The Rockin Johnny B

Monday, December 31, 2012

The Business of War

Today's Headline:

Car bombing targeting Shiites in Pakistan kills 19

I'm a liberal. Voted Democrat since the 80s. Ronnie Reagan and his 'Trickle Down' economics did it for me as a Republican. Trickle Down made absolutely no sense to me at the time and still doesn't. Giving money to the rich just isn't logical. Giving tax breaks to the people who have everything makes no sense to me either. So, I dropped out of the Republican party realizing, of course, my father would roll over in his grave because I did.

But, let's get down to what's bothering me today. As y'all know, the biggie in the news is gun control. Get those semi-autos out of people's hands. Get rid of those 30 round mags and the killing will stop. Rework the mental health system; take the crazies off the streets and the killing will stop. This thinking – to me at least – makes about as much sense as the 'Trickle Down' economic policy of good ol' Ronnie Reagan.
If people want to kill people, people WILL kill people...period. There are a host of delivery systems every bit as dangerous – some more dangerous – than guns. Take bombs for instance, I.E.D.'s in particular. How hard do you think they are to make? [rhetorical question] Actually, they are very easy to make and they kill dozens, sometimes hundreds, of people. Imagine if you can what would have happened in those schools if the shooter was a bomber instead. In a crowded classroom, everybody would die and the bomber needn't even be in the room at the time of the explosion.
Take poison, for example. There are some easily created airborne poisons out there that would kill hundreds of people. Imagine a school's air-conditioning system saturated with one of those fast acting poisons, hundreds would die.
My point is, people DO kill people with all kinds of death dealing instruments [guns excluded]. Will banning semi-autos stop it? I seriously doubt it. Ban, 'em. Get 'em out of everybody's hands. The killing will not stop...sorry, but it won't.
In our history [since 1776], our country has been in one or another war every generation since the United States' was created.
1775-1783 American Revolution English Colonists vs. Great Britain
1798-1800 Franco-American Naval War United States vs. France
1801-1815 Barbary Wars United States vs. Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli
1812-1815 War of 1812 United States vs. Great Britain
1813-1814 Creek War United States vs. Creek Indians
1836 War of Texas Independence Texas vs. Mexico
1846-1848 Mexican-American War United States vs. Mexico
1861-1865 U.S. Civil War Union vs. Confederacy
1898 Spanish-American War United States vs. Spain
1914-1918 World War I
1939-1945 World War II Axis Powers: Germany, Italy, Japan vs. Major Allied Powers: United States, Great Britain, France, and Russia
1950-1953 Korean War United States (as part of the United Nations) and South Korea vs. North Korea and Communist China
1960-1975 Vietnam War United States and South Vietnam vs. North Vietnam
1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion United States vs. Cuba
1983 Grenada United States Intervention
1989 US Invasion of Panama
United States vs. Panama
1990-1991 Persian Gulf War
United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
1995-1996 Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina United States as part of NATO acted peacekeepers in former Yugoslavia
2001 Invasion of Afghanistan
United States and Coalition Forces vs. the Taliban regime in Afghanistan to fight terrorism.
2003 Invasion of Iraq
United States and Coalition Forces vs. Iraq
In my opinion, the United States needs to get out of the business of war. I call it a business, because it is. Why are we constantly fighting someone somewhere when we have had nobody invading our shores by any armed force? Why are we involved with people who don't like us and don't want us in their countries? Ban guns? How bout we ban war? If there were no wars, thousands of lives would be saved; men, women AND children. No wonder everybody has guns, it's called self preservation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What, DId I say that?

I love that we have so many passionate gun rights advocates on this page!

Perhaps, as you loudly bellow about how stupid gun control advocates are you can answer a few easy questions?

1. What possible need do citizens have for owning an assault rifle? A hunting rifle will suffice for actual hunting and they are useless for home defense. The government has fully automatic machine guns, tanks and attack helicopters so don't bother claiming you need it to fight the government.

2. What possible need do citizens have for extended clips and ammo drums like the one used in Aurora, Colorado? Does that "need" somehow supersede the need for reduce the damage done during a shooting spree?

3. Since that is all most of us gun control advocates are calling for (you know, like the ban we used to have) can you explain why you keep claiming (falsely and with intent) that we want to ban "all guns?" It seems disingenuous.

4. Plus, my right to not be shot by a gun trumps your right to do it.

Oh Look, Another Idaho Idiot

Legislature must reject Idaho-based health insurance exchange

 With the impending federal deadline for a decision on creating an insurance exchange, your Legislature now faces a difficult choice. We can either create an Idaho state exchange or let the federal government install one.     

At first blush, it might seem that creating an Idaho exchange will allow us to have more flexibility and control. However, as I will explain, that is not necessarily the case.     

Currently, 25 other states have rejected creating a state insurance exchange, three headed by Democrats. The governors of these states have been quite clear about the implications of creating an exchange.    In fact, our own governor issued an executive order stating, “No executive branch department , agency, institution or employee of the state shall provide assistance or resources of any kind to any agency, public official, employee or agent of the federal government to implement or enforce the PPACA (Obamacare).”     

Why are these states rejecting state insurance exchanges? The first is cost. The costs are large and will undoubtedly grow. Federal subsidy dollars will become increasingly scarce as the nation deals with a massive unsustainable deficit.    

All federal subsidies for the state insurance exchanges will cease by 2015, leaving the taxpayers of Idaho to pay for the entire cost of administering the exchange. Unlike Washington, D.C., Idaho’s Constitution mandates that the Legislature balance the budget, and budgeting for Obamacare is simply not possible, which brings up the second objection — uncertainty.    

Uncertainty has been a hallmark of Obamacare from the beginning. Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi famously told us that to find out what is in the bill, they would have to first pass it. Well, the bill was passed, and we still don’t really know what is in it.     

Many key parts of the bill are not spelled out. Details are to be provided by decrees from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, details which can change at any time with no congressional approval required. HHS regulations on the formation of state exchanges use the word “shall” 381 times, “must” 13 times, and “requirement” over 200 times. These edicts will supposedly have the force of law and trump any acts of state legislatures.     

