I Can See Clearly Now

Did you see this bit of news this week?

The Obama administration on Tuesday will launch its most ambitious effort at reducing mortgage balances for homeowners who owe more than their homes are worth.

Officials say between 500,000 and 1.5 million so-called underwater loans could be modified through the program, the first initiative to target homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments but are at risk of default because they have no equity in their homes. Some experts are warning, however, that the same knots that tied up prior initiatives could do so again.

Yes, you read that correctly. More and more Americans who did not require (nor ask for) help from the federal government to lower their house payments are getting kicked to the curb, President Obama proposes yet another measure to help keep people who cannot afford their homes, in them.

So let’s see if I understand this correctly.

A family (like mine) who works hard, pays all their bills, applies for a refinance without government assistance, and does everything “right”, is served notice that the bank is calling the note and foreclosing on their home.

Yet, a broker helped some moron buy a house he couldn’t afford so the government takes steps (earlier this year) to “modify” that loan into a lower interest rate, and now, since the value of all homes are still falling, they are going to work with him to write off the amount he is underwater?

Now I know what I did wrong. I never begged the government to pay all my bills and to take care of me. That’s why we’re losing our house. It’s all so clear now.

The Catastrophe Continues

When I first looked at this live feed from the Gulf of Mexico, the total amount of oil spilled was 22 million gallons. That was on June 1, 2010.

 

I really don’t care who is to blame for the initial explosion. I really don’t care who is to blame for the initial slow response. What I really care about now, is that BP (who owns the rig that exploded) and our government (which allowed the explosion to occur because they dropped the ball on inspections and enforcement) are doing nothing to stop the leak.

Shut your mouths, stop pointing fingers, get to work. JUST.STOP.THE.LEAK.

There’s Plenty Of Blame To Go Around

Isn’t it funny how fingers keep pointing, but nothing is being done? The following quote comes from an article in the New York Times titled, “Documents Show Early Worries About Safety of Rig“.

Internal documents from BP show that there were serious problems and safety concerns with the Deepwater Horizon rig far earlier than those the company described to Congress last week.

The problems involved the well casing and the blowout preventer, which are considered critical pieces in the chain of events that led to the disaster on the rig.

The documents show that in March, after several weeks of problems on the rig, BP was struggling with a loss of “well control.” And as far back as 11 months ago, it was concerned about the well casing and the blowout preventer.

Did BP know there were safety issues? The answer to that question is obvious. But what isn’t so obvious, is what did the government know about these safety concerns.

Oh sure, members of Congress are probably clueless about what was really going on with that oil rig, but how often were government inspectors on that rig? How often did government regulators give the all clear so oil could be pumped through that faulty well casing and the blowout preventer?

I’m not saying BP isn’t at fault. I just find it rather coincidental, and ironic, that the well casing and the blowout preventer failed and caused an explosion of that magnitude just hours after government inspectors left the rig.

As we sit back and watch the live feed of oil spewing from the ocean floor and wait for someone to come up with a solution that works, we need to remember there is plenty of blame to go around. If we’re going to point fingers at BP because of their internal documents, then we better make sure we save a few fingers for the government regulators and inspectors who knew exactly what was going on.

Planning, Parties, Payments, & Planning

Just a few quick thoughts tonight, as I am still working on a couple projects.

Thought #1

Have you marked your calendar yet?

The Douglas County TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party announced Friday that it’s brewing up another mass rally for June 4 to protest big taxes and big government.

“We’re hard at work organizing the next big event,” Maureen Miller, group spokesperson, said Friday in a news release. “We plan more great local speakers, an awesome keynote celebrity and lots of fun surprises in the works.”

The group has not determined the location of the June 4 TEA Party but listed the time on its Web site as 6-9 p.m.

Organizers have also announced they will hold what they call an “Instant TEA” on April 15, federal tax filing deadline day, at the intersection of Chapel Hill and Timber Ridge roads from 5:30-7 p.m.

Read more at the Douglas County Tea Party website, developed and maintained by yours truly.

Thought #2

It seems Scary Harry Reid doesn’t really know how to throw a party. It seems only 100 supporters showed up for his campaign kickoff.

Wow. 100?!? With his poll numbers in the tank the way they are, I am surprised that many showed up.

Thought #3

The bills have to be paid somehow. This is just one (real) possibility, so keep your eyes on Washington and be ready for that fight too.

