Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

PS. Don't forget that at least in Texas, today is the last day that you can go vote early. So get out there and vote today and beat the long wait on Tuesday!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Another Way to View Obama's "Distribution of Wealth"

I didn't write this, but felt like reposting it as I feel it takes a very basic approach to what "Distribution of Wealth" means in its practical application.

Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read "Vote Obama, I need the money." I laughed.

Once in the restaurant my server had on a "Obama 08" tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference--just imagine the coincidence.

When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need--the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I've decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn.

I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Coffee Makes Your Boobs Shrink and Other News

Yes you read that right, coffee and big boobs don't mix.
Scientists have recently discovered that women who drink more than 3 cups of coffee a day run the risk of having their breasts shrink. See, just another reason why I don't drink coffee... besides the fact that the mere smell of it makes me want to gag. But there is the proof we may all need to at least get teenage girls out of Starbucks so you can read the paper in peace without all the giggling and girl talk.
Just bring this article along with you and casually leave it on the table, you'll thank me later.

To continue on with the mildly inappropriate articles, another study has recently shown that really stinky, egg rotting smell farts actually help regulate your blood pressure. The unpleasant aroma of the gas, called hydrogen sulfide (H2S), can be a little too familiar, as it is expelled by bacteria living in the human colon and eventually makes its way, well, out. The new research found that cells lining mice’s blood vessels naturally make the gas and this action can help keep the rodents’ blood pressure low by relaxing the blood vessels to prevent hypertension (high blood pressure). So next time you rip a really nasty one and people start to gag, just say you were feeling a little hypertension-like... how can they argue with that?

Um, here's something random for you:
Out or not, this guy REALLY needs to consider changing his name. Just read the first line of THIS NEWS STORY and you'll most likely agree with me.

I know that grandparents love their grandchildren... but enough to carry them for 9 months? Well this grandmother did as she just delivered triplets... her 3 granddaughters to be exact. When her daughter could not get pregnant, she decided that even though she was 57 years old, she could still help out. And help out she did. Grandma, mommy and babies are doing great... but that is going to be a strange conversation when they get older.

Everyone knows that one slightly crazy old person. I always say mine is my across the street neighbor. He is a sweet old man, but he is literally outside ALL day long. Just sitting in the chair. I'm serious, all day long. The only time he goes inside is if it is pouring raining, but if it's just sprinkling, he's still there. I can only hope he is as thrifty as this man, who had a knack for hoarding cash. He was a "wanderer" and spent the years of his retirement driving around and living out of his Chevy truck. But when he was found in a motel room, dead from lung cancer, the authorities were in for a shock as he had about $263,000 in cash in a leather cassette case. The cool thing about it is the rightful heir to this money was his 27 year old grand daughter who hadn't seen him since she was 9 years old. She had been wanting to go to college but wasn't able to, and now she has enrolled part time in school! I like happy endings! So be nice to those crazy old people, you never know what they are hoarding in their cassette cases.

But if you need cash and don't have the patience to wait for an inheritance from an unknown grandparent, you can always start a pot farm in the Utah Mountains! A few hunters who were trying to bag some deer in central Utah stumbled upon a marijuana farm that contained thousands of plants. When the police were called in, the suspects grabbed as many plants as they could carry and took off running... oh I wish I could have seen that! Eventually they were caught. But you've got to give them 10 points for vigilance. I mean, that was probably hard work setting all of that up... if only there were gun laws that prevented hunting and then they would be able to grow their pot in peace. Vote Democrat people! :) (sarcasm implied)

I wonder if they were the ones who hooked up Ms. Teen Louisiana? Ms. Teen Louisiana was arrested and also de-crowned when she and a few of her friends decided to skip out on their restaurant tab. The problem was when the police were called, they found Ms. Louisiana's wallet, along with her marijuana stash.
Ya, not the smartest blonde I've ever known...

But I wonder if she is smarter than THIS guy who was injured while trying to beat the Guinness Book of World Record for the most cars to run over him. He is currently the record holder for 7 cars, but wanted to beat his own record and bump it up to 8 cars. Good news for him! He was injured on the last car, so he has indeed been run over by 8 cars! He is also known for feats such as picking up six people and pulling box cars with his teeth. He has had over 1,000 vehicles run over him throughout his career according to his Web site.

