Gallup’s Top 10 and Bottom 10 Well-being States

A Gallup article, released a couple of days ago, showed the results of their annual well-being statistics.  I find it interesting that seven of the top ten states in well-being were states that ended up “blue” on election day this past November.  It’s also interesting that eight of the bottom ten states in well-being were states that ended up “red” on election day.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.

Top 10 States gallup.com

Bottom 10 States gallup.com

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Sequester the Molester

For the past few months, the United States federal government has been dealing with a very annoying issue:  The Sequester.  It may seem a bit complicated to the casual political observer, so I’ll try to sum it up as simply as I am able:

In 2011 the United States needed to raise the debt ceiling (borrow more money) to pay for its bills.  The Budget Control Act of 2011 was signed.  It stated that the debt ceiling could only be raised if congress made enough cuts in the budget to offset the borrowing.  If congress failed to act, the debt ceiling would still be raised.  However, there would be automatic spending cuts in all areas of government spending, to offset the borrowing.  This is called sequestration.

There were two purposes for this: 1- To force to congress to act, and 2- To do it in a objective manner in which no one really gets exactly what they want.

The first sequestration was supposed to take effect at the beginning of January. Congress, in effect, punted- passing a bill that would delay the sequestration for another couple of months.  If congress can’t get a spending deal made soon, the sequestration (cuts) will take effect March, 1st.

“Why can’t congress just get their act together?” you may be asking yourself.

So here is a letter I plan on writing to the federal government:

“Dear Government,

Please cut spending….

As long as it’s not education.  I’m a teacher.  Plus I’ll be getting a master’s soon and I don’t want the interest on my my student loans to go up.

Also, please don’t make cuts to the Department of Defense or Homeland Security or Border Patrol or any defense program.  We can’t risk weakening the country’s defense.  I also have family members with careers in the military.  I don’t want them to struggle either.

Oh, and don’t make cuts in Medicare either.  My 90 year old grandmother depends on it, and some of my family members soon will.  I really don’t want life to be hard on them either.

And please don’t cut Medicaid.  I have had several friends around my young age who have used or are using Medicaid to help provide insurance for themselves or their children.  You can’t take that away from them.

Please don’t make cuts to the Labor Department either.  I’d had to rely on unemployment once, and so have many good-willed people who come across tough times.  We can’t punish them and their families for being fired or laid off.

Don’t make cuts to the Department of Veterans Affairs either.  This country has many citizens who are retired soldiers and depend upon the V.A. for medical treatment.

Don’t cut Agriculture because No Farms=No Food.

Don’t cut Energy Programs because I’m tired of paying high gas prices.

Don’t cut Disaster Aid because I can’t imagine what I’d do if a natural disaster happened to me.

Don’t cut Infrastructure either because I love the Interstate System.  I can get anywhere in the U.S. very quickly because of it.

And finally, don’t cut Social Security because I want to retire some day and I want Social Security to be there to help insure that I have a comfortable life after retirement.

Feel free to cut anything else besides that.

Sincerely,

Todd

P.S.  Don’t raise my taxes either.  Make somebody else pay for comforts in life, or just cut programs for people less-fortunate than me.

That leaves you with about 3% of government spending to play with.  Have fun!”

Fact:  We all want deficit reduction… AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T AFFECT US OR THOSE WE CARE ABOUT.

We will continue to “punt the ball” as long as we are not willing to accept actions made by congress that will make our lives a little less comfortable.  That means losing funding for a program that provides insurance for your children, or helps you retire, or protects our country better, or maybe even employs you.  It means paying a little more in taxes, or not getting that awesome tax credit you get.  It means sacrifice and compromise.

But if we can’t figure out we’ve always got Sequester the Molester forever hanging over us, whispering into our ears, “It will be easier if you just don’t fight it.”

Sequester the Molester

Fast Reaction to the Presidential Debate

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The results are in:  Kinda boring opening debate.

