President Bush came to the Puget Sound area today to do some fundraising for Congressman Dave Reichert (most famous for, as Sheriff, heading the investigation that eventually caught the Green River Killer.) All well and good, and something generally expected of a President.
I do have one complaint, though.
There are around 4,000 troops at Ft. Lewis-the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division-who will depart in a couple of weeks for that unit's second trip to Iraq. You'd think the President could have taken a bit of time to come down and say hello.
Maybe have a little chat with a certain 1LT while he was here, too.
Sometime yesterday, apparently, one of my neighbors set up a wireless network in their house-a network which, just barely, reaches into my house. I say just barely because it is apparently enough to make my wireless equipped laptop attempt to get a handle on their wireless signal instead of my own, but not strong enough that I can acquire a network address and use their network. Their network is open; mine is secure, and the signal from mine is a lot stronger, yet for some reason, whenever my computer is shutdown or goes into sleep mode, when it is started back up, it tries to grab onto the other network.
It's irritating to have to tell it to enter my own net every time. Anyone know any fixes for this?
Oh, I'm using Win XP if it matters.
Seattle Times, Actually Making Sense
At first, I thought my eyes had to be deceiving me when I saw the headline on this editorial, then read the first line:
In our opinion, the right rate of death tax is zero. They actually called it the death tax, instead of the Left's preferred estate tax, and then, they actually backed it up with a great argument that the Left chooses to ignore:
Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., proposed 15 percent, which is the rate of federal income tax on long-term capital gains. A family company, with its assets in land, buildings, machines, trucks, and maybe patents or a brand name, would struggle to produce 15 percent of its net worth in cash, all at once, for payment to the government. ... A 30-percent rate is too much. It might be all right for an heir inheriting a pot full of stocks and bonds, but not for the new owners of a privately held business. An ordinary business simply does not have 30 percent of its assets floating unencumbered, as an easily extractable surplus. Good on the Times for acknowledging the argument that thr Right has been making all along-that the Death Tax mostly hits family businesses, not folks like Paris Hilton. Even more points for calling Washington's Senators, Murray and Cantwell, on the carpet for their votes against ending the tax.
Where Do We Get Such Men?
Surgeon, 75, ready for duty in Afghanistan
Having returned from Iraq in December, Cecil County resident Col. William Bernhard is packing his bags again and heading for the war-torn country.I can think of a certain 1LT who could learn a lesson from this doctor. A lesson in DUTY, in fulfilling obligations to your fellow soldiers.
Col. Bernhard knows that each mission could be his last, but he serves so younger men and women won't have to. He volunteered to come out of retirement for his last mission because he heard there was a shortage of physicians. "I know what I'm doing because I've done it so many times before, and I figure while I'm in good enough physical shape to go and support these young soldiers, I might as well," he said. "You can't just send them over there without proper medical care. And me going over there allows some other younger soldier to stay home." His wife sounds like a great woman, too:
Col. Bernhard's wife, M.P., misses her husband while he is on lengthy jaunts across the world, she understands his calling. "I honestly believe he was meant to be a soldier first, a doctor second," she said.I'll be happy just tobe able to walk to the mailbox when I'm 75. Dang.
Working Up a Questionaire
Primary elections will soon be upon us in some states, so I'm working up a questionaire for those who want the job of representing me in the House and Senate. Given that I'm coming from the Barry Goldwater Memorial Annex to the Big Republican Tent, with a small 'l' libertarian gun nut bent, this is mostly geared for would-be GOP candidates, but out of fairness I plan to send it to my incumbent Democrat Congressman, Rep Adam Smith, and Senator Maria Cantwell, both of whom are running for reelection, as well as any candidate the local Libertarian Party may nominate.
I've now tentatively identified candidates for Senate and the House in my district from the two major parties. So I plan on sending it out soon. I think it will have to go out dead tree style to the incumbents, since the Congressional email system doesn't lend itself to long messages like this.
What I have so far. Note that the order the items are listed does not necessarily reflect how I personally prioritize these items. It's just how they came into my head.
-Do you agree with John Marshall, that "The power to tax is the power to destroy?"
-Do you support permanently repealing the Estate Tax, enacted to fund World War I?
-Do you agree that the current Income Tax code is a mess of special interest giveaways, social engineering, and outright socialism which is a massive drag on the economic productivity of America, in addition to the $200+ billion poured down the black hole of the tax compliance industry?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation repealing of the Sixteenth Amendment and passage of the FairTax Act?
