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Weekends – Construction and Conservatism….


I just finished an entire weekend without work.  I didn’t go anywhere.  I took care of things around the house and rested up.  Tomorrow, I go back to work – I have four 12-hour days this week.  After my last one on Thursday, I’ll rush to the airport to take the 7:35 flight to Miami, and then the overnight flight to Rio.

American changed the time of the flight from 7pm to 7:35.  I take this flight often, and it usually leaves at least an hour after the scheduled 7pm departure time.  I guess that 7:35 is more realistic.  The flight this week is a frequent flyer flight – Woo Hoo!!  Almost free.

Speaking of flying almost free, I have an appointment tomorrow night with a financial counselor from Ameriprise.  I received a solicitation in the mail that offered me 5000 Delta air miles if I agree to talk with one of these counselors.  Of course, they are going to try hard to sell me some sort of financial services, but I’m aware of that.  I may even learn something – I am planning to retire in about 4 and a half years.  The reason that I agreed to the solicitation is that I have accumulated 97,000 Delta air miles, and most flights to Rio require 100,000.  I do not fly Delta that often, so this appointment will allow me to accumulate the air miles that I need for one free trip.  Usually, I fly American Airlines.  I prefer Delta, but they tend to be more expensive and not as convenient as American.  For example, I can get a Thursday night flight on American.  If I fly Delta, I leave on Friday.  I get to spend an extra day in Brasil if I fly AA.

I will arrive in Rio on Friday.  On Saturday, we’re going to have a party.  I’m going to officially announce our engagement to the incredible woman that I met in Brasil.  We’re going to have it at our favorite restaurant in Volta Redonda – it’ll be fun.  I’ll officially ask her dad for her hand and give her the awesome ring that I bought last month.  More to come on that….

I spent much of today in my basement, building shelves to store some of the tools and stuff that I keep down there.  It looks much better, and I am starting to get things a little more organized.  I will build some more shelves later.  I have a LOT of tools and stuff.  It’s amazing how much stuff you need to keep things fixed up.

Oh, I have my Explorer back, and it has a new transmission  .   It is working perfectly now.  I’m driving it to work this week (instead of the Focus) just to make sure that it’s working well.  I did have the “check engine” light come on yesterday  .  My laptop can communicate with the OBD-II computer in the car, and it says that the oxygen sensors are responding slowly.  They may be a little dirty (carboned up) because I haven’t been driving it so much.  I reset the light.  If it continues to come on, I’ll replace the sensors – not a really big job.

We are still waiting for Monica to hear from the consulate in Rio  .  She’s been working on getting some necessary documents.  If we do not hear from them soon, l’ll e-mail them to make sure that everything is okay.  I think that we should have heard from them by now.  We have just a few more steps.  The consulate has to contact us, and we have to return a few forms to get the consular appointment, which usually takes a month or so.  I’m starting to get a little impatient.

The rest of this post is going to be a little political – sorry.

<begin political rant>

I heard from a friend this week who considers me a ultra conservative.  I don’t think of myself that way.  I think that I’m like most folks, really.  Maybe I’m not.  In any event, here’s the reply that I sent to my friend that describes my position on some things.

I don’t like Republicans and I don’t hate Democrats.  Most of the time, one can’t tell the difference between them anyway.
I do however lean in a conservative direction.

Conservatism means that I believe in a limited government – one that keeps to its constitutional responsibilities and refrains from using the “commerce clause” of the constitution to further insinuate its tentacles into our daily lives, sucking the freedom from us as surely and slowly as an anaconda constricts and suffocates its victims.  Where is the constitutional justification for a federal single-payer medical plan?  It’s just more power for the government over our lives.

I believe in the power of the market, and that it works best unencumbered by government interference.  Antitrust, product safety, and  intelligent regulation of financial markets have proven necessary, and I have no quarrel with them.  However, every single law passed that attempts to thwart the desires of the marketplace always has unintended consequences – often the cure is worse than the disease.  For this reason, such laws have to be carefully drawn and examined closely.  Our government should not be in the business of picking winners or assigning losers to any endeavor.

