Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Christmas has come to the Wilhelmsen's

We put up our tree this last weekend. We figured that since Christmas was only three weeks from Thanksgiving it wasn't enough time to fully enjoy the tree and decorations.

However, now it means that my daughters have four weeks to completely destroy my decorations.

It's funny, I never get tired of saying "Stop playing with Baby Jesus." Somehow it always seems to make me laugh a little. Although now my daughter (I won't tell you which one, it's a mystery) is playing with all the stable animals. I have had to permanently remove the Precious Moments Nativity entirely. Oh well. I'm sure they'll outgrow the whole playing-with-the-nativity-pieces, surely by the time they're 16. Right?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Cabinet

Does it strike anyone as odd that Obama is picking the old gaurd for his cabinet? It sure does me. I mean he was supposed to be about "hope and change" and yet he goes for the same old has-beens and do-nothings. Hmm, sure will be interesting what kind of change those folks bring about.

Let's discuss who Obama has chosen thus far:

1. Rom Emmanual-He's a long-time politician from Chicago (what a surprise) who helped Bill Clinton get elected in '92. Also, he was instrumental in finding values-conscience candidates to run in the south in 2004, which helped the Republicans lose the majority.

2. Janet Napolitano-Seriously, I'm thrilled. Couldn't be happier. GET HER OUT OF THIS STATE! This is probably the best thing that has come out of this election. Budget deficits, higher taxes, vetoing everything coming out of the state legislature, and issuing executive orders which bypass the legislative process-all things I won't miss when she is gone. Maybe now the State of Arizone can actually get something done.

3. Tom Daschle-My personal favorite choice, thus far. One time Senate Majority Leader and Minority Leader he lost his re-election bid to John Thune in 2004. So, let me lay this out for you, folks. Tom Daschle lost his election, has not been in public service for the last four years, and Obama is picking him to head up the Health and Human Services Department! This is outrageous. A Majority Leader (the first to be ousted since Barry Goldwater did it in 1952) who was not re-elected is now going to be in charge of implementing Universal Healthcare (Lord, please don't let it get passed!); responsible for creating abortion policy and everything else the Health and Human Services department does. Oh yeah, I feel represented. Not even South Dakota wanted him back in the Senate, and now he's going to be in the cabinet.

4. Hilary Clinton-She just can't resist the power that the Secretary of State has. Poor woman. I feel bad for her. Second (in her mind) to Bill and now 2nd to Obama.

Obviously, the blessing in this is that two of these people are sitting members of Congress, which will free their seats for someone else (appointed by govenors, of course) but vulnerable to re-election. I am glad Clinton will be out of the Senate. I am thrilled that Emmanuel will be out of the House. But is this the "Change" the American voters were thinking of? Isn't this the same-old same-old?

The Way It Should Be

Crocs are going down!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Too Big to Fail?

AIG was not too big to fail. Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac are not too big to fail. It's history lesson time, friends. I present companies who were not too big to fail and did.

1. Braniff International Airways: was an American airline that existed from 1928 until 1982. It operated in the central midwest, South America, Panama, Asia and Europe. The airline ceased operations on May 12, 1982, a victim of escalating fuel prices, aggressive expansion, and fierce competition.

2. TWA: went into bankruptcy several times and was finally bought by American Airlines instead of going under.

3. Apple: Almost died in the early 90's from their inability to capitalize on and market the Windows OS. (I am grossly simplifying, I know.) Nevertheless, it allowed Microsoft to buy up Apple shares and gave Apple the influx of cash to start making a product that was unique and innovative.

I originally had Chrysler on my list but in the 80's it asked the government for a bail out, got one, and slowly got itself back in the black. Furthermore, the tax payers subsidized Chrysler's failure until it came up with a product good enough to sell. That's not the way business is supposed to work. I propose that if Chrysler had sold to another car manufacturer they would have a better product to work with.

I guess you know what I'm getting at. GM, while a large company, is not too big to fail. Rather it is too big not to fail. In this kind of economy where the businesses who survive are the ones who cut their expenses, there is no reason for tax payer money to subsidize GM's inability to manage costs. And that includes the unions. The United Auto Workers are fighting for this bail-out because it keeps their cushy pensions in place and keeps the workers in unreasonably high-paying jobs.

