Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don’t enforce the law or else!

So the other day I was working on a Ponzi scheme that has been operating across state lines when a Provo police officer tried to arrest me. "Not so fast," I exclaimed, "I am breaking a federal law not a state law, you have no right to arrest me." So he apologized for his mistake and let me continue breaking the federal law that he has no power to enforce. I am even considering filing a discrimination complaint with the Provo Police Department because that officer unfairly targeted me because of my skin color; I'm going to make him pay for his audacity to try and arrest me for breaking the law just because I'm a Scandinavian American, we have been persecuted enough.

On that note, Arizona just passed a law essentially saying if you are in the country illegally you will be arrested, jailed, and fined. What a shock, it is illegal to be an illegal alien. Now everyone is throwing a fit saying this law is unconstitutional and it will lead to racial profiling and racism. There are calls to boycott the state of Arizona, the New York governor is urging the MLB to move the All Star game this year out of Arizona, companies are cancelling corporate retreats previously planned in Arizona, and of course Hollywood has jumped on the "hate Arizona" bandwagon. My favorite thing I've read though was an article about illegal immigrants in Arizona who are leaving the state because they don't want to worry about the new law. The funny thing about the article was the people leaving was viewed as a bad thing. I thought that is what the law is going for, to get rid of illegal aliens.

Anyway, I have no problem with people coming to America if they are law abiding people. The problem arises with drug dealers, terrorists, and freeloaders coming across the borders. On a side note, I don't think the third category is that big of a problem, I am more concerned with the millions of freeloaders who are already here.

I am surprised a law like this hasn't been passed sooner. What does Washington expect Arizona to do? The state is being overrun by drug dealers and other illegals and the federal government has all but turned a blind eye to the problem. The issue could be solved very easily, make it a felony to hire illegal aliens. If there are no jobs then people won't come, or at least they will come legally.

Now I don't know how hard it is to get a migrant workers VISA and I'm sure it is pretty difficult; I am all for the process of coming to America being revised to make it more feasible for the poor to comply with the rules and come to this land of opportunity. Perhaps instead of spending billions of dollars on a fence that will never actually be built, and if by some chance it were built would never be that effective. Why don't we spend just millions on revamping the process of coming here and opening more offices in border cities allowing honest people to come to this country. If there aren't thousands coming across, perhaps we can then focus on catching the hundreds coming across the border who actually pose a threat to national security.

Anyway, I would like to hear your thoughts on this hot topic in society today. Feel free to post comments, whether for or against.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A lot on my mind

There has been a lot on my mind recently (as I'm sure you already guessed based on the title) and I've decided I need to just blog about it in a less than perfect blog rather than keep putting it off because I'm worried I wouldn't do the topics justice.

Issue number 1. Health Care Overhaul

I am vehemently opposed to this bill and it bothers me that there was essentially nothing I could do to stop it. I'm also bothered that popular culture has decided that anyone against it is some right-wing nut job who only cares about keeping "the white man" in power and therefore has to oppose anything the black president does just because he's black. People assume if you are for the new plan you are therefore a very giving person, if you are against it you are greedy and would rather keep your new boat and nice luxury car rather than give to charity and help the needy. Who is the more giving person, the one who wants the government to take care of everyone or the person who would rather keep that money from the government and give it directly to the poor. I could say more about this but I won't. I am bothered that one of the main arguments in defense of all the corruption, bribes, pork, and back-room deals needed to pass the bill was, "well Republicans would have done the same thing." Well then that would be wrong too, maybe their mothers' let them get away with saying, "well he started it" or, "he was doing it too" but mine never did because they are bad excuses. Don't automatically lump me together with everything the Republican party ever did, just because someone from that party did it doesn't mean I would have done it too. I thought it wasn't politically correct to stereotyping. That's another thing that really annoys me but I won't go into it now.

