. She has consistently supported legislation to provide a continued and steady workload at Bath Iron Works, and restore the nation’s shrinking U.S. Navy fleet. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Collins successfully advocated for dual-lead ship DDG-1000 acquisition strategy and has consistently opposed a “one-shipyard” proposal for construction of our next generation of surface combatants.

Education - As one of the architects of landmark education reform legislation, Senator Collins led the successful charge to triple funding for early reading initiatives. She also authored the law providing a $250 tax deduction for teachers who spend their own money on classroom supplies and recently successfully sought an extension of this law. Her goal of expanding access to higher education for all students led her to co-author the 1998 Higher Education Act and to support increases in Pell Grants and other student financial aid. Fiscal Assistance and Jobs - In 2003, Senator Collins worked to secure $20 billion, including $116 million for the State of Maine, to help states deal with the budget shortfalls that were plaguing every state. This funding helped states avert major cuts in Medicaid and other vital state programs. Senator Collins is a long-time supporter of measures to encourage and assist small businesses to grow and create more jobs. She has earned a 100 percent rating from the nation’s largest small business organization, National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB). Health Care - Senator Collins coauthored the Access to Affordable Health Care Act which takes significant strides toward the goal of universal health coverage by bringing millions more Americans into the insurance system. The bill also strengthens the health care safety net and addresses inequities in the Medicare system. In addition, Senator Collins led the fight to restore critical funding to Medicare for home health care so that elderly citizens and disabled can receive needed care in their own homes. Senator Collins also founded the Senate Diabetes Caucus, and led the effort to more than triple federal funding for diabetes research. As co-chairman of the Senate Alzheimer’s Caucus, Senator Collins has worked to increase funding for Alzheimer’s research and to strengthen support for family caregivers. (Blogger Comment: Senator Collins is a centrist Republican; often her voting is left to the rest of the party and she is accused of being a Republican in Name Only. For further information on her voting record, please check this link: We do not agree with many of the votes she has cast, nor do we support many of her platform issues -- especially the ones that require increased government spending.)

Thad Cochran (R) Mississippi

In 1978, Thad Cochran was elected to the United States Senate becoming the first Republican in over 100 years to win a statewide election in Mississippi. He was re-elected in 1984 in a race with Governor William Winter with over 60 percent of the votes. In 1990 he was unopposed, and in 1996 he was re-elected to a fourth term in the Senate with over 70 percent of the votes. His margin of victory in the 2002 election was 85 percent.

Senator Cochran has served as Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee, and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He currently serves as Ranking Member of the full Appropriations Committee and the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. He also serves as a member of Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Rules Committee. His legislative record includes the sponsorship of the National Missile Defense Act of 1999, the Campaign Finance Reform Act, as well as, key provisions of several farm bills.

Senator Cochran has also written legislation supporting education programs such as teacher training, vocational education, libraries, and educational television. He served as a member of the National Education Goals Panel. Numerous university based research projects have been funded with Senator Cochran's assistance including energy, agriculture, and forestry facilities at Mississippi State University, the Polymer Science Center at the University of Southern Mississippi, the Natural Products Center, Water and Wetlands Center, and Food Service Management Institute at the University of Mississippi, the National Warmwater Aquaculture Research Center at Stoneville, and the Jackson Heart Study by Jackson State University and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.

He authored the Mississippi Wilderness Act which is the first federal legislation ever passed for the perpetual protection of lands in the State of Mississippi. He has also helped establish national wildlife refuges as a member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, and he authored the Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. In 1994, he was named by Ducks Unlimited as Conservationist of the Year in Mississippi. He was named Conservationist of the Year in 1996 by the North American Waterfowl Federation and received the Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation. He has received the lifetime achievement award of The Nature Conservancy.

As a member of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, he has worked successfully to support the Navy's shipbuilding programs and the various military bases and installations in Mississippi. Senator Cochran has served on the Board of Visitors of the Air Force Academy and as Chairman of the Board at the Military Academy at West Point. He is now a member of the Board of the U.S. Naval Academy.

After his home state of Mississippi was hit by the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States, Senator Cochran used his role as the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to advance legislation providing over $87 billion in supplemental federal assistance to the states affected by the storm.

