Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Sexual Revolution vs The Visual Revolution

Two distinct stories are making the viral Internet rounds this week. And they couldn't be more alike, or more different.

One is the video of a transgender girl (born male) opening up a box of hormones her mother bought for her. After years of therapy, a psychiatrist has prescribed the estrogen, and with tears in her eyes, the young teen was overcome with gratitude to finally get her wish.

The video has gone viral, with help from celebrities like George Takei.

How touching it is.
And it is. It's hard not to feel the emotion and gratitude of the video. Yeah for transgender! Yeah for the new sexual evolution!

And then there is this other story...

"Psychologist Blinds Woman With Drain Cleaner - Because She Wanted to be Blind!"

Jewel Shuping has dreamed of being blind since she was three or four years old. She would walk the halls at night with her eyes closed. By the time she was six, she was comfortable "being blind."

She has always believed that she was meant to be blind. She should have been born blind. It was her greatest desire to be blind.

She saw a therapist for years for Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), a condition in which able-bodied people believe they are "meant" to be disabled. Her desire to be blind was so strong that in 2006 she decided to blind herself - by having a sympathetic psychologist pour DRANO into her eyes.

Most people feel what Shuping did was crazy. How could she mutilate herself like that? How could a therapist actually think this was the right thing to do?

But it begs the question- why is it okay for transgender persons like Caitlin Jenner to permanently alter their bodies? (And even herald them as heroes!) But Shuping is considered crazy? Isn't sexual reassignment surgery just as damaging and permanent as pouring Drano in your eyes?

Why is one okay and the other not?

Is it because one is about sexual desires? Why is sex okay? The thing that must be fought for?

Where is the line between "she should get what she wants" and "she's crazy?"

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Carly Nails it on Religion and the Presidency

What I like about the late night talk shows is that the hosts ask the leading question, and let the guest give their answer. Unlike daytime shows or news that ask a biased leading question, and then try to trip up the guest as they answer. Sad when it's the entertainment shows that actually allow the audience to hear what the guest has to say. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Going Team Fiorina

It's still early to really, 100%, completely go all-in with a candidate. After all, there is still way too much time left for skeletons and dark marks to appear. Unless, of course, you are Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and you are your own skeleton.
But as much as you can get behind a candidate this early on, I've decided I'm Team Fiorina.
I like Carly Fiorina's stance on abortion. I feel it's level, fair, and moral.

She's strong on education, and practices what she preaches. She has a master's degree. "You know one of the things this president loves to do is to distract us so I think he is trying to distract us from the fact that we have too many failing high schools in this country by offering community college for free. If we want to educate our children let us make sure that every parent has a choice and a chance to educate their children so that they can fulfill their potential." (Source: Forbes Magazine on 2015 Conservative Political Action Conf. , Mar 24, 2015)

Religious liberty is one of the most important topics on my list in this election cycle. Again, I think Fiorina has one of the most level, honest, and balanced answers to the gay marriage questions.

And personally, this interview on CBS This Morning sums up everything I feel about biased media questions and reporting. She completely nails exactly how I feel about voting and women. (And I can't stand Rush Limbaugh!)

So put me down in the Carly Fiorina column. I'm sold!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Why I Care Less and Less About Trump

I'm starting to care less and less about Donald Trump running for president. Why? Precedent.
It's taken me a while to remember who his predecessors are, but thankfully, he does have them.

Donald Trump isn't the first three ring circus candidate we've seen ride a very early wave. And all of them have crash and burned before things got real.

Take Rudy Giuliani for instance. Seven years since he ran for president it's hard to remember he was ever a contender. He was fun, he was exciting, and he was an "alternative" candidate to the usual suits, not unlike Trump. But after the fun of the shock and awe wore off, people remembered what they really want in a leader, and it isn't tantalizing soundbites.

Remember in 2011 when Rick Perry was so far ahead of Mitt Romney that no one thought Romney had a prayer?

And then there is the distant memory of Ross Perot. Good old Ross Perot with his pie charts. I was still in high school back then, and a die hard Republican. After watching Perot on TV with his charts and diagrams, I couldn't wait to turn 18 just to vote for him. (Alas, I turned 18 in January, and missed my chance to vote for him by just 2 months.) I interned on Capitol Hill (as a high school intern- really, it's a thing) that year. The congressman I worked for was firmly in the Perot camp. After all, his district had some of the strongest Perot turn out. I can still remember Perot personally calling the congressman one day, and somehow I answered the phone. I put Ross Perot on hold and sprinted down the hall to grab the congressman who was on his way to a meeting. It was the only time I've ever seen him look the tiniest bit frazzled or excited as he sprinted his way back to answer that call.

Anyway, you recall how Perot ended, right? In a Clinton presidency. Perot pulled just enough of the GOP base away (18%), that Clinton beat Bush the First. (Of course, "Read my lips, no new taxes," didn't help Bush much either.)