There are some good things in this bill, or I should say I know of some good things that will come from this bill. A couple of them are some of my extended family will be able to get insurance now and people won't get kicked off of insurance once they become sick. But there are so many things that I feel are going to be no fun. One of the big things mentioned as a good thing coming from the bill is that insurance companies won't be able to set life time limits on benefits, well what if I don't want to pay for that coverage? Too bad for me because insurance companies are no longer allowed to charge different people different rates. Imagine if everyone in the country had to pay the same car insurance premiums, what kind of uproar would there be coming from the lower classes (and rightfully so) for having to pay much higher premiums to cover all the sports cars, reckless driving, expensive upgrades, etc. etc. Well, now I will have to pay higher insurance costs because someone else chooses to smoke two packs a day, eat fast food three times a day, and never exercise and will be visiting the doctor once a month, getting a gastric bipass surgery in a couple years, going to the emergency room for the common cold because wait times at the doctor's office will be months whereas at the ER it will only be hours. Tell me where the fairness is in that! I am not a prophet but I am going to make a prophecy; once people realize they are paying more money to cover for unhealthy people there will be an outcry for laws prohibiting unhealthy living, we are already seeing it today with proposed taxes on soft drinks, fast foods, trans fats, and smoking. Once those things start to get taxed and the government has public support for controlling what we eat and how we live then .... I haven't fully thought this through yet, but the first part of my argument makes sense in my mind. And if anyone doesn't think that will happen, please tell me why. A big thing touted by the Democrats in support of the bill is that taxes will only be raised on people making more than $200k, well how about the increase in premiums charged by insurance companies, that will effect everyone. Another thing mentioned to support this bill is that the health care industry in America isn't that great, Americans are the most obese people in the world and our life expectancy is ranked somewhere around 40th in the world. So how will through 32 million more people into the system possibly fix those problems? I have my issues with doctors in general, they are like mechanics in that they act like they know everything and don't consider maybe they are making mistakes. They make plenty of mistakes just like everyone else in every other industry; there can be improvements to the quality of care in the US but this bill doesn't do that at all. Doctors are very useful and I am very grateful for the quality of care we have here.

All of this leads me to the next thing on my mind.

Issue number 2. LDS General Conference
You may ask how these two are connected, I'll tell you. Ever since the health care bill passed I have been so frustrated about everything, some of the reasons I just mentioned. Going into General Conference I wasn't sure what I was going to get out of it; of course I was excited and I knew it would be great but I didn't have any clear questions in my mind. I realize this was my fault but I am very grateful to the Lord for still blessing me with a lot of instruction. The first major breakthrough for me was during one of the talks on Saturday (I don't remember which one without looking at my notes) I had the realization/inspiration that life is great so long as we have the Gospel in it. There have been plenty of people throughout the history of the world who have lived righteous lives and have since gone on to their eternal reward all while living in a much worse political situation than we are in right now. When I had that thought, or prompting, I felt so much more at peace with my life in this country than I had in weeks. All the stuff I mentioned above, I still feel. But I have been given back my ability to put it into proper perspective; everything going on in the country and even the world has no power to take away my ability to follow my Heavenly Father and to uphold my covenants with Jesus Christ. Other notable talks for me during conference were, the talk by Elder Oaks during Priesthood meeting about blessings was fantastic, rarely am I as surprised about learning doctrine as I was when I listened to his talk. My brother Ammon and I had very similar reactions, we looked at each other with shocked faces and asked each other if we knew that. I really need to reread his talk to fully grasp what he was saying. Also, I loved Elder Holland's talk as did so many people. He has a power when he speaks that so few people have, he could have been such a famous, powerful man in the eyes of the world if he had not been dedicated to the Lord his entire life. And Staci and I were both very impressed with how much of a focus on the family there was, it seemed like every other talk was about how to be better parents, and with the baby coming we were both very interested and eager to learn.

Which reminds me...