Many other state officials share my deep concerns. Gov. Christie of New Jersey well understands the “blank check” a state insurance exchange represents, and last week vetoed a bill to implement a state exchange, stating “I will not ask New Jerseyans to commit today to a state-based exchange when the federal government cannot tell us what it will cost, how that cost compares to other options and how much control they will give the states over this option that comes at the cost of our state’s taxpayers.”    

Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said, “It is clear there is no such thing as a state exchange. Instead, this is a federally mandated exchange with rules dictated by Washington.”    

These are serious concerns which much be addressed before we can commit to any kind of an insurance exchange.     

When the Democratic congress passed Obamacare in 2010, the legislature passed and Gov. Otter signed the Idaho Health Care Freedom Act. At the time, Otter proclaimed: “What the Idaho Health Care Freedom Act says is that the citizens of our state won’t be subject to another federal mandate or turn over another part of their life to government control.”    That was well said, and I will continue to stand with anyone willing to preserve freedom.    With all the costs and uncertainty, not to mention the fiscal cliff faced by the nation, why not let the feds establish this exchange and see how or if it works?    

Let’s not buy a pig in a poke. It’s good business sense and good government sense to wait and see how it all works out.     

Rep. Mike Moyle, a Republican from Star, is majority leader of the Idaho House. 

So, what ol' Mikie is saying is, "let's let the fed take care of this one, that way it won't cost Idaho a dime."  What's wrong with this plan?  Won't cost a dime?  Who do you think pays federal income tax?  One guess: US.  So, rather than have an IDAHO tax placed on IDAHOANS, let's have the Fed tax us...they are ALWAYS fair and balanced in their taxing, right?  Jeesh.  Get a grip, Mikey.  I trust Idahoans to tax Idahoans much more than I trust the fed to do it for us.   

Cousin Bob

This guy is my wife's first cousin on her mother's side.  He's a card carrying NRA fan and a Tea Party lover.

‘People-killing guns’ no different than other kinds

I am surprised to see such an emotional, unreasoned response from a person as highly educated and trained as Mr. Runsvold (Letters, Dec. 19).     

Original letter to the Editor below...

((People-killing guns make people into killers

       Now civilian people-killing guns are killing little kids and their saintly teachers. Enough is enough.     
      I am a non-NRA-loving, life-long gun nut. I know that people-killing guns like M-16s, AK-47s and their semiautomatic clones and high-capacity, large caliber pistols (Glocks, et al.) are good for only one thing that sporting guns can’t do better: killing people.     

     The only sure way to keep people killing guns out of the hands of apocalyptic fantasizers and actors-out is to not make people-killing guns and to reduce the inventory already in circulation. Nothing else will work. Anything less is window dressing.    

      Needed for home defense? No, you can use your pheasant shotgun for that. Besides, how’d that work out for Nancy Lanza, the shooter’s mother?     
       People-killing guns do make people into killers. So reject “guns don’t kill people, people do.”    n James M. Runsvold, Caldwell))

The evil people-killing guns, as he stated it, are no different than any other firearm or other object that is used to harm someone. It requires that a person make the choice to cause that harm.     
Bob's using the ol' NRA standby: People Kill People, not guns.  A savvy argument, right?  Okay, then, let's take guns out of the equation.  People kill people without guns.  Still savvy?  You bet.  However, I  would like to point out that with a gun, killing becomes a long distance affair and a much much more efficient and effective means of destruction.  Take the gun out of the equation and you have two people trying to kill each other up close and that's tough business.  Who hasn't seen a show like Braveheart and thought...jeesh...that's brutal.  I'd hate to have those boys after me with those clubs and swords.  Well, that's the difference.  Put an AK47 in Mel Gibson's hands and the British Army would have crumbled from the fear of that long-distance attack.  That's the difference between killing with a gun and without it.  It take guts to stand in front of someone face-to-face and try to kill 'em.  Oh, it can be done, but fewer people try it than those who are armed to the teeth with Glocks and Berettas and M16s.  Any coward can stand 50 yards from someone and shoot, but it takes a certain amount of courage to face 'em mano-y-mano.
It is a sad comment on our society that, rather thinking for themselves, people parrot the opinions that are spoon fed to them by the news media. Unfortunately you cannot legislate away crazy.     
Here he is parroting back all the stuff he's heard on Fox News.  Can't legislate away crazy?  What kind of argument is that.  How about, you can't legislate morals?  Does that mean we shouldn't have 'em?  Of course you can legislate crazy.  We did it for centuries.  When someone was a danger to h/herself, they put them in an asylum for the criminally insane until they were either cured or died from old age.  Our good ol' pal Ronnie Reagan changed all that when he said that people on meds could go back out in society cause we couldn't afford to have 'em in society.  Those are some of the folks you see along the Green Belt talking to themselves and having problems ingratiating back into society [ooops I forgot to take my meds].
How can any reasonable person not be horrified by what happened in Connecticut? But to allow these tragic situations to be used to further erode our constitutional right is also tragic.   
Oh boy, Bob's another one of those.  Wave the flag.  Scream Constitutional Rights!  Oh puleeeze!  I don't think Tommy Jefferson and Benny Franklin were thinking assault weapons when they were talking about the right to bear arms.  And they were talking about a WELL ARMED AND REGULATED MILITIA, not a few nut-balls running around in camo with AK's.  Militia indicates a trained body of people, not one or two insane folks with semi's.  Every time I hear someone quoting the 2nd Amendment to me when it comes to gun control  I shudder with shame for them.  They obviously have never ever read the Constitution.
As passed by the Congress:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
As ratified by the States and authenticated by Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
If you are going to quote the Constitution to me, Bob, get it right.  Quote it correctly, or shut the hell up.
Would it not make more sense to blame the person, not the object that is used? But then that would require that we be judgmental, and that just isn’t popular in today’s world.    
Lookee here, Bob.  All us hunters love our rifles.  But we don't necessarily use AKs and M16s to hunt deer.  Okay, the person was crazy, fine and dandy.  But he was a crazy with a gun.  Sometimes we forget that.  We blame the victims.  The guy was nuts [victim]...where the hell and who the hell gave him the gun [victim], he's to blame and the person who gave him the gun are to blame...NOT THE GUN [non-victim but claimed to be one].  Oh come on, get real.  Take the gun out of the guy's hand and let's see how many little kids he could kill with his bare hands before some teacher/principal/counselor would intervene and stop the nut-ball.  I don't think the number would be 28 and be primarily little children.