During previous Congresses, Cochran served on the Senate Ethics Committee, the Judiciary Committee, the Labor and Human Resources Committee and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Service on these committees has enabled him to be actively involved in the writing of laws affecting a wide range of issues including rural development, health care, and criminal law. (Blogger Comment: Cochran's voting record is generally regarded as moderate by Southern Republican standards. As with Senator Collins, we do not agree with increased government spending, nor do we think that Senator Cochran should be continually voted into office after thirty years of service. We stated in a previous blog that career politicians are never a good idea, regardless of the political party, and that the people need to impose term limits by voting career politicians out of office.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Oh, What Songs of the Heart

"The spirit world is not far away. From the Lord’s point of view, it is all one great program on both sides of the veil. Sometimes the veil between this life and the life beyond becomes very thin. This I know! Our loved ones who have passed on are not far from us." ~ Ezra Taft Benson

Sandy’s granddaughter, who lives in North Carolina, is visiting for three weeks. Today in the car Savannah, who is eleven years old, asked Sandy about an event that happened several years ago when Savannah was four. She can’t remember it, but her dad has shared the story with her.

Our mother passed away in May of 2001 (We've posted two pictures of Mom - the first one was taken when she was in her early twenties. The second one was taken a few months before she died). Shortly after her death, Savannah told her daddy (Sandy’s son, Bill) that she wanted to visit with “my daddy’s grandma,” as Savannah called her. At first Bill would try to change the subject or divert her attention to something else, because how do you explain death to a four-year old? Savannah was persistent, however, in her request to see her daddy’s grandma; so Bill sat her down and asked her if she remembered when our family gathered together to say goodbye to his grandma (at her funeral). He explained that we wouldn't see his grandma for a long time, because she now lives very far away. Savannah had never gone to church up to this point in her life, so the next words out of her mouth stopped Bill in his tracks. She said, “No sir, Daddy. Your grandma visits me in my “special” bed at night. She told me that families can be together forever and that she lives with Jesus now.” Mom visited Savannah several times. One evening Savannah came out of her room and her daddy asked her what she was doing. Savannah responded, “I’m playing with your grandma in my “special” bed.” Bill said at the time that there was a different, reverent feeling in his house during those days. We wondered if referring to her bed as “special” was the only way for a four-year-old to communicate the sacred aura in her bedroom during those visits.

Talking to Savannah about this today reminded us of how thin the veil is between our mortal lives and the spirit world. Sandy explained to Savannah that our deceased loved ones are just as concerned about us now, if not more so, as they were when they lived in mortality. Who better to be our guardian angels than our family members who have graduated to the other side? Savannah asked Sandy what she will do when she sees her mother again. The answer that came to mind is expressed in the hymn, Oh What Songs of the Heart:

Oh, what songs of the heart
We shall sing all the day,
When again we assemble at home,
When we meet ne'er to part
With the blest o'er the way,
There no more from our loved ones to roam!
When we meet ne'er to part,
Oh, what songs of the heart
We shall sing in our beautiful home.
Tho our rapture and bliss
There's no song can express,
We will shout, we will sing o'er and o'er,
As we greet with a kiss,
And with joy we caress
All our loved ones that passed on before;
As we greet with a kiss,
In our rapture and bliss,
All our love ones that passed on before.
Oh, the visions we'll see
In that home of the blest,
There's no word, there's no thought can impart,
But our rapture will be
All the soul can attest,
In the heavenly songs of the heart;
But our rapture will be
In the vision we'll see
Best expressed in the songs of the heart.
Oh, what songs we'll employ!
Oh, what welcome we'll hear!
While our transports of love are complete.
And the heart swells with joy
In embraces most dear
When our heavenly parents we meet!
As the heart swells with joy,
Oh, what songs we'll employ
When our heavenly parents we meet!

How thankful we are for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for our knowledge of the spirit world! We know that it is every bit as real as the mortal world we live in today. Although we don’t wish our lives away and do not want to hasten the time when we leave this mortal world, we look forward to the day when we greet our family members who are now on the other side of the veil.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Humor in the Sky

We like to soften our political rants every once in a while with something a little humorous, so please enjoy.

All too rarely, airline attendants make an effort to make the in-flight safety "lecture" and announcements a bit more entertaining.

Here are some real examples that have been heard or reported:

1. On a Southwest flight (SW has no assigned seating, you just sit where you want) passengers were apparently having a hard time choosing, when a flight attendant announced, "People, people we're not picking out furniture here, find a seat and get in it!"

2. On a Continental Flight with a very "senior"flight attendant crew, the pilot said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants."

3. On landing, the stewardess said, "Please be sure to take all of your belongings. If you're going to leave anything, please make sure it's something we'd like to have."

4. "There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane"

5. "Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride."

6. As the plane landed and was coming to a stop at Ronald Reagan, a lone voice came over the loudspeaker: "Whoa, big fella. WHOA!"

7. After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced, "Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted."

8. From a Southwest Airlines employee: "Welcome aboard Southwest Flight 245 to Tampa. To operate your seat belt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seat belt; and, if you don't know how to operate one, you probably shouldn't be out in public unsupervised."