Only in Texas will 2 students be bit by poisonous snakes, in their own school classrooms. The Big Sandy students (shout out to the Leckies) were messing with a cotton-mouth snake that their teacher had mis-identified as non-venomous. They are fine, but seriously...

Speaking of serious... on to a few more slightly serious subjects:

First off, the Project for Excellence in Journalism's reports shows John McCain's media coverage has been 57 percent negative, while Obama's has been 29 percent negative... wow. Big surprise people. I do however like that studies are beginning to show how ridiculously biased our media is. I long for the days when media outlets were considered neutral and only reported news, not opinion based news. The average American doesn't have the time or the desire to do the research themselves on hot topics, so they rely on the media to give them unbiased information, however, there isn't anything unbiased about their reporting. It's really disgusting actually. Although I did receive THIS excerpt from the Howard Sterns show which made me laugh. I'm sure there are uninformed Republicans too, but this was funny!

I'm sure you've heard about the devastating news that Dreamgirl and American Idol Alum star Jennifer Hudson's mother and brother were found murdered in her mother's Chicago apartment. Then to top it all off, her nephew has been kidnapped! They have a suspect, and are thinking it might be a domestic issue... though the suspect has fled and no one is in custody. I couldn't imagine the pain she is going through. My prayers go out to her.

As they also go out to the 4 children found in a dirty, disgusting rattlesnake filled home. The children ages 7, 3, 1 and 6 months were taken away after reports regarding the 3 year old. When authorities arrived they found the disgusting home that had a non-working toilet, dirty dishes piled in a sink, no running water and a child in soiled diapers. The home had animal and human feces inside, with rattlesnakes caged inside of chicken wire and other evidence of poor child care. Hopefully the majority of them will be kept together in foster care... though I'm not hopeful. I couldn't imagine living like that... I feel the sorriest for the 7 year old... poor thing.

Finally, let's talk about the greed of the banking system... don't even get me started on it... but it seems that some of the banks, who recently were awarded 250 billion of the bailout in order for the government to
buy stakes in banks. The idea was that banks would use the money to start making loans again. Well it seems that the banks have other ideas. Reports have surfaced that bankers might instead use the money to buy other banks, pay dividends, give employees a raise and executives a bonus, or just sit on it. Insurance companies now want a piece; as well as the auto industry.
The actual payout has yet to happen as no money has left the Treasury yet, but these early rumblings are no bueno. The centerpiece of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act is the "troubled asset relief program," or TARP for short. Critics note that tarps are used to cover things up. The money was to be devoted to buying "toxic" mortgage-backed securities whose value has fallen in lockstep with home prices. But once European governments said they were going into the banking business, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson followed suit and diverted $250 billion to buy stock in healthy banks to spur lending. We'll just have to see how this plays out, but our system is flawed and the people in charge are inherently greedy. It is disgusting.

So there it is! Your random news of the week, all mixed up so it's easier to swallow!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Facts About the Current Housing Crisis

I am sure you've heard things like the "Housing Crisis", "Fannie Mae", "Freddie Mac", recession, depression, credit freeze, etc. being thrown about, but if you've tried to google it, it's hard to find something that just explains it in plain English. I am no expert, so I have just compiled a few articles which you can find the resource HERE, and HERE and HERE.

Fannie Mae (aka Federal National Mortgage Association) was originally founded right after the last depression in the 30's as a part of the New Deal (remember that, think back to US History in High School). It doesn't give loans, but instead it serves as a kind of guaranteeor for loans that lenders makes. In 1999, Fannie Mae came under pressure from the Clinton administration to expand mortgage loans to low and moderate income borrowers. At the same time, institutions in the primary mortgage market pressed Fannie Mae to ease credit requirements on the mortgages it was willing to purchase, enabling them to make loans to subprime borrowers at interest rates higher than conventional loans. Shareholders also pressured Fannie Mae to maintain its record profit. In 2000, due to a re-assessment of the housing market by HUD, rules were put into place that disallowed risky, high-cost loans from being credited toward affordable housing goals. In 2004, these rules were dropped and high-risk loans were again counted toward affordable housing goals.