Bob here thinks that what the government will do is come along and take away ALL our guns including my two thirty-thirty's.  Get over it, Bob.  That's not what anyone is saying.  They are saying get rid of 30 round clips and semi auto weapons.
A man much wiser than I once said “Those who will trade liberty for perceived security will soon have neither.”    n Bob Gaddis, Nampa
Bob, a much wiser man said: "Thou Shalt Not Kill." Oh, and Bob, nobody said "Those who will trade liberty for perceived security will soon have neither."  What you quoted was a misquote.  God, I wish you would read!  Here's the real quote:  "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."  It behooves one to start to break down this statement.  What is 'essential liberty?'  Definition: absolutely necessary; indispensable.  What about a ban on semi autos are they essential to our liberty?  What makes them indispensable to our liberty?  And, Bob, we are not talking about 'temporary safety.'  We are talking about banning an assault weapon that has nothing to do with our liberty and everything to do with long-term safety, and...not temporary safety;  indispensable safety.  We will still have armed guards/military/police to insure our safety, I'm not sure I would want a bunch of sidewalk Sunday pot-shooters protecting me and my property from madness and mayhem with their AKs and M16s...who would protect me from them?

All in all, my wife's cousin gets a C- in understanding the problem and an F in logic. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Mighty Have Fallen


Crapo arrested on DUI charge

Alexandria, Va., police say Idaho senator failed sobriety tests early Sunday morning


 ALEXANDRIA, Va. — U.S. Sen. Michael Crapo was arrested early Sunday morning and charged with driving under the influence in a Washington, D.C., suburb, authorities said.    Police in Alexandria, Va., said Sunday that the Idaho Republican was pulled over after his vehicle ran a red light. Police spokesman Jody Donaldson said Crapo failed field sobriety tests and was arrested at about 12:45 a.m. He was transported to the Alexandria jail and released on an unsecured $1,000 bond at about 5 a.m.     

“There was no refusal (to take blood alcohol tests), no accident, no injuries,” Donaldson said. “Just a traffic stop that resulted in a DUI.”    Police said Crapo, who was alone in his vehicle, registered a blood alcohol content of .110. The legal limit in Virginia, which has strict drunken driving laws, is .08.    The 61-year-old Crapo has a Jan. 4 court date.     

“I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance,” Crapo said in a statement Sunday night. “I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated.”     

A Crapo spokesman declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding his arrest.    Currently in his third term, Crapo has been in the Senate since 1998, and served for six years in the U.S. House of Representatives before that. He was easily reelected in 2010, and won’t have to run again until 2016.     

In Congress, Crapo has built a reputation as a staunch social and fiscal conservative. It was expected he would take over the top Republican spot next year on the Senate Banking Committee. He also serves on the Senate’s budget and finance panels. Crapo was a member of the so-called “Gang of Six” senators that worked in 2011 toward a deficit-reduction deal that was never adopted by Congress.     

A Mormon who grew up in Idaho Falls, Idaho, Crapo was named a bishop in the church at age 31. He is an attorney who graduated from Brigham Young University and Harvard Law School. He has five children with his wife, Susan, and three grandchildren.    The Mormon Church prohibits the use of alcohol, as well as caffeine and other mind-altering substances. The state has a significant Mormon population.    Crapo has told the Associated Press in past interviews that he abstains from drinking alcohol.

All I can say is oops.  Here's a little known fact.  If a Mormon drinks, he/she stands a 50% more chance of alcoholism than the general population.  Why?  Well, it's a guess, but my theory is that the prohibition around the use of alcohol is so great that the guilt creates a great escape through more and more alcohol.  Crapo has erred in a big way.  The BAC indicates this wasn't his first time at the ol' bar stool.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oooooh, the ACA is coming, the ACA is coming

Ready or not, Obamacare about to hit proverbial fan

 This March will mark three years since Obamacare became law, and it still has not had any serious effect on most Americans’ lives. That’s the way President Obama and the law’s Democratic authors planned it; they conveniently pushed the dislocations and unhappy consequences of national health care well past their re-election campaigns.     

Oh please, scare us some more.  That's what we need another Chicken Little out there saying the sky is falling.  The Republicans just can't get over it.  They lost.  ACA is the law of the land.  Get over it fools.
But Obamacare will be here soon, with an Oct. 1, 2013, start of enrollment in insurance exchanges and a Jan. 1, 2014, deadline for full implementation. The political results could be deeply painful for Democrats.    

During the campaign for Obamacare, President Obama pledged repeatedly that his health care scheme would not touch the vast majority of Americans who are satisfied with their coverage. “No matter how we reform health care, we will keep this promise to the American people,” Obama said in June 2009. “If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, period. If you like your health care plan, you’ll be able to keep your health care plan, period. No one will take it away, no matter what.”     

