08 November 2009
01 November 2009
Alex after a long, hard, laborious, and cold trip to Bridle Veil Falls...
Alex at the BYU 175 Ward's Halloween party...the married ward.
09 October 2009
23 August 2009
"Touch the sky/Come up in the spot, lookin' extra fly!"
20 August 2009
Okay, anyone that knows me (Mike) knows that I am passionate about this country and the preservation of her ideals. I am getting sicker and sicker of "politics as usual" and sincerely yearn for men and women that care less for power and more about the good of the nation. I, too, have become sick of political games and risky maneuvers to gain 'political victories.' We have seen far too many games in the last several years, and I am sick of them all. The current, controversial, health care 'reform' debates have stirred up storms...and the following article from Caroline Baum expresses some of my frustrations about politicians in general. Bottom line: they don't care about us, the regular citizens and residents of the nation. They are far too filled with contradictions, hypocrisy, and logical fallacies! Will the real, honest citizens please stand up?
(I know many of you read our blog to see pictures of Alex, but I'm going to 'bore' you with something that is important. If you don't like it, too bad; you need to pay closer attention to what's going on. The silent majority has more power than you realize...so speak up and get engaged in your nation!)
Aug. 19 (Bloomberg) -- When the political winds shift -- when a party is voted out of power or a policy is panned by the public -- Washington turns to its favorite pastime: the blame game.
And so it is with President Barack Obama, who tripped on his sprint to the health-care-reform finish line. Voters, it seems, want to understand a little more about what ObamaCare will mean for them, what it will do to the doctor-patient relationship, and what it will cost future generations in higher taxes and, yes, rationed supply.
Rather than examine the public’s concerns, the plans’ inconsistencies or the sheer irresponsibility of trying to ram something this big and complicated through Congress without a small-scale trial, the Obama administration is pointing fingers. Lots of them. Most of the targets are just plain silly.
1. Conservative groups
When liberal activists, including trade unions, Acorn and MoveOn.org, protested against anything and everything President George W. Bush said or did, it was called grassroots democracy.
When conservative groups encourage supporters to attend town hall meetings and make their sentiments known to their congressmen, it’s un-American, disruptive and the work of right- wing extremists.
Where was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, when President George W. Bush was being compared to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? She was a “fan of disrupters” in those days, as she told anti-war protesters at a January 2006 town hall meeting in San Francisco. Pelosi only developed a thin skin (too much plastic surgery?) when the Democrats took control of the executive and legislative branches of government.
The effort to blame right-wing groups is transparent. If my feedback on a recent column is indicative of the political persuasion and demographic distribution of the protesters, these are ordinary Americans energized by the debate, frustrated at not having a voice and motivated to exercise their right of free speech. Attempts to smear opponents and shut down debate are, well, un-American.
2. Insurance Companies
Garnering support for health-insurance reform by demonizing insurance companies is a cheap shot, albeit one that resonates with the public. After all, these are the faceless bureaucrats who deny or pay claims in a seemingly arbitrary manner and refuse or cancel coverage if you cost them too much money.
Facts are stubborn things, this White House is quick to remind us. And in this case, the facts don’t support the vilification.
If insurance companies were gouging the public, the evidence would show up in one of two places, according to Graef Crystal, a compensation expert in Santa Rosa, California, and occasional Bloomberg News columnist: excessive executive pay or excessive returns to shareholders.
His analysis of five major health insurers shows just the opposite: below-market pay and below-market shareholder returns.
“There’s no case here for undue enrichment of shareholders” or over-compensating CEOs, Crystal finds.
Health care needs a major overhaul, but that’s no reason to make scapegoats out of insurance companies.
3. The Media
I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard Obama point the finger at the media at his town hall meeting last week in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The president, defending the White House’s fishing expedition for “fishy” e-mailson health-insurance reform (suspended this week by popular demand), blamed the media for “distorting what’s taken place.”
