Thursday, April 30, 2009
Imagine how so many married couples who find out they get less back from their return or have to pay more back to the government are going to feel next April. America is a land of savers so I'm sure everyone will have their money set aside or not be anticipating getting so much. Obama's plan gives everyone a little cash now so you can take it all back a year from now. Save us Obama... your well thought out plans will save the day.
Here are some nice benefits for the retirees.
"Retirees who have federal income taxes withheld from pension benefits also are getting an income boost as a result of the new withholding tables. However, pension benefits are not earned income, so they don't qualify for the tax credit. That money will have to paid back next year when tax returns are filed."
another bonus for retirees?
"The Social Security Administration is sending out $250 payments to more than 50 million retirees in May as part of the economic stimulus package. The payments will go to people who receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, railroad retirement benefits or veteran's disability benefits.
The payments are meant to provide a boost for people who don't qualify for the tax credit. However, they will go to retirees even if they have earned income and receive the credit. Those retirees will have the $250 payment deducted from their tax credit -- but not until they file their tax returns next year, long after the money may have been spent."
You can note it here. An uber conservative is saying, "No more tax cuts please. I can't afford it."
Swine Flu is coming for you
Not really knowing why Swine Flu is such a big deal I assumed it contained similar damaging properties of bacterial Meningitis. Turns out that the nature of Swine Flu is that you will have "Flu Symptoms". So 3400 kids in Milwaukee are locked out of 4 schools because of exposure to 2 Milwaukee residents who appear to have Swine Flu. There is a reason I don't watch the local news and if I needed a reminder, the 8 minutes I caught of it last night reassured me that the media is insane. The picture shown here I think illustrates the portrayal of Swine flu entering the Milwaukee Public Schools.
Now I think everyone knows that I have a thing against the suburban mentality of taking children to the doctor for every little thing (Or even adults going for every little thing). Just ask Kt about the times she feels we should have gone to the doctor but didn't. She'll provide you a list of the abuses. Somewhere our society has gotten to the point of worrying if a baby has a cold, a cough, or the flu. Why did we lose the ability to handle the basic things of life. It goes beyond that though. Society in general seems to be misfiring. Thy now have a name as being a part of the "over-protective" generation or "Helicopter Parents".
It proliferates every part of our society. Here at NML they changed around the health plans because under the old cushy plans too many people were using the doctor for every little thing and our cost of healthcare was more expensive than the average because of it. We spend BILLIONS of dollars on safety that often times is the result of some mishap that affected a few kids somewhere. How many millions spent to mitigate airbags that injured or decapitated a hundred kids. How many billions spent to remove lead or asbestos from everything because of a few kids were stupid enough to suck on window sills every day. Then how much of this is spurred by sensationalism in the media. Perhaps in the past the government didn't jump everytime a camera showed poor Johnny having trouble in school because he ate too much lead based tinsel as a kid.
25 Marines died last year because of motorcycle crashes. 20 Marines died in Iraq in the same timeframe. It is clear as to which kind of deaths the media pays attention to. No matter that in The Battle of Gettysburg 6500 died in 3 days and another 3000-4000 from their injuries over the next few weeks after the battle or that in 3 weeks time 6200 Americans died fighting for Iwo Gima. Now, we as Americans get frustrated with war because 4600 died in 6 years of fighting...6 years. Its no wonder America has become so weak. We can't stomach a war against world terrorism where fewer troops have died in WAR than troops who have died because they didn't buckle up, were stupid enough to drink and drive, or think that they can ride their crotch rocket 120 mph and live.
So what is it with risk that Americans have given up on it. We'll spend billions to prevent a few deaths. We can't stomach war. We ask government to solve every problem and provide security against anything that could happen to us. We are rushing away from everything that made America the great nation it was. I have a few theories. I think as the country has become unchristian, that people become more terrified of death. If you do not live in the hope of eternal life they will do whatever it takes to avoid it and spend as much money as is needed to eliminate the risk of death from life. Along the same lines as we become an un-Christian country we try to create this utopian dream world on our own because "tomorrow we die." So yes that means my vote is with ungodliness as to why our society is decaying. A common thread through history. I wonder if the media will cover that someday?
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
With the move to the theater I think we will see a slightly different dynamic. Church will not be this echo filled cinder block hall and that will have a large impact on the noise level. It will feel different in church because it will definitely seem quieter. I’m sure with 100 additional seats in the theater than we usually put up it will seem emptier for awhile as well. Also the change to have the kids go to Sunday school just before the sermon will be a big change. Having fellowship before church will be a shift for a lot of people.