*translation- Fannie Mae allowed people, who normally couldn't qualify to get a mortgage due to credit rating, no down payment, etc., to all of a sudden get a loan. Then they thought, oh crap, that might get us into trouble so they tried to set up a few rules to restrict it. But then in 2004, they thought those rules were too strict and EVERYONE deserved to get a home loan if they wanted one, so thus we are in the problem we are in right now. People began getting into "high risk" loans, such as ARM loans where after a few years your interest rate goes up. Because these people who should never have really gotten a loan in the first place, were already on their tippy-toes to make their regular mortgage payment, once their interest rate went up they would get foreclosed on. Which all of a sudden put all of these unpaid mortgages into the system and started overloading.
Before you start spouting off on an anti-republican tirade, note it is not entirely Republican's fault just because this happened on George W. Bush' watch (not saying he is completely innocent as free market trade might be a bit like thinking socialism works as well- in theory yes. But in practice people are inherently greedy). Even Bill Clinton thinks it's more on the fault of the Democrats, and I quote, "I think the responsibility the Democrats have may rest more in resisting any efforts by Republicans in the Congress or by me when I was President to put some standards and tighten up a little on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac."
With that said, I think this current housing crisis really isn't Fannie Mae's fault if you ask me. I don't even personally think it's the government's fault. I don't think it's the Democrats fault. I don't think it's the Republican's fault. I think the blame lies with the mortgage lenders and bond rating companie's. They are the ones who approved these loans and secured them, knowing that these people would not be able to afford it once the interest rates went up. It was a greedy, money making scheme that we are now all paying the cost for.

Here are a few more facts about all the culprits who contributed to this downfall:
Mortgage brokers, banks and other lenders provided the funds so that unqualified applicants could buy homes. Brokers don't lend their own money but serve as middlemen, collecting commissions but sometimes without much regard to whether borrowers can make payments. Many banks weren't much better, selling loans to third-party investors while collecting fees. It didn't help that lenders unveiled innovative but risky mortgages, such as negative-amortization and optional-payment loans. Plus, many brokers and lenders never verified a borrower's job status, income or assets because they were passing the risk along.

Before the crisis hit, homeownership seemed more attainable than ever. Because many of the newest home buyers had borderline credit, they could qualify only for risky subprime loans. Many borrowers didn't understand their loan terms, especially the potential for payments to spike when low teaser rates expired. Nor were all borrowers honest, with some studies estimating most subprime applicants lied or omitted key information. Some borrowers may have tried harder to adjust to higher monthly payments but gave up when slumping prices left them owing more than their homes were worth.

Lenders packaged the subprime mortgages they generated for resale to investors on Wall Street, thus transferring risk down the line. These bondlike investments seemed appealing because they offered enticing yields for what buyers thought were low risks during a period of skimpy interest rates. Yet investors far removed from the mortgage-origination process didn't understand the risks they were assuming. Some hedge funds bought these securities with heavy use of leverage and got slammed when the market froze. The Bear Stearns collapse stemmed largely from the firm's hedge-fund exposure.

Many blame the central bank under Alan Greenspan for keeping interest rates too low and for boosting the nation's money supply too much. This created an easy-credit environment that encouraged less-qualified home buyers. It also created a period of such low yields that many investors sought better returns in securities backed by subprime mortgages. Critics also say the central bank encouraged investors to take too much risk because of its implied help in arranging bailouts — the “moral hazard” idea. A precedent was set when the Fed helped rescue a prominent hedge fund in 1998.

U.S. and state banking-oversight agencies, including the Fed here too, are accountable and probably deserve some blame for allowing excesses to multiply, from lax underwriting to the prevalence of mortgages with negative amortization and other risky features. Also, regulators didn't seem especially concerned by the concentration of some banks' lending portfolios in real estate — a problem that plagues Arizona. On the other hand, regulator attitudes are somewhat understandable considering residential real estate had never suffered a national slump like the current one. Few people saw the train wreck coming.