Add that to the Congressmen who desperately need those union contributions and those union votes and you have a recipe for overpriced cars, which means that GM won't be making a profit anytime soon. And there we go again. It's a cycle that should be broken now. Get government out of business. Period.

GM was in trouble long before this recession hit. They knew that the pensions were draining profits. This has been coming for several years. I say let them go. I know it will be painful in the short-term, but long-term will be for the best.

With GM out of business something new and better would come our way. Like Apple who's original system was a mediocre product, now with the iPod and iMac and Safari, they have a terrific product line and a brilliant marketing strategy.

Why subsidize a product that people don't want? If GM is not making a car worth buying, then why should the American people pay for it?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Election Day Anecdotes

So two eventful things happened in my life last Tuesday.

The first was at the polling place. First off, I got there before they opened because I wanted to vote before the girls woke up. The last time I voted for President Reagan was only3 months old and the line was not much of a problem. Anyways, back to the line. So I'm waiting and waiting. And then I get up to the front and it turns out that the line actually splits into two, one for last names starting with A-L and one for M-Z. Being a 'W' put me in the SLOWEST LINE imaginable. I'm not kidding, the A-L's were racing through the door, being checked in, signing, getting their ballot and voting all before one M-Z was getting through the door to be checked in. I SWEAR. Us M-Z's were getting pretty irritated (which, if you know me, takes no time at all.) I started speculating that maybe the M-Z lady couldn't read and should probably be relieved. At the very least the A-L lady and M-Z lady should have switched places. It was ridiculous.

Anyways, that was my voting experience.

The next anecdote is about my neighbor and my complete inability to convince anyone of anything.

My neighbor and I walk in the early mornings a few times a week. And lately she's been bringing up politics. She knows that it's my hobby and will not turn down an opportunity to speak my mind. And unfortunately at 5 am, my mind doesn't have much of a filter. I frequently launch into sweeping generalities that early in the morning. For instance I told her that Democrats do not have senses of humor. And actually, I do believe that. But really, you try making a case of that kind at 5 am, before coffee/tea. Needless to say, the argument was not convincing. I tried telling her that since Republicans, especially Conservatives, believe that the human spirit is capable (glass is half-full types) that makes us much more capable of laughing at ourselves. Well, the argument didn't win her over. And really, it turns out that nothing I have said regarding the current political landscape had convinced her to vote for McCain.

She voted for Obama, I think. I haven't asked. She did not vote for McCain. But honestly, I could barely vote for McCain. So, it was a weak case anyways.

If I can't help along the Conservative cause, I don't know what I'm doing with Christianity. Hopefully, one day, when my neighbor asks about Jesus I'll be ready, and loaded with caffeine.

In Box

I have an inbox issue. I don't like dealing with email. It piles up and then totally overwhelms me. So, I check it all the time but only respond once there are too many items in there that I can't possibly think!

I mean, what do you do with an email from a guy from high school who was in one of your choir sections who tracks you down just for an update? I don't immediately respond, that's what I do. (Or don't do.) And how about that announcement from a friend about a new business? Do you have an file named "Friends' New Business Ventures"? Or how about those money saving tips that you know you should follow or at the very least look up? Yep, I don't have a place for those either. They all just stay in my inbox.

What ends up happening is that in a frenzy I respond to that highschool aquantance (no, I will not be setting my husband up with him... :), respond to the friend with the new business inquiring for some deeper information, and the money-saving tips just stay there. I can't do it all in one night!

And at last, my inbox is down to 10 items. Much more manageable. I'm sure I'll be overwhelmsed by this time next week...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I signed up to bring snack for Reagan for Awana tonight. I baked snickerdoodles. They are amazing. I sent 24 with Reagan. There were not enough.

I am so embarrased. But now I think that it must be really cool that there were so many kids at Awana tonight that they actually didn't have enough snack. I mean how many kids learned something new about Jesus tonight. Right? Anyone? Eternal salvation is so much cooler than a cookie.

However, Reagan was heartbroken that not everyone got cookies for snack. Instead of just 2 kids not getting cookies, they only gave half the class a snickerdoodle and the rest of the class got Cheerios. She cried and cried. I cringed and cringed. Oh the parental guilt.

