Archive for November, 2002

November 26, 2002

SayUncle vs. The Light Nazi

I have a few pet names for my lovely wife, such as sweetie and honey. I also refer to her, at least weekly, as the light nazi. My wife has this superpower to detect wasted electricity almost instantaneously. For example, if I leave a light on and exit the room, she immediately hones in on the room using her bizarre extrasensory capabilities (seriously, the Department of Homeland Security could probably use her to detect unusual electrical fluctuations). Upon her discovery that I am heating the neighborhood or letting the flies out, Im in for a quick reminder to turn out lights and shut doors.

One problem I have with her ability is the fanatical zeal in which she enforces her duties as the sworn protector of home electrical efficiency. Another example: when I am in our office and have the lights on then decide Id like a refreshing beverage, by the time I return from the kitchen the lights are off in the office. Also, in her zeal, she has turned lights off on me while Im still in the room reading. She seems so obsessed with saving that quarter that she occasionally fails to notice that someone is actually benefiting from the use of the electricity in question.

My wife apparently has been saving up all this electricity usage for the holidays. Every year, me and the wife also get into an argument over Christmas decorations. The argument stems from the fact she wants to put the decorations up right after Labor Day. Whereas, I prefer them to be put up about the second week of December. This past weekend, satisfied that she had saved up enough electricity to warrant decorating for the holidays, yours truly wound up doing a lot of work in preparation for the upcoming holidays. Until this past week, the wife and I were the only ones living in our subdivision. We just got a new neighbor so I suppose the new neighbor was the cause of the tackiness that is holiday decorations. Since, other than us, hell be the only one to see them. Unless of course people start driving down a new subdivision to look at houses in the dark.

On Saturday, the wife and I pulled all the holiday knickknacks out of the attic and started decorating the house. I argued about it less this year than ever. I basically said honey, its not even Thanksgiving yet? and she replied with but Thanksgiving is late this year. I shrugged and said Oh. Learned helplessness has finally set in. I can just agree and do it quicker than I can disagree, argue, and wind up doing it anyway. Ah, the holiday spirit.

We put out our Frosty the Snowman salt and pepper shakers, put up our Christmas tree, put a Nativity scene on the mantle, and put out all the other stuff from the eight boxes that were in our attic labeled Christmas. This took up half our day.

Sunday rolls around, and I find out the wife had bought about nine boxes of icicle lights. Yours truly was then taken to task to take said nine boxes of lights (at 300 lights per box) and trim the house with them. A friend came by to help. Fortunately for me, my friend had done this before. I hadnt.

Your average SayUncle is about six feet, one inch tall and weighs about 170 pounds. Your average SayUncle is also lethargic on the weekends. And your average SayUncles natural habitat is some primitive, oblong, leather bedding (commonly referred to as a couch) where the SayUncle stalks its prey, the elusive Sam Adams and the only slightly less-elusive rum and Coke. Your average SayUncle is also poorly equipped for climbing steep inclines, which is a required skill when hanging 2,700 icicle lights. The reason the average SayUncle is so poorly equipped for climbing is because the largely sedentary SayUncle often catches several Sam Adams or rum and Cokes per day on the weekends, in between naps of course. Mind you, the only known SayUncle in existence hasnt lived in its natural habitat since it wed the SayAuntie, who is hell bent on destroying the SayUncles natural habitat.

The friend shows up. We put the ladder up to the house and he climbs up. Then I climb up. I realize in about five seconds that my boots are poorly equipped for walking on the roof. You need something that allows you to bend your ankles. It was also at this point that I realized Id never really used a ladder to climb on a roof before. And that I didnt really know how to get from the roof to the ladder, and subsequently to the ground, safely. After my friends instruction, I figured the whole ladder thing out, climbed down, and put on some sneakers. Then its back up the ladder to discover my friend had already placed one box of lights. Then, I cut myself on the gutters. I refuse to climb down and am content to finish the job while bleeding on the hangers. We then develop a system in which I place the hangers and my friend inserts the icicle lights into the hangers. About three hours later (when its dark, but were working with lights so . . ) were done.