I’m excited for the new arrangements. The kids will have rooms to do their Bible Quest group. We have a nice café area for fellowship before church that will be stocked with quality coffee (I think we are getting Alterra) and bagels etc.. We have the big theater for our service but the kids can have their video portion of Bible Quest in the smaller theater across the hall. Also for overflow we can beam our service across the hall to the small theater, We also will beam the service to the TV in the Café area for those who need to sit with their kids etc..
I’m also excited for the new technology. We just spent a good amount to upgrade our technology. We bought a new laptop as the “sound” computer and it will be the controller of our new computer based mixer. I will be able to record the whole service and do magical things with the “soft” mixer. We got a wireless monitor system for the band so they can actually hear themselves. We got a nice projector that can handle the bigger screen. I also bought a wireless video transmitter and receiver for sending our service video to the Café’ TV or the small theater on occasion.
The improved sound without all the evil feedback we get at Polonia will be great and I think the improvement in balance will be very noticeable. The rest of the things I don’t think anyone will appreciate the technology behind the conveniences. On the website I am hoping to put the entire service video each week. We’ll see how a file that large will work.
I have a feeling we will be growing into this location very quickly. I predict 200 worshiping each Sunday 1 year from now. To God be the glory.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Yesterday a serious budget accounting provision was added to the budget. A provision that allows judges to expunge criminal records up to age 25 instead of the current 21. Every budget should have that kind of provision. Another equally important budget item...a proposal to require officers in the 11 more "diverse" counties of WI to record racial information "in an effort to document the potential of racial profiling" There are many other law enforcement items stuck in the budget as well such as allowing stops for no seatbelt based on sight. Currently that can only be ticketed if it is noticed for a different stop reason. Another might FINALLY eliminate the front license plate. All well and good I suppose...but why the hell are they in the BUDGET. When I bring up quicken and go to the budget functionality there is no way I can insert these kinds of items.
The most heinous of activities though are all about the money...some items below.
"Prevailing Wage" Currently those who bid on State contracts must agree to pay their workers "prevailing wage". That is a nice way of saying Union wages. So by default the often knocks a lot of non-union contractors out of the bidding. However this new insertion says that any project that receives any kind of state funding or grant will have to pay prevailing wage. So a tax concession, funding for an intersection upgrade (like making a left turn lane to pull into your condo complex or mall), Urban development incentives. I'd say thats a nice tip o' the hat to the extortionist unions who got him elected.
Another nice tidbit was a reassigning of the $10 per Drivers license add on fee for the Secure ID mandate from the Feds back into the budget. I guess they needed it for something else...hmmm Want to guess they'll add another fee soon for the secure ID project because there isn't enough money to meet the mandate?
Today I saw this item in the budget. "Banks and financial institutions would get a list of delinquent Wisconsin taxpayers, and would have to check whether those customers have account balances that tax collectors could go after, under a change added to the state budget Thursday."
"Gov. Jim Doyle and the state Revenue Department asked for new authority to require financial institutions to compare a list of delinquent taxpayers with the names of their customers and amounts in their accounts. The change is expected to bring in an additional $18 million over the next two years."
"State government scours bank balances for those who owe child support. The change recommended Thursday would extend that system to efforts to catch income, sales, corporate and other tax delinquents.
The Revenue Department would provide lists of tax delinquents and their Social Security numbers or federal employer numbers to about 600 financial institutions.
Financial institutions would check the names and ID numbers against lists of customers and accounts, and tell the Revenue Department of accounts that match with balances.
Tax-collection agents would then attempt to go after assets in those accounts by filing levies against them. Up to 15,000 new tax-levy actions might be filed each year."
This is a great example of my "Give a Moose a Muffin" Theory of Government. If you know the childrens series of books that start out like this you know that if you give someone a little, they will just want more. Will the government be providing this service for consumer debt collectors....ohh no its just for the government. I'm waiting to when they say...well we noticed you had $27 in your paypal account so we just took it because you owe us some money. Hello big brother may I have another?
In other tax news living in Milwauke just got a little better. Milwaukee Public Schools just got 100 million in stimulus money. Now two days after that announcement we get:
"Even though a proposed Milwaukee Public Schools budget released Thursday calls for no increase in overall core spending next year, the property tax levy increase might still reach double digits - a year after a 14.6% jump."
Also doyles budget has a $90 increase in property tax for a median valued home. That probably is part of that tax cut for 95% of America kicking in....oh thats right..66% of my income tax credits disappear this year.