9. "In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, masks will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child, pick your favorite."

10. Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, but we'll try to have them fixed before we arrive. Thank you, and remember, nobody loves you, or your money, more than Southwest Airlines."

11. "Your seat cushions can be used for flotation; and, in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments."

12. "As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses."

13. And from the pilot during his welcome message: "Delta Airlines is pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry.

Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight!"

14. Heard on Southwest Airlines just after a very hard landing in Salt Lake City: The flight attendant came on the intercom and said, "That was quite a bump, and I know what y'all are thinking. I'm here to tell you it wasn't the airline's fault, it wasn't the pilot's fault, it wasn't the flight attendant's fault, it was the asphalt."

15. Overheard on an American Airlines flight into Amarillo, Texas, on a particularly windy and bumpy day: During the final approach, the Captain was really having to fight it. After an extremely hard landing, the Flight Attendant said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Amarillo. Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while the Captain taxis what's left of our airplane to the gate!"

16. Another flight attendant's comment on a less than perfect landing: "We ask you to please remain seated as Captain Kangaroo bounces us to the terminal."

17. An airline pilot wrote that on this particular flight he had hammered his ship into the runway really hard. The airline had a policy which required the first officer to stand at the door while the passengers exited, smile, and give them a "Thanks for flying our airline." He said that, in light of his bad landing, he had a hard time looking the passengers in the eye, thinking that someone would have a smart comment. Finally everyone had gotten off except for a little old lady walking with a cane. She said, "Sir do you mind if I ask you a question?" "Why, no, Ma'am," said the pilot. What is it?" The little old lady said, "Did we land, or were we shot down?"

18. After a real crusher of a landing in Phoenix, the attendant came on with, "Ladies and Gentlemen, please remain in your seats until Capt. Crash and the Crew have brought the aircraft to a screeching halt against the gate And, once the tire smoke has cleared and the warning bells are silenced, we'll open the door and you can pick your way through the wreckage to the terminal."

19. Part of a flight attendant's arrival announcement: "We'd like to thank you folks for flying with us today. And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube, we hope you'll think of US Airways."

20. Heard on a Southwest Airline flight. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you wish to smoke, the smoking section on this airplane is on the wing and if you can light 'em, you can smoke 'em."

21. A plane was taking off from Kennedy Airport. After it reached a comfortable cruising altitude, the captain made an announcement over the intercom, "Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking.

Welcome to Flight Number 293, nonstop from New York to Los Angeles.

The weather ahead is good and, therefore, we should have a smooth and uneventful flight. Now sit back and relax... OH, MY GOSH!" -----

Silence -----followed, and after a few minutes, the captain came back on the intercom and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I am so sorry if I scared you earlier. While I was talking to you, the flight attendant accidentally spilled a cup of hot coffee in my lap You should see the front of my pants!" A passenger in Coach yelled, "That's nothing. You should see the back of mine!"

Monday, August 18, 2008

Roll Call - Revisited

Another installment of Roll Call. Get to know your Senators. Information on the senators was taken directly from their websites.

Pat Roberts (R) Kansas

Energy - In order to stabilize energy prices, we need to find new energy resources at home to increase our supply. With this in mind, I support the exploration and production of our oil and natural gas resources in the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Furthermore, I support additional exploration and production in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and off our shores.

In addition to finding new sources of fossil fuels, we need to look to renewable resources to help meet our energy needs. Kansas plays a vital role in the renewable energy industry. Kansas is home to 7 operating ethanol plants with many more in development. Currently ranked 7th in the nation, Kansas produces 170 million gallons of ethanol per year with an additional 40 million per year scheduled to come on line soon. As most Kansans know, the Great Plains and prairies provide a plentiful amount of wind. Several utility companies have come to realize this and have invested in wind energy in Kansas.

Environment - With my support, in 2005 and 2007 Congress passed and the president signed into law two bills (P.L.109-58 and P.L.110-140), which begin to decrease our dependence on foreign sources of energy and increase our supply of domestic energy resources. Among other things, the bills promote the development and use of renewable energy resources produced and harvested in Kansas, including ethanol and wind power. For example, the 2005 law provides incentives for Kansas oil and gas producers to explore resources within our own country.

Small Business - I have long supported efforts to help small businesses grow and expand. Small businesses are America's job creators. They create hope and opportunity for our entrepreneurs and workers, and are essential to our nation's economic prosperity. In the past decade, more than 60 percent of all jobs were created by small businesses. These businesses employ more than half of the nation's private-sector workforce. According to the Small Business Administration, 69,241 businesses with employees in Kansas, an estimated 96.6 percent, or 67,120, are small firms.

