Archives for August 2010

High Taxes Mean the Death of the American Dream

July 2010 saw the slowest pace of new home sales since 1963. In the same month, Congress extended unemployment benefits for a fourth time, adding another $34 billion to the deficit to help out 2.5 non-working Americans.

The Associated Press says, “High unemployment, slow job growth, and tight credit have kept people from buying homes.” In other words, a bad economy is scaring people away from purchasing new homes.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s wrong with our economy. It just takes a conservative.

When Mr. Obama went to Washington, he promised a lot of people a lot of things. He was going to pay their mortgages! He was going to pay their gas bills! He might as well have promised everyone a unicorn ride over a double rainbow and fat-free ice cream that actually tastes good.

The government doesn’t work that way. The government can’t take care of you; only other people can take care of you. The 99 weeks of unemployment Joe Schmoe is entitled to? Someone is paying that. Someone is paying for him to not work, instead of using that money to hire someone who will work.

Since the employer is busy paying someone to not work instead of paying someone to work, no goods or services are produced or rendered. No goods or services, no sales. No sales, no money. The employer goes out of business, and the few employees that were left working there are now out of work. But don’t worry about them; they’ll get unemployment checks from the government. To pay for them, Uncle Sam is going to raise taxes on the companies left standing. And then … those companies might have to downsize to cover the costs on the new taxes. It’s a vicious cycle.

New home sales are down because people are afraid to make such large purchases in times of economic uncertainty. We’re living in economic uncertainty because no one knows what new mandate or regulation is going to pass into law next. The tax burden of these entitlement laws falls on employers, who pass it along to their employees and consumers in the form of layoffs and higher prices.

Free health care? Ninety-nine weeks of unemployment benefits?

Sure. At the expense of the American Dream: A decent job and a beautiful new home.

Cross Posted at The Stir

Right Wing Astroturf Bull Hockey: Let’s Talk Tea Party Truth

Despite what Liberals will have you believe, this right-wing activist, writer, and podcaster is not raking in the dough. I don’t even make enough money to pay for childcare, which means that this article is being written while two little girls climb me like blonde mountain goats.

I’ve been involved in tea parties; I’ve handed out fliers, I’ve held signs, and I’ve even spoken at them. I’m still waiting for that check from the supposedly well-funded tea party leaders.

I’ll let you in on a secret: There is no “leader” of the tea party movement. Tea parties were born out of the frustration felt by everyday Americans, who simply didn’t want to see their hard-earned dollars go to cocaine-snorting monkeys, let alone to pay for other people’s health insurance.

True tea parties — community protests — are local groups of people coming together in public places to peacefully show their displeasure over how our elected and appointed officials are representing us. What a gorgeous American display of first amendment rights.Hillary Clinton said it best when she threw her support behind citizens that dared to protest their government:

“I am sick and tired of people who say that if you debate and you disagree with this administration, somehow you’re not patriotic and we should stand up and say, ‘We are America and we have a right to debate and disagree with any administration!'”

So I get irritated when The New Yorker runs a piece on the Koch brothers titled “Covert Operations: The billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.”

I get even more irritated when The Huffington Post links to the article with the headline: Charles Koch & David Koch, Billionaire Brothers, Bankroll Tea Party.

I hate to break it to the liberal rags, but no one is waging a war on Obama, and no one is bankrolling the tea party. Opposing someone’s policies and doing your best to block them does not amount to war, and just because some rich guys support the same cause as a grassroots movement, it doesn’t mean they’re bankrolling it.

If these uppity liberal journalists continue to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that the rapid wave of conservatism overtaking the country is bankrolled by a couple of billionaires, I’d encourage them to look up George Soros.

After all, only Tila Tequila can have it both ways.

Cross Posted at The Stir

The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0041

LA Times blogger Andrew Malcolm joins me this week, plus cocktail with Mike G.

Should Billionaires Join the Giving Club?

Two of the world’s richest men have created the “Giving Pledge.”Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, both multi-billionaires, have asked the world’s wealthiest families and individuals to give at least half their fortunes to charity.

At least 40 mega-wealthy families have taken the pledge so far, to the collective tune of $125 billion.

I am a big fan of private charity, especially in opposition to public welfare. Aside from being able to choose where I’d like my money to go, I like to make sure that more of my dollar actually gets to those in need. Around 70% of money designated for government welfare programs is never delivered to those in need — instead it’s lost in overhead and bureaucracy. Contrast that to the 90% of charities that make sure 65% of incoming dollars are given to those in need, and it’s hard to prefer welfare to charity.