Is this the same media that was in the pocket for candidate Obama and waltzed us through the honeymoon? If Bush had been as reliant on his teleprompter as Obama, or said “Cinco de Cuatro” when he meant “Cuatro de Mayo,” the press would have been all over him for being inept.
Sorry, Mr. President, you have no idea what it means for the media to distort what’s taken place. The long-gone Bush administration is getting more negative press than you are.
4. Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin, the recently retired governor of Alaska, 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate and Democrat’s favorite whipping boy (or girl), created a stir with a reference to death panels on Facebook. Palin said she didn’t want her parents or Down-Syndrome baby to “have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide” what kind of medical care should be allocated to these less productive members of society.
Blame the Democrats
This is the same Sarah Palin whose foreign policy experience was summed up during the campaign by her ability “to see Russia from land here in Alaska.” This is the same Sarah Palin credited with changing the terms of the debate? C’mon. That’s too laughable to address.
Besides, there’s a kernel of truth in what she said. Like all goods and services, medical care is a scarce resource that must be rationed. The only question is how: by the market (price) or by government mandate.
If government is doing the rationing, what exactly will bureaucrats use to determine who gets what care and who doesn’t?
Opposition to fast-track health-insurance reform is coming from Obama’s own party. Senator Kent Conrad, Democrat of North Dakota and one of six Finance Committee members involved in bipartisan negotiations, said on Fox News Sunday that the goal is to “get this right,” not meet some “specific timetable.”
He said the Senate lacks enough votes to pass a bill with a public option. “To continue to chase that rabbit, I think, is just a wasted effort.”
There’s always room for one more -- the Democrats -- on Obama’s blame-game list.
(Caroline Baum, author of “Just What I Said,” is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.)
To contact the writer of this column: Caroline Baum in New York firstname.lastname@example.org.
15 August 2009
09 August 2009
He just can't get enough of staring at the computer screen, especially when we show him pictures and videos of himself.
02 June 2009
...and now our little boy is learning how to use technology. He gets our old cellphones and says: "Dadadada..." and other things. It's adorable.
21 May 2009
Reminds me of two political science classes I had. One, Political Science 200 was a bear. I had weekly projects due and heavy amounts of research and preparation. I haven't worked that hard in a class throughout my entire education. I averaged three to four hours of sleep finishing up the projects...and ultimately got an A in the class. Two, Political Science 316, an interesting course about American political parties. I learned a great deal from the material and studied for nearly three weeks to prepare for the only exam. I worried about it and lost sleep over it...but the final took me 15 minutes and I only missed one question. Left the room happy with the A, but also disappointed and robbed by the ridiculously easy examination. My point is...both classes were fine...but only the one that stretched me ended up meaning something.
Which is why I think an impatient person can successfully calm him or herself when children slip up. Why? Currently I serve in a position where I'm confronted with young adults' unwise choices and must then participate in counseling them about the consequences and seeing that they receive the assistance necessary to learn from their mistakes and change their lives. It's not an easy thing to witness. It's an edifying experience but also a draining one. I'm repeatedly reminded how precious children are, no matter the age, and how merciful God is to his children. I see how these young adults are given opportunities to correct their lives, and not one has ever left those meetings with a 'easy slate.' It's all hard. It hurts like repentance should...but worth it. Now I'm not equating child-rearing with repentance; I'm merely reflecting on God's love for his children. I feel it in those experiences as I do with caring for Alex.
He's at the stage where he talks back and tries lashing out in frustration, pinching or hitting. He's still a little angel through and through but just in that transitional phase where he just won't listen. No matter. Sometimes I want to scream and run outside, yanking out chunks of hair and ramming my head into brick. But then I calm down and realize how precious that kid is, especially when he disarms me by smiling right after he's naughty. Point is...I've learned and am still learning that children are precious, no matter what their age. Consequently, are there really very many bad kids? I think that number is significantly smaller than I've ever realized. Hmmm...