Firms including Standard & Poor's and Moody's rate bonds to help investors analyze the risk and return trade-off. Critics say the rating agencies masked the crisis by giving inflated grades to mortgage-backed securities underpinned by subprime loans. Critics also contend the rating agencies harbored actual or perceived conflicts of interest, because the investment banks that packaged those securities for sale to investors are the ones who paid for the ratings. Of note, the diversification created by linking dozens of mortgages to a given security didn't help lessen risk as expected.

So all of this leads us to the 700 billion dollar bailout we are hearing about.

The first thing to understand is that a bailout plan doesn’t have to cost anywhere close to $700 billion, so long as it’s designed well. The $700 billion number that you see everywhere is an estimate of how much the government would spend to buy deteriorating assets now held by banks. Eventually, the government will turn around and sell these assets, for a price almost certain to be greater than zero. So this $700 billion is very different from $700 billion spent on a war or on Medicare.
“Much of the discussion of the cost of the bailouts is getting it wrong,” David Colander, an economist at Middlebury College, says. “What matters is what price they buy the assets for and the price they sell them for. That’s where the real action is.” For a LOT more info on the bailout in plain english, read the NY Times article I got this from by clicking HERE.

Another thing you need to realize is this is a WORLD problem. Many countries all over the world were doing this exact same thing and now are having to have bailouts just like us. So it's not like our government was the only ones allowing the market to run free, it was all over the world. It was a trend that now most "progressive" countries are trying to pick the pieces up from. Many countries are going to have to insert much more than 700 billion (specifically into banks) to try and save their economy. This is a world-wide crisis, not just an American one.

Just because it's an election year, I am going to go all Republican on you and post this video. It is definitely produced by someone one far right, so of course it's biased. HOWEVER, there are pretty interesting facts in here that are worth taking a look at.

So the bottom line, what does this mean for you?

Well it will mean that the way you get a loan will largely go back to the way you've heard your parents and grandparents got loans. You will need a good credit rating, consistent and steady employment history and you will need at least 10% down. They say that the days of 100% home loans with no money down, roll in all fees are now a thing of the past.
Because of the financial strain, plus all of the Wall Street failures, banks are very wary to give new loans... so thinking of selling your house? You may not want to for awhile. You may want to ride it out for a few more years until everything rebounds.
HOWEVER, for those with good cash flow and great credit, this is prime real estate time for you. Houses are selling for 25% less than what they were selling for even just a year ago, so enjoy your pay day! This time will make a lot of people rich I'm sure.

I hope this helped you understand a bit more of what is going on. Feel free to comment and give me your opinion! I would love to hear it, though nothing you say will convince me that this is entirely the Bush Administrations fault. This crisis falls mainly in the laps of the private mortgage industry.

Blondes Do Have More Fun and Other Stories

Apparently Blondes do have more fun. I mean, I knew this already because I'm a blonde and I obviously know that I have more fun than my brunette friends... I mean, is there even a question?
Well what would happen if that fun-ness was ripped away from you and you were American? Well you would sue of course!
A Connecticut woman sued L'Oreal when she accidentally dyed her hair brown. She says she will never be able to return to her "natural" blonde look and that she was so traumatized because of it, she missed work, wears hats almost all the time and is now on anti-depressants... don't worry, our legal system isn't entirely screwed up as the Judge threw out the case. I'm just going to go out on a limb here and say that she may have other issues that aren't immediately evident in this article. What do you think?

Speaking of Brunettes... do you remember that guy who went on TV a few months ago saying that they caught Big Foot? Well of course they were lying and had actually just bought this suit that they decorated with entrails and other road kill guts. They later admitted the hoax and everyone just thought it was a publicity stunt (which it was).
Well now you yourself can be the lucky owner of this suit. All you have to do is come up with about $1o0,000 or more depending on the ebay bidding. It should make the perfect Christmas gift... especially if you get your own roadkill... the smell would be to die for!