We’ve just wrapped up the first of 2 presidential debates (next week’s debate is between the VPs).  To be honest I was a little underwhelmed.  The first 20 minutes sounded like a couple of accountants talking about boring accountant-ish blah.  Be honest, were you not thinking to yourself at some point, “This is kind of boring”?

Romney will likely benefit the most in the polls from this debate- he definitely was the candidate on the offensive tonight.

Obama looked like he was just putting in the time- punch in, punch out.  He didn’t pull out any of the big guns like the 47%, Bain Capital, killing of bin Laden (mostly because this was a debate about the economy), or Massachusetts’s poor jobs record under Romney.

I’m guessing the Obama campaign strategy for this was to not appear argumentative, just sound smart, don’t make any gaffes, save the fireworks for last, and fly under the radar because the last presidential debate will be the most important one.

It will be interesting to see how much of a hit, if there is one, that Obama will take in the polls.  After Romney shot himself in the foot with the 47% video, Obama was starting to pull away a tiny bit in the battleground states that matter most like Ohio, Florida, and Wisconsin.

Seems like a rather dangerous strategy for the Obama campaign. However, it could provide him an advantage going into the last debate, given that most campaigns try to lower their candidates’ expectations going into debates in order to make viewers “pleasantly surprised” if the “underdog” performs well.

Or it could just be that Obama made a mistake by not taking Mitt Romney and this debate too seriously, because he didn’t really look like he was giving his best effort out there.

So here’s too hoping that the last debate between Romney and Obama will be a little more spirited.  Either way, I’m probably more excited to see the snappy Paul Ryan and loose-cannon Joe Biden slug it out next week.

Fast Reaction to Utah/Utah State

I have so many thoughts in my head.  I don’t know if I can catalyze them in my brain and turn them into coherent words, sentences, and paragraphs on this blog.  But heck, I’m gonna try anyway.

Many of you just watched the Utah/Utah State football game.  First of all:

Congratulations to Utah State.  Coach Andersen has done an amazing job up in Logan, and Chuckie Keeton is a BAMF.

Second:

That TD pass from Hays to Murphy in OT that was called back by a pass interference call was bogus.  And the very last play of the game should have been called pass interference.  With that being said:

Utah still deserved to lose that game…for many reasons.  One of them is that Utah State wanted it more.  Utah looked uninterested.  In this post, I’m going to list a few things Utah needs to straightened out now:

First, Wynn’s career in Utah needs to be over, and John Hays needs to be that solid backup he’s supposed to be.  Travis Wilson is the future of this program.  Hays sure looked plucky out there tonight, but we’ve seen this movie before and we know how it turned out last year.

Gary Andersen had the guts to start some 2 star recruit freshman last year at QB and look how that has turned out.  Travis Wilson is an Elite 11 quarterback.  Let the kid play.  It’s a tough decision, but Whit needs to make it.  I’m not sure he has the guts to do it.

Brian Johnson has to stop being so conservative and predictable in his play calling.  John White is the man, but he’s not Stephen Jackson.  He’s not 6’4, 240 lbs.  So stop running him up the gut on every run play!  There’s a difference between keeping a defense honest and just plain being stupid.

John White is like 5’10, 185 lbs.  He’s fast and has great open field moves.   Let the boy run some sweeps.  Pitch it out to him every once in a while!  He shouldn’t run the ball between the tackles any more than 30% of all run plays.  And Kelvin York should be used for that anyway.

In the pass game, I’m not sure if it’s Wynn’s fault, or Johnson’s fault.  But Utah has to throw the ball 15+ yards down the field much earlier and much more often in the game.  Utah’s offensive game plan for nearly the first two quarters was as follows:  White-Run up the middle, Wynn-Short pass… and repeat.

They shouldn’t wait to be down two touchdowns before they start throwing the ball farther than the 1st down marker.  That is the #1 reason John White couldn’t get anything going tonight.