I believe that the American military is an essential force for good and that no army or force in the world is its equal.  Much of the world is not as socially evolved as we are.  Many peoples still will only respect force and will see negotiation and concession as weakness.  Past Democratic administrations did not understand this, and have helped create the mess that we now have in the Middle East.  Contrast the treatment of the Ayatollah Khomeini by James Carter with the treatment of Mohammar Khadafy by Ronald Reagan.  Remember that Iran was once ruled by an ally, who President Carter abandoned because he didn’t approve of the human rights record of the Shah’s administration.  When we did not live up to our treaty obligations and let the administration of the Shah be overthrown by a small group of Islamic radicals (who showed their appreciation by taking our embassy personnel hostage and parading them around for over a year – an act of war) we were treated to the first Islamic State.  Uh, do you think that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights record is better or worse than the previous one?  Carter was a wuss, and he was bitch-slapped by the Islamic Republic that his bumbling helped into power.  Oh, and that Islamic Republic is now trying to get a nuke (again!) and has been financing terrorism all over the world, working to spread Islamic redicalism. The 4000 dead US soldiers in Iraq would still be alive today if Carter had any stones.  Dammit, the Israelis figured this out years ago.  They’re right.

Adam Smith wrote all anyone needs to know about economics – and he did it 250 years ago.  Every time that it’s been tried, cutting taxes has increased tax revenue to the government.  Every single time.  It worked when JFK did it, if worked when Reagan did it and it worked when GW Bush did it.  It is SO much better to grow the pie than to just give the government a bigger piece.  This is not a secret.  So why does ANYONE think that raising taxes (especially on capital gains) would help anyone?  Both of your Democratic candidates for President think so.  Personally, I believe that our needs would be best served by a flat tax without any deductions.  Taxes should be used for raising revenue, but our Congress has been using the tax code to reward their friends and campaign contributors forever, and will likely never give up the power to continue doing exactly that.  Liberals/Democrats think that the government should be even more involved in tinkering with the tax code.

I believe that we have the right to be left alone.  Government is a necessary evil, and not a good thing,  More government is always worse than less.  The government cannot solve our problems and has a long history of messing up everything that it touches.  It is run by spineless civil servants and the policy is set by the whore politicians that use our own money to buy our votes, acting like they are doing us a favor.  If Thomas Jefferson could see today’s Congress, he would puke.

I was taught that the purpose of our Constitution was to protect the people of the US from tyranny by LIMITING THE POWER OF THE GOVERNMENT.  Every phrase was carefully drawn and argued over – it means what it says.  We need to pay attention to it.  The second amendment was not added so farmers could protect themselves from bears, but so that the citizens of the states could protect themselves from tyranny.  Any other interpretation of that amendment is just wrong.

Over 40% of oil company stock is owned by mutual and pension funds – not individual millionaires or investment banks.  When a politician says that they are going after the oil companies, who do you think is going to get hurt?  The idiots that cheer this behavior deserve what they get.

Oh, and global warming/climate change is nothing but a plot to get more government control over everyone’s life.  The government will be in charge of everyone’s energy use – in the name of keeping our environment clean.  Carbon dioxide is a necessary gas in our ecosystem, and science has shown that warmer periods in our planet’s history PRECEDED the increases in atmospheric CO2 every time.  That’s right, warm temperatures cause CO2 increases, not the inverse.   There is no direct evidence that humans have altered our environment.  The worst pollution events that have ever happened to our ecosystem?  Volcanic eruptions.  Mother nature seems to deal with them just fine.  Our paltry human emissions are a joke compared to an active volcano.

John McCain, the supposed “leader” of the Republican Party has introduced global warming legislation that would create a cap-and-trade system, resulting in the same sort of market speculation that has bid up the price of crude oil and will result in industry paying money for pollution credits instead of investing money in pollution control technology.  Oh, if your electric company has to do that, who do you think will pay?  He may be a Republican, but he’s certainly not a conservative.

Well, an I a foaming-at-the-mouth ultra conservative?  I don’t think so…..

All for now – I need to check MSN to see if Monica is on….







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