I support tax policies to encourage small business growth and to reduce the regulatory burden on these businesses.

Although most working Americans receive health insurance from their employers, small businesses find it particularly difficult to offer benefits because of the high cost. Small businesses should not have to choose between staying in business or offering health insurance to their employees. This is why I am a cosponsor of S. 1955, the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act. This legislation allows small businesses to pool together and purchase health insurance, giving these businesses better purchasing power, much like large businesses such as Microsoft or Ford have long enjoyed. These plans, known as Small Business Health Plans (SBHPs), will give small businesses an affordable choice for health care and will allow these businesses to choose a health plan that best fits their needs. (Blogger Comment: As long as it isn't socialized medicine and doesn't involve federal funds, we're for the Small Business Health Plans.)

Second Amendment - I am a strong supporter of congressional efforts to preserve our Second Amendment right to bear arms. Furthermore, I am opposed to actions that infringe on those rights and do not effectively reduce crime and violence. Firearm laws should only be enacted with the intent to punish criminal activity. Rather than chipping away at fundamental liberties backed by the Constitution, we should target the real problem-mainly crime. Attempts to reduce violent crime must focus on punishing criminals, not punishing law-abiding citizens and businesses.

Immigration - I have and will continue to support legislation that strengthens the security of our borders and reduces illegal immigration. I will carefully scrutinize proposals that affect our nation's immigration policies and will work to ensure that Americans are first in line for available jobs and that those remaining jobs go to a legal workforce.

With the growing diversity of our work force in Kansas, it is essential for our continued economic growth that official business is conducted in English. I have long supported declaring English as the national language of the United States. We have an obligation to ensure that non-English speaking citizens have an opportunity to learn English and fully share all the economic, social and political opportunities existing in Kansas and the rest of the nation.

Family - Throughout my years as a public servant I have consistently supported efforts that promote strong family values based on a strong moral foundation. I believe that every life is a precious gift that we all have a responsibility to protect. As my record clearly shows, I oppose abortion on demand and the federal funding of abortions. In addition, I continue to oppose the use of tax dollars to fund abortion services at home and overseas.

Along this line, I am a cosponsor of the Marriage Protection Act. The resolution proposes to amend the Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. I support this legislation because I believe it is wrong for a select minority to impose their definition of marriage on the nation, as we have witnessed through the actions of some state supreme courts.

Kansas adheres to a longstanding policy that does not recognize same sex marriages. That policy was confirmed in April 2005 when seventy percent of Kansans voted overwhelmingly in favor to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman. I continue to support efforts that preserve the institution of marriage as a cornerstone of our society.

Carl Levin (D) Michigan

Education - Senator Levin has worked consistently to make the federal government an effective partner in helping Michigan communities meet new and growing challenges to our public education system.

In 1979, his first year in the Senate, (Blogger Comment: The people of Michigan need to consider replacing Senator Levin. Thirty years in one political office makes a career politician, which is never a good idea, regardless of how much the politician is liked. Career politicians eventually lose sight of the state and people they represent and get lost in their personal power and ambitions, and many times involve their politics in the political maneuverings of lobbyists. There may not be a term limit law, but the American people can impose term limits by voting the person out of office. We feel this way about all politicians, Republican or Democrat.) Senator Levin supported congressional efforts to create the U.S. Department of Education, making it a cabinet level agency, with a mission to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout our nation's schools (Blogger Comment: this is not the role of government, especially at the federal level). Today, the department's elementary and secondary programs serve over 15,000 school districts and more than 50 million students attending over 92,000 public schools (Blogger Comment: Yet, education is still not “equal” throughout the nation. That’s because equality can’t be achieved by an agency in Washington, D.C. There are stories across the nation of inner city schools not receiving the attention and funding that higher economic areas receive. The local communities, parents especially, need to be involved in the education of local youth. They are the ones who have the most to gain with educating their children.). The department also provides grants, loans and work-study assistance to more than eight million higher education students.

Senator Levin believes federal funds for education should be targeted to help recruit and train quality teachers, reduce class size, repair aging school buildings, integrate technology into the classroom, provide after-school activities for all children and help establish a system that holds schools (Blogger Comment: what about parents?) accountable for children's academic progress. (Blogger Comment: while these ideas sound good, federal funding for education is not the role of the federal government. Furthermore, part of the reason we have parents who are disconnected from their childrens’ education is because the federal government is trying to assume the parents' responsibility. First and foremost, family should be involved in education and next should be the local communities. Just because they hold public office doesn’t mean that the members of Congress or the President know anything about educating children.)