I call the wife. The friend calls his wife. And we all stand around outside looking out over our icicle lights and the lighted garland on the porch. My wife looks me lovingly in the eyes and smiles, shes happy. I look at her and smile. The whole time thinking that we will waste more electricity on these Christmas lights this year than I will waste by leaving lights on for the rest of my life. Also, I hope our only neighbor appreciates the holiday display because I dont think anyone else is going to be driving by our subdivision to look at our lights. I put my arm around my wife and smile again because I know that I’m bleeding on her holiday sweater.

With the light nazi appeased, the SayUncle was allowed briefly to return to his natural habitat before bedtime.

Happy holidays!

Goddamn Hippies

This is damn funny!

November 25, 2002

Death and Taxes

William Burton has a good piece on the way he thinks taxes ought to be. Itís interesting reading and does detail some of the complexities and inequities in the current tax system. He details a five step plan here. I have some reservations about his ideas but think he may be onto something. My reservations are:

1) All income treated the same, whether it came through labor, through investments, or even through inheritance.

Excluding or capping tax limits on certain items serves the purpose of encouraging some types of behavior. For example, municipal and governmental bonds are typically excluded from adjusted gross income to encourage people to invest in their government. Capping capital gains also encourages people to invest for the long term. In my opinion, death taxes are a load of shit. Someone who works and amasses a decent estate should die knowing that their hard work will ensure that their children (or other beneficiaries) will be taken care of in perpetuity. You should not spend the sum total of your life working for the government to take what it wants from your estate before youíre even cold.

2) A personal exemption from taxes for all income to well above the poverty line.

The poverty line is difficult to define (one definition is that if you spend 1/3 of your income on food, then youíre below the poverty line, or a fat ass). I think defining the poverty line would be the first step but otherwise I do like this idea.

3) No other exemptions or deductions for anything other than charitable contributions.

Again, see 1). Exemptions and deductions are designed to encourage behavior. You get a deduction for student loan interest, which encourages some to go to school. I would also suggest that charitable contributions count as tax credits to encourage contributions to charities. Also, remove the caps of contributions. For individuals, you can give up to 50% of your income and claim it on taxes. For corporations itís about 10 Ė 15 %. Up the corporate max to encourage corporations to give to charities.

4) A steeply progressive tax code, with brackets starting at 5% for income just above the personal exemption, going up at 5% intervals from there. I’d probably cap the brackets at 45% . . .

These brackets seem kind of arbitrary but I see Mr. Burtonís points. The current tax rates are just plain goofy. However, steeply is what I take issue with. Weíve all heard the argument that something like 1% of people pays 60% of taxes or something ridiculous. I find this to be a bit silly. However, defining the rates would be tough.

5) Corporations and LLCs would be subject to taxation as if they were people, same rates and everything. If income was distributed as dividends, it would be taxable at the individuals rate but the corporation wouldn’t have to pay taxes on that portion of income. Stock owned by overseas investors would still be subject to taxation in America and so would income earned in America by overseas corporations.

I like his idea of removing the double taxation of dividends and throw stocks in while youíre at it. Taxing overseas stuff gets into several complex issues and discourages overseas investments, which I donít think is a particularly good idea. I read in Maxim that in FY2000, PepsiCo paid $0 in cash for taxes. So I think some care needs to be taken to eliminate corporate loopholes.

What would SayUncle do? A couple of ideas Iíve come up with center around the following goals:

a) Avoiding manipulation of the tax code Ė accountants make a fortune doing tax work. I forgot the exact number but several billions are spent by individuals and corporations in tax preparation fees (which are deductible) each year. Iím an accountant so this would likely affect me at some point but I think it should be a goal to simplify the system so that people donít have so many loopholes available.

b) Allow individuals options in which they can engage in certain desired activities (charitable contributions, saving, house buying) that will reduce their tax liabilities.

c) Keeping it simple.