Given my personal penchant to prefer charity to welfare, part of me really wants to applaud Gates and Buffet in their effort to encourage others to give more. However, the free-market, personal-responsibility girl in me balks at the idea.

I think it’s great that people with more money than I could spend in a month at Nordstrom are pitching in financially to help those less fortunate than themselves. I don’t even care if they do it to get their name on the side of a hospital. Heck, if you’ve earned enough money to be a big enough donor to get your name on something, then more power to you.

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Teacher Performance Ratings Should Be Public

What is it with teachers’ unions these days? In Milwaukee, they want their Viagra. In Los Angeles, they don’t want to be held accountable. A.J. Duffy, the president of United Teachers Los Angeles, has been hard at work organizing a boycott of the L.A. Times after the paper dared to publish a series of articles focusing onteacher effectiveness.

The articles used past and present student test scores to evaluate each teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. The results (shockingly) showed discrepancies among the teachers in the district, many even in the same schools.

Mr. Duffy has called for a boycott of the Times because it’s “leading people in a dangerous direction, making it seem like you can judge the quality of a teacher by … a test.”

Let me get this straight — it’s dangerous to judge someone’s competence by testing? I hate to break it to Mr. Duffy, but life is a series of tests, and the results are positive or negative based on how well you perform. If you fail biology, you have to take summer school. If you fail your driver’s test, you don’t get to drive. If you fail to set the oven timer, everyone will have dry chicken and burnt potatoes for dinner.

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The Smart Girl Report – Episode 0040

Evan Sayet and John Hawkins join me this week.

Just Because

Because my first job is Mama.

Because we spent hours and hours at the beach this week.

Because going to the beach with kids is not, I repeat not, anything like a day at the beach.

Because the memories they’re making will last a lifetime.

Because this picture is pure awesomeness.

Just Because.

Thing 2 and her sandy toes

Harry Reid, Hispanics, and Identity Politics

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said, “I don’t know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican, okay. Do I need to say more?”

Well, I don’t know how anyone can vote based on identity politics. No one should vote for one party or another because they’re Mexican, black, female, or a circus carnie.

I’m not a Republican because I’m a blonde California mom that drinks too much Coke Zero. To say that is to say that Republicans treat my kind of people and other minorities differently than they treat other groups.

The fact is that every single person in the United States is a minority, and impossible to fit into a little box. Statistically speaking, I’m young and a woman, so I should vote Democrat. On the other hand, I’m pro-life and a homeowner, so I should vote Republican.

Democrats love women, but hate anyone against abortion. Democrats say they want kids to get a great education, but then deny the access to it by not allowing school vouchers. How is one supposed to align themselves with a party based on identity politics, when every person is a unique individual made up of a little of this and a little of that?

Republicans don’t play identity politics because they don’t need to. The truth is, Republican Party values are better for everyone, not just select groups of people.

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Is an Erection an Entitlement? Teachers’ Union Says Yes

Remember back in the day when teaching was about the kids? Specifically, educating them? Those were good times, weren’t they? These days, teaching is about the teachers’ unions. And Viagra.

Yeah, you heard me.

The Milwaukee Teachers’ Education Association let go of hundreds of teachers in June due to budget shortfalls, but is suing the school board for the lack of Viagra in the educators’ health care plan.

They claim that it’s a matter of gender discrimination.

Union lawyer Barbara Quindel said the case was worth fighting despite the district’s grim finances. Quindel said erectile dysfunction is associated with heart disease, prostate cancer, and other conditions, and the drugs are approved by the Food and Drug Administration and recommended by the American Urological Association.

“MTEA believes that men should not be discriminated against in receiving treatment for their medical conditions,” she said.

Seriously, people. There is something very wrong with the world that this is even a story. I do feel bad for the guy that can’t get it up, but I fail to see how that’s Mrs. Milwaukee Taxpayer’s problem.

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Wisconsin Recap

The following post was written somewhere over middle America, in route from Wisconsin to California.

There are definitely positives and negatives to the widow seat on a plane. The advantages: A view, and somewhere to put your head should happen to doze off. I suppose you could put your head on the person sitting next to you, but unless you’ve promised to love each other in sickness and in health for as long as you both shall live, I’m going to say that the person in seat 13B is not going to enjoy your drool on his shoulder. He might, but then you’d have other problems.

The negative of the aforementioned window seat is that with today’s cramped planes, you’re trapped. And when you’re me, you have to pee a lot. Seriously. I have a bladder the size of a walnut, and 9 months each of Thing 1 and Thing 2 tap dancing on it didn’t exactly help matters.

The result is that I had to literally climb over the guy sitting next to me to use the facilities. Sorry Guy Sitting Next To Me! I’m sorry there was turbulence right then too. That was awkward. Let’s never speak of this again, ok?