Minimum Wage - Senator Levin is an original cosponsor of the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the minimum wage by $0.70 in three increments, with an end result of a minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. On January 10, 2007, the House of Representatives passed the minimum wage increase. The Senate passed the minimum wage bill on February 1, 2007.

Senator Levin believes that a full-time minimum wage job should provide a minimum standard of living in addition to giving workers the dignity that comes with a paycheck. These lower paid workers, many of whom have entered the workforce due to the welfare reform, should be rewarded for going to work, not penalized by a poverty level wage.

A higher minimum wage has the potential to ensure that lower paid workers will be protected from falling into poverty and possibly back on the welfare rolls. (Blogger Comment: In addition to not being professional educators, elected officials are also not economists. It would be wonderful if everyone could live above the poverty level. It’s a shame that there are people who have to work so hard for so little. Unfortunately, significant minimum wage increases would shut down small businesses and lay off workers at larger businesses since neither could afford the pay increases. We would see a huge increase in inflation and joblessness. There is no quick or easy way to fix this problem. However, low wage jobs can be used to provide needed experience to move to more stable businesses with higher wages.)

Prescription Drugs - While prescription drugs hold the promise of healthier lives for the American people, the high cost of those drugs puts them out of the reach of too many. In the worst cases, our citizens go without these drugs; or they try to make their prescription last longer by only taking one pill when they should take two; or they skip a day. For many seniors, prescription medications are becoming increasingly difficult to obtain in the United States at affordable prices. Far too often, seniors must choose between paying their utility bill or paying for their prescription.

Senator Levin has traveled throughout Michigan and listened to the stories of citizens who are trying to pay for expensive prescriptions. They wonder why our neighbors in Canada are able to buy the exact same drug, manufactured in the United States, for half the price. Senator Levin's office conducted a survey in July 2003 of ten of the most commonly prescribed prescription drugs. In every case, the prescription cost significantly less in Canada than the same drug in the United States. A survey done by the Associated Press in November 2003 found that prices for ten of the most popular drugs are 33% to 80% less expensive in Canada than in the United States.

Senator Levin has long been a supporter of drug re-importation legislation, allowing Americans to buy U.S.-made drugs at Canadian prices. In 2005, he co-sponsored a bipartisan bill, the Pharmaceutical Market Access and Drug Safety Act (S.334), that would allow U.S. licensed pharmacists and drug wholesalers to import FDA-approved medications from Canada. (Blogger Comment: There are two issues here. The first is that Canada has socialized medicine which means that the Canadians are still paying high prices for their drugs; they are just paying the majority of it through their approximately 35% or more income tax, not to mention Canada’s 15% sales tax. It just appears that they are paying half price for prescriptions at the counter. The second issue is that America has a problem with insurance companies. Insurance companies monopolize and control American medicine. Before we entertain the idea of socializing our own medicine, we need to address the monopoly that insurance companies have on our health care.)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sacrifice Brings Forth the Blessings of Heaven

“Real, personal sacrifice never was placing an animal on the altar. Instead, it is a willingness to put the animal in us upon the altar and letting it be consumed!” - Neal A. Maxwell-

There is a hymn that we sing in church that has the line "sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven." The song doesn't say who is the receiver of the blessings. That's because the possibilities are endless. Certainly the person receiving the sacrifice of the giver is blessed by the gift. Because the receiver has been blessed, he or she usually wants to be part of helping others, thus passing on the blessings. If each recipient continues to help others as he or she has been blessed, there is just no end to how many people can be helped.

Most assuredly the giver is always blessed. Sacrifice can be defined as giving up one thing for something better. No award, no plastic surgery, no amount of fame or money can increase a person's feelings of self worth more than voluntarily sacrificing for the good of another. What we do each day reverberates in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities. It has been said that "no man is an island" meaning that everything we do is felt in some way by someone else.

Sacrifice teaches us something about ourselves. What are we willing to do in time of need? Do we help others, or do we turn our backs and walk away, clutching our money, time, and belongings selfishly to our chests?

Truman G. Madsen told about a visit he made to Israel with Hugh B. Brown. In a valley known as Hebron, where tradition has it that the tomb of Father Abraham is located, Mr. Madsen asked Mr. Brown, “What are the blessings of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob?” After a short moment of thought, Mr. Brown answered, “Posterity.” Mr. Madsen wrote: “I almost burst out, ‘Why, then, was Abraham commanded to go to Mount Moriah and offer his only hope of posterity?’
“It was clear that Mr. Brown had thought and prayed and wept over that question before. He finally said, ‘Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham’ ” (The Highest in Us [1978], 49).