I'm off to stuff my feelings with cookies...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Oh How True

I got this in an email. Just a little tax education in case you didn't get any in college.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100.
If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve.

'Since you are all such good customers, he said, I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.
Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?'

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.!

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

'I only got a dollar out of the $20, 'declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man, 'but he got $10!'

'Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I!'

'That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!'

'Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!'

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Can we please put the entire blacks-are-discriminated-against and white-people-are-racist idea to rest?

Does his victory mean that America is now officially beyond racism? Does it finally complete the work of the civil rights movement so that racism is at last dismissible as an explanation of black difficulty? Can the good Revs. Jackson and Sharpton now safely retire to the seashore? [Please, God, make it so...] Will the Obama victory dispel the twin stigmas that have tormented black and white Americans for so long -- that blacks are inherently inferior and whites inherently racist? Doesn't a black in the Oval Office put the lie to both black inferiority and white racism? Doesn't it imply a "post-racial" America? And shouldn't those of us -- white and black -- who did not vote for Mr. Obama take pride in what his victory says about our culture even as we mourn our political loss? (insert mine.)

The money quote: "Obama's post-racial idealism told whites the one thing they most wanted to hear: America had essentially contained the evil of racism to the point at which it was no longer a serious barrier to black advancement."

Of course, it is true that white America has made great progress in curbing racism over the last 40 years. I believe, for example, that Colin Powell might well have been elected president in 1996 had he run against a then rather weak Bill Clinton. It is exactly because America has made such dramatic racial progress that whites today chafe so under the racist stigma. So I don't think whites really want change from Obama as much as they want documentation of change that has already occurred. They want him in the White House first of all as evidence, certification and recognition.

But there is an inherent contradiction in all this. When whites -- especially today's younger generation -- proudly support Obama for his post-racialism, they unwittingly embrace race as their primary motivation. They think and act racially, not post-racially. The point is that a post-racial society is a bargainer's ploy: It seduces whites with a vision of their racial innocence precisely to coerce them into acting out of a racial motivation. A real post-racialist could not be bargained with and would not care about displaying or documenting his racial innocence. Such a person would evaluate Obama politically rather than culturally. (emphasis mine)
I, for one, am hoping that with the election of President Obama, America can finally move past racial lines. It's just sad that it had to take President Obama to do it when black Americans have had amazing roll models like Colin Powel, Condoleezza Rice, and Clarence Thomas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Come What May

So, big day. I have this undercurrent of energy flowing through me. I love it. And I can honestly tell you that I am mentally and spiritually prepared for whatever happens next.

How, you ask? Well it is quite simply because I believe in The One who has ordained this day. I have chosen a future with the Victorious, most Glorious, Yahweh. Come what may.

At BSF this morning, the teaching leader gave us two Bible verses. BSF is very apolitical, which I totally respect by not talking politics while there. But she had to point out that the changes which America is in store for are not without precedent. Indeed, Israel on her exodus experienced regime change, freedom from slavery, thirst and hunger issues, and terror. Thankfully, God went before them in a pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. God will not leave us, either.

Two passages from the Bible for you. (Whether you are for Obama or McCain.)

"No king is saved by the size of his army: no warrior escapes by his great strength. A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; depite all its great strength it cannot save. But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.
We wait in hope for the LORD; he is our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O LORD, even as we put our hope in you." Psalm 33:16-22 (emphasis mine)

"The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men." Daniel 4:17

I was convicted by two things this morning with these passages.

1. Political obsession can be a form of idolatry. Ouch, I know. Hello? Do you know how many political commentators and news sites I read? Listen to? Yeah, anything that gets between me and God is an idol. And yep, politics falls right in there.

2. I rely on God, not government. And I will not complain should Obama win. Complaining tells God that He is undesirable or unworthy, and his path is not good enough. (Those who remember my posts about potty-training know I have a hard time not complaining!)

And since I believe that God has chosen the right person for HIS WILL at THIS TIME I can be content. I know that God will be glorified through my praises of Him and my actions for Him. Anything else is futile.

However, I should say that I don't intend to give up my conservative stance, nor will I be quiet about it. But I will not complain. And I will not quarrel with God. (At least, I'll do my best...)

But I believe God has called me to take a stand for freedom. Freedom for all people, freedom from coercion and freedom to live a life of liberty. On that I will not be silent.