Idea 1:

Federal sales tax. It immediately puts 15 Ė 39% cash money back into the pockets of laborers by not doing income withholding. Certain things should be exempted to encourage people to engage in certain activities and certain things should be exempted because they are necessities. Exempt food, clothing (unless extravagant), home purchases, automobile purchases, and other items to encourage and manipulate the economy. In addition, this plan encourages people to save. Something the current tax structure fails to do (short of 401(k)s and IRAs). If you save money, you donít pay taxes on it. If things need to be discouraged, adjust the taxable rates for them (like tobacco, gasoline, etc.). Maybe even allow tax credits for home buying and charitable contributions. Since our measure of economic success (GNP) is essentially the amount of activity, the governmentís revenue would be based on the activity of the economy which would encourage the government to encourage economic growth. Also, this would almost eliminate manipulation of the tax code.

Idea 2:

Flat tax rate. I read recently where if everyone paid 18% (not adjusted) of income as taxes, that would fulfill the tax needs of the government. This results in less manipulation of the system. Itís definitely Ďfair.í However, I think the percentage would need to be evaluated in great detail. Currently, various deductions and certain excludable income allow people to adjust their actual rates by engaging in certain activities. Flat tax would eliminate that. The only way a flat tax could encourage individuals to engage in certain activities would be deductions for necessities and desired behavior. The sheer volume of counting food receipts would make this task cumbersome. But it is possible.

Idea 3:

We need to pass a law that mandates that all Senators, Representatives, and other elected officials are required by law to do their own fucking tax returns. Iím sure if these folks had to spend time figuring out all the complexities in the tax code and its 100,000+ pages on their own, theyíd probably simplify the tax rules.

And thatís all I got to say about that!

November 22, 2002

So, you got that puppy anyway?

Another follow-up on the dog stuff that has been going on at SKBís site here and here, and my tirade here. I really think one sign of a responsible pet owner and responsible breeder is that they attempt to talk you out of getting the dog. If you still want one after everyone has told you why you shouldnít, then obviously that dictates youíd be more caring with respect to our four-legged friends. Following are some tips I have for socializing that new pup (In SKBís comments section he started with some advice and I figure Iíd take a queue from him since I am apparently out of other stuff to talk about). I should point out I used to train police dogs but the following advice is not of the attack, tracking or obedience kind. Itís just general stuff. If you want specifics on the latter, there are thousands of websites.

Crate train your pooch! Some folks say itís cruel, theyíre idiots. You train your dog in such a way that he likes his crate. You teach him that it is his little place for himself. You condition him to enjoy it. Donít throw your pooch into a crate and lock him in because then he will hate it. When you first get your pup, always play with him near the crate. Play with his toys near the crate and occasionally toss the toy (or a tasty treat) into the crate and praise him lavishly each time he goes in there to get it. He will learn to go in there on his own. But donít start shutting that crate door yet! Keep encouraging him to go in there. Eventually, heíll get the idea and will enjoy it on his own. After heís used to it, lock the door for short periods of time (10 minutes or so) then open the door and praise him. Heíll catch on quickly and will likely enjoy his own little condo. Once he realizes itís his, he wonít mess in it. Be wary of crate size. Get a crate that gives your pooch enough space to sleep and turn around but not much more. If itís too big, heíll crap on one end and sleep on the other. If you get a pup that will grow and donít want to buy two crates (one when heís small and one when heís big), buy a big one and put a card board box in to take up some space.

Potty training starts immediately! And is the result of crate training. Every time your puppy has an accident in your house, itís your fault. Period. You either werenít watching him or you left him too long without an outdoor potty break. The only time you should scold pupster for piddling on your rug is if you actually catch him in the act. Never rub his nose in it after the fact. You should just give a firm ĎNo!í when caught in the act and pick your pooch up and take him outside. When he piddles or poos outside, praise him lavishly. Pups little bladders are only good for a couple hours tops. Take your pup outside every couple hours (even at night, so youíll have some sleepless nights) to ensure he gets the idea and praise him when he does his business outside. He will catch on. Again, donít rub the dogs nose in it. True story: I knew this guy when I worked with police dogs. He just got into it and hadnít really dealt with potty training. Heíd rub his dogís nose in it when he came home and found poop. The result: eventually, whenever the guy would get home the pup would run to his poop and stick his face in it. Then heíd come greet the owner. When pupster is unsupervised, put him in his crate. He wonít shit where he sleeps (if he does, he had to really bad because he was in there for too long). But when you return, immediately take him outside. When pupster is about 3 Ė 5 months old, heíll be able to hold his bladder longer.