God has promised certain blessings to those who are willing to sacrifice. He teaches us about the law of Tithing in the Old Testament book of Malachi, chapter 3, verse 10. "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it." He will open the windows of heaven for paying tithing. How much more will he do for us when we reach out to lift another and share his burden?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Nightmares Are Made Of These

"Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason." ~ anonymous

A Match Made in Hell ~ Harry Reid & Nancy Pelosi

Scary Bridge Segment: This is the Harry (not to be confused with the Harry pictured above) Nice Memorial Bridge in Maryland. What's that thing in the middle? It looks like a carnival ride. Won't be driving on this bridge either.

This will be a short post today. The Olympics are beckoning us to be one with our recliners and celebrate the American spirit of couch potatoes watching athletes on TV. America rocks!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Roll Call, Part Deux

Another Roll Call. The below senator information was taken directly from each senator's website. Please remember your hard-won freedoms when selecting a candidate in the voting booth.

Saxby Chambliss (R) Georgia

Education – As the husband of a teacher who worked for more than 30 years in the classroom, Senator Chambliss knows there is no more important job than educating America’s young people. A supporter of the landmark education reform law, No Child Left Behind, which seeks to ensure America’s children are reaching their learning potential, Senator Chambliss has held a series of listening sessions across Georgia. Chambliss’ events are designed to bring federal education officials together with Georgia educators so that Georgia education professionals can have their voices heard about how to improve the program and how the program is being implemented in Georgia.

Housing - Owning a home is part of the American dream, but unfortunately, the downturn in the housing industry has had a ripple effect across all sectors of the financial market and the economy as a whole. Georgians have certainly felt the impact of this crisis. In an effort to reinvigorate the housing market, I am an original co-sponsor of S. 2566, legislation sponsored by Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) to provide a federal income tax credit for the purchase of certain new and foreclosed upon homes. This legislation passed as an amendment to the Foreclosure Prevention Act, which will help prevent declining property values for homeowners=2 0and hopefully bring the market back to an even keel. A similar tax credit was invoked by Congress in the mid-1970s, when the housing market was in a similar crisis. I will also continue to work to ensure that the free-flow of information between the borrower, broker, and lender is open and fair.

Border Security - In 2007, during the immigration bill debate, we listened and heard overwhelmingly from Georgians that they do not trust the federal government to enforce our immigration laws. Taking immediate action to secure our borders is what Georgians demand and deserve, and it is the best way to restore credibility with the American people. We must secure the borders first and foremost, because that is where the problem originates and where it must be stopped. I voted against the final immigration reform bill because it was not good enough for Georgia and Senators were not given ample time to debate amendments to strengthen the bill. I have rejected proposals to provide amnesty for illegal immigrants and I have called for the creation of a tamper-proof biometric ID card for foreign workers.

This year I also joined a group of Republican Senators in forming the Senate Border Security and Enforcement First Caucus. The Caucus is a platform to let Americans know that some members of the Senate are continuing to push for enforcement of immigration laws that are already on the books, to act as the voice of those concerned citizens who have expressed their opinions time and time again for better interior enforcement and border security, to push for stronger border security and interior enforcement legislation and to work together in the Senate to defeat possible future legislation that offers amnesty.

Taxes - Throughout Senator Chambliss’ career in Congress, he has worked hard to deliver tax relief. In the spring of 2003, Senator Chambliss supported, Congress passed, and President Bush signed into law the “Economic Jobs and Growth Package,” one of the most historic economic growth and tax relief measures in a generation. By putting money back into the pockets of working American families, there will be more money to spend on school supplies, school clothes, needed home improvements, or other important family necessities. Allowing working men and women to keep more of their hard-earned money means families will buy more products—hopefully Georgia products – that will in turn help create jobs and boost the economy. Congress must also continue working to eliminate the marriage penalty, the capital gains tax on investments, the death tax, and further lower marginal tax rates across the board for working men and women.

Health Care - Americans need greater access to health insurance, and we must ensure that families are able to choose the best plan suited for them. I do not believe a Washington-run, big government health care system is the answer. I am an original cosponsor of S. 1019, the “Universal Health Care Choice and Access Act,” legislation to provide individuals and families with tax incentives to allow them to afford to purchase their own health insurance. This tax break would put people on the same playing field as corporations, and employees would no longer have to pay more for the same coverage provided through work and could take their coverage with them if they decided to change jobs. Private insurance companies would have to cater to individuals’ needs, and individuals will have the power to choose the plan best suited for them. As the Senate debates this issue further, I will continue to work to see that Americans are provided with quality, affordable health care. This is a critical issue that faces every single American family and we must get it right.