Even before the bill became law, many economists — and this writer — argued that only one tax could raise the giant revenues needed to escape a ruinous rise in debt: a European-style Value-Added Tax, or VAT. “The healthcare bill makes the logical case for the VAT stronger, because it’s not clear that Congress will make the difficult spending reductions the bill mandates,” says William Gale, an economist with the Brookings Institution. “The Fiscal Commission will give significant support for a VAT,” says Brian Riedl of the conservative Heritage Foundation.

Thought #4

I want to do a much more in-depth article one day about dryer sheets, but for now I am going to post some links which address the toxic danger of those nice little static cling eliminators.

The following chemicals are found in most dryer sheets:

  • ALPHA-TERPINEOL- Causes CNS (Central Nervous System) disorders and is highly irritating to mucus membranes.
  • BENZYL ACETATE- Carcinogenic (linked to pancreatic cancer).
  • BENZYL ALCOHOL- Causes CNS disorders. It is irritating to the upper respiratory tract” causing “headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drop in blood pressure, CNS depression, and death in severe cases due to respiratory failure.
  • CAMPHOR- Causes CNS disorders.
  • CHLOROFORM- Toxic. It is an anesthetic and carcinogenic.
  • ETHYL ACETATE- Narcotic. This product is on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste list. Irritating to the eyes and respiratory tract.
  • LINALOOL- Narcotic. Causes DNS disorder, respiratory disturbances.
  • PENTANE-”Danger-Harmful if inhaled; extremely flammable.

Dryer sheets are added when you dry your clothes. The chemicals listed above are spread on your clothes before you pull them out of the dryer, fold them, and put them away. Nothing else touches them (or rinses the chemicals out) until after you have worn them.

As I said, I need to do more research on this, but for now, you might want to find an alternative to using something laced with any known harmful chemicals.

— Posted with Stuffr! —

Raising Cain In Douglas County

Tea Party #8Today was a day I will never forget. I’ve participated in political rallies in my time, but none of them were as energized or as honest as this one. If you haven’t attended a TEA Party, or you avoided them because of what you hear on the news, you have truly been missing out.

I didn’t know what to expect when I got there, but having been to the Clinton Nature Preserve in the past, at least I knew where I was going. As I turned off the interstate onto Post Road, there was no traffic. I thought it was a bit odd, but then I figured because it was Labor Day there might not be a high turnout. As I turned onto Ephesus Church Road there still wasn’t any traffic.

I double checked the date on my iPhone to make sure I was in the right place on the right day (at the right time). I turned into the Clinton Nature Preserve and I found the traffic. Lots of it. There were people everywhere. I guess I just hit a lull in the traffic that was still on the road, because there were already hundreds of people milling about.

If you’ve ever been to the Preserve you know they have several small meadows on the right hand side of the main road, and every one of those meadows was filled with cars before the event began. Organizers estimate 1,000 people showed up based on the number of people who registered when they walked into the event. I know for a fact that for every person who registered at least two people walked right by the registration table. I watched at least two dozen people walk by while I was registering.

Tea Party #1As I made my way down to toward the stage, I was stunned by the number of people I saw. The turnout was much greater than I thought it would be on a holiday, but then, like I said before I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I got there.

I walked around taking candid shots of the crowd as I looked for a place to “set up camp”. I didn’t bring a lawn chair or a blanket (as was recommended) because I figured I would be standing to take photos most of the time anyway. Okay, I admit, I was lazy. I didn’t want to carry a chair or blanket with me while I milled about in the crowd.

I found an excellent vantage point right up against a tree. I could lean against the tree for support, and there was a stump to the side of the tree I could stand on to get the height I needed to get clear shots over the top of people’s heads.

Tea Party #6The Christian Community Orchestra was playing music as participants filled into the park.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, the Orchestra played the National Anthem, and there were two elderly gentleman to my right side who were singing every word of the anthem and they sounded awesome.

I have never heard the National Anthem sung so beautifully. My first instinct was to grab the Kodak Zi6 for video, but thought better of the idea out of respect for the song, and the gentlemen who were proudly singing it.

Maureen Miller, the President of the Douglas County Republican Women’s Club, welcomed everyone to the TEA Party and Joel Aaron served as Master of Ceremonies.