Biting, chewing and mouthing! That cute pup has big, gnarly fangs. Ok, theyíre actually small, sharp teeth and they hurt. One school of thought is to discourage all pupsí attempts to touch their mouths to human flesh. Itís generally safer since you donít want to encourage your dog to bite people. However, I realize that dogs experience so much of their lives with their mouths and itís how they play. So, I teach my dogs bite control. They know they can nibble on me gently when playing. They learn the commands ĎEasyí and ĎNo bite.í Teach them ĎEasyí by giving them a treat while covering most of the treat in your hand so that they have to put their mouth on your hand to get it. If he bites hard, tell him ĎEasyí and withdraw the treat. Try again. Heíll figure out that when he gently tries to take the treat that he gets the treat. Only do this with puppies. Itís dangerous to try to teach this to a full grown dog who has no bite control. Also, whenever pupster bites too hard, yell Ďouchí sharply enough to scare him and immediately stop playing with him. He learns that hard biting means no play time. For chewing, buy the apple bitter spray and spray it on any thing you donít want eaten. This stuff really tastes bad (I know, I tried it . . I also shocked myself with a remote training collar, not gonna subject pupster to stuff I canít verify is safe.)

At about two months, start teaching your pup the four basics of obedience (or go to obedience classes): Sit, Stay, Come, and Heal. These commands can save his life. Take obedience classes or check out websites on how to do it yourself.

Socialize your dog! Dogs will be naturally protective of their families so you donít need to teach them to be mean. Take your dog to PetsMart, the park, and shopping center parking lots. If he makes a move toward someone, correct him. If people ask to pet him, let them. And praise him when he allows someone who is Ok to pet him. There is a danger in over-socializing pets. Some breeds are popular and people will steal your dog. If heís too people friendly, he may hop in some strangerís car. So donít over do it. Socialize your dog at the park with other dogs and have play dates with friendsí dogs. You donít want an animal that will attack other dogs on sight. Theyíre dangerous and will eventually get the police called on you. Praise pupster when he interacts with other dogs non-aggressively. However, allowing them to kill cats is perfectly acceptable (joking!).

Show the pup who is boss! Your dog thinks that your home is a pack. Every dog pack has a leader who is dominant. Your pup will eventually (unless you take steps) get to a point where he will try to assert his dominance over you. Heíll do this by humping your leg, nipping harder than usual to get you to say Ďouchí, or just pouncing on you. There are two schools of thought on this, both of which (in my opinion) work. One is to display regular dominance over your dog by rolling him on his back, placing your hand on his chest, and staring him in the eyes until he looks away. Once he looks away, let him up and praise him silly. This seems cruel, but thatís what dogs do when they fight for dominance. One dog holds the other down and it submits. Also note, donít do this violently. If you do this too harshly, your dog will let you know by pissing on you. Squirting urine during confrontations is a sign of submission, just like looking away. The other method (much more fun for you and your dog) is to start rubbing your pupís belly. Heíll eventually roll over and willingly submit to you. The former method typically works better for older dogs who are unwilling to accept that they arenít dominant. The latter works better with pups since youíre teaching them who is the boss from the start. Fixing your dog also curtails lots of these problems.

Get the dog used to you! When heís a pup, start playing with his feet. This will get him prepared for when youíre gonna trim his nails. Heíll get used to you touching them and it wonít be difficult to do when heís older. Try grabbing the feet of a 2 year old bulldog not conditioned to having folks touch his feet. Youíre in for trouble. Also, as a pup, take things from his mouth. Praise him when you take it and then give it back. This way heís used to the idea when he weighs 90 pounds. That way, when youíre trying to get the neighborís cat out of his mouth, heíll let you.

A tired dog is a happy dog! Exercise your pooch. If you jog, take the dog along when heís old enough. A dog in a crate all day has pent up energy. So, itís your job to help him tire himself out. Play tug with him, take him for a walk, and play fetch. Having another dog helps him get his energy out too.

Well, I figure thatís a good start for now.