I still believe it and about 60% of Americans also believe it.  Contrary to Republican outcry, Obama doesn't lie.  If he says something he'll do his damnedest to make it so...if the Republicans will just leave their dirty little political noses out of it.
If anyone believed that then, they probably don’t believe it now. In practice, Obamacare will mean the loss of employer-based health insurance for many people; big increases in premiums for others; changes on the job for still others; and a bureaucratic nightmare for many more. Add to that the involvement of the Internal Revenue Service, which will act as Obamacare’s enforcer — all Americans will have to prove to the IRS that they have “qualified” coverage — and it’s likely Obamacare will have a rocky and unpopular start.  
Oh lordy, lordy, who's gonna pay for the money?  Let me explain in words that you'll understand.  You.  You'll pay for the money.  Did you think healthcare was gonna be free and nobody would have to pay for it?  My God what rock did you crawl out from?  We, The American Public, pay for everything we want and need.  TANSTAFL There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.  Of course we will pay for our insurance.  The thing is...we'll all have insurance rather than us paying for the cost of the uninsured which is much more than Obamacare will cost us.  Why do you think the hospital costs are so high?  Inflation?  No, they are as high as they are because hospitals recover the cost of 'free care' that the under and non-insured cost them.  They pass the cost on to the insurance companies by increasing costs to ridiculous levels [$250 for an aspirin!].  Don't be a fool.  Support the ACA, it's the only sane way to stop the insane hospital and insurance premium costs.
Over the past months there has been scattered press coverage of coming problems. That is likely to increase in 2013. There will be more stories with headlines like this, from Bloomberg News recently: “Aetna CEO Sees Obama Health Law Doubling Some Premiums.”

Now, why do you think Aetna says that?  The ACA will knock down those horrendous profits Aetna makes on the backs of their insureds due to their overblown premiums and the out of control hospital costs.
And this, from the Associated Press: “Surprise: New Insurance Fee in Health Overhaul Law.”     

And this, from the Wall Street Journal: “Health-Care Law Spurs a Shift to Part-Time Workers.”     

Real-world experience might even spark some rethinking of Obamacare’s premises. For example, the president and his Democratic allies promised Obamacare will cut the deficit. That’s almost certainly not true, although many in the press repeated it faithfully. Now, with Obamacare near, there are hints of a reassessment.     

For example, in a recent editorial about fiscal cliff negotiations, The Washington Post noted that the nation’s “underlying fiscal problem is that federal expenditures are slated to rise faster than economic growth,” and that “the long-term drivers” of those federal expenditures are “Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and subsidies for the health-care exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act.” Obamacare will take its place as a contributor to future deficits.     

Obamacare has never been popular. Indeed, it has been underwater in terms of public approval from the moment it began to take legislative shape in 2009. In last month’s exit polls, 49 percent said all or part of Obamacare should be repealed, while 44 percent said it should be left as is or expanded.     

“There hasn’t been any trend,” says pollster Scott Rasmussen. “From the beginning, well before the law was passed, public opinion has been remarkably stable and modestly negative. ... All of that has been based upon theory and politics. Most Americans have not yet felt any impact from the law.”     

If Obamacare were popular, there’s no doubt more governors would choose to have their states set up insurance exchanges, as the law envisioned. Instead, nearly two dozen Republican governors have refused, which will force the federal government to build the exchanges itself.     

Many governors ARE supportive.  Only the RED state governors are bucking the system.  They still think they won the election.  They think Mitt's sitting in the Oval Office.  Somebody needs to tell 'em that they lost and ACA is the law.  Got to get over it.
The governors are saying no to state run exchanges for three reasons. One, they believe it will cost their states too much money. Two, they believe the federal government will exercise ultimate control over everything, despite federal reassurances that states will play a significant role. And three, many believe Obamacare implementation will be a disaster.    Some who watch Obamacare closely see something similar. “The administration is well behind schedule,” says James Capretta of the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center. “It’s going to be a train wreck in a lot of places.”    

Capretta sees the administration trying to paper over some of the problems by rushing billions of dollars in subsidies out the door. That way they will argue Obamacare is doing much good, whatever its flaws.     

But it’s possible no amount of money will be enough to hide those flaws — once Obamacare becomes a reality in Americans’ lives.    n Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner. 

STOP IT!  Stop yelling in the wilderness.  You people need to get a life.  What's wrong with a population having healthcare they can afford?  In fact, the ACA doesn't go far enough.  This country should have a national healthcare system where everyone has health care with or without insurance.  This issue is DEAD.  Let's try to make this system work instead of trying to sabotage it before it gets a fair trial. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Fuzzy Economics

Boehner is at it again.  Spending cuts without tax hikes.  Do the Republicans even understand basic economics?

Let's do some simple math.  Let's say you have ten bucks.  If you were Boehner, you would take away 4 bucks and then ask you to buy more groceries.  Make sense?  If it does, then you don't understand simple math.  Obama wants to increase taxes on the rich, i.e., allow you to keep you ten bucks and let people who can afford it pay.  Which do you choose?  Keep your ten bucks, or go along with Boehner and keep six bucks.  In the mean time, the groceries still need to be bought with less money...doable?

You cannot pay bills with less money.  We have to pay more to get rid of this terrible deficit.  Sorry, but that's a fact.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Wouldn't ya know it.  Just when you didn't think someone could sink lower, someone did.  You take a tragedy like Newtown and then you make it a cause celebrity for your own political/so-called Christian duty to ban abortions.  I can't believe this person.

Letter to president about child deaths

Dear Mr. President, it was of great consolation to hear your expression of empathy and sympathy extended to those who have experienced such colossal and tragic loss in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. It was indeed a time to recall and paraphrase a statement made previously by an occupant of the White House: “For the first time I was proud of my president!”    

It appears from what we see and hear that the survivors are relying on and bearing their loss and grief through the ministries and representatives of Christianity, the Lord Jesus Christ himself, the God of all comfort, even though “we are no longer a Christian nation!”    

I would also like to commend you for flying our flag at half mast; surely those 20 little children and six women teachers are deserving of this effort to assuage the incomprehensible loss and sorrow that consumes our nation’s heart and soul, leaving us with unrestricted tears.     

I believe the flag should continue to fly at half-mast because six to eight years ago those 20 children avoided being murdered in the womb by abortion for any cause, which you are visibly promoting. Somehow you must conclude you cannot have sweet, wonderful, unique little 6- and 7-year-old children if you murder them while still in their mother’s womb, many of them because they’re little girls. God forbid!    

How about it, Mr. President? Had any of those six brave women had a handgun, most of those we mourn would have survived.     

Gun control will not stop abortion, and it is occurring every 8 seconds, and we’re all paying for this hideous assault on our most defenseless. Shame — in just 2 minutes, 40 seconds, we murder 20 little people who would grow to be just like the 20 we mourn today. Any consolable words for them?    Wendell Bartlow, Nampa 

Some people just don't get it.  Why can't we morn the loss of those 'living' breathing children who are already born without some nut-ball bringing up their personal Right To Life agenda.  I'm ashamed of this fool. 