After all is said and done.  This game doesn’t really matter for Utah’s postseason.  But it’s definitely puts Utah in a crossroads.  Either go down the same mediocre path they went down last year with a backup QB who came to Utah from Southwestern Nebraska Tech because the school dropped their football program, or try something new… that’s 6’7… with a cannon arm.

Obama: You didn’t build that! (In Context)

Last Friday, President Obama appeared to be taking a shot at business owners in a campaign speech.  The line that got the President in trouble was this: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”  The speech was aimed at garnering support for the President’s proposal that those whose personal incomes surpass $250,000 should pay more in taxes.

At first glance, this looks like the President really is discrediting our countries great entrepreneurs- DEFINITELY a PR nightmare for the President.

The question is however, what is the “that” that Obama is referring to in his statement.  Again I turn to Politifact for the full context of the speech.  I won’t put the entire speech on here, but I think it’s important to take a look at the paragraph surrounding the controversial line”

“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Now that it’s in context, you can see the President wasn’t talking about companies people build; but rather roads and bridges, the unbelievable American system, and the internet, etc.

The point that he’s trying to get across, albeit very poorly, is that if you have been successful, you have had help along the way.  Someone else built the internet, roads, bridges, education system, etc. – all services that enable business owners along the way toward success.

President Obama goes on further to say this:

“The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative…”

Kind of contradictory to how Obama’s opponents are painting this speech – like he gives no credit to the entrepreneur for his or her own “initiative”.  However, Obama does give them credit.

A friend of mine, (a conservative one, by the way), had this to say about the controversy:

This kind of selective editing in politics happens far too often from both the left and the right.  The only thing that’s worse than selective editing, however, is spreading it.

Was Obama really attacking entrepreneurs and business owners?  No.  Did he have a terrible placement of words and create a gaffe for himself?  Absolutely.

So when you see the post on Facebook, etc.  Just remember what the great President Lincoln has to say:

Tea Party Hypocrisy

Isn’t the Tea Party controlled GOP supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility?  Then why do they keep wasting time and tax-payer dollars trying to repeal Obamacare?

Recently, the Tea Party driven U.S. House of Representatives voted to repeal Obamacare.  This is the 33rd time in 18 months that they have voted to repeal at least a part of the law or de-fund it.  That is almost twice a month.

Republicans call it a “symbolical vote”, which to me sounds more like “a waste of time”.  The reasons for continuing to press this issue is purely political- the representatives in the House have to be able to go to their constituents in November and say, “Hey look, I tried”.

We, the tax payers, are paying members of Congress to work; not to continually make silly “symbolical votes”, just to score some political points.  The House has voted almost twice per month since 2010 to ruin Obamacare.  Think about all of those tax dollars wasted arguing the same points, making the same speeches and tallying the same votes again and again.

Look, whether you agree with Obamacare or not, you’d have to be blindly biased to agree with the House voting repeatedly to scrap the law.  Even when the House passes it, they know there’s not a chance that the Senate will pass it.  And even if the Senate did, do they really expect Obama would sign a bill repealing it?

And what about Mitt Romney’s and the GOP’s promise to “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare?  Seems to me that the GOP is stuck on “Repeal” mode and lacking a little in the “Replace” department.  What plans have Mitt Romney or other GOP leaders suggest to replace Obamacare?  I honestly would like to know.  Anybody?  It’s really easy to be the party of “NO”, but it’s not that easy coming up with solutions that work.

Getting Obamacare Straight

Just a quick thought today about Obamacare 🙂

So lets get this straight:

Barack Obama passes health care reform, which requires citizens to buy insurance, which was the Heritage Foundation’s idea in 1989, was supported within the past 20 years by President George H.W. Bush, Orrin Hatch, Bob Bennett, Newt Gingrich, Bob Dole, and Mitt Romney

And now that he passed it, they’re all against it?