Second Amendment Rights - As an avid sportsman, Senator Chambliss has been and will always be a staunch supporter of 2nd Amendment rights. Throughout his career in Congress, he always defended the rights of law abiding Americans to bear arms for not only recreation, but also protection.

Tom Harkin (D) Iowa

Education - Ensuring that every person in Iowa and America has a quality education requires federal leadership at three levels. (Blogger comment: Why?) We must properly fund the No Child Left Behind law so that we have a realistic chance to close the achievement gap and modernize our schools, and make changes to the law to give states the flexibility they need to properly educate our children. We must do more to make a college degree and the greater skills, higher salary and better employment opportunities that it brings, more affordable. (Blogger comment: Good goal. That can only be achieved if the government gets out of our way.) And we must make new investments in maintaining and improving our edge in math and science education and other initiatives that will help keep the American economy strong.

Creating a Wellness Society - My aim is to recreate America as a "wellness society" focused on fitness, good nutrition, and disease prevention - keeping people out of the hospital in the first place. (Blogger comment: Another good goal. As long as the federal government stays out of it and encourages private enterprises, who actually know what they are doing in this area, to take the lead and be involved. Also, a "wellness society" cannot be mandated; it has to be voluntary.) At the same time, I am working to maintain America’s standing as the world leader in biomedical research. This means generously funding (Blogger comment: Sure hope that "generously funding" means his own personal money and not taxpayers money.) the search for cures at the National Institutes of Health, and removing arbitrary restrictions on embryonic stem cell research at the federal level.

The Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention (HeLP) America Act - The journey to a wellness society begins with a giant step forward, and that is why I have introduced the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act, also known as the HeLP America Act (Blogger comment: Seriously? This is what our Congress spends their time working on? Sounds like they need a cut in pay and more time at home with their families). This legislation takes a truly comprehensive approach to wellness and disease prevention. It provides tools and incentives to schools, employers, and communities. It aims to create better nutrition, physical activity and mental health opportunities for kids in schools. It gives the Federal Trade Commission authority to regulate unfair marketing to children (Blogger comment: Certainly we agree that there are some poor marketing choices being channeled to children. However, parents have to be responsible for teaching their children healthy choices and limiting TV watching. It doesn't matter how well-intentioned the program, it's not the government's role). It provides incentives to build bike paths and safe sidewalks. And it requires nutrition labeling on menus in chain restaurants.

Addressing the Home Foreclosure Crisis - While individual buyers should be held accountable for buying a home they simply could not afford, financial institutions also need to be held accountable for questionable lending practices and risky packaging of sub-prime mortgages into untested financial products (Blogger comment: the accountability for financial institutions comes when they have customers who can't pay their loans. Running out of money and negative word-of-mouth comments from disgruntled customers is the consequence for risky lending. Consumers need to be responsible with their buying.)

To prevent these abuses in the future, I have cosponsored the Foreclosure Prevention Act. This legislation seeks to help struggling families remain in their homes by expanding refinancing opportunities and allowing for the modification of mortgages on primary residences in bankruptcy in some cases. Of the two million homeowners facing foreclosure, an estimated 600,000 would receive relief under this bill.

The bill would also provide funding for agencies like the Iowa Finance Authority so they can provide direct assistance to people who need to refinance their mortgages (Blogger comment: as long as the taxpayers aren't picking up the tab. This is a community problem, not the federal government's. We are not opposed to helping others -and we do help whenever we can-, even those who made bad choices and brought the consequences on themselves. We are opposed to the government being involved in any way. It's not their role and when they do get involved, they make a complete mess of it. Anyone remember Hurricane Katrina and FEMA?) It allows distressed borrowers to renegotiate the mortgages on their homes during bankruptcy proceedings - an option that is currently allowable on vacation homes and family farms.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Headlines From the Year 2029

We were both very busy today, so we're posting an oldie but goody just for giggles.


Spotted Owl plague threatens northwestern United States crops and livestock.

Baby conceived naturally! Scientists stumped.

Couple petitions court to reinstate heterosexual marriage.

Iran still closed off; physicists estimate it will take at least 10 more years before radioactivity decreases to safe levels.

France pleads for global help after being taken over by Jamaica. No other country comes forward to help the beleaguered nation!

George Z. Bush says he will run for President in 2036.

Postal Service raises price of first class stamp to $17.89 and reduces mail delivery to Wednesdays only.

85-year $75.8 billion study: Diet and exercise is the key to weight loss.

Average weight of Americans drops to 250 lbs.

Global cooling blamed for citrus crop failure for third consecutive year in Mexifornia and Florexico.

Abortion clinics now available in every High School in United States.