Wow...I sure am feeling that stimulus already...right in theTuckus (There Karen are you happy? I watched my language)
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Here in Milwaukee the Americans United for Separation of Church and State filed a lawsuit against Brookfield East High School and Brookfield Central High school for hosting their high school graduations at Elmbrook Church. This mega church holds several thousand people and is nicely air conditioned and suited for the large crowd. Both high schools have small gyms and are not as amenable for the situation. Both high schools will be building new gyms that will be able to take over graduations starting next year. Both high schools have been using Elmbrook Church for 9 years by student vote as to where they would like to host it. New Berlin Eisenhower also was to use the church but they found a new location after the ASCS threatened them.
Here is a link to the story. http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/local/43532357.html
Apparently even being in an environment with Christian symbols is not good.
"These students and family members are being forced to graduate in the sanctuary of a church underneath a huge cross that dominates the sanctuary. They're sitting in pews with bibles and hymnal books right in front of them."
"They are being forced to graduate in a religious environment, and that is an egregious Constitutional violation."
And clearly this is what it means to those public high school graduation attendees.
"This is a church that teaches that people who do not subscribe to the belief of this church are going to suffer torment in hell for all eternity. This church teaches that women should be subservient to men. It teaches that people who engage in sexual conduct that is not approved by the church will also suffer in hell."
"A very large proportion of the students and family members who would be attending this graduation, in the views of this church, are second-class people, second-class citizens."
Interesting enough Obama can speak in religious institutions who SHOULD be booting him out for his stands on items of religion. However you better cover up the religious symbols. This story about Obama speaking at Georgetown and his requirements are interesting and revealing about Obama and how he will treat religion
Now add on the abortion stance, the stem cell research, and on and on. I may not have been pleased with Bush at times as he was a little liberal, but the proliferation of attacks on religion seem to be expanding as fast as the deficit. Obama has out deficited all 8 years of Bush's deficits in just 4 months with no signs of stopping. Imagine what could happen if the same trend continues in the war against Christians.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This last weekend was fun. On Saturday we went to go see STOMP. We had seen this almost 10 years ago in Boston. It is still just as good. That was our last show for this theater season. Very sad..Next year's season will prove to be smaller "due to the economy". I do enjoy this activity a great deal. Add on the NML sponsored theater season and the tickets we get for those productions. I definitely know one activity I will want to pursue in retirement....lots of shows, musicals and concerts.
We stayed in Madison overnight and went to church with Gma and Gpa S. Later on, Kt and Ike came out to Madison too after going to Victory for church. We had our 1 week late Easter with Mom and Dad S. since we were in FL for actual Easter. A scrumptious dinner followed by a raucous game of dominos.
Ike started track at St.Marcus a couple of weeks ago. He only has a couple of meets. I am coaching that. Last night I joined in a 50 meter dash against some kid at practice and managed to partially tear my achilles tendon. Now I am a hobbling gimpy. I won that race...or did I. This will take some time to heal. I walked about 50 yards to the other building and back and was just about crying for the throbbing in my heal. I guess the fate of my achilles is sealed. I have had a good deal of tendonitis on this same heal and calcification from previous CC and track seasons which I thought had been healed after a year of staying off of it. I guess not. I'm guessing sprinting will never be attempted again.
Kt was in track but has decided to secede. Too much contention and difficulties with the Seniors and their non-committed leadership. She already appears much happier and pleasant to be around. Part of that is probably related to being free from boys for awhile. She has been happy enough in her long distance relationships that are not called relationships but are.
Karen has been plowing through her Statistics class. A noticeable difference between that and the previous English class. She takes up Ethics for a 3 credit class in one week in June. She is actually going to go to her campus in Lafayette, IA and take it on campus. At least she can say she was there once.
Victory is moving in two weeks to the Showtime Cinema. I'm pretty excited about that. I definitely have some things to do to be ready. It should be a LOT more pleasant worship environment.
I have definitely been following politics a lot more. Apparently I was too happy being apathetic and needed a kick in the ass every day to bring me down.
I just want to say I'm proud of her sticking up for her beliefs. Stay strong!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I'll tell you in traveling to south last week, I can't tell you how pleasing of a political environment it was compared to the socialist republic of Wisconsin.
Keep an eye on Rick Perry. 3 years from now I suspect he will be a big name.
We drove all the way through leaving at 4:45am Thursday and arrived at 9:30 at night. It really was not a bad drive but the last 75 miles seemed long because it was all off the expressway. We took Kt's, Mazda Protege. It got 35 miles to the gallon and in a weird way has twice as much leg room in the back seat than the jetta does. The seats aren't as comfy but we all adjusted.
We stayed at a Day's Inn right on Pensacola Beach which is basically a sand bar break water right out in the gulf over very long bridges. We got a great deal there because I made a mistake in the initial reservation and a very southern, very slow speaking, friendly reservations clerk called me back to fix it. He told me I could get a cheaper rate by switching rooms and then added a 10% discount on top of it. I ended up saving $150 with that. The weekend was pretty full with a mini-spring break crowd but they mostly headed out by Sunday afternoon.