Issue number 3.
I am getting really nervous about being a father. I am worried that I won't be able to take care of our newborn, that I won't be able to provide adequately financially for my wife and child, or lead spiritually, but most of all, I am terrified that something will cause me to lose my temper and I will take it out on my son. I am ashamed to even admit this has even crossed my mind. But I've seen too many news stories about a father or mother who couldn't get the baby to stop crying so they shook him/her and ended up killing or causing brain damage. I am so worried how I will act when I wake up at 3 in the morning and my son won't stop crying. I have had problems in the past with losing my temper but I have been doing a much better job these last couple years; however, I still can feel those tendencies inside of me. I just hope and pray that I will be able to always control my actions.

And now on a much lighter not,

Issue number 4.
We are buying a house! If you look at our other blog you will see a picture of it and we will be putting plenty of more information about it in the coming weeks. This isn't exactly an issue but it is on my mind. We have been looking for a house since August of last year and there were times I thought we would never find a house. We still haven't heard back about a couple short sale offers we made months ago. Almost everyone I spoke to about buying a house said that now is a great time to buy, a buyers market with historically low interest rates. While I totally agree with the latter, the former I disagree with. I think it is more a banks market, (yes that is a very cynical statement); most of the properties for sale right now are short sales. The banks take a long time to get back on offers, and they apparently don't care about taking a loss; but they do care about saving face and not letting people get a good deal. I say that because some of the houses we looked at were close to foreclosure and yet they still wouldn't come down in price. We tried to get one property for 7k less than the bank wanted and instead of coming down in price, the bank decided to foreclose on the property. The bank will lose a lot more money in the foreclosure process than 7k. The decision made no financial sense. Anyway, like I said, at times I thought we would never find a house, especially in time to claim the first-time home buyer tax credit, but we did and the house has almost everything we were looking for.

About the tax credit, some may criticize me for taking the 8k for various reasons; while I am opposed to most of the stimulus spending that Uncle Sam has been doing the last couple of years, I figure I might as well get back some of the money I will be paying in higher taxes for the rest of my life to the government because of the outrageous national debt levels . If I had the choice of not taking the 8k right now in exchange for a fixed income tax rate of 15% for the rest of my life, I would take that deal in an heartbeat. But since that won't happen I am going to take the money to make up for some of the taxes I paid this year.

I could probably ramble on for a couple hundred more words but I think I'll stop now, but I will try to post more often; I find this therapeutic.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Publicity Stunt?

I don't know how many of you guys have been following the Tiger Woods story with his recent press conference but I have listened to a number of different opinions about it and I feel like giving my opinion about it as well.

A little background: Tiger Woods has been cheating on his wife for quite a while (the details are not known, there are a lot of speculations and rumors involving call girls, waitresses, etc. etc.) and the story came out back around Thanksgiving of last year.

In his recent press conference he apologized for his despicable behavior, admitted to feeling like he was entitled to do whatever he wanted because of his fame and fortune, he read a bunch of stuff from a prepared statement in a rather monotone voice. His wife was not by his side but his mother was in the room. He also confirmed that he has spent the last 45 days in sex rehab and would be returning for an undefined amount of time.

Some of the more common opinions I have heard are, "because it was a prepared statement it wasn't sincere," "he doesn't owe anyone except his family an apology," "this was just a publicity stunt to try to recover his public image," "sex rehab is a fraud, people aren't addicted to sex, they're just weak," "he's only sorry because he was caught, if this didn't come out he would still be doing it," "everyone makes mistakes, who cares what he does in his personal life, he without sin let him cast the first stone," "why does he even feel so bad, he didn't break any laws, if he were single then he would be the Derek Jeter of golf, his only mistake was getting married so young."

Hearing some people's opinions on the situation casts a very negative light on the state of society. First of all, what he did is despicable and he is 100% percent responsible. Having said that I should also say that I believe in a Gospel of change and although he doesn't share my beliefs (apparently he's Buddhist, something else he said in the press statement) I believe the principles of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are all encompassing; although full forgiveness is only available through baptism by one with proper authority, a certain amount of forgiveness can be achieved by following most of the steps of true repentance. This can be seen through the success of Alcoholics Anonymous, a program that essentially teaches proper repentance. I find it easy to believe that Tiger Woods made the public statement as part of his addiction recovery, and because of his world-wide fame he felt it prudent to "apologize and confess" to the world, or at least to whomever cares and was listening. I don't know if that was the motivation for his statement, but I do think it is a plausible theory.