Someone Listened to Me

I don't believe it

Someone listened to me????

Half of Nampa’s certified state volunteer furlough days

District to get independent audit at cost of $13,575

By TORRIE COPE    © 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune
NAMPA — A little more than half of the Nampa School District’s certified employees have volunteered to take furlough days, but some teachers still want answers about how much money the district is saving with this plan and other cost-cutting measures.     Come on teachers don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  Take what you can get.

“... I want to know the cold hard number. What’s the data? How much is it going to help? I get that it all helps, but how much and at what cost?” Mandy Simpson, president of the Nampa Education Association, told the Board of Trustees at a special meeting Wednesday.    The furlough days are optional and were offered as a way to help the district cover some of its $4.3 million budget shortfall. Teachers could elect to take up to four furlough days, which are non-student contact days that were previously scheduled as teacher work days. Of the 53.3 percent of certified staff members that volunteered furlough days, 60 percent of those volunteered four days, Steve Kipp, the district’s human resource officer said. He said 100 percent of the district’s administrative staff offered to take anywhere from four to six days.    

Another teacher, Brenda Suchy, asked the Board how much money the district has saved through teachers refraining from taking sick or personal days and not using substitutes. She also asked about statements made about teachers not getting paid from May to August if things become drastic.     

School board Chairman Scott Kido told her the board was not prepared to answer those questions, but it would look into them and get back to her.    

Four teachers spoke to the Board Wednesday about their concerns. About 40 people attended the meeting — many wore red which symbolized “red for ed,” their support for education.     

The Board also voted to proceed with a loan application, pending a judge’s approval, to help cover the shortfall. It approved the hiring of a certified public accountant to fill an open position. Interim Superintendent Tom Michaelson told the Board there were two other administrative positions in finance that would be open after the holiday break. He said the district could just fill one of those open positions.     

The Board was divided on an idea to explore outside contracts for nutrition and custodial services. Trustee Dale Wheeler motioned that the board not look into that option, based on past experience. Trustee Bob Otten seconded the motion, but Trustee Daren Coon said the district should still look into it to know for sure if it would help. Wheeler and Otten voted against exploring the option and Kido, Coon and Trustee Joca Veloz voted in favor.     

The board also approved an independent audit by Eide Bailly at a cost of $13,575.    Michaelson said he is putting together a financial recommendation committee along with staff input to continue to work on the budget. He assured Simpson and other teachers that the committee would have representation from the NEA.

 It was my recommendation that the teachers not be the only ones to take the shortfall hit, but that some of the administrators had to pitch in too.  And guess what, some of 'em did.  However, not enough.  I want to see a couple of supers and some principals volunteer and maybe a couple of big wigs over there in that admin building.  They could donate some of their vacation days and sick leave days to the cause and still be there to watch over stuff.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The New State Senator

Check out this kid's smarts...

Thoughts on Nampa School District cuts

Nampa School District has provided much to students, but one note: I’m a student that’s a part of the district.     

I may only be a senior in high school, but I’m concerned of the benefits for other kids in the later years that are being presented to the district. The upcoming approvals of getting students to have fees with transportation and sports can be vital with finances, but can be ruthless, especially around the holidays.     

But in general the economy is rough for most students. There must be some support system, for there are students that may not be able to afford some fees. Some sort of fee waiver such as the reduced and free school lunches was a great idea.     

Staying on benefits, the idea of cuts is being made, but I recommend that the cuts should be made to benefit the kids and teachers because it’s better to have someone work hands-on with students rather than to have a computer animated system to teach students that don’t want to proceed their education or lack in motivation to succeed.     

The main purpose is to keep kids in school and establish the public school system to be a public school where the direction it’s heading is a paying-off for school, but seems to be more related to private schools where most families can’t afford, hence the amount of kids that are within a family.    Roberto Murillo, Nampa 

And they say the younger generation is uneducated and uncouth.  This kid proves that just isn't so.  He makes some salient points and his punctuation is great and his syntax is good as well as his sentence structures.  Bully for you Roberto.  You're living proof that a public education works.  :-) 

Uh Huh, Right


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Just to Back Up the Last Post

Omission of God frays our moral fabric

All of society is taking a collective gasp. How can such a thing be? And we are startled by our own inability to comprehend.

There is no way to attribute the evil we continue to witness in our own country to any one factor. We just aren’t that smart. We try, though — easy access to guns, a loner who wants control and power, too much gaming that makes shooting humanoid targets commonplace, violent imagery in media, mental illness, on and on the list could go.

What we don’t seem to want to admit as a culture is that people really aren’t “good” on our own. What gives us our humanity is the divine. We are increasingly leaving God out of our cultural equation, and we have lost a clear understanding that the Creator is the One who gives us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It is evil that restricts or removes those rights.

Leaving God out of our public square is causing the moral fabric of our society to fray. May God comfort those who have experienced such great loss, and may He give our nation wisdom and help.

Deborah Wynkoop, Caldwell

Poor Deborah.  She forgets back in the day, when there was God, there were tragedies as bad or worse than what's going on today.  Take for instance the Inquisition and the Crusades, oh and let's not forget the Salem Witchcraft trials.

Whether or not God is present, will not stop what has happened or what will happen in the future.  Yes, it is nice to have God, but unfortunately He gave us free will and that causes the problems.

I suggest you leave God out of the equation and look closer to home for the real answers to this problem.  David Koresh had God.  Jim Jones had God.  It didn't seem to matter.

Being insane is what matters and God has nothing to do with it...oh, unless you think they should have undergone an exorcisms and got that nasty ol' Debil out of their heads.  That's right, the Debil made 'em do it...Flip Wilson was right!

Come On Deborah, please try to think rather than come up with some flippant answer to a national problem...put God back into it...Bah.  These things happen with our without God being involved.  Stop trying to solve complex problems with simplistic answers.