Friday we spent the day with Ricky. He had night classes PT and Post the night before but was wired on caffeine and wanted to see Kt so he showed us some parts of the base and told us about how the classes work. We ate lunch together and meadered around. We were illuminated by an aquaintance of Ricky's named Cox that Kt had to be careful walking around base in her blowing sundress. The base is full of 90% men who all will be looking at such a rarity as a cute female civilian looking well...female. Ricky verified that with an explanation for the use of sunglasses. You guessed it from that time forward I noticed nearly 90% of these fine fighting gentlemen checking out my daughter. Next time coverall's are definitely in order.
Ricky and Zach had to go to class at 3:00 so we went back to the Hotel. Zach was tired from doing a 36 hour no sleep shift in his transition from day classes to 2nd shift classes and then drawing a 5 mile run on Thursday morning for his last AM class and a 5 mile run for his new PM classes at 12:30 in the morning. Then he had post until 4:00am. So we let him sleep while we were out with Ricky. Rick only had a half day of classes so we picked him up at 6:00 and took him to dinner at Carrabbas. After dinner I went and got Zach who was done early at 9:00pm. We kept Zach with us at the hotel until Sunday night. I had to take Ricky home each night as he did not have overnight "liberty".
Saturday I retrieved Rick in the morning and we hung out at the beach mostly for the day. We ate a late lunch on the Boardwalk and later that evening went bowling. I bowled my career high of 179 so I was very happy. After a day of jumping in the pounding waves and then 3 games of bowling I was done for activities. I took Rick back to base and came back and went to bed.
Sunday we got up early and headed to Saving Grace Lutheran in Mobile, AL for Easter Church. It seemed to be the closest WELS church at the time based on a WELS church locator on the WELS website. Turns out talking to some folks at Saving Grace that there is a WELS church in Navarre, FL....15 miles from our Hotel called Risen Savior. My family does not know this yet. They were not as thrilled with the 85 mile drive each way to the church in Mobile. Makes me feel like a silly goose. I also found out on Monday after seeing some members of Victory of the Lamb at the Naval Air Museum that they would have been at the service in Navarre. They said it was small and held outdoors. I think it is interesting enough that 5% of the Victory membership was in FL and if I had selected a wider radius for my search criteria we would have been at the same church. I'll settle for it being cool to see Victory members in the Naval Air Museum. However as we left the museum we walked down a row of cars and noted the 3 Wisconsin license plates. When we got to our car we found that we were parked in a row of 6 Wisconsin license plates and then a gap of two and two more Wisconsin plates. It might have been a group but it was just a bit freaky. that there were 11 cars from WI all in a small part of the lot.
Sunday afternoon we just chilled. Ike and I hit the waves again. Later at night Kt and Rick had dinner and hung out. Karen, Zach, Ike and I went to dinner...It was great seafood right there on the beach. Both Zach and Rick had to be returned by 9:45 so I got them back to base.
Monday as I said we went to the Naval Air Museum. We did talk to Zach and Rick a little. They had a "field day" so they had to go early. Basically it means they need to clean their rooms. It was a bit hard to see them because it was downpouring and blowing like crazy. So we headed to the museum while it was raining ..along with everyone else. It is a very large museum filled with aircraft and air craft carrier displays. I could've spent all day there reading every plaque and watching the video's but I limited myself for the benefit of my family. We left there pretty tired. We ate at Taco Bell on the way home and I took a nap at the hotel. It was sort of threatening and stormy ish all day.
Tuesday morning we packed up to leave. Before we took off though we went to the base one last time. We wanted to see the Blue Angels do their practice. It was pretty impressive. We also ate an early lunch with Zach and said our goodbyes. He had to go get ready for a dress blues inspection and get his new "barracks cover" or as i officially call it "the fancy white hat" prepared for the inspection. We decided for the way home to not go straight through but to stay overnight halfway home in Bowling Green, KY.
So our trip was the most uneventful trip ever. Nothing happened that was weird, troublesome, or annoying. The car worked, the plans worked out. Pensacola is a nice place. Very diverse economy there. So it was definitely a good time and it will be nice to visit again some day.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
I may just leave the hole but get a badger and let him use it. I promise him a full supply of squirrels and bunnies....and skunks.
Friday, April 3, 2009
Synonyms of skullduggery include: hanky panky, hocus-pocus, jiggery-pokery, slickness, and monkey business.
The skullduggery of Obama's economic plan will one day become clear.