Adieu!

November 20, 2002

Puppy Plights

South Knox Bubba has some wonderful reminders about responsible dog ownership. Of course, this post led to a debate about the AKC and registries in general. I understand that registries serve various tracking and logistical purposes and that they are used to promote breeds and standards for the breed. However, such standards donít always bode well for certain dogs.

Back in about April, the wife and I began our quest for a new addition (we already had one dog and felt he needed a playmate). So, we spent several months (in fact, we got our new addition in July) researching breeds and we wanted a dog with the following characteristics:

* Good health and long life (i.e., not disease prone to ensure we had a long-lasting relationship with our new pooch).

* Easily socialized with other dogs (some breedsí histories are in dog fighting which makes them naturally dog-aggressive).

* Good with kids (the wife and I have no kids, but weíve got several friends that do and they visit regularly. Plus the wife and I have 4 nieces and nephews who are toddlers and visit us quite often).

* Decent sized because I personally always feel like Iím gonna break small dogs when I play with them. And I donít like yappy dogs.

We researched at least every day for three months. The result was the wife wanted a boxer and I wanted an Alano. However, we both agreed that our second choice would be an American Bulldog. So, in the spirit of compromise, we got the Bulldog.

Some of the things we learned during this research was great but we also learned of the plight of the White Boxer. See, if you go to the AKC boxer site, they tell you that:

White markings should be of such distribution as to enhance the dog’s appearance, but may not exceed one-third of the entire coat.

Unfortunately for boxer pups, 20% or so will be born almost completely white. And apparently these pups are euthanized at birth. Think about it, how often have you seen a white boxer? Iíve never seen one in person (in dog?). But I know they exist. Because these pups arenít the desired Ďcolorí they donít get to live. There are several organizations that have taken up the worthy cause of the white boxer.

In fact, the wife called a breeder in reference to white boxers and I was there to listen. The conversation went like this (Iím not making this up):

Wife: Yes, I was calling about the boxer pups.
Breeder: What do you need to know?
Wife: I wanted to see if you had any white ones.
Breeder: We usually donít keep the white ones.
Wife: What do you mean?
Breeder: Well, theyíre not popular so we donít keep them.
Wife: So, what do you do with them?
Breeder: We get rid of them.
Wife: To good homes?
Breeder: Uhm
Wife: So, you kill them?
Breeder: click

The wife was very upset after this.

So, why do I blame the AKC? For developing the standard. All AKC registration means is that the dogís parents were registered or that the owner filled out some paperwork. Itís no guarantee as to the dogís health, temperament, or brain power. So this standard of color has led to the killing of puppies. And the AKC will register any dog regardless of the breeder. So, puppy mills crank out pooches. Backyard breeders are in it for the cash. Etc.

When we got our pooch, we got him from doing a web search and found a local breeder. I was happy when we arrived at their kennel and I saw the care they took of the dogs. Also, the breeder asked us lots of questions, like:

Where will you keep him?
You gonna crate train him?
Whatís your work schedule like?

Also, they told us after the fact that undesirable answers to the questions resulted in them not selling several of their pups to others. I respected that. Our breeders are not in it for the money. Theyíre in it because they love the breed and want to promote. By the way, American Bulldogs are not recognized by the AKC. To which I say Ďgood!í

The Alano and the American Bulldog (neither of which is recognized by the AKC) are bred for functionality and not appearance. Alanos are used to catch and hold cattle in Spain. An Alano catching a bull by the ear or nose is apparently safer for the cow, the farmers say, than using tranquilizers or ropes.

American Bulldogs do the same thing. They also catch pigs (and hold them, they donít kill them). There is also a competition for the breed that includes obedience, protection, sprint, hard hitting competition, weight pull, tug of war, hang time, and a 12 mile run.

Dogs bred for functionality and intelligence and not for appearance are, in my opinion, going to be superior and likely more free from various genetic and inbreeding defects.

So, give thought to your long time companions and donít go for dogs that are Ďregisteredí just because they are Ďregistered.í

November 19, 2002

Letter to Bush, Frist,and Thompson

I sent this:

The Fourth Amendment guarantees freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures. An organization such as Total Information Awareness would blatantly violate said amendment. I trust you would do your duty to protect the Constitution.