Finally, the radical Muslin movement has God, i.e., Allah, and they've also got bombs and 72 virgins...beat that. 

Melisa Sue Writes

America suffers from terminal illness

America is suffering from an illness which could end up terminal if we don’t fix the problems. The writer of the old adage “money is the root of all evil” surely knew what he or she was talking about.

In America we have created a culture of violence which gets marketed in video games, movies, TV shows, music and toys all in the name of profit for international corporations whose only concern is the amount of revenue that profit margins bring from the sale of that violence.

One doesn’t have to venture far to reach a consensus on why violence sells in America. All that needs researching is what’s being advertised and packaged for profit — toy military weapons, video games that give points to the amount of kills a gamer can get, movies that are bloodier than in previous generations, sensationalized TV news and shows that are much more violent than in days gone by, and a society that makes heroes out of the many wars and conflicts being played out.

Being part of the computer and Internet age, there is less face-to-face interaction, which helps create a lack of moral and spiritual guidance.

When we add economics of raising a family, creating a culture where both parents need jobs in order to survive, we need to ask who is actually raising our children, why did these shootings occur, and why did young men feel they needed to take lives including their own?

I’m sure you won’t get those answers from their parents, as they weren’t around enough to know how their children felt.

In the last incident, the shooter’s anger was also directed toward the only parent we know about, and we’ll never be able to get the true story, which has to be told to get the true diagnosis and to obtain the medicine we need to cure America’s illness before it becomes terminal.

 Melissa Sue Robinson, Nampa

Melissa makes several salient points: 1. violent games and toys, 2.  Lack of moral and spiritual guidance, 3. poor parenting and/or no parenting, 4. poor economic conditions, 5. making heroes out of shooters, 6. less personal interaction and more computer interaction.

While I agree with much of what she says, I don't think she's captured the essence of the problem.  This nation gave up on the mentally ill back in the 80's during the Reagan Administration -- you remember that one, the Trickle Down Administration?  This administration believed in cutting back regulations and so-called 'entitlement programs' and the mental health area was one of them.  Reagan believed, and I hate to admit it, but a whole bunch of my Democrat friends believed this too, that the warehousing [that was their word for it] mentally ill people was inhumane and that those people who could be medicated should be sent back out to fend for themselves.  Nobody wanted to take it back when it turned out the mentally ill failed to take the meds and ended up on the streets as displaced and disavowed people.  In big cities you see them in the streets daily.  They are unwashed uncouth people who sound and are literally insane.  They are not on meds, they could be on meds, but who is going to make sure they take them...after all, they are insane and can't take care of themselves, yet nobody wants that responsibility.

These so-called shooters are obviously deranged and mentally disturbed and have been for a long time.  Their parents knew and probably sought help for them.  The city they lived in knew.  Their neighbors knew, the school knew and the disturbed person himself knew he was right in the head.  These folks should have gotten the help they needed it and should have been locked up where they couldn't do harm while they got the help.

Today, instead of treating the mentally ill, we put them in jails and prisons...after they have committed a crime...not before.  It's a ridiculous system.  It doesn't work and hasn't since the 80's.  But, mark my word, nothing will happen in this area even after these horrendous events.  Why?  Because it costs too much to hospitalize a mentally ill person and we are not set up for it in the second place, Reagan made sure of that.

I know my Conservative friends are dead set against regulations of any kind set down by the government, but some things need regulation.  The mentally ill and institutionalization of them is one area that needs regulation.  We need to ferret out these individuals and put them in asylums where they will be taken care of they way they need to be taken care of rather than having them terrorizing their parents, the community, the schools, and the prison and court systems.

Yes Melissa makes some salient points, but she doesn't get the big picture.  No matter.  Few do.  Sometimes I feel like John the Baptist yelling in the wilderness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Ban Guns, Ban Everything

Every time there is a tragedy like Connecticut or Portland or Columbine takes place the call goes out to ban guns. Restrict guns. Ban automatic weapons. If not now, when?

And the argument has merit

As an avid hunter and the owner of several guns – both rifles and hand guns – I agree with the idea of restricting the ownership of guns. Fortunately, we already have rules/laws regarding the ownership of weapons. There are a few places those restrictions could be enhanced, such as gun auctions and gun shows, but for the most part, guns are restricted in this country.

If you want to carry a concealed weapon in America, you have to be licensed by the county or state you live in. Some restrictions in this area are pretty stiff. You have to have a good reason for anyone to license you to walk around with a pistol in your pocket. In Idaho, however, you can buy groceries in Albertsons with a Glock 9MM strapped to your belt in clear view. Yet, we have little or no problems with people carrying weapons in businesses here, unless you pay attention at hunting season. I carry a pistol sometimes when I'm going into a store because it's a pain to take it off.

Guns kill people, sure, right...well, actually bullets kill people, but guns are the delivery system. However, people are killed with hammers, screwdrivers, saws, boards, bats, poison, cars, TNT, fertilizer, gas. Almost anything you can think of has been used in the demise of some citizen. Do we ban these instruments and tools? Of course not, and we shouldn't ban guns either. Guns are tools in the hands of someone who knows how to handle them. That's the key, knows how to handle them. Put a screwdriver in the hands of someone who doesn't know how to use it and h/she will probably injure h/herself. With proper care and handling, guns are tools and just that, nothing more.

When we get over the sorrow and outrage at the mass killings, we are going to find out that the people responsible were disturbed and should have gotten psychological help long before those terrible events occurred. I am saddened like everyone else. I am angry right along with everyone else, but I still don't believe my guns should be taken away and neither does any red blooded hunter or gun owner in America [and there are whole bunch of us].

Next, let's look at the weapons these people used. First of all, they were not automatic weapons. They were 'semi' automatic weapons. I know that sounds like quibbling and nitpicking, but there is a reason to define them correctly. Semiautomatic means that the shooter has to pull the trigger every time the weapon fires. The gun still fires pretty quickly, but not automatically. We have all kinds of semiautomatic weapons today, including shotguns, pistols, and rifles. They are used for hunting and target shooting and professional shooting. In the hands of people who know and use these weapons, they are nothing more than the hands of criminals and disturbed individuals, they are deadly. Neither criminals nor disturbed individuals should have access to weapons...OF ANY KIND. That is what happened in Portland, Colorado and Connecticut. Those individuals had no business with weapons in their hands had them in their hands.

