Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Halloween

This is a picture of a friend of mine (and a reader of the snikk blog) dressed up for Halloween. Any guesses who this is supposed to be?   Chilly will post the answer later this weekend if not before.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Who Writes This Stuff?

I was looking at our sample ballot tonight and found this issue from next week's election:

"Shall Missouri law be amended to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes by creating the Missouri Quality Homecare Council to ensure the availability of quality home care services under the Medicaid program by recruiting, training, and stabilizing the home care workforce?"

This raises several questions:
1.  Does a no vote mean that all elderly and disabled Missourians can no longer live in their homes?  If a yes vote will allow this, it would seem that a no vote will require that they all be rounded up and taken somewhere.  Where will they go?
2.  It talks about "Missourians" with disabilities, but apparently applies to ALL elderly, regardless of where they live.  Why are we only concerned with disabled people who live in ths state, but all elderly worldwide?
3.  Does a yes vote ensure that all old and disabled people will continue to live independently in their homes?   The language would suggest that it would, but how can this be?  The ballot will also say "A 'yes' vote will amend Missouri law to enable the elderly and Missourians with disabilities to continue living independently in their homes...."  I guess that means that it will.
4.  By saying "continue", this implies that the affected people are currently living independently in their own homes.  What if they don't have homes?  What if they are not independent?  If they currently are living with other people, will they now have to live alone?
5.  How old does one have to be to be considered "elderly"?  
6.  How will "recruiting, training, and stabilizing the workforce" ensure that all such people get to stay in their homes?  The total cost is only an estimated $540,000, so that wouldn't pay for too many home health care salaries, even if they are underpaid.
7.  What if the independent people stop paying their rent/mortgage?  It would seem that this new law guarantee that they will be enabled to stay in their house could give them an argument that they get to stay regardless.

Obviously the people who wrote the language are for it, but if it was such a good idea, why didn't the legislature vote for it?  I think that I will have to vote against it on principle.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eight Things About Sarah Palin That Should Not Matter...And One That Should

Sarah Palin may be easy to make fun of, but it seems like most of the things people are saying about her are meaningless and overshadow the important things.  

1.  She spends $150,000 on clothes and has her personal hair dresser fly around with her.  (She is a middle class woman of modest net worth; what better way for Republicans to spend their money than making her look good; they are spending millions on negative ads that certainly aren't working.  If she would really wear dresses from "consignment stores in Anchorage" she would be described as frumpy and not having the right image to represent her country.  If the main qualification for VP is to have someone with lots of clothes and nice hair, Mitt Romney would have the job).

2.  She gives weird names to her kids.  (How can anyone voting for a Barack make fun of Track, Trig, or Piper?)

3.  She has an unmarried pregnant teenaged daughter.  (If embarrassing relatives was a disqualification, would anyone be up to the job?  Actually, W probably has had the fewest such embarrassments of anyone in recent history, and look how he turned out).

4.  The scandal with her brother-in-law's firing.  (There may be something here.  But, as Ken Starr demonstrated, if you spend enough time and money trying to dig up dirt, you can find it on anyone.  Plus, any discussion of scandal doesn't get very far before the whole Clinton thing comes back again).

5.  She voted for the Bridge to Nowhere before she opposed it.  (Good politicians will change their minds.  And we forgave John Kerry and Hillary for voting for the war before voting against it (well, on second thought, they both lost, so maybe not the best example)).

6.  She shoots wolves from airplanes.  (Sure, this is a disgusting form of hunting, but would it have anything to go with her ability to govern?)

7.  She didn't get a passport until the past few years.  (W. had only been out of the country three times before running for President, despite living in the border state of Texas, having a family vacation home in another border state of Maine, and being the child of an ambassador, VP, and President and he had enough foreign policy experience to be a great President.  OK, another bad example).

8.  McCain campaign aides call her a rouge diva for failing to listen to instructions about the way to conduct the campaign.  (What are they complaining about?  Isn't that the definition of a maverick?)

And now one thing that should matter:   She is absolutely unqualified to be next in line to be the leader of the country in chaotic economic times at a time of war should anything happen to the oldest man who would be elected President.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

McCain: I Can't Even Remember Who Likes Me

It must be tough for the writers of Saturday Night Live when the real people actually say things like this:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Obama or McCain: Who will be better for the economy?

With the stock market down another 5% today and a recession looming, it is a good time to look at the effects of the election on what will happen with the economy in the next four years. In an earlier post, I showed how the stock market nearly tripled under Bill Clinton, while, as of today, it is down nearly 15% under GW Bush. Some people have suggested that this is not a normal pattern, so I looked for some more data....since 1901, the stock market has increased an average 12.07% under Democratic presidents, while only 8.11% under Republicans. Industrial production has increased by an average 5.43% under Democrats, while only 2.04% under Republican leaders. And almost every Democratic president has been more successful at creating jobs than almost every Republican president, for as far back as statistics are available (and this chart doesn't even include the Herbert Hoover years, which would make it even more dramatic:

8.8%………….Democratic…….Roosevelt (pre-war)
2.6%…………..Democratic…….Roosevelt (wartime)
2.1% …………..Democratic…….Kennedy
0.4%…………..Republican…….Bush II
0.4%…………..Republican…….Bush I

So why is it that people think that Republicans are good for the economy?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Presidential Prospect, Puppies, and Pain

This weekend I went to the Obama rally under the Arch along with an estimated 100,000 others:
I got there late (not yet feeling the pain from a wisdom tooth removal that would affect me for the rest of the weekend) and was way off to the side, so this picture a very small part of an already blown up picture, which results in the poor quality of the picture---but at least I got to see him; I talked with other people who got there hours before me who said they watched most of it on the big screen TVs set up.  Later in the day I took these pictures of my neighbor's newly born Boston Terrier puppies, born just hours before I held the three of them in one hand.  

They were still a little camera shy, and the mom was a little protective, but I hope to get some better close-ups in a week or two. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin's Tax Return

Last week, Sarah Palin released her recent income tax returns.  While the media had a few little stories about how much she made, etc., looking at the returns themselves was more interesting. They looked, at first, like regular tax returns filled out by a middle class family not planning on releasing them to the world, but it also provided some interesting information about the family that McCain wants to be a heartbeat away from the White House.  

The Palins had their taxes done for $178 by H & R Block.  Their total income of $150,000 was mostly from her income running Alaska, but Todd earned $43,000 from his work at BP Exploration Alaska for his oilfield work.  Their taxable interest and dividends were too small to require itemization, suggesting that they don't have alot of savings outside of their home.

Sarah has tried to make a big deal of not only her extensive executive experience running Alaska and Wasilla, but also of her role owning small businesses.  The Palins, in fact, do own two "businesses" although they appear to be the work of Todd.  The first is his fishing "business" which he uses to get deductions for his trucks, boats, and fishing supplies.  His other, and more interesting, "business" was his Snow Machine Racing "business."  Although he earned $17,000 in income, presumably in winnings, he had $27,000 in expenses, allowing them to deduct $10,000 against the family's real income.  The expenses that he used for this tax break include depreciation on his Arctic Cat machine, fuel for the snowmobile, and his cell phone.  

As of result of these "businesses" the Palins also claimed a deduction for the portion of their $357,000, 3,600 square foot Wasilla home that was used exclusively for the business.  This deduction is generally used by people who operate businesses out of their home, but the Palins were not required to state how a part of their home was needed to compete in snowmobile races.  

The Palins also made an even $2,500 in charitable contributions to "various" charities (this was allowed since no single contribution was more than $250), and ,on the last day of the year they dropped off $825 worth of used clothes at the Wasilla Salvation Army.