I like to be brief.

Bush responded pretty quickly with:

Thank you for emailing President Bush. Your ideas and comments are very
important to him.

For up-to-date information about the President and his policies, please check
the White House web site at www.whitehouse.gov.

Unfortunately, because of the large volume of email received, the President
cannot personally respond to each message. However, the White House staff
considers and reports citizen ideas and concerns.

Again, thank you for your email. Your interest in the work of President Bush
and his administration is appreciated.

Sincerely,
The White House Office of E-Correspondence
_______________________________________________

Please Note:

If the subject of your email was a request for a Presidential greeting, please
note that all greeting requests must be submitted in writing to the following
address:

The White House
Attn: Greetings Office
Room 39
Washington, D.C. 20502-0039

What a nice young man, that Bush guy.

Those Whacky Reporters

An interesting article in which a reporter is apparently shocked at the lawful purchase of a rifle at a gun show. It amazes me how little people understand gun laws. For example, I’ve had conversations with folks about:

Yes, you can purchase assault rifles, even automatic ones if you’re willing to pay $200 and wait 90 or so days.
No, you don’t have to notify authorities when you as a citizen sell your firearm to another citizen.
Yes, you can actually carry a firearm in your car in the state of Tennessee. It’s not illegal to go armed. It’s illegal to have the intent to be armed. Thus, when Joe Officer pulls you over and finds your firearm, and you say ‘I’m on my way to the range’ or ‘I just bought it’ then you’re just transporting it. But hey, get a permit. It’s easy.
Etc.

The public (and the media) has several misconceptions about gun laws and it baffles my mind. You’d think people would research this crap or something.

November 13, 2002

SayUncle News Brief Ė Rich Little Says ďI was just funninĒ

Funny man and Ďundisputed master of mimicryí Rich Little, famous for his 47 year stint on Hollywood Squares, was in the midst of making a stellar comeback. This comeback was short-lived due to his managerís prompting him to ďgo ahead and do Osama.Ē Little did Little know that his manager was actually an Al Qaeda operative bent on instilling fear into the hearts of the infidels by leaking Littleís practice sessions to the Al Jazeera Television Network.

Said one US Official: ĎWow, that was pretty good. He really had me going for a minute there.í

November 11, 2002

It’s Veterans’ Day

Every Veterans’ Day, I call up my dad and thank him, tell him I appreciate what he has done for his country, and that I love him. He always downplays the phone call and tells me he appreciates me calling and that he loves me, and he does this in a modest and calm tone. I respect him for that and hope that if it ever came down to it that I could do what he did. Dadís never been a talker, particularly about his wartime days. But heís seen a lot Iím sure heíd rather not have seen.

Now go call, email, or tell the veterans you know how much you appreciate them. Itís these guys that make me not want to give up on my country.

The World and the US

This past weekend, I spoke with a military friend who returned from Afghanistan. It was enlightening. What I learned from this guy is kind of amazing but Iím not quite certain of its absolute validity. Basically, he alleged that the Ďslap on the wristí the UN was giving the US with regard to Iraq and even Afghanistan was because the UN was awestruck. Apparently, our military was so efficient and effective that the US, to paraphrase my friend, Ďscared the ever-loving shit out of the rest of the worldí during the Afghanistan thing. Apparently, US military technology is so far advanced compared to even our European allies that we basically frightened them and they are worried about the sheer power of the US. Itís believable to me but whether itís completely true or not, I have no clue. But definitely worth sharing.

November 08, 2002

SayUncle Vs. LeanLeft

Iíve been spending too much time over at the LeanLeft comments section. I donít know, maybe being a reformed Republican I just have natural tendency to point out flaws in the leftís logic. Or maybe because I like poking things with a stick. Or maybe itís because the fine people over at LeanLeft are a little too far left for my taste and they fall into to Ďconservatives are evilí mindset. Or maybe itís because Iím bored.