But more importantly, Perot ended as a third party so-called Reformer candidate. Perot and Trump have a lot in common- both are wealthy businessman, and both like to speak in plain, blunt terms, and don't worry about political correctness. My biggest fear is Trump will follow Perot's footsteps, and cause more harm than good to his party in the long run.

But maybe Trump will stay true to the Republican party? Maybe he he won't. Only time will tell. But precedent tells us he probably won't stand the test of time. 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Polls (Why You Shouldn't Believe Most of What You Read)

Tonight I was stupid enough to answer the landline for an unknown number. It was a political pollster call. They said it would only take 2-3 minutes so I said I'd answer their questions.
That was the first lie they told me. (The call lasted nearly 30 minutes. I nearly hung up halfway through.)
They didn't identify who they were calling on behalf of. If they did, they said it so fast I didn't hear it. It was a loud, noisy call, the kind where you hold the phone 6 inches away from your ear so it doesn't get blasted.
The first few questions were generic- name, income, zip code, party affiliation, who did you vote for last time. They asked a few predictable questions like "If the national campaign came down to Jeb Bush v Hillary Clinton who would you vote for?"
But then they asked what month I was born in. And tada, my birth month would be answering questions just about Hillary. And this is where things got weird. And by weird, I mean so completely, inappropriately biased, that I had to decline answering a few. All of the questions were about Hillary and the email server. "The right-wing media has disseminated false information claiming there has been criminal activity. Hillary has done everything she can to be open and forthcoming about her emails, and has done nothing criminal. Does this make you 1. More Likely to Vote Hillary, 2. Somewhat Likely to Vote Hillary, 3. Somewhat Unlikely to Vote Hillary, or 4. Not at All Likely to Vote Hillary?" Uh, wait. I disagree with the statement altogether. I don't believe the right-wing media has disseminated false information, or that Hillary has been forthcoming with her emails. I can't answer that question!
There was never a question about "Do you believe anything Hillary says?"
There were similar questions about "The Republicans have painted Hillary as untrustworthy. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for a Republican?"
Uh, again, I don't agree with the statement, so I can't continue!
By the end of the phone call I realized yet again, how little you can trust a poll. I keep seeing something on Facebook about how Ben Carson beat Trump in a poll. But the truth is, he beat him by less than a tenth of point, in a poll of just 405 registered GOP Iowa caucus voters. So really, they tied, once you consider the margin of error. And Carson isn't even remotely close to Trump in any of the other polls out there.
In other words, Carson isn't really a threat to Trump. Not that I don't wish he was. I'd love to see anyone give Trump a run for his money. I'm not a big fan.
But I digress.
The point here is that you really shouldn't believe most polls. Sometime next week there will be very favorable poll results announced for Hillary. But only because the poll was so slanted in her favor, that they can't help but spin the results their way.

Let's Connect!

Friday, August 28, 2015

Polygamists Use Gay Marriage as a Defense or Right

The infamous polygamist Kody Brown family of the TV show “Sister Wives” has done what conservatives (particularly Mormons) have feared would happen ever since the gay marriage debate began to take hold. They used the same-sex marriage rulings to argue the legality of polygamy.  
The Browns have used this argument before in lower courts with some success. That includes the U.S. Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges, in which the court upheld the fundamental right of same-sex couples to marry, and Kitchen v. Herbert, the case that brought same-sex marriage to Utah. Turley also cites a Supreme Court case that decriminalized all gay sex as sodomy, Lawrence V. Texas.
In short, the Browns’ lawyer is arguing for the decriminalization or rejection of morality legislation. For the same reasons homosexuality was considered immoral and illegal, polygamy has as well. Now that the gay marriage contingent has convinced the world that this was an archaic belief, the polygamists want to make the same argument. If the argument on behalf of gay marriage is that any two people who want to be married should be allowed to do so, why can't polygamists legally marry? Polygamists don't marry one wife to another. They marry the woman to the man. It's still just a marriage of one woman to one man, but the man happens to also be married to another woman. If all parties are clear on the facts, using the gay marriage defense, why shouldn't it be legal? 
"From the rejection of morality legislation in Lawrence to the expansion of the protections of liberty interests in Obergefell, it is clear that states can no longer use criminal codes to coerce or punish those who choose to live in consensual but unpopular unions," Turley wrote in his answer to Utah's appeal.
When U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups overturned Utah's ban on polygamy in December 2013, same-sex marriage wasn't mentioned in the ruling. The Browns want the want the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Waddoups' ruling. The state has argued that polygamy is inherently harmful to women and children and that the Browns have not suffered from the law, because they haven't been prosecuted. (They were just threatened with lawsuits and run out of the state.)
It's an interesting legal argument. Why shouldn't polygamy be legalized? 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Roanoke Strong Unfolds on Social Media

Photo shared by Daryl Watkins from Creative Dog Media via the City of Roanoke Facebook page. I believe it was created to be shared, and therefore hope Mr. Watkins is okay with me sharing his beautiful image here without his explicit permission. Thank you Mr. Watkins. 

