Bunker Mulligan "Let us endeavor so to live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry." ~Mark Twain

April 29, 2005

Texas Trivia Time

Filed under: General — Bunker @ 5:31 am

Cowtown Pattie has posted a list of ten Texas Trivia questions. She will provide answers on Saturday.

I’m embarrassed I know only three for sure, although there are a couple more I think I know.

April 28, 2005

New England Republican

Filed under: Society-Culture — Bunker @ 5:08 pm

Often, on this site as well, the comment is better than the post. I won’t spoil it for you. And it is worth the short trip.

Dr. Tom Coburn

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 3:55 pm

I like this guy.

April 27, 2005

Democratic Talking Points

Filed under: Politics — Bunker @ 7:49 am

Neal Boortz had a good piece in his notes for yesterday. I meant to write about it earlier, but got busy. It addressed the comment heard often that the Democrats have no agenda. Boortz disagrees.

The Democrats most certain DO have an agenda. It’s just not an agenda that they are anxious to promote. The Democratic agenda can be succinctly stated in just a few words: Make Americans ever more dependent on government, and thus dependent on Democrats.

As he states, that is the war on individuality.

Then, I saw a link Glenn had, and followed it to JustOneMinute. Again, that took me to a press release from the Democratic Caucus. Senator Reid has decided to make it clear:

Democrats have introduced bills that address America’s real challenges.

1. Women’s Health Care. “The Prevention First Act of 2005” will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and abortions by increasing funding for family planning and ending health insurance discrimination against women.

Health insurance discrimination? What does that mean–men will be forced to have Caesarian sections? All insurance is based on actuarial data. If you are a greater risk, you will pay more.

Family planning clinics are used by those who can’t afford anything else. That same demographic trends toward more and more single mothers with multiple children. Are we supposed to believe that more of the same will reverse that trend?

More regulation of insurance companies? That is certain to bring down rates!

2. Veterans’ Benefits. “The Retired Pay Restoration Act of 2005” will assist disabled veterans who, under current law, must choose to either receive their retirement pay or disability compensation.

Ah, trying to buy the military vote are we? Currently, a military retiree’s pay is reduced by the same amount he receives from the VA–money which is non-taxable. The gross pay is the same, but the net is higher due to lower taxes. Don’t be surprised if this contains a provision making all of the money taxable.

3. Fiscal Responsibility. Democrats will move to restore fiscal discipline to government spending and extend the pay-as-you-go requirement.

And the last time they did that was…? I seem to remember a Republican Congress (the first in 40 years) fighting the Democratic minority to pass a balanced budget. Clinton vetoed it twice before finally signing it, then took credit for balancing the budget.

Even then, the budget wasn’t really balanced. Social Security was used (as it had been for more than 30 years) as a loan vehicle to get there.

4. Relief at the Pump. Democrats plan to halt the diversion of oil from the markets to the strategic petroleum reserve. By releasing oil from the reserve through a swap program, the plan will bring down prices at the pump.

Actually, refining capacity has more to do with prices than the per-barrel cost. Does their legislation include measures which will make it easier to build refineries? We haven’t built one in the US since 1976. Bush has advocated building more refineries and easing the bureaucracy in approving nuclear plants. Will the Democratic Caucus support those things?

5. Education. Democrats have a bill that will: strengthen head start and child care programs, improve elementary and secondary education, provide a roadmap for first generation and low-income college students, provide college tuition relief for students and their families, address the need for math, science and special education teachers, and make college affordable for all students.

Any time a politician says “strengthen”, he means “spend more money.” Make the tuition non-taxable if you want to help families, including K-12, if you really want to “strengthen” education. Define “low-income” as there are already plenty of government grants available to most. How about NOT linking a parent’s income to the grant threshhold if a student lives on their own and has their own income?

And stay out of elementary and secondary education. Haven’t you already done enough?

6. Jobs. Democrats will work in support of legislation that guarantees overtime pay for workers and sets a fair minimum wage.

Let’s see. If I work overtime, I get paid for that overtime. What do they mean by their guarantee? Define a “fair” minimum wage, and the reason for that number. And explain the economic and social impact in real terms, not hopes. There are plenty of examples to choose from.