The knee jerk reaction to this is to restrict all guns. Take 'em all away that way there will never be another one of these incidents. But this is not the answer. You can no more stop us from having guns any more than you can restrict people from making bombs or distributing poison [remember the medicine poisonings that brought about more safety measures in the making and distributing over the counter meds?]. There are also ways of killing people en masse using water or air as distribution points; hard to ban those.

My point is, if someone wants to kill, it's very difficult to stop h/her. All we can do is try to keep these individuals from going over the mental deep end and that's not always possible.

So, let's take a breath. Let's settle down. Let's start looking at the individual with the weapon rather than the weapon itself. By itself, the weapon kills no one. Only in the hands of someone bent on destruction does a weapon do damage...and that weapon could be almost anything.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mr. Krugman Please

I've said this before, but let me reiterate.  When this man talks, listen up.  Mr. Krugman is a hero of mine.  When he speaks on economics, we need to pay heed.  He didn't win a Nobel Prize for Economics for nothing.  The man is brilliant when it comes to Macro Econ.

How Big Is the Budget Hole?

Something I’ve been meaning to write: get into a discussion of matters fiscal, especially with conservatives, and you’re bound to have somebody declaring that we have a ONE TRILLION DOLLAR deficit, which means that what Americans want from their government is far more than we can pay for, so we must slash the welfare state, etc.. Also, that the hole is so big that taxing the rich can’t possibly make any real difference (although somehow savaging the poor supposedly will).

So I think it’s worth pointing out just how misleading all this is.

Yes, we do have a trillion-dollar deficit. But a large part of that deficit is attributable to the depressed economy. Reasonable estimates say that we have an output gap of something like $900 billion a year — yes, some would dispute that, but it’s the estimate I find most convincing. This automatically raises the budget deficit by depressing revenue and leading to more spending on unemployment insurance and means-tested programs like Medicaid — the CBO doesn’t offer a simple ratio on this, but a survey of their estimates suggests that we’re probably looking at $300 billion or more in automatic stabilizers here. Then you need to add in non-automatic but nonetheless cyclically-determined things like extended unemployment benefits and the temporary payroll tax cut. The point is that economic recovery would shrink the budget deficit a lot — almost surely more than $400 billion.

Meanwhile, zero is not the crucial number for the deficit; a much better criterion is the budget balance that would, on a sustained basis, stabilize debt as a percentage of GDP. Now, debt is currently slightly over 70 percent of GDP; with 2 percent growth and 2 percent inflation, that means that a deficit of almost 3 percent of GDP, say $450 billion, is consistent with a stable debt ratio.

Put these things together, and the real hole in the budget is a lot smaller than a trillion dollars — in fact, there may not be a hole at all.

Now, this doesn’t mean all is well. For one thing, if and when the economy recovers we really should be trying to reduce the debt ratio, not just keep it stable. Also, an aging population and rising health care costs mean that under current policy we will have a substantial structural deficit a decade from now, even if we don’t have one currently. So I don’t want to suggest that there is no deficit issue. But it’s nothing like the ONE TRILLION DOLLARS that you keep hearing.

Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as a columnist on the Op-Ed Page and continues as professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from MIT in 1977. He has taught at Yale, MIT and Stanford. At MIT he became the Ford International Professor of Economics.

Mr. Krugman is the author or editor of 20 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes. His professional reputation rests largely on work in international trade and finance; he is one of the founders of the "new trade theory," a major rethinking of the theory of international trade. In recognition of that work, in 1991 the American Economic Association awarded him its John Bates Clark medal, a prize given every two years to "that economist under forty who is adjudged to have made a significant contribution to economic knowledge." Mr. Krugman's current academic research is focused on economic and currency crises.

At the same time, Mr. Krugman has written extensively for a broader public audience. Some of his recent articles on economic issues, originally published in Foreign Affairs, Harvard Business Review, Scientific American and other journals, are reprinted in Pop Internationalism and The Accidental Theorist.

On October 13, 2008, it was announced that Mr. Krugman would receive the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Want some more Krugman?  Okay.

Rise of the Robots

Catherine Rampell and Nick Wingfield write about the growing evidence for “reshoring” of manufacturing to the United States. They cite several reasons: rising wages in Asia; lower energy costs here; higher transportation costs. In a followup piece, however, Rampell cites another factor: robots.
The most valuable part of each computer, a motherboard loaded with microprocessors and memory, is already largely made with robots, according to my colleague Quentin Hardy. People do things like fitting in batteries and snapping on screens.
As more robots are built, largely by other robots, “assembly can be done here as well as anywhere else,” said Rob Enderle, an analyst based in San Jose, Calif., who has been following the computer electronics industry for a quarter-century. “That will replace most of the workers, though you will need a few people to manage the robots.”
Robots mean that labor costs don’t matter much, so you might as well locate in advanced countries with large markets and good infrastructure (which may soon not include us, but that’s another issue). On the other hand, it’s not good news for workers!

This is an old concern in economics; it’s “capital-biased technological change”, which tends to shift the distribution of income away from workers to the owners of capital.

Twenty years ago, when I was writing about globalization and inequality, capital bias didn’t look like a big issue; the major changes in income distribution had been among workers (when you include hedge fund managers and CEOs among the workers), rather than between labor and capital. So the academic literature focused almost exclusively on “skill bias”, supposedly explaining the rising college premium.

But the college premium hasn’t risen for a while. What has happened, on the other hand, is a notable shift in income away from labor:

If this is the wave of the future, it makes nonsense of just about all the conventional wisdom on reducing inequality. Better education won’t do much to reduce inequality if the big rewards simply go to those with the most assets. Creating an “opportunity society”, or whatever it is the likes of Paul Ryan etc. are selling this week, won’t do much if the most important asset you can have in life is, well, lots of assets inherited from your parents. And so on.