I live in Roanoke, Virginia, the town where the terrible on-air murder of two news reporters happened yesterday. Needless to say, our town is still reeling from the shock of what happened.
Not too surprisingly, in wake of the shooting, the national conversation has turned to gun control. (It's not yet a conversation in this town, and I don't expect it will be for a while.) I've explained my unusual background with firearms before, so I won't do it again today.
This story has hit not just "close to home" for me, but has hit my community, my town, and my world. I work in social media. This is my realm. And now someone has committed an atrocity in both my virtual and physical worlds. Of course I have a few things to say about it!
I can't think of any other instance where someone so flagrantly and blatantly flaunted their crime-in-progress online. I've heard of criminals stupid enough to share their spoils online, never have I heard of a crime-in-progress unfolding online.
The entire premise and concept scares me.
It scares me that someone was so desperate for attention and "glory" (after all, criminals of this nature often have a self-righteous belief that they are doing something good) that they would broadcast their crimes live.
Since the horrific Aurora movie theater shootings, there have been at least two more that I can think of without looking it up. I can't even wrap my head around how many school shootings there have been since Columbine. If there is one thing we have learned from these types of atrocities, it is that they will be copied.
And it all begs the question - will this spurn a new trend in online crime-in-progress streaming?
I pray that it will not. But I think we all know deep down inside, that it is inevitable.
Will it lead to social networks creating filters that search for such activity? (For instance, right now Facebook filters your posts for certain key words like wedding, marriage, birthday, baby, birth, born, etc., and makes sure those posts get seen by more people, using the assumption that people want to know when you get married or have a baby.) Will social networks be forced to start filtering for criminal activity?
I hate the concept, but just 30 hours after the shootings yesterday, I can foresee the need to prevent attention/glory seekers from taking advantage of social media for criminal intent.
(For the record, when I say I hate the concept, I mean I hate that there is going to be a need for it. Also, I hate that it will lead to some controversy about free speech and the First Amendment. I hate any time the First Amendment must be debated in the context of public safety. I love the First Amendment. Hate that it can be abused to hurt others.)
In my version of a perfect world, there wouldn't be crime (obviously). But in my more realistic perfect world (where crime is inevitable because no two people will ever think the same), we would be a better self-policing society. If there is one good thing that came out of yesterday, it is that as the shooter's activities were revealed online, his networks (I won't call them friends) didn't retweet or share his activities. They reported him. They told Twitter and Facebook what he was doing, and got him shut down. This is self-policing at its finest.
But it didn't work perfectly. Because before Twitter and Facebook figured it out and removed the offensive content, there were people out there who did copy and download the images and video. Because, like I said, no two people think alike.
I will let the rest of the world debate gun control and the right to bear arms. But for now, I'm going to focus on what I know best - social media - and work to make the world a better place there.

Let's Connect!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Trump v. Sanders

As of 12 noon, on the newest "Black Monday, on Twitter, regarding the market crash today only two presidential contenders had weighed in - Trump and Sanders. And their responses to the crash couldn't be further apart.

Note the difference in the number of retweets and favorites as well. Granted, Trump has 3.85M followers, and Sanders only has half a million. But their online popularity speaks volumes about their real potential as well.
Still, it's interesting to see that in just 160 characters Trump managed to make the market crash about him, while Bernie Sanders solidified his socialist stylings.

Let's Connect!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Ted Cruz Will Not Be President

Ted Cruz will not be the next GOP nominee for president. Neither will Ted Cruz be the next president.
Because he fumbled the ball. Big time.
He doesn't command a room. He isn't charismatic. He's not quick on his feet. And when asked while under the spotlight about a major tenet of his campaign platform, he couldn't give a coherent, straight answer.
Write Ted Cruz off. He's going nowhere.

Let's Connect! 

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Donald Trump - what little I have to say on the subject

I've been doing my best to not talk about Donald Trump on this blog. But the time has come to say something, albeit grudgingly.
I had been sitting here, like so many other armchair quarterbacks, thinking and hoping that Donald Trump was in the GOP race for fun. For the shock value. Maybe I was reading some quiet nobility in his actions. Maybe he was thinking that by running his hairy dog and pony show that he was bringing some much needed attention to the early primary race? Or maybe that was just wishful thinking on my part.
But here's the crazy thing. It's not just the media watching him. People seem to be listening.
And that's when I remembered the picture above.
I took it at a Faith and Freedom Coalition event at least 4 years ago, if not longer than that. Trump spoke for a few minutes, and not as a keynote or even main attraction. If memory serves, he spoke for no more than 15 minutes.