Which brings us to the dying part. When you are a coroner, you just never know if someone is going to wake up before autopsy. Apparently a man rushed his wife to the emergency room and was told awhile later that she had died. Then some poor morgue worker reported the corpse to be still breathing... how totally freaky is that?! You know that that person just stared at her forever thinking, "I'm seeing things, I'm seeing things." I for one always think that a corpse is breathing. When I go to a funeral and there is an open casket, I would swear that they just took a breath... it's totally creepy. Now every time that morgue worker is dealing with a dead body they are going to be thinking it's still breathing. Understandably so, the husband and wife are suing the hospital. She can walk and talk, but still suffers from major brain damage. Some of it could have been avoided if she was properly cared for instead of being put into a fridge... I don't know if they really put her in the fridge, but I bet they did.... CREEPY!

I wonder how the woman "died"... I wonder if it was anything like THIS woman who's husband killed her because she changed her status on Facebook to single when they separated...

Or maybe it was the killer rodent disease that did her in. You know the one in South Africa that is causing internal and external bleeding... I see a new episode of Fringe coming up :)

Oh, oh! Or maybe she died of eating spicey food! This guy died eating super spicey chili sauce during a competition between friends on who could eat the spiciest sauce... he started itching all over and then died... so beware next time you get the hot sauce at Chipotle!

Well however she died, it probably wasn't due to drunk emailing... you know what that is don't you? Maybe you've even suffered from the disease on one or two occassions. You can drunk email, drunk dial, even drunk twitter! It's when you have one too many drinks and think it is an appropriate time to write that email to your ex-boyfriend asking why he really broke up with you... or time to call that friend who really pissed you off last week and you just now are getting the courage to confront them, or maybe it's the perfect time to write that email to your boss about how you feel unappreciated at work... ya, never really a good idea. Well Google has decided to help with the drunk emailing by creating a program called Mail Goggles. The Goggles can kick in late at night on weekends. The feature requires you to solve a few easy math problems in short order before hitting "send." If your logical thinking skills are intact, Google is betting you're sober enough to work out the repercussions of sending that screed you just drafted. And if you can't multiply two times five, you'll probably thank Google in the morning. To activate Goggles, Gmail users should click the "Settings" link at the top of a Gmail page, then go to the "Labs" section. So go for it and add that application if you find yourself getting a little too free after a few drinks. It might just save a few friendships or your job!

Well one person who doesn't need to worry about Mail Goggles because he doesn't need a job right now is the boyfriend of the woman who grew into her toilet seat. You remember this story don't you? A woman with severe anxiety wouldn't leave the bathroom. She just sat on the toilet for like 2 years. It got to the point where her body literally started to atrophy onto the toilet seat, causing her to grow into the seat as the seat adhered to sores on her body. When the police where finally called in, they had to pry the seat off the toilet with a crow bar and send her to the hospital where they surgically removed the seat off of her butt... ok, well anyways, that's not the best part. The boyfriend who's toilet she was stuck to, has now won the lottery for the 2nd time this year!! He just won another $20,000. So maybe somehow having someone stuck to your toilet is good luck.... maybe someone else should try it as a case study. Except, be stuck to something else. Like maybe the kitchen sink. That way you can still have a drain to do your business in, but you'll be close to the food too. See, I'm a genius.

Now for the sad story of the day, a 6th grade girl was killed as she ran into the street to try and save a kitten from getting hit by a car. The car instead hit her and she died at the hospital. I kind of identified with this story as that would have so been me as a child. I was the one always bringing stray animals home and even catching the mice in the house and putting them in cages as pets... I so would have run out into a busy street to save a kitten... prayers go out to her family.

But a good thing about vehicles that don't have anything to do with manslaughter is, hello, gas prices have dropped! That is one of the good things about recession... the price of everything valuable goes down. This is the one thing we are benefiting from as the average american consumer... unless of course you are heavily invested in oil. But even then you should probably get into natural gas or companies who are trying to make sure potable water is available at all times. Anyways, here in Dallas, you can get gas for I've heard $2.60 a gallon. That is amazing! That is really going to help the budget of a lot of people, so that is one economy thing that I am happy about.