I think our eyes have been averted from the capital/labor dimension of inequality, for several reasons. It didn’t seem crucial back in the 1990s, and not enough people (me included!) have looked up to notice that things have changed. It has echoes of old-fashioned Marxism — which shouldn’t be a reason to ignore facts, but too often is. And it has really uncomfortable implications.

But I think we’d better start paying attention to those implications.


Bernanke’s Non-Stupidity Pact

So, how big a deal was yesterday’s Fed announcement? Philosophically, it was pretty major; in terms of substantive policy implications, not so much.

What the Fed did was pledge not to raise rates until unemployment is considerably lower than it is now, or inflation is running significantly above the 2 percent target. One fairly important wrinkle I haven’t seem emphasized: the inflation criterion was couched in terms of the inflation projection, rather than past inflation. This would let the Fed hold rates low even in the face of a blip caused by, say, a sharp rise in commodity prices.

It’s fairly clear — although not explicitly stated — that the goal of this pronouncement is to boost the economy right now through expectations of higher inflation and stronger employment than one might otherwise have expected.

So philosophically, this represents a conversion to the Evans criterion for rates and the Woodford/Krugman doctrine about monetary policy in a liquidity trap.

Substantively, however, there isn’t that much going on here. Basically, Bernanke is promising that the Fed won’t do anything stupid — specifically, that it won’t pull an ECB, and raise rates even though the economy is still depressed and underlying inflation is still low. As it was, however, few people expected the Fed to pull an ECB in any case. That’s reflected in the market reaction: rates actually rose, and expected inflation, as measured by the spread between nominal and real rates, went up only slightly.

Sorry, but this move, while it speaks well of the Fed’s learning process, was not a game-changer.

I could put more of Paul's stuff here, but you can read him for yourself.  He's written 20 books and you can read him in the New York Times where he's a contributor.  I thoroughly recommend reading him.  He's a breath of sanity in a Fox News driven world.
     Recommended Reading

Friday, December 14, 2012

Oh That Obamacare

Accountant: ‘Obamacare’ riddled with unintended consequences

Businesses may cut staff hours or choose penalty over offering health insurance

By HOLLY BEECH    © 2012 Idaho Press-Tribune
NAMPA — As one local accountant put it, ‘simple’ is out the window when it comes to businesses applying the upcoming Affordable Care Act changes.    

Come 2014, businesses with more than 50 employees must provide an adequate health insurance plan or pay a tax.    A panel of accountants explained various parts of the 1,900-page “Obamacare” legislation during a Nampa Chamber of Commerce Business and Breakfast event Thursday.     

“It could shut some businesses down, we’ve heard rumors of that,” said Trevor Gunstream, a certified public accountant with The Nichols Accounting Group. “If … you’re on the edge of being in business or not and you have to pay this penalty, you’ve got a real dilemma on your hands.”     

The mandate will not apply to businesses with fewer than 50 people, he said. A benefit for those businesses, if employees earn less than $50,000, has been a tax credit if they provide health insurance. That credit, also available to nonprofits, is set to increase from 35 percent of premiums to 50 percent of premiums in 2014.     

Some companies and individuals may choose to pay the penalty instead of health insurance premiums.     

“These penalties aren’t enough to force people to go get health insurance, so most people are going to pay the penalty,” Ripley Doorn & Company CPA Greg Braun said.     

Another possibility, Gunstream said, is that businesses will cut employees’ hours back to 29 or fewer because the health insurance mandate only applies to full-time staff.     

The law is riddled with “unintended consequences” like these, Ripley Doorn CPA Bryan Crookham said.     

Panel members urged business owners to meet with their advisers and understand the ins and outs of the law.     

On an individual basis, it’s also important to start planning ahead if you don’t have health insurance, he said. “Every individual is going to have to comply with the act,” Gunstream said. “... Explore your options now.”     

TAX CHANGES NOT JUST FOR TOP EARNERS    The Bush-era tax cuts for those earning more than $250,000 are set to expire Jan. 1, and those who earn more than $200,000 — or $250,000 for a married couple — will see a new Medicare tax on investment and passive income.     

But, as of now, other tax changes are coming that will impact people with lower incomes.     

“A lot of people have a misconception that there are only going to be tax increases on people who make over $250,000, and that’s just not true,” Crookham said.     

Higher rates for married people, for instance, are set to take effect in 2013.     

“Married couples would end up paying more tax than two single people,” Crookham said.     

Those with kids will get less back from the child tax credit — which is set to decrease from $1,000 per child to $500 per child.   

Many people will see a cut to their takehome pay, too, as the portion taken out for Social Security is set to increase from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.     

“There are taxes that are coming, and everybody is going to be paying a bigger share,” he said. 

Here we go again, and again, and again.  First off, let's take note of who is doing the naysaying here.
Nichols Accounting Group accountant Trevor Gunstream, left, is joined by Ripley Doorn & Company accountants Bryan Crookham, center, and Greg Braun to explain upcoming tax changes. 

I know most of you don't know these folks, but let me explain.  They are Idaho Arch Conservatives, they leaders of DOOM and GLOOM.  Best of all, they are accountants who are notorious for looking for D&G for their clients.  

Next, they are talking about things that haven't happened yet as if it were absolute fact.  They remind me of Fox News.  None of these guys have any Idea what's gonna happen when Obamacare [ACA] takes effect.  They are just here to scare the living daylights out of everyone so they can look like they are important.  They haven't the slightest clue what's going to happen, and truthfully, neither do I.

I do know one thing, out health care system is broken and this is a step in the right direction to the the cure.  I've said this before and I'll say it again, when the inevitable happens, i.e., CHANGE [the only constant in this life], there are only two things you can do, embrace it or fight it.  If you fight it, you just dig your own grave because change will walk over you every time.  

These guys should know that and instead of being the EeYores of the Hundred Acre Wood, they need to take responsibility for their profession and tell us how this policy will benefit us, not tear us down.  Those of us who have done business with accountants know that is, of course, not possible.  They wouldn't be accountants if they did that, they would what? friends?.