Here are my notes from that day -

He's pro-life and Catholic. He hates ObamaCare. He is still proud of himself for making Obama produce "that excuse for a birth certificate." He occasionally refers to himself in the third person. And a few quotes, "OPEC is laughing at our leaders." "Our leaders are stupid, you know, right? I'm not a politician, I can say stupid." The thing he said that really bothered me was regarding the war in Iraq. "To the victor go the spoils." He believes that the U.S. (and Allies) have the right to take over the Iraqi oil fields, and take the oil from them. He also wants to give a million dollars to every Iraqi family hurt by the war, and to every American soldier wounded or killed in the war, from the profits of those oil fields. This is one of those huge ideas that non-politicians come up with who truly don't understand international laws. This made me a little mad to hear, because people will like it, and it is not something that could ever actually happen.But over all, I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal. And I'd be really surprised if we don't see him pull a Ross Perot towards the end.
"I would say he's a smart guy and he knows his stuff. I'm starting to understand his appeal." 

That's what I remember the most. He has a way of saying shocking things, but appealing to his audience. 

I have a feeling that Trump just might be in this for the long haul. He might actually stop being the media darling, and start being the voters' darling. 

We shall see. 

Let's Connect!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Meanwhile in Russia...

Let's Connect!

My Predictions

It is still incredibly early in the game, but just for fun, here are my 2016 Presidential Election Predictions-

  • Bernie Sanders will gain in momentum until the first real televised debate. He's fun, he's shocking, etc, but really, he's not presidential material. Once people see him on stage next to other candidates and realize he's radical, but not relate-able, he will dwindle off. 
  • Hillary Clinton will always have deep pockets, so she will stay in the race. She won't exit until the Democrats produce a viable candidate who beats on a Super Tuesday in the primaries. I expect she will easily win Iowa and New Hampshire though. 
  • I predict that sooner or later Joe Biden will enter the race, but not until Clinton has suffered an extreme blow that he (and Obama) can safely claim no relationship to. (Said blow, which is inevitable, since she gets them all the time, will not hurt her campaign, because said blows never do hurt Clintons somehow.) I do expect he will be a very likable candidate. 
  • Carly Fiorina will continue to rise in the polls. 
  • At the next major GOP debate, everyone will try to beat Fiorina, and be the anti-Donald, by being The Donald (with stunning sound bytes). 
  • Donald Trump, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul will survive till January/Iowa/South Carolina. The others will drop out due to lack of funds in the meantime. 
  • There are too many GOP candidates to predict which ones will emerge as the real leaders. My hope, at this juncture, is that it will be Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. 
  • The Democrats will eventually produce a few more candidates. 
  • Bobby Jindal will be considered a VP candidate for the GOP
  • We will be subjected to multiple news articles about the potential of another Bush/Clinton showdown. This will not change the actual likelihood of a Bush/Clinton showdown. 
  • Iowa and New Hampshire will continue to be unfairly represented in campaigns. But the swing states will get a lot more time and attention. Ethanol will be discussed ad nauseum, because Iowa corn farmers like it, even though it's not good for the overall country. 
  • I do think Jeb Bush will go far, but I can't see him winning the national election. But I do see him lasting at least 2-3 Super Tuesdays. 
  • Bernie Sanders will break off and go third party. It will be an extreme, left wing third party, with the support of Ralph Nader. 

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Carly Fiorina at the Iowa State Fair

Carly Fiorina spoke at the Iowa State Fair "soapbox" over the weekend, and just continued to prove that she gets what voters want from a candidate - which is not a stump speech.

She gave a quick intro speech and went right into taking questions. She let the public ask questions! And didn't just talk at them! THANK YOU CARLY FIORINA!!!

You can watch the 20 minutes clip above or read the highlights below-

1. Minimum Wage- should be a state decision, not a federal standard
2. Federal government is "crushing" small business, and keeping people from getting jobs
3. Stronger military, tough foreign policy, stand with Israel
4. Pro-life, defund Parent Parenthood
5. Fix the Veterans Administration, it's a stain on our country that this has not yet happened
6. Iran must open themselves to nuclear inspection. No deals with Iran.

Let's Connect!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Quick Look at Jeb Bush

Governor of Florida Jeb Bush, Announcement Tour and Town Hall, Adams Opera House, Derry, New Hampshire by Michael Vadon 07" by Michael Vadon - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Of all the GOP candidates, it is in my humble opinion that Governor Jeb Bush is the most serious and viable long-term candidate. He has name recognition, experience, and deep pockets. He is more credible than most of the other GOP candidates. And for that reason, it is time to take a look at him. I'll save the deeper look for later.

  • Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007
  • Real name: John Ellis Bush
  • He's 7 years younger than George W. Bush
  • His wife, Columba, is from Mexico. He met her while she was on a summer exchange student program. She spoke little English. He spoke no Spanish. He learned Spanish just to be able to talk to his crush. 
  • Supports stem cell research; opposes abortion, supports parental consent, pro-life counseling
  • Supported government bailouts
  • Florida budget grew by 27% under Bush
  • Supports a balanced budget amendment
  • Has a complicated record on gay rights, depending on how you look at it. His record on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has been straight forward. He's voted in favor of it, and was supportive of the related civil rights involved. As for gay marriage, he has urged "respect" for same-sex unions. He has stated support for businesses to express the religious views regarding gay marriage. "This is simply allowing people of faith space to be able to express their beliefs, to be able to be people of conscience," Bush said. "I just think, once the facts are established, people aren't going to see this as discriminatory at all."
  • A former entrepreneur and business owner, he has a free-market, pro-development, pro-growth philosophy
  • Pro-Common Core, supports teacher bonuses based on student performance
  • It should be noted, Florida doesn't have a great record when it comes to education
  • Skeptic on global warming
  • In Jan 2004, he did not support Obama's actions on the Cuba embargo, "the latest foreign policy misstep by this President, and another dramatic overreach of his executive authority. It undermines America's credibility and undermines the quest for a free and democratic Cuba." This week he said, "Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Havana is a birthday present for Fidel Castro." He went on to say, "We need an American president who will work in solidarity with a free Cuban people, if I am elected President, I will reverse Obama’s strategy of accommodation and appeasement and commit to helping the Cuban people claim their freedom and determine their future, free from tyranny. Standing up for fundamental human rights and democratic values should not be an afterthought to America’s Cuba policy, it should be its guiding principle."
  • Like all candidates, he is anti-ISIS. We'll save foreign relations and international conflicts with the Islamic state for another day, as that is a subject that shouldn't be summed up in a bullet point.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Closer Look at Rick Perry

At the top you will find Rick Perry's 2016 campaign platform (copied from his website). After the break line, you can find his 2012 campaign platform. Compare and contrast.

Expanding Opportunity For All

If we want to live up to that timeless American commitment – to expand opportunity for all who come after us – we need to do big things.

We need to grow the economy, so that every American can find work, and that those who already have work can earn more.

We need to make life more affordable, by helping Americans keep more of what they earn, and by lowering the cost of everyday expenses.

We need to retire the federal debt, in order to protect the safety net for the most vulnerable, and to ensure that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren can enjoy the prosperity, security, and freedom that we have promised them.

We need to make America safer and stronger by rebuilding our military, and working with our allies to promote peace, prosperity, and tolerance around the world. The federal government also needs to do its constitutional duty and secure the border once and for all.

We need to end the culture of cronyism and bailouts, a culture that caters to politically- connected people and politically-connected businesses at the expense of small enterprises and average Americans.

  • Under Gov. Perry’s leadership, Texas banned abortions after 20 weeks.
  • Gov. Perry signed the Women’s Right to Know Act, which requires doctors performing abortions to let women know that benefits may be available to help with medical care before, during and after childbirth. He has also signed legislation funding alternatives to abortion.
  • To ensure a woman has all the facts before making the decision to get an abortion, Gov. Perry signed a law requiring doctors to perform a sonogram prior to an abortion.
  • In 2005, Gov. Perry signed legislation requiring parental consent before a minor daughter can receive an abortion.
  • Gov. Perry championed a constitutional amendment that was supported by 76% of Texas voters defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
Health Care
  • In 2003, Texas passed tort reform legislation that is touted as a national example. The number of medical malpractice lawsuits fell by nearly 2/3 between 2003 and 2011, and Texas has licensed nearly 30,000 more doctors since the passage of this bill.
  • Rather than further straining a broken system, Gov. Perry refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.
  • Gov. Perry also refused to facilitate the government takeover of health care by declining to start a state-run health insurance exchange in Texas.

Texas’ economic success under Gov. Perry’s leadership is a model for a foundation that allows employers to create jobs and opportunity for hardworking families. As governor, Rick Perry focused on keeping taxes low and regulations smart and predictable, on creating a legal system that doesn’t allow for over-suing, and on ensuring Texas has a skilled and educated workforce. The results are undisputed – Texas created 1.5 million jobs from December 2007 to December 2014, and without those jobs the nation would be a net-negative 400,000 jobs.
  • Texas added over 2.2 million new jobs while Perry was governor.
  • Under Perry’s leadership, Texas created nearly 30% of all new private-sector jobs in America.
  • Texas created almost four times more jobs under Gov. Perry than the nation at large.
  • The number of women in the workplace has grown by over 1 million since Gov. Perry took office.
  • The number of jobs in the upper-middle wage quartile increased by more than 25% in Texas under Gov. Perry’s leadership, while job growth in that category has been stagnant in the rest of the country.
  • Texas is the nation’s top exporting state for the 13th year in a row, and surpassed California in 2012 to become the nation’s top high-tech exporting state.
  • Texas’ real GDP increased by more than 55% under Gov. Perry’s leadership.
  • Texas’ real per capita GDP increased by $9,250 under Gov. Perry.
(In the interest of time and space, here's the link to the rest of his record - 
Who is Rick Perry?