Senate still blocking drilling in ANWR even though gas is selling for 4532 Pesos per liter and gas stations are only open on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Massachusetts executes last remaining conservative.

Supreme Court rules punishment of criminals violates their civil rights.

Average height of NBA players is now nine feet, seven inches.

New federal law requires that all nail clippers, screwdrivers, fly swatters and rolled-up newspapers must be registered by January 2030.

IRS sets lowest tax rate at 75 percent.

Florexico voters still having trouble with voting machines

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Roll Call

"There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him." ~ Robert Heinlein

We will be posting information on Congress members who are up for re-election in November. Even though you may not live in their state, it’s good to get to know the people who legislate in Washington, D.C. Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have taught all of us that, regardless of the state he/she represents, their decisions and votes impact all of us.

Jeff Sessions (R) Alabama

Senator Jeff Sessions is a former U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for Alabama. He believes in appointing judges who refuse to legislate from the bench and are bound by the Constitution to interpret the rule of law as it is written.

Senator Sessions is a fiscal conservative who believes in low taxes and less spending. However, he has also worked to help Alabama receive over $51 million in federal environmental funding from the Department of Interior through the Coastal Impact Assistance Program (CIAP). That may be a problem for fiscal conservatives who want government funding and spending to be significantly decreased.

On July 24, 2008, Senator Sessions introduced an amendment to legislation pending in the Senate that would increase production of American energy by opening more than 800,000 acres of the Gulf of Mexico to new oil and gas exploration.

The following is from Senator Sessions’ website:
“We have an energy crisis in this country, and we need to pursue every avenue that leads to energy independence and lower prices for consumers,” Sessions said. “That includes more conservation, transitioning to alternative fuels, and producing more American energy here at home.”

The amendment would open a rectangular stretch of land, referred to as the stovepipe, that runs from approximately 25 to 100 miles due south of Alabama’s Gulf coast. The Mineral Management Service estimates the area contains 180 million barrels of oil and 1.42 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

The stovepipe is highly regarded by energy experts because its relatively shallow waters and close proximity to existing pipelines limit the need for new infrastructure, allowing production to come online more quickly than in some deepwater areas.

New drilling technology makes it possible to produce offshore energy safely. In 2005, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita moved through an area of the Gulf of Mexico that was home to more than 4,000 offshore rigs. Following the storms, Department of Interior Secretary Gale Norton reported that “Despite such intense winds and powerful waves offshore, we experienced no . . . significant spills from any offshore well on the outer continental shelf.”

The below link will take you to Senator Sessions voting record.

Mark Pryor (D) Arkansas

Social Security: “ We must preserve and protect Social Security. To that end, I am strongly opposed to taking money out of the Social Security trust fund and investing it in the stock market.”

Taxes: “As Senator, I will work to lower taxes for working families and fight for the needs of everyday Arkansans, because the state's economy revolves around these individuals. I support updating and modernizing our tax laws to shield small business owners and family farmers from the estate tax. I am working toward a bipartisan solution to increase the estate tax exemption to $5 million ($10 million for married couples) and reduce the tax to a 35 percent marginal rate. For estates worth more than $30 million, the benefit of this exemption would be phased out. I do not believe full repeal of the estate tax is a fiscally responsible option at this time. However, my approach eases the estate tax burden for all families and most likely erases it entirely for virtually every small business owner and family farmer in Arkansas.” (Blogger comment: Does the Democrat party know about this guy? If he keeps talking about lowering taxes, he’ll be kicked out of the party.)

Education: “I support traditional ideas, like raising teachers’ salaries to keep our best and brightest educators in the state. I support providing our high school students with the opportunity to further their education at institutions of higher learning, regardless of their economic background. Also, I will work hard to increase Title I funding for disadvantaged children and reduce class size for students in first through third grades.

“But the system also needs an influx of new ideas, such as providing all young children with early developmental skills that are needed for future success. As your senator, I support increased funding to Arkansas schools for modernization and repair as well as investments in professional development for teachers so they can better educate their students.”

Health Care: “ I support tax credits to help employers obtain health insurance for their employees and tax credits for individuals who purchase coverage on their own. I also believe that Congress needs to make health care more accessible to rural families and help rural health care providers cope with rising costs and the difficulties of providing services in sparsely populated areas.” (Blogger comment: Ahhh… that sounds more like the Democrat party. Whew! We were starting to wonder what we were going to do with the extra money we would get from the tax cuts he supports. Evidently it’s going to go towards college tuition and health care.)


If you can cast doubt on the skills and abilities of others, there is no end to the things you can fail at without being noticed.

Harry Reid - Incompetence

Isn't that redundant?