Iíd like them to know that itís not personal but that I enjoy a good mental tussle. And I decided long ago that intelligent people can disagree and have a tendency to argue. Itís all in good clean, fun and I respect the guys over there. Except for Ras_Nesta from the DemocraticUnderground, since he called me a greedy asshole. But I am conservative after all and must be the root of all thatís evil. And if you canít argue, then insult.

I do agree with a great deal said over there with respect to social issues but where the source of disagreement comes is with respect to fiscal matters. Heck, Iíd be a card carrying member of the ACLU if theyíd change their Second Amendment stance.

So go check out LeanLeft for some well-thought leftward driven political commentary. Theyíve made me think twice about a number of things and for that I respect Kevin and company.

November 07, 2002

What the Republicans need to do:

Well, the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy will now have the most momentum ever. The Democratic Party will try to portray the Republicans and their control as evil, corrupt, greedy, and in the hip pocket of corporate America. But remember, the Democrats have been doing that all along and we see where it got them.

I have reservations about the Republicans now. Itís their time to shit or get off the pot. Itís the first time theyíve had control of the house, senate, and White House in over 50 years. Theyíve got some proving to do and I hope they can pull it off.

The following are some things that I think they need to do:

First, ease up on the Clinton bashing. This doesnít lend to their credibility. I do think some things are the fault of Clinton but it just angers so many people when you point that out to them. For example, donít blame the economy on Clinton. State the facts, that the market was overvalued due to the dot com craze and people finally woke up and the market hit the shitter.

Second, pass meaningful tax relief for the middle classes. If they pass it for the poor, it doesnít matter because the poor pay no taxes but it makes the Republicans look good. If they pass tax breaks for the wealthy (who arguably need it since they pay more than their share of taxes), theyíre falling into the hands of the Democrats. They need tax breaks that affect middle class folks like me.

Third, start cutting government spending, pork, and bullshit programs & subsidies. Well, this is a pipe dream but I threw it out there. The should consult the Pig Book and take a hatchet to the upcoming budgets.

Fourth, at least act like their participating in some bipartisan reform. Whether the mean it nor not, the perception makes them look less mean (since the Democrats major argument is that Republicans are just mean; but the Republican argument is typically that Democrats are stupid).

Fifth, I think gun control perceptions may have had a hand in the election results this time, since 9/11 made security the concern of the people. The GOP should stick to their guns (horrible pun intended) that the Justice Department consider Amendment #2 an individual right.

Sixth, clean up the fucking INS. My god, is that a disgrace. And thwart illegal immigration. Iím all for people immigrating to this country so long as they do it legally.

Seventh, stick to their war on terror. It is most likely the cause that rallied their support, in my opinion.

I guess now we see why Iím not a politician!

November 06, 2002

Tennessee Blogosphere is Eerily Silent

With the election results known, the Tennessee Blogosphere is sort of quiet. Except of course for LeanLeft and Shots Across the Bow. SKB made a cryptic comment about filibustering. William Burton is MIA. And my brief comments were of an ĎI told you soí nature.

My impressions:

The Republicans didnít really win as much as the Democrats lost. The Democrats (since 9/11) neutered themselves by not being vocal enough or in the case of the war on terror not ever actually developing a position on the issue.

Sadly, they had enough to work with. They could have made a big, giant stink about the 2000 election, but didnít really. They could have made a big fuss about the economy, but they merely squeaked. They could have actually developed an identifiable stance on the war on terror, they whimpered.

This is the first time in 50 years that the GOP has controlled the legislative and executive branches. Paul Harvey tells us that 50 federal judgeships are also up for consideration. I do like the idea of an increase in conservative judges however.

Poor Hilleary, every Republican won but him. Which is good.

Bonus Slap on the Wrist for LeanLeft:

He says: Bush has essentially been handed a walk for the first two years of his presidency.

Handed a walk? I think the man worked hard to get his people elected, campaigning until the last minute. I also imagine that 9/11 was no walk in the park and he handled it appropriately. The war on terror was not handed to him. He fought his non-stance-taking Democratic opponents and still got his way. He also had to deal with corporate corruption and collapse and he attempted to do so. My pal over at LeanLeft seems to think that Dubya is some sort of idiot savant and that things just fall into his lap. I disagree. I think Dubya is socially awkward but is an intelligent man. Heís not the boy-prodigy nepotistic buffoon the lefties would have us believe he is.