Campaign Issues 
CUT Taxes and Spending. BALANCE the Budget by 2020. GROW Jobs and the Economy.

  • Institute Individual Flat Income Tax Rate of 20%
  • Allow Individuals to Choose Existing Tax Code or Simple Flat Tax System
  • Preserve Deductions for Mortgage Interest, Charity, and State/Local Taxes
  • Include Standard Exemption for Individuals/Dependents of $12,500
  • Standard Exemptions and Other Deductions are Phased Out for Filers with Annual Incomes Above $500,000
Eliminate Tax on Social Security Benefits
Eliminate Tax on Dividends and Capital Gains
Eliminate Death Tax
No Federal Sales Tax or Value-Added Tax
Reduce Corporate Income Tax Rate to 20% to Enhance American Competitiveness
Eliminate Corporate Loopholes and Special-Interest Tax Breaks
Transition to a Territorial Tax System
Allow Locked-Up Overseas Capital to be Brought Back to the U.S. at a Reduced Tax Rate of 5.25%

Immediate Moratorium on All Pending Regulations
Full Audit of Every Regulation Passed Since 2008
Regulations that fail audit will be repealed
Federal Regulations Automatically Sunset Unless Congress Renews Them
Institute Annual Regulatory Budget for Each Agency
Create a Searchable Public Database with All Regulations Currently in Force

Preserve Benefits for Current and Near-Term Social Security Beneficiaries
Protect Social Security Trust Fund
Allow Younger Workers to Invest In Personal Retirement Accounts
Allow State Employees to Opt Out of Social Security
Gradually Increase Full Retirement Age to Reflect Gains in Life Expectancy
Use Price Growth to Index Benefits for Higher-Income Beneficiaries

-Reform Medicare to be Sustainable for the Long-Term
-Return Medicaid Responsibility to States to Increase Health Care Quality and Access

Cap Federal Spending at 18% of GDP and Balance the Budget by 2020
Reduce Non-Defense Discretionary Spending by $100 Billion in the First Year
Demand a Balanced Budget Amendment that Does Not Raise Taxes
End Baseline Budgeting and Require Common-Sense Scoring Rules
Reform the Budget Process
  • Institute Automatic Government Shutdown Protection
  • Give Annual Budget Resolution the Force of Law
  • No More Earmarks
  • Require Emergency Spending to be Spent Only on Emergencies
  • PAYGO for New Federal Programs
-Freeze Federal Civilian Hiring and Salaries Until the Budget is Balanced
-No More Bailouts
-Repeal ObamaCare
-Repeal Onerous Sarbanes-Oxley Regulations on Small Businesses
-Repeal Dodd-Frank

Energy and Jobs-
Expand energy exploration offshore and on federal and private lands across the country by executive order, creating over 1.2 million jobs
Eliminate current and proposed activist EPA regulations from the Obama administration, saving 2.4 million jobs by 2020 and lowering projected costs by $127 billion
Reduce, rebuild, and refocus the EPA federal regulators, returning authority to the states
Level the playing field for all energy producers, removing Obama’s practice of picking winners and losers and ending the Obama war on coal and natural gas production

Professional Background
US Air Force Officer (Captain) (honorable discharge in 1977)
Farmer (cotton, milo, wheat)

Political Accomplishments
47th Governor of Texas
3 terms in the Texas House of Representatives (elected 1984), as a "Reagan Democrat," switching to Republican in his third term.
Elected as Agriculture Commissioner 1990, 1994
First Republican Lt. Governor in over 100 years.
Became Governor in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to become President. Re-elected 3 times.

Personal Background
Eagle Scout
Texas A&M University, Animal Science (1972)
Wife, Anita, 2 children

Let's Connect!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Have the Russians Shot Down Another Passenger Plane?

If this turns out to be true, and the Russians have shot down ANOTHER unarmed passenger plane, how does the world keep from turning on the Russians?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Rumble in the GOP

The GOP is having trouble in their own ranks. (Again.) 
Congressmen Walter Jones and Mark Meadows are trying to ouster Speaker of the House Boehner.

The two men told CNN that Boehner uses intimidation and coercion to get members to vote his way on legislation. 
Jones says, "No one should be intimidated for voting your conscience. If you are here to vote for the will of the Speaker and not the will of the people, you don’t need to be here."

The man has a point. Kudos to him for speaking truth. 

Meadows made a motion to vacate the chair — last attempted roughly a century ago. This motion is typically considered a privileged resolution, which means the House would hold a vote within two legislative days. Meadows, however, chose not to offer it in that form, which he said was a sign that he wanted a discussion. Whatever that means. 