7. Energy Markets. Democrats work to prevent Enron-style market manipulation of electricity.

Everything the Federal Government sticks its fingers into results in higher prices. Everything. Regulation adds cost, often at the rate of about 400%. “Manipulation” is most often playing the futures market. If they care to end that the results will be far worse than they can imagine.

The use of “Enron” says this is purely political. They’ve managed to turn the Enron scandal into a Republican scandal. It wasn’t. All the shenanigans took place during the Clinton years and during the bubble economy. Ken Lay (you know, Dubya’s friend) spent several nights in Clinton’s Lincoln Bedroom. Even so, that doesn’t make Enron a Democratic scandal. And “manipulation” of the electricity market grew out of California legislators’ (politicians) gaming of the markets.

8. Corporate Taxation. Democrats make sure companies pay their fair share of taxes to the U.S. government instead of keeping profits overseas.

Right now US-based companies selling overseas pay income tax in the country where they sell, and here in the USA. If they move their offices overseas, they pay income tax only where product is sold–where income is earned–just like the companies of other countries. German comanies pay German income tax on money earned in Germany, and US taxes on money made in the US, but don’t pay German taxes on money earned in the US. Therefore, they have no incentive to relocate.

Change the tax laws and those companies will stay right here at home.

Also, consider that no corporation actually pays income tax. It is an expense. That cost is passed along just like every other expense. The consumer actually pays the corporate income tax. Personally, I don’t mind that because it is a consumption tax, just like the Fair Tax being proposed as a replacement for our current income tax system. Everyone pays those taxes, and those who spend more are taxed more. But if you want those corporate income taxes, it would be best to change the tax laws so that they only pay for goods and services here, not in Europe.

9. Standing with our troops. Democrats believe that putting America’s security first means standing up for our troops and their families.

Like they’ve done for the last three years–“Bring ’em all home!”

“Abusing power is not what the American people sent us to Washington to do. We need to address real priorities instead — fight for relief at the gas pump, stronger schools and lower health care costs for America’s families,” said Senator Reid.


Filed under: General — Bunker @ 5:49 am

Sarah found a story about a man who says, “I punched Saddam in the mouth.”

BusinessBlog 101

Filed under: Media — Bunker @ 5:45 am

David found that Business Week has discovered blogs–and likes them.

April 26, 2005

Convicted Felon Buys Gun

Filed under: Government — Bunker @ 5:37 pm

Bogey is interested in my opinion on this conclusion drawn by the US Supreme Court.

The basis of the suit was that Gary Small had been convicted of smuggling in Japan, and after release from prison there returned to the US–where he bought a pistol. In filling out the Federal paperwork for the purchase, he claimed not to have been convicted of a felony.

But today, the Supreme Court sided with Mr. Small, ruling 5 to 3 that the phrase “convicted in any court” applies only to convictions in the United States. “Congress ordinarily intends its statutes to have domestic, not extraterritorial, application,” Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for a majority that also included Justices John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O’Connor, David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

I agree. But I find it odd in this situation that O’Conner, Ginsburg, and Kennedy often cite foreign laws in their positions. Kennedy, this time, held to that sense of “world jurisdiction” along with two other justices deemed to be conservative. The majority argued the same thing I would have:

To include foreign convictions, the majority reasoned, would raise the possibility of tainting a person who had been caught up in a legal system lacking American standards of fairness.

Of course, that leaves open the screams that he might now commit a gun crime.

Well, when you come right down to it, nothing in the Constitution gives Congress the power to restrict gun ownership whatsoever, not even for convicted felons.

This, my friends, is a perfect example of getting the Federales involved in your life in some way, with consequences you might never have considered. The anti-gun folks would love to see all rights to gun ownership revoked. The true dyed-in-the-wool gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment would agree with this ruling by the court.

In between are those faint of heart who want to see certain people not allowed to own guns.

Actually, the right “to keep and bear arms” means I don’t even need a concealed-carry permit to “bear arms.” But that kind of law is “tolerated” by those who will carry a gun themselves, but believe certain citizens really don’t have the same rights. I don’t have a concealed-carry permit.

Bogey, did that shock you?

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