About sex rehab and sexual addictions, people who say it is a fraud are just showing their ignorance on the topic, there are plenty of accredited studies showing that sexual addictions of many kinds are an actual chemical addiction, and people who have recovered from both cocaine addiction and sexual addiction have said the cocaine addiction was the easier addiction to overcome. However, that doesn't excuse the actions of addicts in the least bit; I do believe, however, it gives them hope knowing there is a possibility of recovery, that although there is something wrong with them, it can be fixed. It is not just the way they were made.

A lot of people seem surprised that he appears to be so motivated to save his marriage and get his life back in order when he still has millions of dollars in the bank and will still most likely be the best golfer on the PGA tour. Possibly, Woods is realizing that money doesn't buy happiness. So in his endeavor to find a truly meaningful life and be more than just the greatest golfer ever I wish him luck.

But in the end my opinion comes down to this; I don't care what he says, only what he does.

Monday, January 25, 2010


So I thought of a couple other things that bug me. To illustrate the first point I will tell a story.

As some of you may know, Staci and I are trying to purchase a house; we put in an offer on a great house in Pleasant Grove up on the hill with an amazing view of the valley, a great Trax deck, a rentable basement, and a great kitchen with an even better pantry/mudroom. We put in our initial offer on the house back in October and it took the bank (it is a short sale) until December to respond to our offer and come back with a firm asking price. We checked out the house again and decided it was worth pursuing and put in another offer 2 weeks ago. The bank responded much quicker this time to our offer but their response was absurd. The bank has decided to not negotiate any more and instead foreclose on the house. The reasoning behind that decision is lost to me. Why in the world would the bank decide to spend thousands of dollars to foreclose on a house and then try to sell it rather than accept a couple thousand dollars on a short sale. What the heck!! It bugs me so much. Now the current owners' credit will be even more shot, they will not care about the condition of the house any more, the house will most likely remain vacant for a while and it will get in even worse condition and the bank will probably end up selling it for even less than what we are offering. All well.

Doctors bug me. Not all doctors, but the doctors who act like know-it-alls bother me. They are like mechanics. Most of the things they say, the patient (or customer) has no way of verifying if they are right or making stuff up. Staci was misdiagnosed for 10 years by her doctor, and it wasn't until we suggested a procedure was it discovered that what her doctor has been telling her all this time was completely wrong. Argh! And there is nothing we can do about it.

So, if anyone knows of a good house for sale or of a competent family doctor in the Provo/Orem area, we are in the market for both. (We do feel good about her OBGYN, though).

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Things that annoy me.

  • People who expect you to let them pull in front of you when they are sitting in the middle turn lane (suicide lane). You're not playing frogger, wait for a gap in both lanes until you try to merge. Don't pull halfway out then expect other cars to slam on their brakes to let you in. (by the way, I am all about being a courteous driver,
  • Athletes and celebrities who expect people to listen and give credence to their opinions about politics.
  • Reality TV stars (and I use the term "stars" very loosely).
  • Pollution
  • Meteorologist: maybe I am showing my ignorance but how can a collective group of people be wrong so often and still get people to listen to them? Oh wait, that reminds me....
  • Politicians: if the old "power corrupts" then how is it possible for career politicians to be anything but corrupt. They live their lives making laws and telling people what to do; they are like a parasite living off of everyone else in the country who actually works for a living. An honest politician is an endangered species. Please give us term limits on all Congressmen and Congresswomen, someone should not be a Senator for 30 years.
  • Taxes: I really don't think most people realize how much they are paying in income taxes every year because everything is automatically deducted from their earnings. And then on top of that we pay Social Security (which is a doomed program, I don't plan on ever seeing a return on that), and a bunch of other taxes that I don't feel like writing about right now.
  • and last (for now), but certainly not least, by bad attitude. I used to be a much happier person, at the rate I'm going I will be one grumpy old man. I suppose I now have a new year's resolution.