Good. I’m glad we have an understanding.

If you are one of my eight regular readers (muchos gracias, by the way), you know that I spent a long weekend in Wisconsin visiting my friend Brittany. It was no Spain, but it was lovely and perfect, and I’m pleased as peach punch (I think that might be a southern expression, but “pleased as cheese curds” didn’t have quite the same ring to it.)

I got in on Friday and forcibly willed myself not to scream and run and hug my friend in the middle of a crowded airport. Only airheads do that, and ladies and gents, I am not an airhead. I am a ditz. Keep it straight.

Anyway, there was some loudness as we hugged and buzzed with excitement over seeing each other for the first time since Ms. B. moved from SoCal to America’s Dairyland.

And then we did my favorite thing in the whole world.

We went out to dinner.

Palms Bistro in Milwaukee, I salute you.

Food: Lobster macaroni and cheese with crimini mushrooms, asparagus, and truffle oil. Cocktail: Bangkok Blaze (it might have been a fever or hot flash or something. Sorry, I had two. The details became fuzzy), a sweet hot drink with chili infused vodka, pineapple juice, and mango puree. Company: Perfect.

Cheers from Milwaukee!

And on the way home, I saw my first lightning bugs. They were not what I was expecting. You know those glow in the dark stick things popular with kids at Halloween and on the rave scene? Yeah, lightning bugs are nothing like that. They’re more…electrical. Like bright little flying Christmas bulbs. And they flash; they don’t glow continuously. They are strange and wonderful creatures, but still bugs. So no, I did not try to catch one and smear its butt juice on my body. But thanks for the suggestion, Twitter followers!

Saturday brought an eerie kind of calm to this work-at-home mama. It was so… quiet. Well, except for the quiet pings and taps of giant bugs flinging themselves into the windowpanes. Dumb bugs. And they wonder why they’re at the bottom of the food chain. Ok, they probably don’t wonder, which is the exact reason they are on the bottom of the food chain.

After lounging and relaxing and laying around, we got dolled up and headed out to Chicago with plans to meet up with Rebecca and her hubby Cris, Nathan, Lisa, and Karl. See? Twitter people get out.

I sucked down one of these in preparation of our Night in Chicago

I always love meeting people in the flesh after I’ve gotten to know them online. And 9 times out of 10, I get exactly what I expect. If you’re chatty on twitter, you’re probably chatty in life. If you’re an observer, commenting on this or that situation, I won’t be surprised to see you hanging slightly back, taking everything in.  If you talk about tranny dolls on Twitter, you most likely do in real life as well.

Brittany, Rebecca, Me

I hate to break it to you people, but am I as big a dork offline as I am online.

Oh, you knew that?

Well at least we’re on the same page then.

Glad that awkward revelation is over.

A bride-to-be poses with her leetle friend and Rebecca

On the same night I met some awesome friends, I experienced my first Chicago style deep-dish pizza. God bless the creative genius behind that one. Four words: I will be back.

I have mentioned my love affair with food, right?

Nathan, Lisa, and Karl

Sunday was spent much like Saturday was, except that we went to bed before 10 because we hadn’t gotten home from Chicago until 4am. Hey, when we party, we do it right.

On Monday I ate chocolate cake, ice cream, a pickle, swiss cheese, salami and a lollipop. No wait, that was The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Sorry, I confuse my life with his sometimes. I think it’s the food-love thing.

Let’s try this again.

On Monday, I went to work with Brittany, who handles the social media for Mark Neumann’s campaign. I sat at a desk for 11 and a half hours and did nothing but research, write, tweet, email, more research, more writing, more writing, and more writing. I think it’s the most work I’ve ever gotten done in one day.

Amazing what happens when you’re not getting interrupted every five seconds to fix a snack, break up a fight, move the laundry through, kiss a booboo, or run errands.

But I have to admit; I sure did miss those, “Mama nuggle me, please?” interruptions.

So back to reality, back to sticky fingers, spilled milk, scrapped knees, and crayon drawings on the coffee table. And that’s just Leif! I’m sure the kids will have their own issues too.

Thank you to my darling friend Brittany for being the best hostess around.

For making my bed.

For showing me The Ugly Truth.

For driving me to and from Chicago because we didn’t want to spend the money on a hotel room.

For cheddar and chive smashed potatoes.

I miss you already.

Now I just have to figure out how to hold it another hour until we land in San Diego. Because that poor fellow sitting next to me is sleeping, slumped over on his tray table.

Well what do you know? There is somewhere to put your head in the middle seat after all.

Will wonders never cease?