Speaking of Dallas, one of my favorite places in Dallas is a little restaurant (if you could even call it that) off of Knox and 75 called Wild About Harry's. They have seriously the best frozen custard you've ever had and their burgers and hot dogs are yum! Anyways, they just announced that even with the recession that are going to go forward with expanding their empire and open new stores. I am so excited about that! I hope one gets opened up over here, although none can compare to the vintage Harry's.

Also, hold on to your roofs because experts are predicting that November may be the worst month yet for Tornados in Texas... they are saying 2008 may end up holding the record for the most tornados... we've already had almost 1300 tornados touch down in the US...I personally kind of like Tornado storms. I say this because I've never had more than hail damage done to any of my property due to the storms... but I always find it kind of exciting when the alarms of the city start going off and we all take cover... but hopefully we never get hit with anything bad. But I really do love storms!

Lastly, beware when you go into convenience stores in the next few weeks. Since it's Halloween season, robberies with masks are going up like they do every year. One of the first ones of the season was last week in Fort Worth... and just to be safe... don't wear your Halloween mask into a store because we are in Texas and the clerk may just think you are going to rob them and shoot you before you know it... but then again, you would make it on News in a Blender that week! :)

Well that does it for me. Look for more news next week! I know I said I wanted to do this once a day, but it is proving to be too much work, so I will be posting a few times a week instead.

So there it is! Your random news of the week, all mixed up so it's easier to swallow!

A Spiritual Look at the Election

I know I haven't kept my promise about blogging, I will get into the groove of it soon... but I just felt like writing something about the election.

So many people are caught up in the technicalities and the particulars of party platforms that there is a lot of confusion with everything.

Even I find myself thinking, how do I vote for either one of the candidates as I don't fully believe in what they are talking about or what they want to do.

And I guess, after talking with Allan Aguirre for a few minutes yesterday and my sister for a bit this morning, things just kind of came into place.

It's really simple actually.

As Christians, it has become taboo to say that you are voting for a candidate for moral reasons.

You get mocked and boo'ed, even by other believers, as being naive and not connected with reality. They are saying that you have to vote issues. Key issues such has healthcare, taxes, energy, the deficit... those are what is most important. What candidate can help ME out the most?
But the truth is, that should not be the basis for our votes.
Our votes should be based on what we believe in, not always what is best for us as individuals, but what is best for the morality of our country. What is best for the morality of the world we want our kids to grow up in.
Is voting for McCain what is best for me? I don't know. In my situation, Obama saying he can offer healthcare to people who can't afford private insurance sure seems appealing... however at what cost? At the cost of voting in someone who has been labeled, even by his peers, as the most liberal man in the Senate? Someone who believes and has legislatively supported 2nd trimester induced abortions?
I've heard Christians say these "moral issues" such as abortion, gay rights, the support of a Palestinian State... that these aren't the big issues... these are issues that will never be resolved and we should focus on the "real" issues. But I beg to disagree. These are the issues that I am spiritually required to pay more attention to. These are the issues that grieve the heart of God and have caused the spiraling of our nation the last 50 years.

Does that make me a religious fantatic? Nope. It makes me just your average Christian according to the Bible.

The other thing that I don't like (and this is a side note) is how the media is portraying the conservative people in office. George Bush, John McCain and Sarah Palin are literally thrashed in the media. I am not saying that I agree with everything they have done, but what is that causing? I can tell you that it is breeding disrespect for leadership into our children. It is showing them that it doesn't matter who you are, even if you are the President of the United States, we will mock you and ridicule you, make ridiculous t-shirts and wear them around because people just don't like you and have a right to spout off with no restraint. There has to be a level of respect shown that is lacking. No matter what you think of policy decisions, there must be a level of respect. It is a Biblical mandate. If Obama is elected, the same will be required.