Of course, we have no way of knowing if Boehner is a butthead or not. But Jones and Meadows do deserve some credit for blowing the whistle.

Now to see if their coup works. 

Source: Politico

Scott Walker Orders the Cheesesteak (Fail)

Alas, he ordered wrong. He got the American cheese with no onions. You're supposed to get the whiz with the onions. 
There was even a West Wing episode about this! (Season 7 Episode 9, which YouTube has failed me on, and cannot provide the right clip.)
How can you get it wrong after Josh Lyman has explained it??

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fox News Lowers Threshold for Debate

Fox News announced today that they have lowered the requirements for admission into the first GOP debate. This means candidates like Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, and Lindsay Graham will be able to participate.
This is fantastic news. Fiorina, Pataki, and Graham are all formidable and worthy candidates. They deserve to be heard and recognized.
As is usual at this point in the primary process, there is the showboat (Trump) and the extremists who are getting all of the attention. It makes sense that these are the candidates getting the attention right now, since only the truly passionate (extremist) voters are paying attention, and the media likes the showboats. So far this is a pretty predictable race. The more normal, stronger, less extremist candidates aren't interesting stories - yet. They are the candidates that the mainstream voters will want to learn more about in a few months. They just get overshadowed by the more flamboyant candidates in the early stages.
When all of the extremism starts to settle down, and more people start to pay attention, it will be the candidates like Fiorina, Walker, and Rubio that the general public will gravitate towards. But until then, people like The Donald, or Bernie Sanders, tend to steal the spotlight.
Fox News lowering the threshold is a win for the common man and mainstream America. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Jeb Bush on Sharknado

Apparently this is the week where the politicians sound off on cable TV.

Needed a quick explainer on this #Sharknado3 thing, Mark Cuban
Posted by Jeb Bush on Friday, July 24, 2015

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Ted Cruz as Captain Kirk?

Senator Ted Cruz is a Star Trek fan. Possibly a delusional and ill-informed Star Trek fan. That's not a knock on Trekkies. That's a hit on Cruz. I'm a pretty big Trek fan (and overall sci fi fan) myself. Cruz could have won me over with slightly more accurate and interesting commentary. 

In a New York Times interview the presidential wannabe declared, "I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat."

Quote from the article: 
If you were a journalist interviewing, what would you ask? Who knows, I might well ask, "Kirk or Picard" I've never been asked that before, and I actually have a strong opinion on it. 
Well, that goes with being a Kirk person. It does indeed. Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at "Star Trek: The Next Generation," it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk's rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective you need both heart and mind.
I thought your critique might go in a different direction, because "Next Generation" is more touchy-feely in its politics than the original. No doubt. The original "Star Trek" was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original "Star Trek" pressed for racial quality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.
Do you have a suspicion about whether Kirk would be a Democrat or a Republican? I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat. 

He's flat out wrong. Even Shatner called Cruz out. 

(Shatner is Canadian.) 

But let's get serious here. 
Kirk is no Republican. He's a playboy who likes to save the day and revels in the glory. He's all about equal rights and free love, and will create those rights with a raygun as needed. Republicans have never been big on creating equal rights with military force. (They will defend existing beliefs with military force, but have never been ones to create new rights. It's just not their thing.) Kirk was all about expansion and the unknown. Republicans like to keep things close to home and traditional. 

Picard is not a Democrat either. He's a Lincoln Republican. He's a diplomat, well-read, and academic in his decisions. He wouldn't make a good politician, but he'd be a great U.N. ambassador, balancing the needs of different cultures so that everyone can live in peace and justice. 

Riker would be a Republican. He's all about defending his beliefs and isn't afraid to pull out a gun. 

Spock and Data would be Libertarians- straight up, unbiased, literal readings of the law without emotion. Spock would be great on the Supreme Court. You know, if he were human enough. 

But that's just my take on things. 

As one friend put it, "The entire argument is moot, albeit interesting; politics is the art of managing limited resources to fulfill unlimited wants. Both captains live in a world of unlimited resources."

He has a point. 

Now, if Cruz were to follow up his NY Times interview with a blog post further expounding upon his Star Trek rational, he could conceivably win over a few Trekkies. And considering his ranking in the polls this week, that couldn't possibly hurt. 

Click to enlarge. 

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Are Americans Happy With Their Country?

I don't know how reliable the survey source is, but the results are still interesting. 

A recent online poll of more than 2,000 adults by TransferWise, a UK peer-to-peer money transfer service, revealed that 35 percent of American-born residents and emigrants would consider leaving the US to live in another country.

This percentage greatly increases for those age 18 to 34. More than half of millennials, a whopping 55 percent, said that they would consider leaving the U.S. for foreign shores. Among them, 43 percent of men and 38 percent of women noted that a higher salary would be a factor in their relocation decision.