I think the next two years will be a pivotal point for our country and that finally weíve got the right people in office to deal with it. However, if Republican control proves to be an abysmal mistake, everyone can tell me ĎI told you so.í And rest assured that if that is the case, I wonít support them in the future.

Adieu!

SayUncle Bats 1000

Coolio. Everyone and everything I voted for won. I guess I’m just a majority kind of guy. I’m still uncertain how to feel about it. I’ve historically never really voted for Democrats and Bredesen better not let me down or it will be a while before I vote for another one. I feel a letter to him coming on. Guess I need to find his email address.

I’m convinced East Tennessee is the reason Bredesen won. Historically, East has gone largely Republican. I suppose Hilleary lost due to the following:

* He never really took a stand on anything and only focused his campaign on ‘why you shouldn’t vote for Bredesen.’

* His campaign targeted rural demographics and Tennessee is actually becoming more urban.

* His association with Sundquist haunted him.

* And heís a spineless wanker.

Iím also particularly happy that #2 didnít pass. I understand that people are upset that bars are only fined $50 for serving to minors but the solution is to adjust the amount for inflation, not remove the limit or the trial by jury part. This couldíve allowed our State to assess $100,000 fines on people violating sign ordinances for Godís sake! Anyway, it made me happy.

Adieu!

November 05, 2002

Vote damnit!!

If you don’t, then don’t bitch about politics.

November 04, 2002

Punish the deed, not the breed!

I watched a show on the Discovery Channel (maybe Animal Planet, TLC, or any other of those channels owned by Discovery) this past weekend entitled Dangerous Breeds. The premise for the show was the dog mauling case in San Francisco. The dogs that mauled the lesbian to death were Canary Dogs, and since the death, (unsurprisingly) these dogs have had a surge in popularity (much like I suspect Bushmaster rifles will). There, of course, was a group of soccer-moms advocating banning this breed. Also, the show spoke of several towns in the US in which specific breeds have been banned. For example, in Baltimore there is a ban (from about 1998) on owning Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. Since the ban, the show stated that over 4,500 family pets had been put to death at the hands of the animal control officer. The animal control officer (an elected official) was interviewed and actually said he opposed the law. But the law is the law.

I have a problem with this. The cause of almost every attack by a dog can be traced back to irresponsible owners. In fact, there was evidence showing that the owners of the Canary Dogs in SF encouraged their dogs to be aggressive towards people. The solution is not Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). A bad owner can turn any dog into an aggressive animal. The issue is not the breed but (like gun ownership) a personal responsibility problem. In fact, hereís a list of dog breeds most likely to bite (per the CDC): Rottweilers, German shepherds, huskies, Alaskan malamutes, Doberman pinschers, chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards and Akitas.

I have an American Bulldog. Iíve read recently (lost the link sorry) that there is no instance reported of this breed biting anyone. But this fine breed is banned in parts of Ohio because it resembles a Pit Bull (actually, I joke that they are a Pit Bull and a half. The American Bulldog usually weighs between 90 Ė 120 pounds and the Pit Bull usually weighs between 30 Ė 55 pounds).

My dog (who is still a pup) is being trained everyday to be people friendly. We socialize him with people, other dogs, and kids. We take him to the park, PetsMart, and walking through the neighborhood. He is an intimidating dog (right now he looks like a Pit Bull) but is as friendly as can be with anyone. Just donít try to hop the fence in our yard and youíll be okay.

Simply, society should punish the deed and not the breed. People are responsible when dogs attack. They have either poorly trained the dog, mistreated it, or have let it run loose unsupervised. No matter how much I trust my pooches, I will not let them run loose. They stay in the yard (fenced) or are on a leash with me when they leave the house. To support responsible pet ownership, look at this site and scroll to the bottom for contact info.

I suppose that once our society moves to rid all citizens of personal responsibility, we will all sit around talking about when we had guns, large dogs, and Battlestar Galactica figures that shoot plastic missiles. The whole time wishing we had some lawn darts to play with. Bah!

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

Uncle Pays the Bills

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