So I digress. The whole point I am making is that the real question we as Christians need to be asking ourselves is who do we spiritually agree with? There is coming a time where the Bible says there will be a falling away and that those who are not firmly grounded will be drawn away.... please don't read that wrong. I by no means think Obama is the antichrist, so don't go there. But what I am saying is there is a call to those of us who are followers of Christ to stand firm in our beliefs and not allow our judgment to be clouded. We have to know what we know and why we believe it well enough to talk about it, defend it and live it. We are beyond the point where we just believe things because that is what we are told to believe. That because your parents believe it and your grandparents believe it, you are going to believe it also. If you have never had a real encounter with Jesus and a real life change, you aren't going to be able to grasp the reality and truth of what the Presidential Election is all about. That it is not just a time to vote issues, but it is a chance to vote for what we believe in. We have to have discernment in our voting. We by all means HAVE to look at their morals and their world views, NOT just their political platforms and promises, when we are choosing who to cast our vote for.

People are scared and that's ok. But being scared about the economic state of our country should not lead us to compromise our moral standards. As one of my favorite people Bill Johnson says, "Compromise is the Welcome Mat to Deception." I don't want to be deceived. I don't want my fear over a tax increase or what an unforseen illness or even pregnancy without health insurance may do to my finances allow me to compromise my own moral beliefs and vote for someone who stands in general for things contrary to the Word of God.

So maybe this whole blog has made me sound like a raging religious fantatic... but you know what? That's ok. If you don't agree with me or are scared to make that kind of stand because you don't want the backlash of secular opinions, then that is something you need to deal with.

But the fact of the matter is this is truth. This is Biblical. We can't always just vote issues. We have to start making a stand and vote for morality and truth.

McCain isn't perfect and I would rather not vote for him. But when placed next to Obama, it is clear who I should vote for.

Bottom line. It's not about issues, but as a Christian it is and always will be about morality.

I don't know if this blog made any sense. It's late and this is just something I've been stewing on throughout the day... but I hope I made my point. We can't just focus on the issues, we have to look at the person and their personal world view. If it is in opposition of what we stand for, then how can we vote them into office?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Intro: The Two Big Topics

You can't even turn on the TV these days and not hear about two things over and over again...
1. The Financial Crisis
2. The Presidential Election

I for one can not wait until the election is over. Once that's over I have a feeling the economy will stabilize a bit.

I mean, it's kind of crazy isn't it?

Congress at first fails to pass the giant 700 billion dollar bailout and our stock market crashes to the merry Great Depression tune. Then it just TALKS about passing it and it goes back up... then crashes some more... all the while Japan and Europe are crashing as well. THEN we read today, that just the fact that Congress is TALKING about finalizing the bill, it goes up with an almost 1000 point jump, which is some type of record for one day... is it just me, or is the market suffering from some sort of medical disorder or something? Actually I did some research and I think the market may indeed be suffering from Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD- you know you've seen the infomercials). Here are the symptoms:
  • Depressed mood
  • Tension
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Decreased interest in usual activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Physical symptoms such as bloating and breast tenderness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Marked change in appetite
  • Feeling overwhelmed
So yup, we've figured it out. Thankfully they make a pill for it, so no one needs to run out and cash in your 401k, just give it some Prozac and sit back and wait.

But what really bothers me, is I feel this bailout is too much too soon. It's a whole lot of money that they are throwing in to keeping large corporations/banks from declaring bankruptcy. Although I really can see both sides of this.

You may be totally against this bailout and you may think the government shouldn't help. You may not see what the big deal is because you're like, well the FDIC covers my bank... yes that's true. But only up to $100,000. Then you're like, but when will I ever have a $100,000 in my bank... uh never! True, most of us don't have to worry about that... but what about the companies you work for? What happens when they can't pay you because the banks have gone under and they no longer have money in the bank that is secured? Ya, you will be wishing you had a bailout then... but still.

It seems like too much too soon. Especially when you have the guys at AIG who will be receiving 85 billion of that 700 billion. They just took their executives on a "retreat" that cost over $440,000 including over $20,000 in spa treatments... isn't that nice! They were celebrating the fact that they aren't going bankrupt anymore! And gosh darnet they deserve some much needed relaxation.. I'm sure they were stressed (sentence lined in sarcasm).