Tea Party #19The first speaker of the evening was Retired Lt. Col. Beth Martinez who spoke about health care reform. While the current health care reform bill was a topic of discussion it is not solely the reason for the TEA Party movement.

The TEA parties are held to protect our country and the Constitution upon which it was founded. They’re about educating people about what’s going on in Washington, then standing up for what’s right. Protecting our freedoms and stopping big government in its tracks.

Brian Ott took some time out of his day to talk to the crowd about our Second Amendment Rights and then Bert Blood, a local small business owner, took the stage to talk about government, taxes, and small business.

Tea Party #24With the exception of Herman Cain, Bert was my favorite speaker of the day. He greeted us all by saying, “Good Evening all of you Right Wing Domestic Terrorists”. I saw Bert as I was pulling into the parking lot, as he drove up in his Smart car. Those things are small, and Bert is not a small guy.

After listening to him speak tonight, I think he’s the perfect candidate for “Small Business Czar”, but then again I don’t think he’s radical enough to serve President Obama. He was just an ordinary citizen talking about the things that matter to me, another ordinary citizen.

Tea Party #27It wasn’t long before Herman Cain took the stage and the crowd went wild. He spoke about making the world a better place for others and the problems with the current administration. He reflected on issues important to him (and all of us) and what we could do as individuals, and as a group, to make our voices heard.

The Douglas County TEA Party was one of the most inspiring events I have attended in my lifetime. There was no shouting (well, other than by the speakers trying to make up for the weak public address system), there was no yelling, and there was no doubt that the TEA Party movement is growing.

I took over 200 photos at the park, but uploaded the best 33 photos to my Flickr account. You can see them all there in the Douglas County TEA Party set. Maureen Miller and all of the organizers of the event did an outstanding job and should be commended for the work they put into organizing it.

I met several different people at the event and a few of them knew who I was once I mentioned this blog. That was more stunning than seeing the number of people who showed up for some afternoon TEA. I personally think there were closer to 1,500 people at the park because it took well over 35 minutes just to get out of the parking lot.

When I got home I set the DVR to record FOX5 News because I saw them interviewing people at the event. I was quite disappointed when I saw their coverage of the event. The following is the video that appeared during the 10pm broadcast.

Apparently, members of the Douglas County Democratic Party aren’t the only ones filled with “misconfusion” as their Chairman James Quarterman calls it.

FOX5 took the time to point out that TEA Party participants were protesting the health care bill and “other issues” and that speakers focused on individual freedoms and personal responsibility, but completely missed the mark when they interviewed James Quarterman but not one single speaker from the TEA Party.

Sure, they interviewed a couple of the participants sitting in the crowd, but they didn’t take the time to even get a sound bite from Herman Cain (who just happens to carry a lot more credibility than Mr. Misconfusion). To make matters worse, the reporter appears to question whether the “strong message” sent by the protesters would “translate” when Congress takes up the health care debate again.

For the record, the TEA Party was about personal freedoms, the Constitution of the United States, limited government, and holding politicians accountable for their actions. Sure, the current health care reform bill was a topic of discussion, but the media, especially FOX5 in this case, is trying to deflect attention from the TEA Party movement by shifting focus toward the health care reform debate.

While I was visiting the FOX5 website, I noticed a second video on their site. Take a look.

In the first video, it was a TEA Party, in this video it’s a “so-called” TEA Party.

In the first video, the people on stage were “speakers”, in this video they are now “conservative activists”.

In the first video there was one Democrat visible at the event. In this video, there was also one Democrat visible, but this time “a handful of Democrats” said health care reform is needed now. Where were the others and why did they edit out Mr. Quarterman’s “misconfusion” line?

In the first video, Debbie Clark is a retired nurse who came to the event with friends from church, while in this video she’s just a retired nurse who disagrees. I guess, according to FOX5, church doesn’t matter either.

It’s no wonder that some people across the United States have an unfavorable view of the TEA parties. It’s no wonder people get the wrong ideas.

It’s not that the mainstream media isn’t covering the events, it’s the fact they avoid the real story behind the TEA parties and then they edit their coverage to sanitize it for public consumption.

I had a great time today and most of my friends (liberals and conservatives alike) would have understood the message delivered at the Douglas County TEA Party. Shame on you FOX5. Maybe next time you can stay in the studio, save gas, and write your own story. After watching these two videos I’m convinced you’re not going to report the real facts correctly anyway.