Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Pre-Election Reading List

We have an important election coming up.  It is, perhaps, the most important election in our lifetimes. 

It is vital that we educate ourselves on the politics of the day.  No, not from the views expressed on the evening news, or sound bites carefully extracted from their context. 

We must, instead, find the truth -- from carefully researched writings, those having extensive footnotes to indicate sources that can be independently checked for accuracy.

Here are a few sources I have read that give us the straight story: 

  • Crimes Against Liberty -- Covers the period up to mid-2010. 
  • The Great Destroyer -- Covers the period between mid-2010 and early-2012. 
  • The Roots of Obama's Rage  
  • Guilty: Liberal "Victims" and Their Assault on America 
  • 2016: Obama's America (movie)
These are very well-documented, factual books (and movie) written so we can understand what is really happening in our world.

Here is a start, with a few sobering facts about the state of affairs in our country:

The shortfall between spending and revenue (or income, in common terms) means that the government must borrow money from the rest of the world.  This puts us in a position of their controlling us as their debtors. ...and saddling future generations with crushing tax burdens. 

Look, for example, what out-of-control spending on social programs is doing to national defense:

We are making it easier for worldwide despots to attack us. Remember that one of the only things the federal government is supposed to do is provide for our defense.  So our politicians are shirking that important duty.  After all, it won't matter much whether entitlements continue if we are taken over by some hostile country or terrorist group.

Look at unemployment.  That red line on the chart below is where unemployment is now: The blue lines beneath it are the unemployment rates the Whitehouse said they would be with and without the huge expenditure of our tax dollars for the stimulus programs.  Not working so well, is it?:

Read the full article here
For contrast, look at the unemployment rate back in 2007.  It was only four and a half percent -- about half what it is today!!  

The actual unemployment rate, after government having spent trillions of our taxes, remains obscenely high, while government spending, regulation, and the uncertainty of the future are killing job growth. 

We are at a crossroads where we can turn one way and begin to restore our freedoms and prosperity...or the other that will destroy our freedom, our country, our very way of life. 

The Senate and Presidency are the most important to turn over.  Look for the word Republican adjacent to the name on the ballot.  That is the one to go for to get real hope and change for the better in the future. 

Educate yourself before you vote.  You will be doing the patriotic thing.

The Federal Budget in Pictures.  Federal spending and debt are out of control, and if America does not change course, the future will be dramatically worse. Now more than ever, it is crucial that Americans understand what our nation’s spending, taxes, and debt mean for them and their families. The Heritage Foundation’s Federal Budget in Pictures offers a unique tool to learn about the federal budget in a clear and compelling way.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Farewell Feelings

No, I'm not giving up riding, and I'm not giving up writing about riding yet.  What I am talking about are the feelings you get when a ride is nearing its end, and your fellow riders are peeling off to go their separate ways. 

I don't ride in groups every often, but when I do, I many times don't want it to end.  Heck, there are many times when I am riding alone that I don't want it to end.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I met up with someone  I ran across on one of the motorcycle forums.  We rode up to and along the Blue Ridge Parkway and we hit it off pretty well.

He started riding about the same time I did, took the MSF Basic Rider Class like I did, is a conservative rider, a conservative in his politics, and he is a devout man. 

He is also a geek.  Not an engineer like me, but a computer guy.  We enjoyed our wide-ranging rest stop conversations quite a bit.

Our route is a familiar one I have ridden a couple of times before.  It is a good one for gawking at the scenery or to enjoy the experience of riding a good road: 

View Larger Map
For your reference, a brief description of key parts of the route:

We are not riding very fast, and the new guy has not previously ridden on this section of the Parkway, so today we are enjoying the scenery.  

The road ahead -- a favorite view of the Parkway. 
Waiting bikes.
Blue Ridge Parkway, view of Looking Glass Rock from Log Hollow Overlook,
mile post 416.4
Photo by the new guy.
The route back along four-lanes is a bit boring, but when we get to SC-11, he needed to go a different direction to get home.  We stopped, shook hands, bid adieu, and departed, each going our separate way.  For a while after that I felt a degree of regret for it having ended so soon, even though we had been out for several hours.

Odd, it is, I think.  Here we are each riding a motorcycle -- a solitary pursuit -- yet the fellowship that developed in a very short time, caused me to feel a few moments of regret and sadness when it had to end.

This a apparently a fairly universal feeling.  

A blogger, GLanturn, who writes the Stay On the Gas Blog, and was living on Long Island way back in 2003 says:
I can`t believe what time it is, and how many hours have passed – it feels like I was just finishing my pancakes – and here we are, heading towards home. How I wish the day would just go on forever. Home. Yuck. We head down, thru the park, and wave off as [today's riding partner] Myko leaves us.  ...but when the group starts to break up, well, it feels like it is all over.

I have felt that -- just recently, in fact.  Have you?