See that's what I'm afraid is going to happen with this bailout. It will just line more pockets of the greedy people who got us into this mess in the first place. I'm hoping there is going to be strict accountability for this money... but I doubt it.
My dad gave the best summary of why we are in this financial crisis with the banks to me and my sister the other night. Most of it is because of bad mortgages... I am hoping he will write a summary so I can post it here. He explains it in layman terms and I have yet to find such a sure fire explanation than his. So hopefully he'll give us one.

Speaking of banks that I hate, Wells Fargo just was approved to take over Wachovia... I wonder if that means my car loan will be back with Wells Fargo... I hate Wells Fargo. But as much as I hate them, this merger will save thousands of jobs... and that's the point. Any of us can survive an economic down turn, as long as we can keep our jobs. What's going to suck is looking for a job in this economic climate... Although for those of us in the DFW area, we are better than most areas. Our property values have a good chance of actually going up due to the Barnett Shale (natural gas) and the fact that we are not a huge banking economy... so go us! :)

So enough about our economy... on to even more frustrating topics...

The Presidential Election... oh dear God. You know I'll get into this more in the coming weeks... but could we have a worse selection? I mean, I'm Republican all the way and will vote so regardless due to ideological reasons, HOWEVER, McCain? Really?
And despite every media outlets disdain for her, I actually like Sarah Palin. I just like her and as much as you hear likewise, a lot of people like her too. So though I won't be singing John McCain's praises on here (nor will I be bashing him), I will be spouting off a lot of anti-Obama stuff because the guy just rubs me the wrong way, though I do like Biden (despite the fact he doesn't even know what the Vice President's powers are). I would find myself getting behind a Biden/Palin ticket more than anything.
Ok, whatever, this election just needs to be over and soon it will be, so woot-woot! Then we can worry about picking up the pieces of our economy and dealing with the real issues.

But before the election is over we get the pleasure of watching one more Presidential Debate... I am really hoping this one is better than the last one. I just remember watching the debate thinking if McCain says "my friends" one more time and also how OLD he looks... then I watch Obama make absolutely no sense and smile and talk about his "change"... he loves him some change doesn't he? He loves change so much that he is going to change change, can you believe it?!

One of the biggest issues this year is healthcare and I don't like either one of their healthcare plans.
Obama's will put too much strain on an already overextended government who can't manage its current bureaus properly, yet he thinks adding one that will surely drive us deeper in debt (which he'll TRY to make up for by raising taxes) will make it all better. Very few countries that have instituted universal healthcare have been able to maintain quality after making it available to the masses. I don't kid myself to believe that we will be one of those few countries who do. If you have ever been to a government run clinic lately you will agree with me wholeheartedly.

Then you have McCain who wants to help, but I'm afraid it's not going to make much of a dent. Plus he will start taxing health care benefits to give us our $5000, which costs companies more, and may put them over the edge where they stop offering healthcare at all... but then you have Obama who will FINE the families who don't provide healthcare for their kids. Well Senator Obama, most of the people who don't qualify for medicare and don't have private health insurance just plain can't afford even paying a few hundred dollars a month extra. So to fine them would be a disaster... but then as Brad Shull pointed out, there has to be regulation... if there wasn't a law that you had to have car insurance, a lot of people would drive uninsured... it should be even more a priority to provide insurance for your kids... but what if you literally can not afford it, but don't qualify for full government support as SO many people are in this boat.

So you see? Neither has the answer. And not just about healthcare, but about many issues such as taxes and energy... though to me it seems they basically agree on the economy issues...

Well we can look forward to the debate on Wednesday where Senator McCain has pledged to whip Obama's "You Know What"... hopefully he does. I personally think there should be some sort of UFC match on Wednesday. That would cause the masses to tune in... especially after that disaster of a debate last week... BORING!

Well sorry to go on so much about these two issues, but they are biggies and figured they should have their own post. Feel free to comment!


Thanks for taking the time to stop in and catch up on your daily news.

I always try to keep up with what's going on in the world and have decided to put my love of reading/writing to the test and keep you all updated with what's going on in our nation and the world...
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