That all being said, only .001 percent of the population actually renounced citizenship in 2014.

If that many Americans are unhappy with the country, maybe the politicians should address the reasons why.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Gay Marriage Part Two

If you are wondering why this is titled "Gay Marriage Part Two" and you can't recall part one, it is because part one was written over two years ago here - "I Can't Back the Gendered Marriage Fight."

It's fascinating how what I wrote two years ago regarding the Supreme Court and Prop 8 is still completely relevant to the current newsworthy DOMA decision.

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Should the Confederate Flag be a Presidential Campaign Topic?

In short, my answer is, "Oh please no!" 

Longer answer- should a flag of a former country that no longer exists, and yet does have historical significance, be debated over and over again? 

There seems to be a new trend where people take an object that meant one thing historically, and then debate the morality of it in today's society, forgetting that the same morals were not held or known. And then the object (or belief) is judged by irrelevant standards, deemed to be morally wrong, and offensive, completely forgetting its historic significance. 

I'm a Southern Girl. I live in the country in the part of the world where Johnny Reb isn't offensive, but a symbol for a way of life. It represents our accents, lifestyles, families, and ancestors. It has nothing to do with slavery or racism. 

But I understand and sympathize that there are other people who don't agree. It represents slavery from over 150 years ago. That shouldn't be forgotten. 

But bottom line it is the flag of a rebellion war against the United States. And there is no need for that flag to be flown over government buildings, or represented on any official government product. 

Does that mean stores should remove it from products? I don't think so. But that's just me. Feel free to convince me otherwise. 

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

2016 Presidential Primary Candidates on Healthcare

"Gov. Bobby Jindal in Oklahoma 2015" by Michael Vadon - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

I've been gone for a while, but I'm back. It's time to start talking about the new round of contestants in the presidential campaign primary elections! (Please go back and re-read that last line in your best Bob Barker "Price is Right" voice.) 
As is always the case this early on, the field is flooded with nearly identical campaign platforms. I will be taking the next few weeks, maybe months, to highlight the contenders and the issues. 
Today we start with a simple line item comparison of where they all stand on healthcare. 
The following statement are direct quotes from the candidates' websites, thereby keeping my opinion out of things [for the time being].

Rick Perry - no website statement
Scott Walker - I refuse to "get an account" on his site to get past the front page
Donald Trump - no website statement (but I did learn that "he is the very definition of the American success story") 
Mike Huckabee - "ObamaCare is a $2.2 trillion disaster that dumps millions of people into a broken, expensive system and does nothing to fix the basic problems everyday Americans face. We must tackle out-of-control costs. ObamaCare raided $700 billion from Medicare. This is not reform — it’s theft. We must reject government dependency. We need solutions and choices — not government mandates and new taxes. We must address pre-existing conditions with common sense. As a governor, I know these issues first hand. Our system of “sick care” is upside down. Doctors, hospitals and drug companies get paid for treating people who are sick — not keeping people healthy or preventing illnesses. So many Americans cannot afford to get sick, while others take advantage of a system that isn’t fair. ObamaCare simply doubles down on this backwards, broken, flawed and failing system. We need honesty, leadership and real reform. As President, I will repeal ObamaCare and fight for real health care reform."
Bobby Jindal - no website statement (but then, he's literally only been in the race 5 minutes)
Carly Fiorina - no website statement
Rand Paul - I was not a member of the United States Senate during the 111th Congress, but if I had been I would have voted against Obamacare. As your President, one of my first acts would be to repeal the abomination that is Obamacare.
As a doctor, I have had firsthand experience with the immense problems facing health care in the United States. Prior to the implementation of Obamacare, our health care system was over-regulated and in need of serious market reforms—but Obamacare is not the answer.
Government interventions in health care have driven up the cost of coverage and decreased competition within the market. More—not less—freedom to choose and innovate will make sure our health care system remains the best in the world.
As your President, I will ensure that real free-market principles are applied to the American health care system so that it is responsive to patients, families, and doctors, rather than government bureaucracy.
Hillary Clinton - Defend the Affordable Care Act and reduce health costs
We will slow the growth of overall health care costs and deliver better care to patients. And we will ensure that the savings from those reforms benefit families—not just insurance companies, drug companies, and large corporations.
Jeb Bush - no statement
Jim Webb - no statement
Martin O'Malley - no statement
Marco Rubio - "Repeal Obamacare and replace it with a conservative solution." There is a very long and detailed statement on his website. Also, for what it's worth, he has the most organized and detailed website of all the candidates thus far. 
Ted Cruz - no statement, which is a little shocking actually!

So basically what we've learned here today is that most of the candidates don't have an issues page up on their websites yet, And the Republicans that do are against Obamacare, and the Democrats that do like it. 

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