-If your answer to the above is 'No,' would you support or sponsor legislation replacing the current income tax structure with a low rate flat tax, such as many formerly communist Eastern European nations have enacted in order to spur economic growth?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation ending withholding on all forms on federal taxes on income-including Social Security and Medicare-so that all taxpayers know exactly how much government costs them? Would you further support making all taxes due on the first Monday in November, the day before Election Day, so that Americans have the cost of government in mind when they go to the ballot box?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation ending all forms of corporate income tax, since businesses simply pass their tax costs on to consumers (read: taxpayers) in the form of higher taxes?
-Do you believe that Social Security is a government run pyramid scheme that is doomed to collapse under the weight of future obligations?
-If elected, would you support any form of Social Security reform which allowed working Americans to opt out and keep their Social Security taxes in exchange for assuming responsibility for their own retirement?
-If not, how would you reform Social Security in order to prevent it's future collapse? Be as specific as possible.
The Right to Keep and Bear Arms
-Do you believe that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to keep and bear arms?
-Do you further believe that the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own firearms that are equal in capability to those used by our nation's military?
-If elected, which, if any, of the following laws would you support repealing, in whole or in part? If in part, which parts?
-the Hughes Amendment to the Firearms Owners Protection Act of 1986, which banned the sale of new new fully-automatic firearms to private citizens
-the Gun Control Act of 1968
-the National Firearms Act of 1934
-Do you believe that the first step in solving the illegal immigration problem is gaining control of the border, by whatever means necessary, to include building a wall?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation denying all federal funds to any state or local governments which bar their employees and law enforcement agents from enforcing federal immigration laws?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation allowing the Social Security Administration and the IRS to report suspicious Social Security Numbers/Taxpayer ID Numbers to ICE for investigation as possible immigration violations?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor the following proposed amendment to the Constitution:
1. Upon ratification of this Amendment, only persons born within the United States of parents legally residing within the United States, persons naturalized under the laws of Congress, and persons already declared citizens prior to the ratification of this Amendment, shall be citizens of the United States.
2. The rights, liberties, and protections of this Constitution shall only apply to citizens of the United States, and to aliens legally residing within the borders of the United States. None of the rights, liberties, or protections of this Constitution shall be construed to apply to aliens not legally residing within the United States.
3. The official language of the United States shall be English. All official functions of the United States, and every State and local government therein, shall take place in the English language. All citizens of the United States shall be required to learn the English language. All legal resident aliens shall, as a condition of their residence, be required to understand the English language, or else be required to attend educational classes on the English language during the duration of their residence.
4. The Congress shall have the power to implement and enforce sections 1, 2, and 3 of this Amendment. (Proposal courtesy of Gullyborg)
Equal Protection of the Laws
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation ending all federal racial and/or gender preference programs?
-If elected, would you support or sponsor legislation to deny federal funding to all state and local government agencies which have racial and/or gender preference programs?
-Do you believe that the powers of the federal government are limited to those specifically enumerated in the Constutition?
-Do you believe that the federal government in its current form extends beyond the limits defined by the Constitution?
-Name any specific programs, agencies, and laws that you believe are beyond the scope of the limited powers granted to the federal government by the Constitution.
-Do you pledge that you will not use earmarks to waste taxpayer money on pork projects?
-Do you believe the McCain-Feingold act is Constitutional? Why or why not? "Because the Supreme Court said it is" is not an acceptable answer.
-Do you agree that the best way to get money out of politics is to get the government out of people's money?
Supreme Court Nominees
-Which Federal Appeals Court judge would you most like to see elevated to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy? Why?
-Which, if any, law professors would you most like to see nominated to the Supreme Court in the event of a vacancy? Why?
-What is your understanding of the threat posed to our security and our way of life by global Islamofascism, and what, on a global scale, do you think our country should be doing to counter that threat?
-What do you believe should be our nation's priorities of effort for the next 5 years in the War Against Global Islamofascism?
-Do you support continued development of a national ballistic missile defense system?
Yes, there are a lot of Yes/No questions. That's the only way I've seen to get most politicians to give a straight answer.
Areas I haven't addressed, in part because the proper wording eludes me: agriculture subsidies, exit strategies for both the War on (Some) Drugs and the War on Poverty, and free trade, to name a few.
This list is, as noted, by no means final. Suggestions for additional questions, as well as suggestions on how to better word the questions I've asked, are greatly appreciated.